Preliminary Conference Program

We’re excited to present our distinguished DRI2024 plenary speakers!

Check back often for updates on additional sessions and educational tracks. As always, our sessions are not seen elsewhere and our speakers are by invitation only, making this the most challenging and unique educational content of any event in our profession!

Welcome Remarks and OSSNHS Induction

Chloe Demrovsky, DRI International

Join DRI President and CEO Chloe Demrovsky as she welcomes DRI2024 attendees to New Orleans. She will address key updates from DRI International and our profession as a whole as she sets the tone for our annual event. At this time, we are also proud to induct DRI’s newest MBCPs in the Order of the Sword and Shield National Honor Society.

A Conversation with John Tien: Preparing for the Next Crisis

John Tien, Former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security

Col. John Tien, former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, will join us as a keynote speaker for a fireside chat on the current state of national security, the evolving threat landscape, and the critical need for coordination between the public and private sectors.

Drawing on his experience at the highest levels of DHS, in the National Security Council for three presidential administrations, as a managing director at Citigroup, and as a U.S. Army Colonel, Tien will share his insights on the ever-growing variety of crises on the horizon and the resilience community’s role in responding to them.

Tien is the first Asian American to be confirmed as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. He holds a Bachelor of Science from West Point and a Master of Arts from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and was also a National Security Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Don’t miss this session with an experienced national security leader.

Resilience in Crisis: Lessons from Former FEMA Director Craig Fugate

 Craig Fugate, Former FEMA Director

In times of crisis, the ability to respond effectively and recover swiftly is crucial. As the world faces increasingly complex challenges, it is imperative to learn from experts who have navigated the storm and demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. The DRI2024 conference is honored to host a compelling sit-down interview with one such individual, President Obama’s FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. Join us for a thought-provoking conversation as former FEMA Director Craig Fugate explores the strategies and experiences that shaped his tenure as FEMA Director and delving into the invaluable lessons he learned from managing some of the United States’ most significant emergencies and disasters. This interview promises to be a captivating and enlightening exploration of Craig Fugate’s experience leading FEMA through multiple record-breaking disaster years and overseeing the Federal Government’s response to major events such as the Joplin and Moore Tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Matthew, and the 2016 Louisiana flooding. Attendees of the DRI2024 conference will gain valuable insights from Craig Fugate’s experiences, leaving them inspired and better equipped to face the uncertainties of an ever-changing world. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn from one of the nation’s foremost experts in the field of emergency management.

Leading Resilient Organizations in a Changing Climate

Lolita Jackson, Sustainable Development Capital LLP

Lolita Jackson, MBE, Executive Director of Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Development Capital LLP, will share her insights on how businesses can build resilience to climate change. With more than 20 years of experience in climate policy and emergency management, Jackson has been at the forefront of New York City’s response to some of the most challenging disasters – including leading roles in response to Hurricane Sandy and the COVID-19 pandemic and as a personal survivor of both the 1993 and 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Building on her extensive career within the NYC Mayor’s Office, Jackson’s current role focuses on climate and business network management, connecting the private sector and governments around the world.

In her keynote address, Jackson will discuss:

  • The risks and challenges of climate change for businesses
  • The importance of collaboration between businesses, governments, and communities, and
  • The impacts and controversies surrounding Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG).

Jackson is a highly regarded and sought-after speaker, and was among the most popular presenters at DRI’s Resilience Excellence Summit series. Her personal stories of leadership and resilience are essential for any professional seeking inspiration to prepare their organization for the future.

Cyber Resilience Tabletop Exercise

Join us for a special cyber resilience tabletop event on Sunday, Mar. 3, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., immediately before the opening of the DRI2024 Expo Hall!

With cyber-attacks on the rise and creating a more challenging threat landscape, it’s clear this isn’t just an IT problem – it affects the entire organization. This tabletop exercise, based on a real event, simulates all aspects of an attack, presenting stress scenario where your teams must react and decide what needs to be done to respond, take control and recover.

The tabletop has several key participating groups, each playing a crucial role during the scenario:

  • Subject matter expert facilitators will create the scenario, manage the pace, injections, discussions, and guide participants addressing questions and concerns.
  • Red teams will ensure discussions and solutions proposed by the participants are in line with existing plans and capabilities.
  • Blue teams will be challenged to react to an event, respond, and recover, rehearsing their roles, discussing procedures, and other issues related to the scenario.
  • Observers will follow the process and procedures during the exercise, aid with collection of notes and provide observations for feedback.

When it comes to reacting towards adversity and solving problems in a stressed environment, practice works wonders – rehearsing how your teams will react remains a proven method to enhance your cyber resilience. This exercise offers a safe environment to develop and practice proven strategies, while noting potential weak points to improve upon.

This exercise is included as part of the conference, and there is no additional registration or cost for attending. But capacity is limited, so don’t wait to arrive! We’re excited for you to join us for this exciting event.

Business Continuity as Strategic Connector: Leading Up, Across, and Beyond

Eric McNulty, National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard

When the worst-case scenario becomes reality, your organization needs to respond as one. It requires more than functional expertise from Business Continuity professionals. It calls on you to orchestrate coordinated and collaborative action across organizational and hierarchical boundaries—often wielding influence beyond your formal authority. That does not happen by accident.

This session draws on 20 years of research and practice from the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University. NPLI Associate Director, Eric McNulty will present practical insights, tools, and techniques for leading up to the c-suite, across to peers, and beyond to stakeholders including suppliers, customers, and more. You’ll leave this session better understanding your potential as a system-wide leader and with tangible ways to increase your impact right away.

