While being born and raised in Iceland, Gisli has lived and worked all over the world during his uniquely varied career. Exposed to computers at an early age, he sold his first program when he was 14 years old, and for the next 22 years he worked for leading technology companies such as Microsoft, Xerox, and Medtronic.
Shortly after turning twenty years old, Gisli’s passion for helping others found a channel when he became a Red Cross youth volunteer in Iceland. A few years later, after returning home from studying in Denmark, Gisli joined a local search and rescue (SAR) team. In 1998, he realized he was much better at directing people how to organize a search or plan a rescue, and he became an incident manager.
In 2007, Gisli often says someone was willing to pay him salary for what he had been doing as a volunteer. On behalf of Microsoft, he became a trusted advisor to governments and international organizations on how to leverage technology for better preparedness and response to natural disasters. In addition, in this role, he led all the field based response efforts of Microsoft’s Disaster Response Team.
This role combined his two passions in life, technology and helping people. When the role at Microsoft was the casualty of a reorganization, Gisli moved to the non-profit sector, when he took on the role of Emergency Response Director for NetHope, a consortium of 60+ international NGOs.
After years in the humanitarian sector, Gisli moved back to Iceland in 2021, where he decided to run for parliament in the parliamentary elections of September that year, and ended up becoming the 63rd member of Parliament (out of 63), representing the Pirate Party, which holds six seats in Parliament after receiving around 10% of the popular vote.