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Ash Alexander-Cooper

Former Specialist Military Unit Commander, Partner in McChrystal Group's London Office
    Topics & Types
    LeadershipPeak PerformanceRelationship BuildingTeamworkOvercoming AdversityCrisis ManagementMilitary Leaders

    Ash Alexander-Cooper OBE is a former Specialist Military Unit Colonel in the British Armed Forces and a partner at McChrystal Group—an elite advisory services firm that builds agile teams and enables clients to adapt to their complex operating environments. Ash is a partner in McChrystal Group's London, England office, where he focuses on expanding the firm’s offerings and developing relationships with European clients. With a focus on leader development, talent management, and team-building solutions, Ash draws upon lessons learned from over 22 years of experience leading and managing diverse multinational military, civilian government and other elite teams.

    Effective Leadership & Team Development. Over the course of his service career, Ash spent 82 months deployed on operations in complex and hostile environments: Primarily in Central Asia, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the Balkans. Working in a plethora of strategy, operational, diplomatic, and liaison roles, Ash is an expert in building trust, articulating a common purpose amongst dispersed and disparate teams to deliver positive outcomes and has been part of the Team of Teams journey and development since its inception in 2003. In addition to his extensive specialist skills, Ash served as a Royal Gurkha Rifles officer and is a qualified combat helicopter pilot.

    Strategic Insight. At the strategic level, Ash has worked as a speechwriter for the UK’s Defense Secretary while serving in the Army Strategy Branch, and has drafted strategic defense and policy documents for both British and Afghan government departments. Additionally, Ash was a Senior Special Advisor to the Afghan Ministry of Interior between 2011-2014 and directed command and control of Afghan and coalition elements during high profile terrorist incidents. During that period, he is credited with the design and implementation of the Afghan National Crisis Response Strategy and Policy, now used routinely and successfully by security forces across the country. Prior to retirement, Ash served as the UK’s Special Operations Liaison Officer to the USA and Canada, facilitating closer relationships between strategic security, defense, and inter-agency partners.

    Operationally, Ash spent many years working in the Middle East and Central Asia, which included leadership of a plethora of British and NATO specialist teams, including the unit charged with the development of Afghanistan’s 6,000 special policemen, and served as NATO’s Special Operations Component Command—Afghanistan Plans Director, where he oversaw the complex drawdown of coalition forces in 2014. 

    Given his expertise in cross-functional collaboration and knowledge sharing within large, international and geographically-dispersed organizations, Ash is skilled in bringing people together to accomplish a mission. 

    Change Management Specialist. Engulfed in the modern evolution of the US and UK military’s Special Operations community, Ash witnessed a siloed bureaucracy struggling to keep up in a turbulent environment, transform into an agile, adaptable, and effective network to combat domestic and international terrorism. Recognizing that companies today are experiencing parallels to what he and his colleagues faced in combat, Ash helps leaders build the skills, mindset and behaviors necessary to re-think the hierarchical approach to organizational management. Citing stories from his defense, business and sporting careers, Ash discusses a comprehensive and effective management strategy for organizations of all types.

    Among his international honors and awards, Ash was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2015, and is the recipient of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s Medal of Honor and Service, as well as the United States Bronze Star Medal and a United States Army Commendation for valor.

    Engaging Speaker. With a diverse set of interests and elite skill sets outside of the military, Ash is a compelling, candid, and engaging speaker, tailoring speaking engagements to every audience. In addition to his military credentials Ash has represented the UK in three different sports at world championship level, and has a background as an artist, elementary school teacher and is an award-winning international musician. Weaving his diverse skill set and range of experiences together creates a captivating environment for listeners.

    Ash is also an Advisory Board Member and Mentor with PROMOTE, a non-profit organization, whose mission it is to transform the way military leaders mentor and develop the next generation; an Associate with the Center for Empathy in International Affairs; and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. Ash also owns several small businesses and is a Senior Advisor to an innovative tech start-up.

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    Location/Travels from: UK
    $10,001 - $20,000*
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