16 April 2024

Board of Trustees announces that Naomi Burke-Shyne is resigning as the Executive Director

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The Board of Trustees of Harm Reduction International (HRI) today announces that Naomi Burke-Shyne is resigning as the Executive Director of HRI after a hugely successful five and a half years at the helm.

Naomi joined HRI as Deputy Director in 2017, and in 2018, she was appointed Executive Director. During her tenure, Naomi has steered the organisation’s strategic direction with the support of staff and trustees; built an inclusive, value-driven culture; and overseen income growth and the strengthening of governance and financial systems, among many notable achievements.

Naomi leaves HRI in a very strong position to move forward, with a resilient and talented team and exciting future plans – including the Harm Reduction International conference in Bogotá in 2025 (HR25). Naomi’s last day will be 31 May 2024 at which time Colleen Daniels, HRI’s Deputy Director and Public Health Lead will take on the role of Acting Executive Director.

Until then, the Board of Trustees will continue to oversee the process of recruiting Naomi’s successor, and Naomi and the team will do their best to ensure a smooth transition for all HRI’s partners.

Lucy Burns, Chair of HRI’s Board of Trustees said: “Naomi has been an outstanding Executive Director, and we owe her enormous thanks for her commitment, vision, and hard work over the last five years. We wish her all the very best for her future professional endeavours. Under Naomi’s leadership, HRI has gone from strength to strength and has a firm foundation from which to move forward. The organisation can look to the future with great confidence.”

Naomi Burke-Shyne said: “It has been an enormous privilege to lead Harm Reduction International since 2018 and I am so proud of HRI’s significant contributions to the movement – challenging rights violations and racism in drug control, leading advocacy for funding for harm reduction and for person-centred services, and through our catalytic international conference. HRI is in a strong position, making it the right time for new leadership at the organisation, and the right moment for me to pave the way for my next professional chapter.”

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