Elmarie Marais

Chief Executive Officer
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Simon Murphy

Chief Operations Officer
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Robert Rowntree

VP Operations
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Gail Rowntree

VP of Humanitarian Response, Training, Planning
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Jeanine Burt

Vice President, Global Response
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Salah Mudara

Vice President Operations, MENA
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Amanda Sun

Vice President Operations, Asia
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Intan Darlina Muhammad

Regional Vice President, Family Assistance
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Mario E. Gomez

Vice President Operations, Americas
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Barbara Kracht

Crisis Communications
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Linden Birns

Crisis Communications
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Jerry Hendin

Crisis Communications
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Iskandar Mirza

Vice President Operations, Australasia
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Hennie Crous

Vice President Operations, Africa
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Poleen Hepburn

Marketing and Communications Director
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Michelle Botha

Global Manager: Business Development
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Biographies

Elmarie Marais

Elmarie is the Managing Director of GoCrisis Management. With over 16 years’ experience, she has worked with some of the world’s largest brands, where she has assisted multiple sector corporations, NGOs and governments across the world to review their crisis response plans, building crisis response capacity and training crisis leaders.

Elmarie has front-line experience having responded to a number of aviation accidents, high profile corporate crises, mass product recalls and natural disasters. She is an Incident Commander for the Red Cross and has lead interstate humanitarian response to natural catastrophes.

Elmarie has a Bachelor of Commerce degree and studied Disaster Response and Relief at Harvard University.
Previously, Elmarie was the Australian Director for Kenyon International Emergency Services. At Business Link for London, she managed a government initiative in development of a Business Continuity Toolkit for London businesses to manage the aftermath of a disaster.

Simon Murphy

Simon is the Chief Operations Officer of GoCrisis, part of the Senior Management Team. Simon’s vast experience in operational management spans over 20 years and across a myriad of industries. Key focuses are the management of the GoCrisis CMC in the UK and Australia, along with the company’s business infrastructure and sales team management. Simon is also a First Responder for Gocrisis, part of the 1200+ strong GoResponder Team network.

Robert Rowntree

Robert is well known around the world for his remarkable experience in crisis and disaster management. He has worked in disaster management for more than 18 years leading international teams responding to major incidents around the globe. Rob’s experience includes multiple aviation disasters, terror attacks, rail accidents, maritime incidents and natural disasters. His varied and global leadership and operational experience sets him apart as a true expert in mass fatality response.

For more than 40 years, Robert has worked towards ensuring total support for families during tragic events. He believes that supporting families is one of the most important elements of an operation. His passion for providing true and honest information and treating affected loved ones with respect and dignity underlines everything he does.

Previously, Robert worked in the funeral industry for over two decades. He is a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer and has held the position of National President of the British Institute of Funeral Directors and the Cooperative Funeral Service Managers. He remains an active Member of the Emergency Planning Society.

Robert has a BA (hons) in Business Management and Administration from Buckinghamshire New University. He is regularly asked to speak and present at conferences and is a Guest Lecturer at several Universities on Post Graduate programmes lecturing on crisis management, disaster operations and family assistance.

Gail Rowntree

Gail qualified with an MSc in Organisational Psychology with Psychiatry from Kings College, London 2009 after many years of working in emergency procedures and training at British Airways.

She gained experience of dealing with crisis in organisations by deploying for a mass disaster organisation to approximately 15 worldwide incidents (including mass fatality), working in-the-field to support affected people and their families but also the teams undertaking search and recovery. She also supports staff in affected organisations to help with their recovery and post-traumatic growth.

Teaching and supervising at various educational organisations rounded off her ‘education’ in writing and researching for the latest ideas in organisational psychology and psychiatry. She has published several articles and book chapters on a variety of related topics such as: resilience in deployment, supporting staff through trauma, workplace stress and in 2013 she was invited to contribute to the national curriculum for all new Paramedics in the UK.

Jeanine Burt

Jeanine Burt is GoCrisis’ VP Global Response. With more than 15 years’ experience in events management and 8 years business management in the tourism industry, Jeanine ensures GoCrisis people and equipment are ready to respond to crisis globally.
Jeanine has responded to major product recalls, Hurricane Katrina, the South East Asian Tsunami and British Airways flight BA38. She has a Bachelor’s of Business in convention and events management from Southern Cross University and a Project Management Diploma from Varsity College.

Salah Mudara

Salah MUDARA has over 39 years experience in Aviation Technical, Engineering, Operations, Aviation Safety program development, Emergency Response Planning and Aircraft Accident Investigation. Graduated as an Aeronautical Engineer from United Kingdom, and attained his MBA in Aerospace Management from Toulouse, France.

Through his career, he has attained numerous qualifications in the aviation arena from world-renowned institutes.

He has held various management positions in a number of airlines, before opting for independent aviation training & advisory services. His last full time post was Manager Flight Safety & Operation Technical with the first and largest low cost carrier in the Middle East & North Africa. His professional affiliation over the years has been as member of IATA Safety Committee, Arab Air Carriers Organization’s Technical & Safety Committee, International Society of Air Safety Investigators, Flight Safety Foundation, IATA ERP Working Group, International Airlines Technical Pool, and Board of Directors – American Mission School (Alraja) Bahrain. He is currently a Board member of Middle East & North Africa Society of Air Safety Investigators (MENASASI).

