About

I have just completed a rewarding and challenging four year period as the CEO of Global Witness based in London and have returned to the Washington DC area with my family in order to recommencing my consulting practice. I specialize in providing strategic consulting to progressive non-profits, foundations, films and businesses. Given my decades of experience as a social justice leader in the non-profit sector, I am uniquely positioned to support organizations through periods of growth, change and transition.  I strive to bring honesty, fresh insight, energy, responsiveness, strategic smarts, operational know-how, integrity, and emotional intelligence to my work. After stepping down from my third consecutive Executive Directorship in September of 2007, I launched this consulting practice and had the honor of working with over 40 non-profits, foundations, companies and the White House. I supported teams through strategic planning, SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis, retreat design and facilitation, transformational change, leadership transitions, organizational development and reorganization, and individualized coaching. I have chosen to return to consulting after over 20 years in leadership because I want to focus my energy at a strategic rather than an operational level and to be sure that my skills and experience benefit the social justice sector more broadly. I also know from engaging consultants myself that all too often they lack the real world experience and insights that you gain from having managed all aspects of organizational growth.  I have had a breadth of exposure across issue areas and in a broad array of global contexts which gives me a unique perch from which to support and catalyze growth and change at organizations poised to leverage greater impact. I am fortunate to have an entirely referral-based business. My own process of consideration as to whether or not to take on new work includes my passion for their mission, my sense of the possibilities inherent in working with my client-collaborators, my ability to deliver quality support, and the likely impact of my engagement.  In the event that I don't have the bandwidth to take on new work at the time you reach out to me, or if I don't feel your project is a good match for my skills and experience, I will do my best to identify someone else who can help you. While I generally prefer to work independently with clients and am always the key point of contact throughout my engagements, I do have a range of colleagues that I collaborate with, to increase capacity where needed or to address any budgetary constraints my clients may be facing. I have a sliding scale for my fees based on client budgets, and I work on the basis of fixed price contracts or retainers once we co-define our scope of work. By way of example, in my consulting practice I have:
Helped lead strategic planning and all-staff retreats for many global non-profit organizations
Coached Executive Directors through all aspects of start-up operations
Guided two long-time colleagues at a small, community based organization through a process of repairing their working relationship
Designed a philanthropic strategy on global legal reform efforts
Served as Producer and Engagement Manager for a documentary on money in politics that premiered at Sundance
Designed an outreach campaign and recruited distribution partners for a short film aimed at helping end child slavery in the rug industry
Performed an independent SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis for an NGO to set the stage for long term planning work
Completed comprehensive 360 performance evaluations for Executive Directors on behalf of their Boards
Did an analysis for the White House Office for Public Engagement under the Obama Administration regarding their relationships with civil society across sectors

Qualifications

Dynamic and award-winning four-time CEO, campaigner, serial social entrepreneur, attorney and film maker experienced in advancing social justice and environmental campaigns in the United States and around the world.
Leadership
Former CEO of Global Witness  based in London; Former Executive Director of 1 Sky (since merged with 350.org); Former Executive Director of WITNESS
Experienced
Proven track record in strategic consulting, coaching and facilitation, and in conceiving and executing deliverables-driven strategic plans.
Strategic
Experienced and successful in managing all aspects of organizational growth, including fundraising (more than $50 million raised to date), policy advocacy, online strategy and organizing, field operations, communications and multi-media production, outreach, operations, human resources and finances.

Testimonials

Past Clients

Non-Profit Organizations: Arts on the Block (Maryland), Ashoka (Global), Canadian Civil Liberties Association (Canada), Center for Community Change (USA), Center for Progressive Leadership (USA), Changemakers (Global), Color of Change (USA), Common Cause (USA), Crimes of War (Global), EarthRights International (Global), Global Witness (Global), Goodweave (Global), Greenpeace (Global), Headcount (USA), Plastic Pollution Coalition (Global), Rebuild the Dream (USA), streetfootballworld (Global), SumofUs (Global), Verite (Global), We Are Family Foundation (Global) Government: The White House Office of Public Engagement (USA) Foundations & Philanthropy Advisories Arabella Advisors (Global), Bertha Philanthropies Services (Global), Fund for the Republic (now Issue One) (USA), James Beard Foundation (USA), Mertz Gilmore Foundation (USA), Oak Foundation (Global), Public Welfare Foundation (Global), Robin Hood Foundation (New York City), Rockefeller Brothers Fund (Global), Schooner Foundation (Global), Skoll Foundation (Global), Trust Africa (Global), Wallace Global Fund (Global), Zimbabwe Alliance (Global) Universities: MIT Media Lab (Global), Antioch University New England (USA) Film Outreach and Production Citizen Koch, Bayside Productions LLC (USA), EarthRights International (Global), WITNESS (Global), Working Films (USA) Corporations Arabella Advisors (Global), GrupoTotalCom/Starts With You (Latin America), Peers (Global), Witter Ventures (Global)

Professional Biography

In July of 2019, Gillian Caldwell stepped down after serving as Global Witness' London-based CEO for four years and is returning to the United States with her family to reopen her consulting practice. During her tenure at Global Witness, the team generated numerous systems-changing impacts, reshaped strategy to double down on the climate crisis, strengthened its governance, management team and communications capabilities, signficantly increased its budget and staff size and opened a new office in Brussels. In her consulting practice, Gillian has served as a strategist helping non-profits, foundations, films and socially responsible corporations increase their impact. Her special areas of expertise in the US and global contexts are strategic planning, outreach and advocacy campaigns, video advocacy, organizational development, retreat design and facilitation, executive coaching and transition planning. From 2010-2015, Gillian was consulting full time based from the Washington DC area and Chiang Mai, Thailand. In 2010, Gillian completed three years as Campaign Director for 1Sky (now merged with 350.org), which she helped build from inception. As a start up campaign, 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 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 magna cum laude 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, including an echoing green fellowship, the Skoll Award, the Schwab Foundation Award and an Ashoka Award.  She was also honored as an MIT Directors Fellow and given 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 and a Master Class on the Art of Transformational Consulting. Gillian is an athlete and musician living in the Washington DC area with her life partner Louis Spitzer (the former Global Digital Director at the ONE campaign co-founded by musician Bono), their children, Tess and Finley, and two pound hounds. She wishes she was better at playing the guitar and she really likes to sing.
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