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Meet the Team

Find out more about the people behind the forum and get in touch.

Jon Novakovic

Executive Director

Jon Novakovic joined the GISF Secretariat in March 2023.

Jon started his career in government in Australia before moving into overseas development.

In almost 10 years in the aid sector, he has been involved in SRM within local and international NGOs, and private consultancy. He has spent significant time in Afghanistan and Timor Leste, and is now based in Scotland.

As the Global Manager of Crisis Analytics at Mercy Corps, Jon was a key part of the team defining and growing the new offering that proved a key point of difference in Mercy Corps’ access and operations in high risk environments. He ran the Syria and Nigeria teams, and set up new operations in Mozambique and Ethiopia. He fostered the introduction of new AI-based technologies, and the recruitment of OSINT specialists to enable work in hard-to-access areas.

With his political and communications background, Jon is adept at leading campaigns to bring about sustained policy change.

Contact Jon Novakovic

Heather Hughes

Head of Global Membership and NGO Services

Heather Hughes joined the GISF Secretariat in November 2019.

Heather was Oxfam GB’s first Global Security Adviser, where she worked for over 20 years, focusing on strategic and operational security risk management including policy and practice, learning and development, supporting and managing serious incidents and crises, lessons learned and networking. Her career in Oxfam began in humanitarian and development programme support and management roles, including the Balkans conflict.

After leaving Oxfam GB, Heather was Director of Risk Advisory Services at International Location Safety, where she worked with a wide range of NGOs to support improvements in their security risk management approach and practice.

Heather has been involved with GISF since its inception in 2006, and was a member of the Steering Group for many years. As Head of Global Membership and NGO Services she supports the strategic work of GISF.

Contact Heather Hughes

Panos Navrozidis

Project Director and Head of Programs

Panos Navrozidis joined the GISF Secretariat in February 2022.

Panos is a seasoned practitioner and thinker with 18 years of frontline humanitarian aid and emergency response experience in a range of contexts. As a Country Director for Action Against Hunger and the International Rescue Committee he worked in Ethiopia, Kenya and Greece setting a visionary direction for the respective organisations while advocating for principled humanitarian action on the ground. Earlier in his career he worked in Iraq, Pakistan, South Sudan, and Uganda building a more inclusive, adaptable, and accountable humanitarian future.

Having served in three Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs), Panos has been involved in several high-level advocacy efforts as well as field negotiations allowing for sustainable humanitarian access in hard-to-reach communities. He is passionate about promoting mental health awareness across the sector and is also very active in providing pro bono support to local NGOs.

Panos is based in GISF's Americas office in Washington D.C. He holds a MSc in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Athens, Greece.

Contact Panos Navrozidis

Justina Amenu

Business & Operations Manager

Justina Amenu joined the GISF Secretariat in September 2014.

She has over 15 years’ experience in working with non-profit organisations – managing membership, event organisation, and general administration.

Justina graduated with a BA in Economics before embarking on a career in the not-for-profit sector. This journey and experience began as an Administrator with the Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain, PESGB. With increasing knowledge and experience in the sector she joined The InDus Entrepreneurs UK as Membership Director. After completing a Masters in Business Administration at the University of Westminster Business School, and a short career break, she joined the Society for Editors and Proofreaders Ltd (now Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading) as Executive Secretary.

Justina manages the business and operational functions of GISF – ensuring the Secretariat is supported and runs smoothly.

Contact Justina Amenu

Tara Arthur

Senior Projects and Membership Officer (Americas)

Tara Arthur joined the GISF Secretariat in 2019.

Based in the US, Tara has a passion for working on cross-cutting solutions aimed at improving the lives of underserved populations, both domestically and internationally. With over 10 years' experience in the development and humanitarian space, she has served in various capacities including programmes, safety and security and advocacy, both in the field and at the headquarters level.

She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Wesleyan University and an M.A. in International Development & Social Change from Clark University. As well as this, she has over 25 years of experience in martial arts. Her most recent work before joining GISF was leading the Faces of Martial Arts Project, which included advancing social change concepts and initiatives within and around the martial arts community; including designing and conducting workshops, programmes, training and interviews.

In her role, she is responsible for fostering GISF member engagement in the Americas by developing member services including US-based Members' Forums, workshops, webinars, podcasts, and more.

Contact Tara Arthur

Shaun Bickley

Senior Adviser (part-time)

Shaun joined the GISF Secretariat in May 2024.

Shaun has more than 25 years’ experience in humanitarian access, security and crisis management, in some of the most challenging conflict and crisis situations. As a leading consultant and facilitator, he advises on securing access and safeguarding staff in high-risk environments, and supports organisations in strengthening their security risk management.

Shaun has worked with a wide variety of humanitarian and development organisations including Mercy Corps, CARE International, British Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Save the Children, and more. Shaun has also conducted a significant body of research on security issues within the humanitarian sector and has authored several key security publications including GISF’s Security Risk Management: a basic guide for smaller NGOs and is the creator of GISF's NGO Security Toolbox.

