General Sessions

The morning General Sessions are tailored to a broad audience covering topics that appeal to all conference attendees.

Start your day of learning and networking with sessions that focus on the best business continuity strategies, trends and topics in the industry.


The Spirit of Ubuntu: The Keys to Change How You Live, Work and Lead

Monday, March 16, 2020
8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.

​Shola Richards, Shola Richards​, Inc.

This highly-engaging, memorable and actionable keynote will introduce the attendees to the transformative African concept of Ubuntu (pronounced, oo-BOON-too), which is translated to mean, “I am, because we are.” Additionally, Shola will share how Ubuntu, along with three powerful questions, will have the power to positively transform how we work, live and lead—starting today. Best of all, anyone can do this regardless of job role, years of experience, level of education or professional title. Lastly, Shola will present a strategy to help the attendees to deal more effectively with the challenges that they will face in their journey add value to their universities, while also providing them with an additional tool to ensure that the participants stay committed to positive change long after the keynote ends.

Keynote Objectives:

  • Recall the three questions that can positively change how we work, live lead—and most importantly, how we serve our universities.
  • Discover a technique for reclaiming your own power, and for effectively dealing with intensely challenging situations (and people)—both inside and outside of work.
  • Identify a strategy to remain committed to collegiality, constant positive improvement and the human experience long after the keynote ends

About Shola Richards
Shola Richards is a dynamic keynote speaker, the best-selling author of Making Work Work, the author of the newly-released book—Go Together, he’s an in-demand workplace civility expert, and he is a positivity writer with a passionate worldwide following.

As a speaker, Shola has shared his transformative message with leading healthcare organizations, top universities, Silicon Valley, the motion picture industry, the TEDx stage, and in his greatest honor to date, as a keynote speaker for the Department of Homeland Security three days before the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, under the Obama Administration.


Where do we go from here? Time for a reset? A Novel Coronavirus Update, Your Plans and Next Steps

Monday, March 16, 2020
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

​Regina Phelps, EMS Solutions Inc.

The current Wuhan coronavirus outbreak (2019nCoV) has been spreading across the globe infecting thousands of people in dozens of countries. This has created anxiety around the globe, affected company supply chains and caused The World Health Organization to enact  the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) designation for only the sixth time since 2005. The question is…where do we go from here?

This session looks at this global health crisis from two vantage points: Crisis Management & Infectious Disease & Pandemic Planning. How have you managed this so far? Are your processes and teams working well? Do you have sufficient situational awareness that you need to make decisions? What types of issues have you had in achieving optimum performance with your plans and teams? How has your crisis management team responded and do you need to do a “reset” to improve performance?

It is not often that we get the occasion to use our plans and teams for a large global crisis. This is the time for a moment of self-reflection which provides us the opportunity to learn what has gone well and what needs improvement. Never let a good crisis go to waste – it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before and build and improve what you have. This session will reflect on the global health crisis to date, how you can use this crisis as an opportunity to improve your overall crisis management and business continuity plans and teams.

About Regina Phelps
Regina Phelps, president of EMSS, is an internationally recognized thought leader in the field of emergency management, pandemic, and contingency planning, consultation, training, and speaking services to clients on four continents. Her niche includes incident management team development, pandemic planning, emergency operations center (EOC) design, and the development of emergency exercises for large global companies.


Coordinated Resiliency Efforts: The Treatment for Organizations' Potentially Risky Kaleidoscope Vision

Monday, March 16, 2020
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

​Michele Turner, Amazon

If you’ve ever had an intense migraine, you are well aware of the kaleidoscope vision that can occur. In some cases, views are blurry, or distorted, and in others, can be extremely bright and shiny. Pain Relievers, rest, taking a step back…these are all remedies that if leveraged, can support clarity and the road to wellness. Sound familiar? Those bright, shiny, new initiatives that can occur in a blur. Those initiatives that, if not careful, can come on so quickly, and with such intensity, that teams may fail to acknowledge needed risks which left unaddressed, could lead to significant organizational headaches. Many times, being able to coordinate treatment- insights from all of the remedies such as Cyber and Organizational Risk Management, Business Continuity and Incident and Crisis Response, is what is needed. During this session, we will review each of the afore mentioned practices, and the crosswalks between them which can lead to organizational clarity to identify where the risks are, what strategies can be used to evaluate, what teams can be engaged to leverage mitigations, and how we can get the vision back to normal (or very close to). Coordinated Resiliency Efforts- a solid option for a cure to what may ail the organization.

About Michele Turner
Head of Global Business Resiliency at Amazon



Wednesday, March 18, 2020
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Eric McNulty, Harvard University
Steven Goldman, MIT

Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI) prepares leaders in the public, private, and non-profit sectors to handle crisis and significant change events. NPLI’s Meta-Leadership framework was developed after extensive research on and observation of leaders in high-stress, high-stakes situations. It is designed to provide individuals with tools that are conceptually and practically rigorous so that they are better equipped to act and direct others in emergency situations. Meta-leadership is currently being used by leaders in the fields of homeland security, emergency preparedness and response, and public health in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Attend this session and find out how you apply this innovative approach to crisis leadership to your organization.

