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Meet the Americas Steering Committee (ASC)

As our team and presence in North America begins to evolve, we now have a North America branch to our Steering Group. If you would like more information, or would like to get involved with the NASC, please contact panos@gisf.ngo.

Scott Ruddick


Scott is Director of Global Security with MEDA, a bi-national ( Canada/USA) international development NGO. An interdisciplinary security specialist, his professional focus is on risk management in complex & non-permissive environments. He has a decade & a half of operational experience across five continents. He holds an MBA from Royal Roads University and several professional accreditations, including Chartered Security Professional (CSyP); Certified Security Management Professional (CSMP); and Security Risk Management Professional- Regional (SRMP-R) and Country ( SRMP-C).

“I am pleased to support GISF by being an active member and participating in the Americas Steering Committee. The Forum is the sole global voice for security professionals from the aid, development, humanitarian and human rights sector. It provides access to excellent research and resources, and connections to my professional community."

Contact Scott Ruddick

Shannon Fariel-Mureithi


A global leader who aims to eliminate poverty and improve human rights, Shannon has built and improved organisations’ security, duty of care and crisis management systems, helping organisations achieve their ultimate purpose safely.  She was a key contributor in writing and reviewing international NGO security standards and exam certifications. She spent most of her career in Africa prior to relocating to the US.

'GISF has been an integral part of my journey as a security leader. When I began this journey, security risk management didn’t exist in my organization.  GISF had the resources to help me think through the challenges and develop systems and processes.  Now I’m part of the global steering group and the America’s steering committee and can contribute back to GISF and its members.'  

Contact Shannon Fariel-Mureithi

Amaury Cooper


Amaury Cooper is an enterprise security and crisis risk analysis, planning, and operations management professional with over twenty years’ experience in the academic, private, as well as the for-profit and nonprofit humanitarian aid & international development sectors.

He was the Director of Global Security at Global Communities, a global development and humanitarian aid organisation committed to working in partnership with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable, impactful changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable.

He is currently Vice President for Security at HIAS.

“GISF’s work with and commitment to the international development and humanitarian aid sectors provides NGO security professionals with the resources, tools, trainings, and means of collaboration they need to successfully navigate the increasingly complex operating environments the sector finds itself working in. Having been a long time participant and user of the resources GISF provides, I am thrilled to be a part of the America’s Steering Committee to help guide and shape the course the organization takes in the coming years.”

Contact Amaury Cooper

Viviana Ardila

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Viviana Ardila has worked as a security expert for nearly 15 years with different international organization such as: US Peace Corps, The World Bank, United Nations, NRC-Norwegian Refugee Council and IRC- International Rescue Committee, the latter two in regional positions where she has had the opportunity to set up S&S structures for LATAM from their very foundations, including the creation of a SOC for LATAM and the development of a software for movement tracking purposes in the region.

She has undertaken a wide range of security-related topics in LATAM and the Caribbean, among which field security operations stand out, as well as security risk management, crisis management, gender-sensitive security, strategy, and humanitarian access, strengthening her profile as an expert humanitarian worker in Security Risk Management for international organizations. She is strongly committed to the mainstreaming of the Latin-American approach in the GISF’s Americas Steering Committee (ASC).

Viviana holds a Post Graduate Degree in Security and Safety Management from the Military University in Colombia, and university certificates in Gender and Women Citizen Security, International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid, and currently she is in the middle of her second Master´s degree in Strategy and Geopolitics. Viviana has been an instructor for Hostile Environment Awareness Training (HEAT) and is a certified instructor for the Safe and Secure Approaches in Field Environments Training (United Nations SSAFE), but apart from the clear security focus, Viviana has also worked in education as a lecturer on Crisis Management for the security and national defense post-graduate program at the Military University in Colombia.

Contact Viviana Ardila

Ben Whelan

Access Now

Ben Whelan is the Global Risk and Operations Manager on the SecOps team for Access Now. He supports the organization's programmatic, operational, and senior management teams in identifying, assessing, and mitigating digital, physical, and operational security risks for the organization and its staff. This includes the development, implementation, and oversight of security related policies, programs, and strategies to support the organization. 

Access Now is a human rights organization that works at the intersection of human rights and technology and has operations in 30+ countries that provides global technical support and grants to civil society, policy advice, runs advocacy campaigns, and hosts RightsCon.org, the world's leading summit on human rights. 

Ben's excited to be joining the GISF Americas Steering Committee to help contribute to the invaluable convening space and community of security professionals created by GISF.

Contact Ben Whelan

Marieke van Weerden

Catholic Relief Services

Marieke van Weerden has made her career in the humanitarian security sector, climbing through the ranks into her current leadership position as Director of Health, Safety and Security at Catholic Relief Services, one of the world’s largest aid agencies. Marieke has an academic background in history and human rights and has evolved her hands-on risk management experience with strategic insights at IE Business School, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School and Yale. She is passionate about building a career pathway for humanitarian security professionals, revolutionising the security narrative and driving the creation of a security community widely known for its innovation, resilience and agility.

Contact Marieke van Weerden