Board of Directors
Ian Smillie (Chair)
Ian Smillie is a development professional and foreign aid critic with an extensive history of involvement in the artisanal mining sector. A founder of Inter Pares and past Executive Director of CUSO, he has lived and worked in Africa and Asia. He is currently a development consultant and is the author of several books, two about diamonds: Diamonds (2014) and Blood on the Stone: Greed, Corruption and War in the Global Diamond Trade (2010). Ian Smillie was a founder-participant in the Kimberley Process, the global certification system to halt the traffic in conflict diamonds. He serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2003.
Stéphane Fischler (Vice Chair)
Stéphane Fischler is a third generation diamantaire and a partner in Fischler Diamonds. He is serving as Vice-President of SBD (the Belgian Manufacturers Association) as well as treasurer of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association-IDMA. He is currently serving as Chairman of the Board of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and as President of the World Diamond Council (WDC).
Matthew Runci (Secretary)
Matthew A. Runci has held several senior non-profit management positions in the jewelry sector, including CEO of Jewelers of America and CEO of the Manufacturing Jewelers and Silversmiths of America. He served as the founding board chair of the Responsible Jewellery Council, a global not-for-profit that establishes standards for social, ethical and environmental responsibility to apply to businesses at every level of the precious metals and diamond supply chains from mine to retail. He was also involved in the establishment of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and the Clean Diamond Trade Act. He currently operates a management consultancy in corporate social responsibility as well as writing and guest lecturing.
John Lowden (Treasurer)
John Lowden is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a former partner of a major international accounting firm. He brings more than 30 years of experience dealing with financial and tax planning issues involving a wide variety of assignments including major corporate reorganizations and international engagements for large companies. John Lowden acts as a judge for The John Molson School of Business International MBA Case Study Competition at Concordia University.
Dr. Saleem H. Ali
Saleem H. Ali is Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware. Professor Ali also holds Adjunct Professor status for both the Global Change Institute, and the Sustainable Minerals Institute at The University of Queensland in Australia. He previously served as Chair in Sustainable Resource Development and professor of sustainability science and policy, also at The University of Queensland. Previous to that, he was professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Natural Resources, and founding director of the Institute for Environmental Diplomacy and Security. His books include “Treasures of the Earth: Need Greed and a Sustainable Future” (Yale University Press) and with Larry Susskind “Environmental Diplomacy” (Oxford University Press). He has been recognized by the World Economic Forum as a “Young Global Leader” and is a member of the United Nations International Resource Panel.
Brandee Dallow, Founder/President of Fine Girl Luxury Brand Building & Communications, is an award-winning, marketing, branding, and communications consultant specializing in the luxury goods and fine jewelry sectors. She was previously the Director, North America Representative Office – Diamonds Sales and Marketing for Rio Tinto. Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Dallow was Vice President of Marketing & Communications at the Julius Klein Group, a world-renowned diamond manufacturer, where she held the distinction of being that company’s first female executive. She entered the international jewelry industry in 1999 when she joined the public relations group at J Walter Thompson which serviced De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company. Dallow is the immediate past president of the international board of the Women’s Jewelry Association, from which she received the Award for Excellence in Marketing & Communications (2009), and is a member of the 24 Karat Club of the City of New York.
Stephen D’Esposito is President of RESOLVE, an organization that seeks to build enduring solutions to environmental, social, and health challenges. Formerly President and CEO of Earthworks, he built the organization into a leading, independent policy and advocacy NGO on mining, oil and gas issues. He also held senior positions in Greenpeace USA and Greenpeace International. Stephen D’Esposito currently serves as a Council Member for the World Economic Forum, and is also on the boards of Resource Media and the Center for Science in Public Participation.
Dr. Lansana Gberie
Lansana Gberie currently works at the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) as political advisor. He was involved with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme early on, and was awarded the Outstanding Research Award in 2002 by the Canadian government for his work on the Human Security and International Diamond Trade project. He was Coordinator and Finance Expert of the United Nations Security Council Panel of Experts on Liberia for three years. Gberie is the author of A Dirty War in West Africa: The RUF and the Destruction of Sierra Leone (London: Hurst 2005), and War, Politics and Justice in West Africa (2015). He has worked for the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana, the Institute for Security Studies, and Security Council Report in New York. He holds a PhD in African history.
John Hall is Chief Executive of Corporate Reputation Strategy, a consultancy focused on responsible sourcing, reputation management and corporate external affairs. An attorney with extensive experience in government, John Hall served six years as a Ministerial Chief of Staff. He was previously General Manager External Affairs for the Rio Tinto Group and Rio Tinto Diamonds, responsible for relationships with key stakeholders including government, NGOs and industry bodies, as well as corporate responsibility programs such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and the Kimberley Process. John Hall also served on the boards of the World Diamond Council, CIBJO, and as a founding Board Member of the Responsible Jewellery Council.
Dr. Gavin Hilson
Gavin Hilson is a professor and Chair of Sustainability in Business at the University of Surrey Business School, UK. His main research interests are the environmental and interrelated socioeconomic impacts of small-scale mining in developing countries. He has authored more than 150 journal articles, book chapters and reports on the subject and has consulted for a number of organizations, including the World Bank, UK Department for International Development, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, the Royal Institute for International Affairs, the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Newmont and Gold Fields.
Nerys John is currently the Social Performance Manager focused on the mining and exploration operations of the De Beers Group. Her field experience includes managing company social performance teams at all stages of the mining cycle: exploration, project planning and construction, operations, closure preparation and disposal. She holds an MA in African History & Politics and an MSc in Responsible Business Practice. Nerys has worked with artisanal mining communities in both the diamond and gold sectors and has shown a keen interest in the work of DDI since its founding meeting in 2005. She is currently based in Johannesburg.
Dorothée Gizenga (Executive Director)
Dorothée Gizenga, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is a Canadian who holds degrees in chemistry and economics. She has worked with provincial and federal governments, as well as community organizations in Canada and Africa. Her experience includes policy development, international negotiation, evaluation, project design, management and coordination, and working with disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
In her former work, she was responsible for supporting the implementation of projects related to the Kimberley Process, the International Conference for Peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa, and the prevention of violence against women in conflict zones. She also took part in the creation and development of the Diamond Development Initiative.