Operationalizing the Professional Practices for the Public Sector

Brian Bauer, Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM)
Ken Maloney, Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM)

Attend this session to learn how DRI’s Professional Practices have been operationalized across the Maryland State Government and hear details on how the private sector’s best practices have been repackaged to build a robust continuity program, implement an integrated operationalize framework, and to make Maryland more resilient. The Maryland Department of Emergency Management has established and promulgated a culture of resilience through its preparedness efforts including planning, training, exercise, and stakeholder technical assistance highlighting the critical importance of operational resilience and mission assurance statewide.

DRI Jeopardy

This Is DRI Jeopardy!

Hosts: Mike Janko, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Jerome Ryan, BDO

Contestants: YOU!

Here’s your chance to be a Jeopardy Champion…DRI Jeopardy that is. Co-hosted by DRI Board Members Mike Janko and Jerome Ryan, DRI2024 attendees will test their knowledge of all things business continuity in pursuit of the title “DRI Jeopardy Champion” and the grand prize! Stay tuned for more information including how to participate.

Advantages and Adversities of AI: A Risk-based Approach to the Future of Resilience

Donna Speckhard, Fannie Mae

This session will emphasize the importance of understanding the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in risk and resilience. We will cover why AI is good for our profession using present case studies and examples of AI-driven successes in resilience. We will also look at the potential risks and drawbacks of AI in the context of resilience – touching on concerns with ethics, privacy, and data security. As resilience professionals, what should we be asking – what are those critical questions and safeguards? We will conclude with what are the emerging trends and future scenarios related to AI and resilience.

Trends and Predictions for Our Profession

Lyndon Bird, Chair, Future Vision Committee, DRI International

What risks are you most concerned about? How well prepared are you to manage them? How do you think our profession will change over the next few years? How does corporate ESG demands change your priorities? These are just a few of the questions the DRI Future Vision Committee (FVC) seeks to answer in its annual survey and reports. The Trends and Predictions Reports this year benefited from a record number of survey participants, which resulted in more informative analysis and wider insights for the future of our profession. This will all be shared in an interactive session led by FVC members opened up for comment and debate with attending conference delegates.

The Evolution of Business Continuity in a Hybrid World

Jennifer Bannon, The New York Times
Alexandra Shaheen, The New York Times

In a post-pandemic era, new ways of working require business continuity professionals to reconsider recovery strategies, which have traditionally weighed loss of location heavily. The pandemic revealed abilities to perform and sustain critical workflows at home, with many organizations shifting to a hybrid work environment. Hybrid work patterns and permanently remote employees prompted The New York Times team to invest efforts in strengthening “at-home” resiliency, as opposed to the maintenance and upkeep of traditional recovery sites.

Stop Being a Buzzkill and Start Cultivating Real Engagement

James MacDonnell, BDO

The most critical part of any resilience program is the ability to cultivate and retain the interest of stakeholders, but more often than not, risk management and resilience programs are associated with lengthy policies, pessimistic people talking about everything that could go wrong,  and complex jargon—the buzzkill of the organization. To go from buzzkill to benefit, you need to change the way you engage your audience and forge deeper emotional connections by cultivating memorable experiences.  To be successful, leaders must care about and want to participate in your program. Executive sponsorship alone won’t cut it.  You need to rise above the noise of internal initiatives and focus equally on what your stakeholders need out of your program, and what you need from them. In this session, we will identify and understand the needs of your stakeholders and design a memorable user experience (UX). That experience will drive engagement by blending gamification; cognitive and behavioral sciences; branding and engagement strategies and technology.

But all programs have limitations of time, budget, and resources. With this reality in mind, we will teach you how to leverage personas and user journey maps to focus your efforts on activities that yield the greatest ROI (Return on Investment).

Unveiling the Crucial Role of Third-Party Risk Management in Business Continuity

Wes Loeffler, Fusion Risk Management

This session will explore how effective third-party risk management protects against unforeseen vulnerabilities in your business ecosystem. Attendees will gain an understanding of the pivotal role third-party risk management plays in amplifying overall business resilience, ensuring continuity in the face of disruptions. Discover the role of cutting-edge technologies in automating and streamlining third-party risk management processes, making them more efficient and responsive.

This session is part of our Sponsor Track. Thank you to our sponsors for sharing their expertise!

Building Blocks to Resilience: Five Steps to Success

Brian Zawada, Riskonnect, Inc.
Michael Bratton, Riskonnect, Inc.

Every organization must protect its information and ensure data needed to run the business is accurate and available, but knowing how to design effective continuity plans isn’t easy. Those that are successful start by intentionally coordinating teams of risk, compliance, security, and business continuity professionals. Standout teams then take five important steps to improve continuity and build resilience.

During this session, Riskonnect’s Brian Zawada, vice president, strategy and innovation, and Michael Bratton, principal managed services consultant, will explore the ways that leading organizations are navigating the ever-evolving threat landscape to confidently create a more resilient business model. They will discuss defined outcomes for business continuity and operational resilience – and outline the five important actions to take in the next 12 months.

Key Takeaways

  • Trends and universal practices in organizations to maintain continuity when faced with information security challenges
  • The relationship between information security and business continuity / operational resilience
  • Concrete ways to break down the silos that decrease continuity and resilience
  • Definition of essential outcomes stemming from an effective continuity and resilience program
  • Practical next steps to improve continuity and resilience in the next 12 months

This session is part of our Sponsor Track. Thank you to our sponsors for sharing their expertise!