Meet Josie Pagani, CEO

Josie Pagani

We sat down with Josie Pagani, our CEO to learn more about her background and what she's looking forward to bringing to ChildFund.

ChildFund (CF): Josie, why do you want to help children and young people?

Josie Pagani (JP): I’m always challenging myself and my own assumptions about what is good development, and how best to support communities to do it their way, and set their own priorities. Start with children and young people, with education, and up-skilling. Give them a sense that they can thrive, and become their best selves. But also, work with families to prevent violence. Support parents to do their best job, help create job opportunities, provide safe and plentiful water, as well as cheap and abundant energy. These are all ways in which we indirectly support children. Strong communities create kids that thrive and resilient young adults.

CF: Briefly, tell us about your skills and experience, what you are bringing to ChildFund and to the children we serve?

JP: I have worked in aid and development, politics, trade and media for over 20 years. Most recently, on a cost benefit analysis of policies with Pacific governments, a project run by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I have also been working with the Tony Blair Institute as they roll out support to Pacific governments. These are localisation projects really, at government level. About making sure Pacific governments have their own data and evidence to prioritise policy decisions.

Before that I was the Executive Director of the Council for International Development (CID), New Zealand’s peek body organisations for aid agencies. I spent over 2 years at OECD Development Assistance Committee in Paris, and before that, at NZAID and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

So I have been around development for a long time. I’ve also been involved in policy and politics, and I’m still a member of progressive think tanks in the UK and Europe. And I guess I bring my media experience to the job too. I am a regular media commentator on current and international affairs and have a fortnightly column on Stuff and The Post. I’m a jack of all trades!

CF: What does work at ChildFund bring to you?

JP: This is a great team, doing really measurable and impressive work. You can see the impact. What I love about the way that ChildFund works, is that its people model good partnership and devolution of decisions and resources to local partners. Sometimes this can be challenging, but the relationships between staff in New Zealand and in the Pacific for example is genuine and supportive. It feels like a real partnership. I’ve met some of the staff in the Pacific already, online. We’re all working towards the same goals together and it feels very powerful.

CF: What are your hobbies?

JP: I do a bit of tramping, especially between lockdowns when the national parks were empty of tourists! I ride horses (cowboy style), play the piano, ski and love most of all hanging out with friends and enjoying the downtimes when I can.