Overview of 2020 at Red Sea Executive Search

Zoe Dean

2020 has been a historic year by all accounts with multiple life-changing events impacting large swathes of the world’s populations, institutions, and governments. The year has seen a global pandemic, Africa becoming Polio free, the Black Lives Matter movement, finalised Brexit negotiations and Biden’s win in the US elections to name but a few. Throughout Red Sea Executive Search has continued to place exceptional leadership within organisations helping to shape the future of Development, Philanthropy and Civil Society in the face of a rapidly developing world.

A historic year –  2020 in brief

Global Health and Covid-19 have dominated the news, yet 2020 has also brought with it a mix of inspiring breakthroughs; from human rights movements to medical successes, to policy U-turns. It is impossible to adequately summarise such an impactful year, below are just some of the many events that have informed the last 365 days.

Black Lives Matter

Founded in 2013 Black Lives Matter Movement was initially a response to the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer. It has now grown into a global organisation working to build up local power against racial injustice. This year, following the police killing of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the movement was instrumental in bringing state-sanctioned violence against Black people to global attention with protests taking place outside the US in over 60 countries.

Wild Polio declared eradicated in Africa

In 1996 the poliovirus paralysed 75,000 children and was recorded in all African countries.  In that same year, Nelson Mandela initiated the ‘Kick Polio out of Africa’ programme. After decades of intense child vaccination programmes, education and disease surveillance in partnership with various donor governments and international organisations, polio was declared officially eradicated by the independent body, the Africa Regional Certification Commission in August 2020.

Global collaboration produces multiple vaccines

The speed at which multiple vaccines have been produced, approved and now rolled out is unparallel in human medical history. Previously the fastest vaccine to be developed, the mumps vaccine, took 4 years. Researchers quickly mobilised global data sharing, funding was made readily available and an international focus on producing a solution to the pandemic enabled this radically fast global response.

The political – from Brexit to Biden

The UK officially left the EU on 31st January 2020. Amidst multiple national lockdowns, the UK finally struck a deal after long negotiations with the EU on 24th December 2020. The topic of Brexit has long divided the British public and the finalisation of the trade deal with the EU has cited similar reactions.

Biden became the 46th President, inaugurated on 20th January 2021. Alongside, Kamala Harris become the first African American women and Asian women to hold the position of Vice President. Violence at the Capitol Hill on 6th January 2021 was condemned as an attack on democracy and detrimental to the peaceful transition of power.  

Red Sea Executive Search Operations

Red Sea Executive Search remained resilient in the challenging 2020 terrain increasing its operations across all regions in the face of complexity and adversity. The creation of a new website in partnership with Wave, a partnership with database platform Vincere and the appointment of highly experienced new members to the team has enabled sustained growth in the number of successful searches conducted.

Growing staff team

Linda Walsh joined the team in September as a Junior Researcher for Africa. Graduated with a Masters in International Development from the University of Birmingham, Linda has a passion for women’s rights, equality and entrepreneurship. With a proven track record in candidate selection, Linda is currently working as Red Sea’s Africa Researcher.  

Zoe Dean also joined the team in September 2020 to assist in the research process. She is also currently studying a Masters in Conflict, Security and Development at the University of Sussex.

In April 2020 Red Sea was excited to appoint Khetsiwe Dlamini as Principle Consultant: Africa. Khetsiwe has 30 years international development experience spanning multiple continents and organisations. Having worked in managerial roles for the International Finance Corporation, the World Banks and the United Nations, Khetsiwe brings with her wealth of knowledge in talent acquisition, management and gender diversity and inclusion.

Fred Braganza also joined in April 2020 as Consultant for Asia Pacific. Fred specialises in Growth Strategy and People management and brings an in depth understanding of processes that can improve overall efficiencies within organisations. With 30 years of experience and advanced professional qualifications, Fred has most recently worked as the HR Director for Habitat for Humanity in India.

In the last month of 2020, Red Sea Executive Search was delighted to appoint Susan Bandow as Principal Consultant: United States of America. Susan brings with her more than 30 years of executive talent acquisition experience and passion for appointing exceptional leaders within executive roles to transform organisations. She has recently served as Global Talent Leader at World Vision International.

Red Sea Executive Search is forging ahead in enabling organisations to meet the challenges of a dynamic and rapidly changing world. With its cerebral approach to recruiting executive leadership and a total of 200 years’ experience, Red Sea Executive Search is forging ahead into the new year.


Black Lives Matter (2021) About. Take Action. https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

Parkinson, J (26th August 2020) Wild Polio is Declared Eradicated from Africa. https://www.contagionlive.com/view/wild-polio-is-declared-eliminated-from-africa

Gottbrath, L (31st December 2020) In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement shook the world. https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2020/12/31/2020-the-year-black-lives-matter-shook-the-world

WHO (2021) Polio. https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/polio

Lowe, S (27th December 2020) Brexit trade deal means ‘freedom’, but at a cost: the arguments will be far from over. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/2020/dec/27/britain-trade-deal-eu-arguments-brexit-renegotiation