He has been involved in the investigation of various aircraft accidents/incidents involving company aircraft, including an Airbus A320 accident Aug/2000 in Bahrain, and A320 accident in Abu Dhabi, Mar/1997. Has been a speaker in a number of international conferences, and currently lectures on various Aviation Safety, Human Factors, Crew Resource Management & Emergency Response topics at different international operators and institutes. 

Salah has also been part of Airbus safety task force team, that produced the first “Safety Manager’s Handbook”, and part of Global Aviation Information Network (GAIN) which produced the first “Operator’s Flight Safety Handbook”.

Amanda Sun

Amanda brings a wealth of experience and international crisis response knowledge to our clients who operate in China. She was Planner of Business Continuity and Emergency Response at Air China for five years. She was also a flight dispatcher and has a great understanding for the complexities of airline operations. Amanda was responsible for developing the airline’s emergency response plan, assembling the response teams and training employees to prepare for an accident. Additionally, her team at Air China has provided planning and support to aircraft incidents, government disruptions, computer outages, pandemic response and civil unrest in various parts of the world.

In 2014, Amanda was elected as the China regional representative of the IATA Emergency Response Task Force and in 2015 as Asia Pacific regional representative of the Emergency Response Strategy Team by Star Alliance Safety and Emergency Committees. Amanda has a Bachelor’s Degree from the Civil Aviation Flight University of China.

Intan Darlina Muhammad

Darlina Muhammad is well known worldwide for her outstanding contribution as Caregiver Manager for three tragedies, most recently  Malaysia Airlines flights MH17 and MH370, where she led hundreds of caregivers in Beijing, Amsterdam and Kota Kinabalu.  Darlina worked for Malaysia Airlines for 18 years where she trained cabin crew, cadet pilots, engineering trainees, external/third party training as well as staff in general. She was also an associate trainer with the Emergency Response team. In addition, Darlina headed Events for the Company under Corporate Communications, did Market Research (Qualitative), Business Administration, Risk Management & Business Continuity. She completed  a BA (Hons) English Studies in University of Kent, Canterbury, UK and started her career with lecturing English and Drama to International Baccalaureate students for two years before venturing into the hospitality and media industry. Darlina was a news presenter for several years on Traxx.fm.

Mario E. Gomez

FEMA Certified National Incident Management System Public Information Officer (IS-0072.a)

Mario E. Gomez is dedicated and passionate corporate public relations professional with more than 20 years of experience as director of corporate communications, media spokesperson, crisis communications specialist, media relations strategist and social media producer. Mario has held management/leadership positions with Kenyon International Emergency Services, The United Way of Houston and the Cenikor Foundation.

Mario has created and implemented international communications campaigns and secured national and international media coverage. Mario has successfully booked interviews with ABC News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, CNN International, London Times, commercial aviation trade publications in Europe and the Middle East.

Mario also positioned corporate staff as subject matter experts and booked national and international interviews related to the recovery efforts of Air France Flight 447, US Air Flight 1549 and crisis management challenges for the government of Japan after the earthquake and tsunami.

During his tenure with The United Way of Houston, Mario was a member of the Executive Management team. He analyzed the potential impact of a critical situation involving the 2001 Enron financial crisis (a major United Way corporate donor) and questionable donations to the organization. He implemented a crisis communications plan and managed a “feeding frenzy” of potentially negative national news coverage and minimized the impact to The United Way. Result: no negative news coverage with The United Ways’ involvement during the Enron crisis.

Mario‘s previous experience includes positions as a television news and radio reporter in Southeast United States. He has received awards from the Public Relations Society of America, Texas Public Relations Association, a Suncoast Television Emmy nominee and he is FEMA Certified National Incident Management System Public Information Officer (IS-0072.a) and is a member of the Public Information Officer (PIO) Network Houston/Galveston Region.

Barbara Kracht

Having held the prestigious position of Vice President of Media Relations for Airbus, Barbara has exceptional experience in Media Relations, Communications and Crisis communications. Barbara built up and led the Airbus commercial aircraft Media Relations department during most of her career and then the Airbus Military Communications for four years prior to her retirement from Airbus.
Barbara had to advise on, manage and master many kinds of crisis, including multiple aircraft accidents. This gave her a unique insider’s experience and a wealth of knowledge in all what post-accident crisis communications entails. Barbara is based in Toulouse and speaks fluent English, French, German and Spanish.

Linden Birns

Linden has more than 30 years’ experience working in reputation management, public affairs and the news media.

Through his work in crisis communications, Linden has worked extensively training and guiding leaders of airlines, aircraft operators, airports, aircraft manufacturers, industry associations, law enforcement agencies and governments.

Linden’s background was in journalism – he has worked in TV, radio, on newspapers and for magazines.  He shares his sound understanding of the various news media and how they work, when preparing clients to defend their reputations in the intense heat of a crisis.

