Derek Johnson

Managing Partner

Derek Johnson (he/him) is a Managing Partner at Global Zero, an international initiative for nuclear disarmament powered by hundreds of former heads of state, political leaders, senior military commanders, national security experts, and business, civic, and faith leaders from around the world. A values-driven leader working at the crossroads of catalytic advocacy, foreign policy, and social change, Derek has spent the last decade positioning Global Zero as a highly credible source of policy analysis and thought leadership, a trusted intermediary among nuclear-armed governments, and a provocative advocacy operation in key regions. He has a knack for identifying strategic opportunities and the right tactics that can push the message into the mainstream in order to shine a spotlight or apply pressure. In addition to developing organizational strategy and overseeing day-to-day operations, Derek also spearheads special projects — from coordinating track-1.5 dialogues to producing viral and award-winning creative content.


Derek is a Gender Champion in Nuclear Policy and deeply committed to breaking down gender and racial barriers in the nuclear field; a member of the Munich Young Leaders group of rising experts in foreign and security policy, organized jointly by Körber Foundation and the Munich Security Conference; a member of the European Young Leaders group, organized by Friends of Europe to tackle the tackle the increasing disconnects between citizens and political elites and rebuild trust in democratic institutions; and a Nuclear Innovation Fellow with N Square Collaborative. In 2016, he co-founded and launched Beyond the Bomb, a U.S.-based grassroots advocacy organization focused on organizing the Rising American Electorate against nuclear weapons. In 2021, the National Iranian American Council named him one of "40 Under 40" Iranian Americans who have inspired, trail-blazed, and made a lasting impact in the world.


Before taking the helm at Global Zero, Derek worked to advance interfaith dialogue and cooperation at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, and focused on access to justice, human rights, and rule of law at JUSTICE, the British section of the International Commission of Jurists in London. He is a graduate of Cornell College and Boston College Law School.


Derek has been quoted or published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, CNN, NBC, BBC News, The Nation, Politico, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Vox, Kommersant, Time Magazine, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Mother Jones, Pacific Standard, The Hill, The Independent, Mic, and more.


Follow him on Twitter at @derekjGZ.

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Cecili Thompson Williams

Senior Partner, Strategy and Innovation

Cecili Thompson Williams (she/her) is Senior Partner for Strategy and Innovation at Global Zero.


Previously the Executive Director of Beyond the Bomb, she has two decades of experience leading mission-driven campaigns with organizations including Amnesty International USA, RESULTS Educational Fund, and the National Partnership for Women & Families. Most recently she founded and served as the Chief Strategist for We Divine Water, a consulting group helping smart and passionate change-makers build strategic and effective campaigns.


Cecili is a Gender Champion on Nuclear Policy and serves as a board member for the Power Shift Network and the Scoville Peace Fellowship. She is a 2020 Nuclear Innovation Fellow with the N Square Collaborative and a member of the Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Art of Navigating Change Summer 2021 cohort.


A strong believer in continually building power and capacity, Cecili has trained thousands of campaigners on how to maximize their impact within their organizations and in the world at large. She also serves as a faculty member at the Center for Social Design at the Maryland Institute College of Arts where she teaches a graduate seminar on campaign strategy.

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Aaron Manzo

Partner, HR, Culture & Project Management

Aaron Manzo (he/him) is the Partner for HR, Culture & Project Management at Global Zero. In this role, Manzo oversees daily operational and administrative duties for the entire organization, including finance, HR and benefits administration, compliance with federal and state regulatory agencies, as well as legal and tax obligations. Manzo works behind the scenes to identify big-picture HR and organizational needs to keep Global Zero running effortlessly and efficiently.


Prior to joining Global Zero, he served as a deputy clerk at the District of Columbia Superior Court. He obtained his master's degree in Administration of Justice & Security at the University of Phoenix. 

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Jon Wolfsthal

Senior Advisor, Policy & Advocacy

Jon Wolfsthal (he/him) is a Senior Advisor for Policy & Advocacy at Global Zero. From 2014 to 2017, he served as special assistant to former U.S. President Barack Obama and as senior director for arms control and nonproliferation at the National Security Council. In that post, he was the most senior White House official, setting and implementing U.S. government policy on all aspects of arms control, nonproliferation, and nuclear policy. Prior to that, he served as the deputy director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute for International Studies.


From 2009 to 2012, Wolfsthal served as the special adviser to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for nuclear security and nonproliferation and as director for nonproliferation on the National Security Council. He supported the Obama administration’s negotiation and ratification of the New START arms reduction agreement with the Russian Federation and helped support the development of nuclear policy, including the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review.


Follow him on Twitter @JBWolfsthal.

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