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Published: March 3, 2023

GISF Welcomes New Executive Director Jon Novakovic

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We are thrilled to welcome Jon Novakovic as the new Executive Director of GISF.

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 security risk management (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.

Here’s what Jon has to say about his new role:

‘It is a privilege to have been appointed as the Executive Director of GISF. With 17 years of success providing a platform for strengthening networks, sharing ideas, and improving policy and practice, GISF has a proven track record of delivering for its members. I am deeply committed to continuing this tradition and building on the strong legacy left by Lisa Reilly, the outgoing ED. Under her leadership, GISF evolved from EISF and made significant strides in advancing SRM as a discipline in its own right.

As GISF moves towards becoming an independent organisation, I am excited about the opportunities this will bring. We will have the flexibility to adapt to an increasingly complex world and continue to deliver value to our members and the sector as a whole. I look forward to working closely with our members and partners to make the most of these opportunities.

In addition to meeting members’ specific needs, there are four areas that I am particularly passionate about and intend to prioritise:

  • Localisation- SRM is critical to making localisation work in real-world conditions. We will explore how SRM’s role needs to evolve and continue to add value, and how we can support ownership of risks by colleagues in national-level organisations.
  • Innovation- I am committed to driving innovation in SRM and want GISF to be at the forefront of fostering and sharing new approaches. I believe the active engagement of colleagues using new technologies in the aid sector, such as contextual analysis teams working on access and safety, would be mutually beneficial for GISF.
  • People- As the demands on SRM teams evolve, we need to ensure that we are developing the skills of the next generation and creating clear pathways for their advancement.
  • Policy- We will work to bridge the gap between the field and decision-makers by making the case that investing in SRM is a cost-effective way to improve the reach and effectiveness of humanitarian responses.’

Join us in welcoming Jon to GISF!