When his meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook finally started — long past the time it was scheduled to end — Rory Macleod abandoned his formal presentation and summed up a year’s work in five minutes. After a probing discussion, Cook approved the project.
Rory’s takeaway? “If you focus too much on what you want to say or how you want to say it, you might miss your chance to really connect with your audience,” he said. “So I always try to frame my goals relative to what the audience needs. In this case, our primary need was brevity.”
Rory first joined ROI Communication in 2007 and spent five years writing for clients including Chevron, Adobe, PG&E, Symantec, HP, and Apple. In 2012 he went in-house at Apple as the head writer on its HR Communication team. In this role, he was responsible for the messaging in every communication Apple sent to its employees.
While at Apple, the company asked him to help launch its first employee engagement function. In that capacity, Rory helped reimagine the employee onboarding experience; developed an employee recognition program; designed a campaign introducing employees to the company’s new headquarters; and led the creation of an internal website showcasing the diverse talents of Apple’s employees outside of work. Rory rejoined the ROI team in 2021.
In addition to his professional experience, Rory brings a unique empathy to his interactions, informed by his early experience tending bar in Boston, and later bicycling more than 35,000 miles through 44 countries, where he often relied on the kindness of strangers.
After one particularly grueling week on winding Italian roads, a village family invited him in for dinner and gave him a bed for the night. In Zimbabwe, an old lady let him pitch his tent under her mango tree. In Louisiana, a passing housepainter saved him from a violent electrical storm, just as a bolt of lightning shattered a nearby telephone pole and showered them with sparks.
“One of the things I learned while bicycling for two years straight is the importance of perspective,” Rory said. “As a consultant, I always keep the focus on what really matters; sometimes thunder can be a really helpful warning, and other times it’s just noise.”
Rory, who lives in Croatia, graduated cum laude from Colgate University with a double major in history and political science. When he’s not advising clients or exploring the world by bike — often as a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief — he writes non-fiction, reads, and practices his Croatian.