August 18, 2021
In July, the Pallas Foundation for National Security Leadership hosted a moderated panel discussion between Bondi Partners President and Co-Founder Ambassador Joe Hockey, OneWeb CEO Neil Masterson, and Pallas Advisors Founding Partner Sally Donnelly on the strategic importance of partners and allies in today’s national security environment and the expanding role of multinational corporations in international relations. Check out some takeaways from the discussion below.
When operating in today’s interconnected environment, international businesses will need to combine commercial, economic, and security interests when reviewing their supply chains. Corporations may need to weigh decisions that have impacts on working in national security versus international markets due to increasingly complex supply chain issues. China has started weaponizing trade and supply chains on a scale that will transform global politics, which is the first time the US has faced a simultaneous economic and military threat. However, these new challenges to businesses should be seen as opportunities to innovate and create home-grown industries while anticipating customers' future needs. As Masterson said on behalf of private companies, "give us the rules of the road and we'll figure it out."
Security issues are a fundamental characteristic of globalization, which the US and its allies can address through strategic partnerships that align their commercial interests. For example, the US and its allies have the ability to use their commercial supply chains, pipelines, and soft power to maintain influence in the Indo-Pacific region. As Ambassador Hockey explained, by joining Indo-Pacific trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, countries can deepen their ties with other countries and communities across the globe, increasing their ability to spread both democratic values and businesses’ commercial products. While China's growth cannot be stopped, he noted, countries such as Australia and the US can "get smart" on politics, values, and alliances in the future to more effectively garner influence.
Effective leaders exhibit resilience, courage, humility, and authenticity. Ambassador Hockey and Masterson finished the session by discussing lessons they have learned throughout their careers. Ambassador Hockey noted that leaders not only have power, but understand how to use it properly, as well as the need to be fearless and stand by decisions.. Masterson highlighted the need to always learn and listen, hire individuals that are better than you, and to remember to keep the big picture in mind when making decisions. Major General Nadja West, the first African-American female two-star general in Army Medicine, also joined the conversation, saying leaders understand their people, what motivates them, and allows them the opportunities to present ideas.
Ambassador Joe Hockey, President and Co-Founder of Bondi Partners, previously served as Australia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, taking up his posting in Washington in January 2016. At Bondi Partners, Mr. Hockey spearheads the firm’s strategic direction in both the United States and Australia. Mr. Hockey has had a long and distinguished career in public service. He first entered Parliament in 1996 as the Member for North Sydney and spent more than seventeen years on the front bench. Previously, Mr. Hockey served as a banking and finance lawyer with a major Australian law firm. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA in Arts and Law.
Neil Masterson is the CEO of OneWeb, a global communications company. Neil previously spent over 20 years at Thomson Reuters in a number of roles, ultimately ending as co-COO of the global news, information and software group. Neil’s most notable achievements during his stint as COO included: the successful reframing of Thomson Reuters’ enterprise strategy; the leveraging of emerging technology and digital within the business; the delivery of new capabilities to add industry-leading data and content to the company’s offer; and, the integration of 300 disparate businesses following a decade of acquisitions into one common culture and lexicon.
Sally Donnelly, Founding Partner at Pallas Advisors, moderated the discussion. From 2016 to 2018, Donnelly served as Senior Advisor to Secretary of Defense James Mattis. Donnelly previously worked for then-General Mattis as the Director of the Washington office for U.S. Central Command. Prior to working for Secretary Mattis, Donnelly was the Chief Executive Officer of a consulting firm. From 2007 to 2010, Donnelly worked as the Senior Advisor to Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Before that, Donnelly spent more than 20 years at Time Magazine.