Slavenko Djokic, International Relief and Development Country Director, Lebanon
"I met Jesse in the late nineties in Bosnia and Herzegovina while working for the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in the District of Brcko. I was one of many young inexperienced professionals aspiring to a career in international development. Jesse was there to unselfishly provide his professional support to all of us. At that time, he encouraged me to work on my English and learn about business administration, which turned to be the key skills in getting my first promotion and transfer to the OHR’s Political Affairs Office. The experience from OHR and the acquired professional skills, as well as Jesse’s references helped me in getting a position at the very first USAID-funded community development project in Serbia. While working under Jesse’s direct supervision for almost six years, I further developed my skills in business administration, program operations, communication and reporting, community development, and the management of the USAID awards. With such a set of skills and professional experience I eventually advanced to the position of the Chief of Party. Ever since, I have held several senior management positions in the Balkans and the Middle East. Throughout this period, I have developed my management style primarily based on what I have learned from Jesse: respect and appreciation for staff and colleagues, building relationships and being responsive to the local counterparts and donors; creating the right organizational culture in the office through colleagueship, transparency and participation in decision-making, and above all – putting ethics at the forefront of every endeavor. Certainly, my career in international development would never go this way without Jesse’s professional support and mentorship, and I’m thankful to Jesse from the bottom of my heart."