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Sonia Zambakides

Senior Leader, International Development

Professional Status
Employed
Open to opportunities
About Me
I am a highly experienced leader in international affairs, with a passion for leading teams to make a real and lasting difference. My belief in development motivates me and drives my ability to make genuine change.

I lead large-scale operations with responsibility for hundreds of staff, and their welfare, with substantial budgets. This includes directing global missions, building country and regional programmes and running large scale emergency response programmes. My experience spans international organisations, senior donor and diplomatic engagement, and top tier commercial consulting.

I am currently the Crown Agents Fund Director and Asia and Middle East Regional Director. Prior to this I was London-based leading Crown Agents' global Humanitarian and Stabilisation team. From 2006 to 2017 I worked in East Africa and the Middle East, building, running and representing large scale, high-value country and regional programmes.

I am an innovator, who designs and delivers instruments that are designed for impact for the beneficiaries they serve. While my career spans the full humanitarian - to- development spectrum, I believe we should focus on responding to, and resolving, protracted crises which require sensitive, adaptable and multi-skilled approaches. I achieve results in these situations and have long been an advocate of designing interventions that have fluidity between multiple strands running in parallel (such as humanitarian response, recovery and resilience) in order to meet needs in often fast-changing landscapes.

My results speak for themselves:
  • In Myanmar, I lead the UK's main humanitarian response programme, a multi-sector fund providing £70 million in funds to over 50 national and international organisations, including in response to COVID and the ongoing military coup.
  • In Lebanon, I built a $45 million country programme, leading a team of more than 600 people.
  • In Somalia, I led a multi-sector programme valued at $60m over 18 months, reaching even the hardest parts of the country.

I build outstanding and high performing teams, often drawn from my extensive network of contacts. I have a talent for working in an inclusive manner with people of all backgrounds. I value diversity by recognizing the differences and using these to draw out individual and team strengths. I empower my teams and organisations to achieve their potential, often in high pressure situations and achieve loyalty through doing so.

It is this combination of innovation, ambition, experience and leadership that make me an ideal leader in international development and I look forward to my next challenge.

Director, Humanitarian and Stabilisation

Crown Agents
May 2017 to December 2018
  • To re-launch Crown Agents' credentials in humanitarian and stabilisation programming, building on the organisation's 25-year history of running the UK Government Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department Operational Team (CHASE-OT).
  • To develop and manage innovative programmes around the world for key donors and governments, such as the HARP Facility in Myanmar: https://www.harpfacility.com
  • Retaining Crown Agents' presence in top tier crisis response contexts: Iraq, Libya, Syria, Nigeria, South Sudan, Kenya/Somalia, SE Asia. Strengthening crisis response credentials across the organisation, to enable a whole-of-company approach.
  • Use Crown Agents unique 183 year footprint with governments of developing countries around the world to support them to find, resource and implement solutions to humanitarian and stabilisation challenges
  • Research, develop and roll out products to support frontline humanitarian actors such as start to end humanitarian supply chain, fund management, remote management systems and tools
  • Co-led on developing 'Humanitarians Behind the Headlines': https://www.crownagents.com/humanitarians-behind-the-headlines/
  • Took immediate action to turn around poor performing legacy programmes and rebuild client confidence in Crown Agents' crisis response credentials.
Company Description
Crown Agents is an international development company that partners with governments, aid agencies, NGOs and companies in nearly 100 countries. Taking on clients’ fundamental challenges, we make lasting change to the systems and organisations that are vital for people’s well-being and prosperity.

We bring an agile and resourceful approach to complex development issues.
Company website