Executive and Training Leadership

Frank Smyth
Founder & Executive Director
Frank Smyth

Frank Smyth is founder and executive director of Global Journalist Security. He is also Senior Advisor for Journalist Security at the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, where he blogs on journalist security. Frank has been awarded for both his investigative journalism and his service to the journalism community. Read more about Frank here.

Paul Burton
Training Director

Paul Burton is training director for hostile environments and emergency first-aid for Global Journalist Security. Paul served as a British Army Sergeant Major in the elite 148 Commando unit, and as an instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst officer training school. Read more about Paul here.

Shane Bell
International Trainer & Advisor
Shane Bell, Global Journalist Security

Shane Bell is an international trainer and advisor for Global Journalist Security. Shane has been the security and medical advisor for international news organizations such as The New York Times and NHK of Japan as well as various non-governmental organizations active in conflict areas. Read more about Shane here.

Briana Twigg
Trainer/General Manager

Briana Twigg is a personal safety trainer and the general manager of Global Journalist Security. A self-defense practitioner, Briana draws from various disciplines to teach non-striking release maneuvers. Briana has served on the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force. Read more about Briana here.

Julio Cruz
International Trainer
Julio Cruz

Julio Cruz is an international trainer and security manager for Global Journalist Security. With nearly 20 years experience, Julio has managed security portfolios for human rights monitoring, diplomatic and peace-keeping missions. Read more about Julio here.

Laure de Vulpillieres
Resiliency Trainer
Laure “Voop” de Vulpillieres

Laure “Voop” de Vulpillieres is a resiliency and stress management trainer at Global Journalist Security. Voop develops and implements research-based, integrative solutions for clients in the humanitarian field for Greenleaf Integrative. Read more about Voop here.

Rod Seward
Safety Advisor Director

Rod Seward is safety advisor director for Global Journalist Security. Rod spent 16 years in the British military, including 12 years as a Royal Marines Commando, and also served as a Royal Marines Policeman. Read more about Rod here.

Eric Burkholder

Eric Burkholder is a hostile environments and emergency first-aid trainer for Global Journalist Security. Eric served as a Coast Guard medic for ten years. Founding member of the Coast Guard’s tactical medicine program. Read more about Eric here.

Natalie Potell

Natalie Potell is a hostile environments and emergency first-aid trainer for Global Journalist Security. A certified Firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician in Virginia, Natalie is an Adjunct Instructor at the Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Academy. Read more about Natalie here.

Cary Ingram
Senior Trainer

Cary Ingram is senior trainer for hostile environments and personal safety of Global Journalist Security. Cary is a certified Krav Maga Black Belt Level 6 instructor and expert in close-quarter self-defense systems, an alumnus of Columbia University’s graduate School of International and Public Affairs, and a former U.S. Army soldier. Read more about Cary here.

Matt Hansen
Strategic Director
Matt Hansen Global Journalist Security

Matt Hansen is the strategic director of Global Journalist Security and is involved in every aspect of GJS including both security training and business development and management. Matt served as Journalist Security Researcher for the Committee to Protect Journalists from 2006 until 2008, culminating in “Deadly News,” a 2008 special report. Read more about Matt here.

Training Actors

James Jager
Creative Director
James Jager

James Jager is the creative director at Global Journalist Security. James is an advanced actor combatant certified by the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD) and the Resident Fight Captain and a member of the Resident Acting Company with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. Read more about James here.

Stella Sewe
Acting Director
Stella Sewe Global Journalist Security

Stella Sewe is the regional acting director for Global Journalist Security operations in East Africa. An actress and communication specialist, she has served as the communication advisor for a member of the Nairobi County Assembly. Read more about Stella here.

Charlie Smith
Linda Foley

Digital Safety Experts

Matt Mitchell
Matt Mitchell Global Journalist Security

Matt Mitchell is an independent senior trainer and security researcher
at Global Journalist Security. Matt specializes on issues faced by
newsrooms and freelance journalists. Read more about Matt here.

