Effective leadership during and after a crisis: A global spotlight on COVID-19 and racial justice

Our world is currently facing a crossroads with two related crises: the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial injustices faced by the Black community in communities around the globe. The webinar will feature prominent leaders from the public and private sectors who have led organizations, initiatives, campaigns, programs and investigations during critical times of global and national crisis, including the Boston Marathon Bombing, Hurricane Sandy, the H1N1 pandemic, the BP oil spill, racial injustice protests and the response to them and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The speakers will each discuss how companies, organizations and communities can emerge as strong as possible from these two defining global crises: the COVID-19 pandemic and the pervasive injustices faced by communities of color. The leaders will each share the qualities and skill sets that leaders need to possess to both manage and effectively communicate in a time of crisis, prioritize critical tasks, decisively make tough decisions and maintain a clear vision for the future during a difficult and unprecedented period in time.

Format: Panel
Track: Communication Driving Business

Moderator / Lawrence Kopp is the founder and CEO of The TASC Group, a national crisis communications firm. Kopp has managed and overseen some of the nation’s most high-profile crisis cases. This year his team managed and continues to represent Felicity Huffman during the national college admissions scandal  He and his team have represented the Trayvon Martin family, Susan Bro (who lost her daughter Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, VA during the white supremacy riots), Park51, also known as the Ground Zero Mosque, as well as numerous companies and organizations.

Panelist /Lamell McMorris is a successful entrepreneur, who founded one of the country’s most prominent sports agencies, Perennial Sports & Perennial Law Group, where he represented the National Basketball Referees Association and superstar NFL quarterback Cam Newton among many other athletes. He founded and runs Phase 2 Consulting, one of Washington, D.C.’s most successful public affairs consultancies and manages Greenlining Realty, USA, which develops quality affordable housing for communities of color. Lamell McMorris has sat on the board of the national NAACP and currently sits on the boards of the National Action Network and the National Urban League. He has worked for Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and served as Executive Director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under Martin Luther King III. Lamell recently advised Verizon on how to make a $10 million donation to prominent national civil rights groups as part of its recognition of the need to take action on behalf of racial justice.

Panelist / Edward Davis serves as founder and CEO of the highly regarded security firm, Edward Davis Company. In this role, he leads a team of security and technology solutions experts former federal, state, local law enforcement, military officials, and attorneys all who maintain strong links to academic institutions, national and international government, and intelligence community. Prior to launching the Edward Davis Company, Davis served as Police Commissioner of the Boston Police Department from 2006 through 2013, where he oversaw security operations for 6 world championship celebrations, the Occupy Boston Movement, and led the highly successful response to the Boston Marathon bombing. His role was portrayed by the actor John Goodman in the film Patriot Day. Davis was a Spring 2014 Resident Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics and has lectured extensively at both Harvard and MIT on the pertinent issues of physical and cyber security, public safety and emergency/crisis response. He is currently serving on several boards including AT&T, Firstnet Advisor, Mark43, Sarcos, Shooter Detection and Wynn Resorts, Ltd.

Panelist / Richard Serino, distinguished senior fellow at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative The Hon. Richard Serino spent more than forty years in public service. During that time, he provided extensive leadership on emergency management, emergency medical and homeland security at local, state, federal and international levels. Serino is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative and a Senior Advisor at MIT’s Urban Risk Lab. Serino was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 8th Deputy Administrator in October 2009 and served until 2014. In this role, he also served as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the agency with more than $25 billion budget. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Administrator, he spent 36 years at Boston EMS where he rose through the ranks to become Chief. Mr. Serino responded to over 60 national disasters while at FEMA and during Super Storm Sandy, he was the lead federal area commander for New York and New Jersey.

Panelist / Juliette Kayyem, has spent over 15 years managing complex policy initiatives and organizing government responses to major crises in both state and federal government. She is currently a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where she is faculty chair of the Homeland Security and Security and Global Health Projects. She is additionally an on-air national security analyst on CNN. Previously, she served as President Obama’s Assistant Secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. There she played a pivotal role in major operations including handling of the H1N1 pandemic and the BP Oil Spill response; she also organized major policy efforts in critical infrastructure protections and community resiliency. The author of the best selling “Security Mom”, she is also a Pulitzer finalist for her opinion columns in the Boston Globe. Kayyem is the Founder of Kayyem Solutions, LLC, which provides strategic advice in cybersecurity, resiliency planning, risk management, mega-event security, infrastructure protection, and cybersecurity. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. 

Panelist / Sheena Wright launched the COVID-19 fund three weeks ago with support from the NFL, the New York Jets, Starbucks, National Grid and American Express. The fund is supporting 300 community-based organizations in New York City who are helping marginalized communities and families who are desperately in need of help. Wright is the first woman to lead United Way of New York City (UWNYC) in its nearly 80-year history. Part of the United Way worldwide network, UWNYC is a trusted partner to more than 300 community-based organizations, foundations, corporations, and city and state government agencies and aligns and activates them around a shared agenda to tackle the complex challenges of low-income New Yorkers. Sheena took the reins at UWNYC the day that Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. She met that challenge, raising $11 million in disaster relief. In her tenure as President and CEO, Sheena has led a transformation of the organization—actualizing a Collective Impact strategy, and refocusing UWNYC’s support of low-income New Yorkers towards self-sufficiency.

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