Meet our CEO

Gillian Caldwell

Gillian Caldwell

Gillian Caldwell took the helm as Global Witness’ CEO in July of 2015 following five years of consulting on strategic planning and organizational development with a range of clients from across the NGO, government, university, business and philanthropic sectors. 

She is a dynamic and award-winning three-time executive director, campaigner, serial social entrepreneur, attorney, author and filmmaker. She is experienced in advancing social justice and environmental campaigns in the United States and around the world and has managed all aspects of organizational growth, including fundraising, policy advocacy, online strategy and organizing, field operations and outreach, communications and multi-media production, operations, human resources and finances.  

In 2010, Gillian completed three years as Campaign Director for the United States 1Sky campaign (now merged with 350.org), which she helped build from inception. From start up under her leadership, 1Sky grew within two years to become the largest collaborative climate and energy campaign in the United States, and combined the force of over 640 allied organizations, a team of organizers in 23 states nationwide at the height of the 2009 Congressional debate, more than 225,000 climate advocates and more than 4000 volunteer “Climate Precinct Captains” covering every state and Congressional District in the country.  

Prior to launching the 1Sky campaign, Gillian served as the Executive Director of WITNESS, which was co-founded by British musician Peter Gabriel and uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses.  Gillian led WITNESS' rapid expansion during her decade of leadership and helped produce over 30 documentary shorts and films for use in systems-changing advocacy campaigns in partnership with NGOs in dozens of countries around the world. During that time, she also worked with many well-known musicians and actors, including Angelina Jolie, Jackson Browne, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins.

Before her 10 years of leadership at WITNESS, Gillian directed a global undercover investigation and global campaign on the Russian mafia’s involvement in trafficking women for forced prostitution, and produced and directed an influential documentary film which was televised internationally and helped spur policy changes worldwide.

Gillian is also co-editor and author of a book titled Video for Change: A Guide to Advocacy and Activism (Pluto Press, 2005). She received her BA from Harvard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University, where she was recognized as a Public Interest Law Scholar.  

She is a recipient of numerous awards and honors for social entrepreneurship and leadership, including being named a Director’s Fellow by MIT’s Media Lab, an echoing green fellowship, the Skoll Award, the Schwab Foundation Award and an Ashoka Award. She was also honored with a Next Generation Leadership Award by the Rockefeller Foundation.  Gillian has benefited from several intensive leadership development programs, including Rockwood’s Art of Leadership and their yearlong program, Leading from the Inside Out.