Nicolas Diaz
Nicolas Diaz

Nicolas Diaz is a digital safety trainer for Global Journalist Security. For more than 15 years, he has led training workshops for human rights defenders on secure communications. He has worked with activists and NGOs in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Mali, Turkey, and Poland. Read more about Nicolas here.

Cameran Ashraf

Cameran Ashraf is a digital safety trainer for Global Journalist Security. He is an Iranian­-American digital rights activist and social entrepreneur. In 2009 he assembled the team providing digital security to the high value activists and key websites of Iran’s Green Movement. Read more about Cameran here.

Kamal Sedra

Kamal Sedra is a digital safety trainer for Global Journalist Security. Kamal is a digital activist, blogger, and digital security trainer and consultant who works with international NGOs throughout the world, with a focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Read more about Kamal here.

Ester Eriksson

Ester Eriksson is senior trainer and digital safety co-director of Global Journalist Security. Ester has a Master’s degree in engineering from a Scandinavian university. Over the past five years, she has worked as an consultant in the fields of computer security, secure communications, DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service protection and secure hosting. Read more about Ester here.

Arturo Blair

Arturo Blair is senior trainer and digital safety co-director of Global Journalist Security. Arturo has 15 years experience in computer security, and holds a PhD in Internet Privacy from a Scandinavian university. Read more about Arturo here.

Special Experts

Anne Speckhard
Guest Lecturer

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. is senior advisor for psychological security at Global Journalist Security. A counter-terrorism and trauma expert and author, Dr. Speckhard is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry and of Security Studies in the School of Medicine and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Read more about Anne here.

Brian O’Shea
Guest Lecturer

Brian O’Shea is a guest lecturer at Global Journalist Security. An intelligence expert with over 20 years experience in both the public and private sectors, O’Shea is a seasoned instructor specializing in counter-espionage, counter-manipulation and advanced body language reading. Read more about Brian here.

Dan Hanfling
Guest Lecturer
Dan Hanfling, Global Journalist Security

Dan Hanfling is a guest lecturer at Global Journalist Security. He is a biosecurity and emergency preparedness expert and a Contributing Scholar at the UPMC Center for Health Security in addition to his duties as a Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. Read more about Dan here.

Mark Basil
Guest Lecturer

Mark Basil is security awareness and surveillance detection director of Global Journalist Security. Mark has nearly 20 years experience as a security professional acquiring extensive knowledge of both U.S. government and private sector practices. Read more about Mark here.

Regional Trainers and Acting Directors

Javier Garza
Integrated Trainer

Javier Garza is an integrated operational security trainer for Global Journalist Security. He is a Knight International Journalism Fellow at the International Center for Journalists in charge of developing digital security training in Mexico and Latin America. Read more about Javier here.

Iason Athanasiadis
Senior Trainer

Iason Athanasiadis is senior trainer and cultural responsiveness director of Global Journalist Security. Fluent in Greek, Arabic, Persian and Turkish, Athanasiadis has graduate degrees in Middle Eastern Studies from Oxford University, and in Contemporary Iranian Studies from the School of International Studies in Tehran. Read more about Iason here.

Drew Brown
Senior Trainer

Drew Brown is senior trainer of Global Journalist Security. A former U.S. Army Ranger, Drew is both a military combat veteran and a journalist with more than a decade covering armed conflicts and military affairs. Working for Knight-Ridder newspapers, he was a correspondent in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002 and in Iraq in 2003. Read more about Drew here.

Research and Assessments

Rob Shellow
Senior Advisor

Rob Shellow is senior advisor for security management, crisis response and risk assessment of Global Journalist Security. A storied expert with a reputation for candor, Rob has advised major private corporations and top government organizations on matters including civil rights. Read more about Rob here.

Finance and Compliance

Sonia Reynolds
Finance Director

Sonia Reynolds is finance director of Global Journalist Security. She handles accounting and payroll, and manages GJS’ financial compliance with clients, partners and donors. A Certified Public Accountant and CEO of the Virginia-based firm, Jain and Associates, Sonia has more than twenty years of accounting experience. Read more about Sonia here.