About Eric McNulty
Eric J. McNulty holds an appointment as Director of Research and Professional Programs and Program Faculty at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI), a joint program of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and as an Instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health. His work centers on leadership in high-stakes, high-stress situations. He is currently working on a book based on meta-leadership, the core leadership framework of the NPLI curriculum.

McNulty is the principal author of the NPLI’s case studies on leadership decision making in the Boston Marathon bombing response, innovation in the response Hurricane Sandy and the professional/political interface in the Deepwater Horizon response drawing upon his firsthand research as well as extensive interviews with leaders involved in the responses.

Previously, McNulty held management and marketing communications roles at Harvard Business Publishing and a variety of private sector organizations. McNulty holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics (with honors) from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master of Arts degree in Leadership from Lesley University.

About Steven Goldman
Steven Goldman is an internationally recognized expert and consultant in Business Continuity, Crisis Management, Disaster Recovery, and Crisis Communications. He has over 35 years’ experience in the various aspects of these disciplines, including program management, plan development, training, exercises, and response strategies. His background is comprehensive yet unique in that he has been a professional engineer, corporate spokesperson, manager of media relations, business continuity planner, crisis responder, consultant, and a Fortune 500 Company’s Global Business Continuity Program Manager.

Steve has written or improved many corporation and government agency BCP, DRP, and crisis communications plans and procedures. He has trained all levels of response staff, from CEO’s on down. His specialty is realistic drills and exercises for clients worldwide. Steve also mentors BCP professionals to improve their programs and their careers.


Visionary Risk & Resiliency Leadership: Anticipatory Foresight for Risk and Resiliency

Wednesday, March 18, 2020
10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Bob Chandler, Lipscomb University

Risk and resiliency planning at its most fundamental level involves preparing your business or organization to continue with its operations despite otherwise unforeseen disasters, circumstances, disruptions, threats and crises. The absence of effective foresight can be a factor in business failures, losses and even complete extinction. Risk threats can range from sudden dramatic events (disasters, crises, or significant contingencies) to slower moving changes in the economic, cultural, political, sociological, consumer landscapes or even macro changes in the earth’s climate! One key for resiliency leadership is visionary foresight. This engaging and thought provoking – applied research-based general session presentation issues an important challenge to all leaders to expand their visionary risk and resiliency imagination. The session encourages an approach that combines foresight, visionary insights, imagination, anticipation and innovation.

About Bob Chandler

Robert C. Chandler, Ph.D. (University of Kansas) is an internationally recognized expert on multiple aspects of crisis management, leadership, decision-making, communication and human interaction in specialized contexts. He currently holds an academic appointment as a Professor at Lipscomb University where he currently oversees professional and graduate education programs. With more than 35 years of applied research into factors impacting effective communication and performance exploring key psychological and physiological variables he has produced nine books and more than 175 scholarly and professional articles. He has consulted globally with public and private sector entities as well as with leading emergency communication solutions providers. His proprietary human behavioral models and normative communication templates are widely used for training and practical applications. He is a widely-lauded speaker and presenter to professional audiences in both the public and private sectors.


Art and Healing in a Time of Crisis

Monday, March 16, 2020
10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Michael Pilato, A Master Craftsman

In the early morning hours of June 12, 2016, the deadliest mass shooting in US history occurred when a lone gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FLA.  Artist Michael Pilato will discuss his depiction of the shooting, and the response in his mural titled “Inspiration Orlando United”.  This mural helped in the community’s healing process.

Mr. Pilato will be introduced by Myra Alvear, a mother who lost her daughter Amanda at the Pulse Nightclub. The Mayor of Orlando, Buddy Dyer has been invited to speak on Michael’s behalf as well. Michael in his talk will show how partnerships from the City Mayor to the heads of the LGBTQ, Latin X  and African American communities came together and the importance of those partnerships. The goal of this talk is to express the importance public art has in adding to the quality of life, even within a corporate setting.


He will explain ways that corporations can show outreach in a non-political way after a tragedy, be it a Natural disaster, terror attack, loss of a loved employee or a town hero. In closing, Michael’s talk will leave the audience with a new-found appreciation and love of public art when used as a healing tool. Come and be a part of that magic and see how your organization can be a vessel of such love and healing.

About Michael Pilato
As a true master of the mural arts Michael has both public and private pieces worldwide. From the internationally acclaimed World Mural project to the touching tribute murals for 9/11 NY firefighters, from creating the world’s first 3D mural to commissions from foreign countries, Michael Pilato is a recognized leader in the mural arts. Pilato is deeply involved with his local community and locates some of his most recognized work near his hometown.