Linden is based in Cape Town, South Africa and works with clients around the world.

Jerry Hendin

Jerry Hendin is a partner in BHK Crisis Communications and is the Managing Partner in Alliance Public Relations.  Hendin began his career in the airline industry in 1989 when he was appointed Vice President, Communications, for Boeing’s Commercial Airplane Company.  In that position, he was responsible for public relations, advertising and employee communications and wrote the first industry-wide manual on crisis communications.

In 1996, Hendin was promoted to vice president, public relations-international, for The Boeing Company and was responsible for major media relations (versus aviation industry relations) around the world and was responsible for communications outside the United States, and particularly in Europe, for the Boeing McDonnell Douglas merger.

In 1998, Hendin was named president and CEO of Edelman-Public Relations, Asia Pacific, where he managed 15 company agencies in Asia.  He regularly trained and coached senior executives from a variety of industries—telecommunications, software, government, aviation, pharmaceuticals—on how to represent their institutions during a crisis.

Hendin returned to Seattle, where he still lives, in 2002 and formed Alliance Public Relations, a small reputation management consultancy.  Since its founding, Hendin has trained senior executives from more than 30 airlines around the world including Lufthansa in the United States, Emirates around the world, AirAsia in multiple markets in Asia, COPA Airlines in Panama as well as The Boeing Company and the Houston and Dubai Airports.  For Copa Airlines specifically, he is its principal crisis communications consultant and trainer and does multiple training courses with them every year and has done so for five years.

A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Hendin was an American Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand and lived in Singapore for three years when he managed Edelman Public Relations.  Prior to entering the aviation industry, Hendin held senior communications management positions with several high technology companies based in the United States and Canada.

Iskandar Mirza

Iskandar has 15 years’ experience in emergency planning, crisis management and business continuity, having held leadership positions with Changi Airport Group and Singapore Civil Defence Force under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore.

At Changi Airport, he was responsible for getting one of the world’s best airport ready for crisis, with minimal impact to airport operations. Iskandar was involved in coordinating several major incidents affecting Changi, one of which was the Air Asia QZ8501 aircraft crash incident on 28 December 2014. Prior to joining Changi Airport Group, he was a Senior Fire & Rescue Officer with the Singapore Civil Defence Force, where he undertook several appointments, including helming a Fire Station as its Commander. As part of his tour of duty, Iskandar was also media-trained and had been previously deployed as a media officer for the Singapore Rescue Contingent in two overseas humanitarian missions – Indonesia and Pakistan in 2005.

Hennie Crous

Hennie Crous, VP Operations Africa, brings with him experience from a long career in aviation, project management, training and development. Hennie has worked on several incidents and accidents with a particular focus on Family Assistance Support Operations and Data Management.

Hennie has responded as part of the Emergency Operations Centre team for Helios Airways Flight 522. He also responded at the site incident command centre for Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 and the Libyan Authorities as a Data Manager, organising the setup of the Data Management Centre in support of the various data management functions during the accident operations.

Throughout his career in training and development, his focus remained with various soft skills disciplines including Train the Trainer, Customer Service Skills and Project Management Practices and Principles. As a part of developing content as per client specifications, he assisted in the rollout and implementation of these programs.

Hennie has a National Diploma in Hospitality Management from the University of Johannesburg, and studied at the International Business Training Association (IBTA) towards a Certified Business Professional (CBP). In addition, Hennie is also registered with CompTIA as a Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) and Project+.

Poleen Hepburn

Poleen has over 9 years’ experience within the marketing communications departments in international companies. Companies include: Kenyon International Emergency Services, UK National Health Service, and Adapt IT in South Africa. She was a sergeant in the South African Police Service for 4 years before making a career change.
Poleen has responded as admin support for the Helios Airways Flight 522 accident in the Emergency Operation Centre at base support. She responded subsequent 15 days of operations in support of Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 and the Libyan Authorities as a Team Leader organising the setup of the operations centre and establishing the administration services in support of the various functions during the accident operations.

Michelle Botha

Michelle is responsible for building client relationships globally. She has been actively involved in business development for 16 years and have been instrumental in changing the way companies approach client relationships across various industries. For many years she worked in the labour broking and recruitment industry. Between 2008 and 2013 the Labour Broking industry in South Africa came under strong scrutiny when the ANC government called for the banning of the industry. During this difficult time she still managed to establish strike relief programs for mines which saw her then-employer treble their year-on-year earnings with more than 70%.

In more recent years she was appointed as the Group Sales Manager for the largest branch of Caxton Newspapers where she was responsible for the advertising revenue earned on 14 newspapers, 2 magazines and 8 websites. She was nominated as one of 6 managers to serve on the Sales Transformation Task Team selected by the company CEO to assist with revamping the sales strategies of the group. This was done to ensure ongoing profitability of the group’s print media products while also transitioning into a more digital space.

Consultants and Support Staff

GoCrisis has a team of Social Media and Support Staff in our response team. The team consists of experienced, energetic and professional people. All our team members have been trained in stress management, crisis communication skills, soft skills and Psychological First Aid.