Shaun’s involvement with GISF stems back to its early foundations. He has been a member of GISF and its Steering Group, acted as Executive Director on several occasions, and has supported GISF in the delivery of research and member events for many years.

As Senior Adviser, Shaun provides strategic support to the GISF Secretariat in the delivery of impactful events, products and services.

Contact Shaun Bickley

Laura Lewis

Grants and M&E Manager

Laura joined the GISF Secretariat in May 2024.

Laura is a bilingual professional with a robust background in grants and contracts management who brings over 12 years of experience in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to her role at GISF. Throughout her career, Laura has demonstrated a keen ability to enhance financial and administrative operations while managing diverse portfolios of grants and contracts and contributing to significant revenue growth and strategic funding utilisation.

She holds a BA in International Studies with a concentration in International Development from The Ohio State University, complemented by minors in Political Science and Spanish. Continuously committed to professional development, Laura has also acquired a Programming for Data Science Nanodegree and a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification.

Before joining GISF, Laura played a pivotal role as Lead Grants, Contracts, & Data Specialist at La Clínica del Pueblo. Her earlier experiences include administrative work with the Supreme Court of Ohio, as well as serving in the Peace Corps in both Ukraine and Guatemala, where she managed USAID grants and led significant community-driven projects.

In her current position as Grants and M&E Manager, Laura is dedicated to enhancing GISF’s grant management, monitoring, and evaluation processes.

Contact Laura Lewis

Dimitri Kotsiras

Research and Programmes Manager

Dimitri Kotsiras joined the GISF Secretariat in November 2023.

Dimitri is a seasoned research and programmes specialist with 8 years of experience in the peacebuilding and development space working for non-profit organisations in Europe and Canada. As a Research Manager at Peace Direct, Dimitri oversaw Peace Direct’s research portfolio and strategy, and he supported strengthening research practice both internally and with local partners. Among other initiatives, he led on the USAID-funded ‘Stopping As Success’ project on effective partnership transitions, managed global consultation forums and mapping efforts on Platform4Dialogue and Peace Insight, respectively, and spearheaded Peace Direct’s research on decolonising the wider aid sector.

He has previously supported democracy strengthening programmes at Westminster Foundation for Democracy, acted as a researcher and campaigner with Crisis Action and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, and worked at the United Nations reporting on the UN Security Council.

In his role, Dimitri is responsible for driving GISF’s research strategy and practice forward, including producing relevant and original research papers and best practice guides.

Dimitri holds an M.A. in Conflict, Security and Development from King's College London, and a B.A. in Political Science from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.

Contact Dimitri Kotsiras

Christian Kriticos

Communications Lead

Christian Kriticos joined the GISF Secretariat in February 2024.

Christian grew up in Saudi Arabia, before achieving a BA in English Literature from Durham University (United Kingdom) and an MA from Northwestern University (United States).

He began his career as a fundraiser for museums and heritage sites, before transitioning to the humanitarian sector with roles at UNICEF’s offices in London and Geneva. At GISF, he manages communications across all channels to promote good security risk management to keep humanitarian aid workers safe.

Christian also works as an arts and culture journalist in his spare time. His articles have been published by The Guardian, the BBC, The Telegraph, and many more publications.

Contact Christian Kriticos

Tolani Ubhi-Mohideen

Communications Officer

Tolani joined the GISF Secretariat in May 2023.

After completing her undergraduate degree in International Relations, Tolani went on to study MSc Politics of Conflict, Rights and Justice at SOAS University, where she explored the conceptual inadequacy of Islamophobia as an analytical concept for her final dissertation. Since graduating, Tolani has spent some time undertaking a variety of voluntary work, including working as a Casework and Research Volunteer at Asylum Links and an Outreach Volunteer for Refugee Network International. Most recently, Tolani has founded an awareness campaign highlighting the colonial legacies underpinning the humanitarian sector in order to contribute to ongoing efforts aimed at fostering a new era of humanitarian action.

In her role, Tolani supports the Communications teams.

Contact Tolani Ubhi-Mohideen

Ariel Voss

Admin & Projects Officer

Ariel joined the GISF Secretariat in May 2024.

Ariel graduated in the summer of 2023 with a BSc in Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method from the London School of Economics, where she was awarded the John Worrall Prize. Her dissertation, with a focus on philosophy of language and epistemology, unpacked a potential solution to one of the many paradoxes that arise as a result of our use of vague language.

Ariel spent the following year working at a climbing gym in South London where she enjoyed connecting with a large and varied membership base, fulfilling both administrative and coaching roles.

In her role, Ariel is responsible for providing efficient administrative support to enable the smooth functioning of the GISF Secretariat.

Contact Ariel Voss