The GDPC has a core team of dedicated staff based around the world, including Washington D.C. and Geneva. Meet our team members below.

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Omar Abou-Samra

Director, Preparedness, Climate, and GDPC
Omar has over fifteen years of experience working in non-profit, disaster and technical fields related to client service delivery and the interaction with government and voluntary agency partners. Omar has specialization in areas of cash programming, and mass care including emergency feeding, relief distribution and shelter in both domestic and international contexts. He leads the Global Disaster Preparedness team and Preparedness Services at American Red Cross International Services Department.

Nathan Cooper

GDPC Manager
Senior manager with wide-ranging experience developing and managing innovative partnerships within the humanitarian and development sectors. Nathan manages the IFRC Alert Hub Initiative and is the IFRC lead for Pillar 3 of the UN Early Warning for All initiative.
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Julie Arrighi

Manager, Climate Program
Providing technical support on climate risk management to the American Red Cross' international programs.

Aynur Kadihasanoglu

Consultant Urban Preparedness
Aynur has worked in the humanitarian and development field with diverse partners including, IFRC, UN organizations, World Bank, and local and national governments for more than twenty years. Besides having a sound understanding of current issues and challenges in the disaster risk reduction, preparedness and response fields she holds BS and MS degrees in city and regional planning. She has completed numerous analytical and strategic direction studies, independent evaluations and helped building institutional capacity in many countries in disaster management.
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Jose Bonilla

Sr. Global Preparedness Lead
José started with the Red Cross in 1986 in the Youth program of the Costa Rica Red Cross. In his twenty years of experience in the Movement, José has worked as National Director for Disaster Preparedness and Prevention for the Costa Rica Red Cross, as founder and Coordinator of the renowned Reference Centre for Community Education for Disasters for the Americas and as a technical adviser for the creation of the Haitian Red Cross Training Centre.
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Jessica Ports Robbins

Sr. Partnerships & Innovation Lead
Jessica has worked with the American Red Cross since 2001. In her role with GDPC she manages the Center’s digital tools, including the Universal App Program, the WhatNow Service, and Atlas: Ready for Business preparedness app, and PrepareCenter. She holds an MS in History & Sociology of Technology & Science from Georgia Tech and a Ph.D. in international development from Tulane University.

Emily Johnson

Manager, Preparedness Programs
Emily has spent much of her career in field locations with INGOs and joins the American Red Cross most recently from USAID. While at USAID, Emily was responsible for supporting strategic planning and overseeing humanitarian funding to partners in South Sudan. Prior to USAID, Emily spent 8 years with NGOs overseas, working in protracted and complex crises in Africa and Asia, where she supported both disaster preparedness and response. Emily received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Beloit College, with a minor in African Politics.

Rita Ewing

Technical Advisor, Programs and Partnerships
Rita started with the American Red Cross in 2019 as a Disaster Program Manager. She has extensive experience working collaboratively in DRR with government partners, community-based organizations, and diverse communities. She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia and holds a MA in Migration Studies from the University of San Francisco. Her professional experiences include teaching, working with asylum seekers, and advocating for linguistic rights through policy research.
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Robin Mays

Senior Research Scientist
Robin is a humanitarian practitioner and ethnographic researcher who explores the human and contextual factors of disaster and humanitarian response systems that lead to effective response. She received a Ph.D. from the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering at the University of Washington for her work on ethics and technology within humanitarian systems.
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Uladzislau (Vlad) Kavaleuski

Program Manager, Knowledge Management & Research
Vlad is an accomplished professional in the international development and humanitarian sectors, with a diverse portfolio spanning national and international agencies and NGOs. In his current position at GDPC, he spearheads knowledge management, learning and research initiatives to ensure critical disaster preparedness information and tools are accessible to disaster management professionals worldwide. Before joining the American Red Cross, Vlad was at the World Bank, overseeing knowledge management and learning strategies for major thematic areas. He facilitated knowledge sharing and exchange between regions and the headquarters, fostering collaboration and disseminating best practices. Vlad holds a Master's degree in Communication and Development Studies from Ohio University.
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Sam Johnson

Global Youth Action Lead
Sam began her Red Cross career as an AmeriCorps member with the American Red Cross of Alaska and supported long term recovery efforts in the US Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In her previous role as the Program Lead for Youth Preparedness Education for National Headquarters, she managed two youth emergency and disaster preparedness education programs called Prepare with Pedro and The Pillowcase Project. These two programs have reached over 2 million students across the US and on military bases abroad. She has a Master of Science from Tulane University in Disaster Resilience Leadership.

Colin Fernandes

Regional Technical Advisor, AMEE
Colin is passionate about Disaster Risk Reduction work, which has helped him engaged with Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies, Civil Society Organizations and governments across the Asia Pacific Region in the last 15 years. Key areas of interest include policy engagement and analysis on resilience, urban resilience and disaster induced displacement.

Matthew Grieco

Climate Adaptation Program Manager
Matthew is a passionate climate scientist with a strong dedication to effective science communications. He supports the management of American Red Cross’ climate efforts, with focus on the international work. He has experience in national and international climate/environmental research endeavors, climate communications, and disaster exposure, risk, and vulnerability assessments. He holds a BS in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University and a MS in Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences from UCLA.

Adriana Mangones

Research and Engagement Fellow
Adriana is a Colombian researcher with eight years of experience in the non-profit and international cooperation sector. Her work has been focused on the development of monitoring and evaluation tools of different types of public policy directed to vulnerable people and groups for nearly a decade. She has knowledge and experience of intercultural communication, particularly in relation to the ethnic and gender approaches for the attention and reparation of conflict victims. Through her experience in international aid, especially OIM, MSI, and FAO, she has engaged with different conflict-affected regions.

Volunteer Team

Click here for information about the talented volunteers who support the GDPC with their time and talents.