Hosted by Dr. Shreya Sarkar-Barney

Leading Transformation in a Stressed Sector

Dr. James MacDonald

This is our exponential talent podcast on Leading Transformation in a Stressed Sector with Dr. James McDonald. We hear about what it takes to turn an organization around from the brinks of bankruptcy to one that is innovating and thriving in a stressed economy or, in other words, a stressed sector. If you become inspired by this podcast, don’t forget to subscribe and share.


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    About Our Episode on Transforming a Stressed Sector

    1. What were some of the challenges that were entailed in your role at the San Francisco Theological Seminary?

    2. How did you recognize what needed to be changed and what was your inspiration for the transformation?

    3. In what ways has the San Francisco theological seminary innovated to aid it’s sustainable living situation?

    4. What are some of the certifications that you’re offering right now? What are they focused on? 

    5. The importance of getting the right talent and knowing who is your best talent. 

    6. What are some of the key challenges put around wellbeing? What advice do you have for business leaders in terms of what they should do to make things better?

    7. What advice do you have for any leader that is preparing to lead transformation?



    Our guest in this podcast is a leader who exemplifies humility, courage, and the ability to envision. I first met Dr. Jim MacDonald in 2012. I was fortunate to partner with Jim and his team on some of the change initiatives during the San Francisco Theology Seminary (SFTS). SFTS was struggling financially, the trustees lacked confidence that the institution could survive, and many of the staff were openly critical of Jim’s plans for transformation. On several occasions, I was witness to Jim’s in-the-moment courageous response to open attacks on his leadership. While giving voice to his team, he remained steadfast to the core priorities when many others would have caved.

    At the time of this interview in 2018, Jim had successfully transformed SFTS putting it well on the path to financial stability. In this podcast, Jim shares his journey of turning around an organization from the brinks of bankruptcy to one that is innovating and thriving in a stressed sector. Leaders who are shepherding transformation will find inspiring lessons to get through the most challenging times.

    Meet the Speaker From Our Podcast on Transforming a Stressed Sector

    Dr. James MacDonald

    Dr. James MacDonald

    President and Professor of Faith
    and Public Life
    San Francisco Theological Seminary


    Reverend Dr. James McDonald is the 11th president of the San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) and the professor of faith and public life. Prior to joining SFTS, he was the managing director at Bread for the World, a faith-based advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. working to reduce hunger in the US and around the world. Jim has a Ph.D. in International Relations from American University and a bachelor’s in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

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    Certified in Change Management