MacAleese joined Cogitamus, a public affairs and communications business, in 2010.  Cogitamus is a lobbying consultancy which specialises in transport, logistics, environmental, infrastructure and construction matters.
MacAleese was special adviser to transport secretary Ruth Kelly from 2008 to 2010. During her time in the Department for Transport, she provided strategic communications, media and policy handling to Kelly, and dealt with broadcast media, national print and trade journalists, trade unionists and MPs. 
Before this she was head of external affairs for helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland, responsible for UK communications and external relations.
Earlier in her career MacAleese worked for the Labour Party head office, where she initially developed relationships with the Party’s professional and business endorsers, before working in events.