Inaugural Master Symposium Held in DC

Victoria Newhouse (TSA) and Faron Parramore (USSS) at the Master Symposium.

The National Preparedness Leadership Initiative held its first Master Symposium in Washington, DC in early November. The program, open to alumni of NPLI executive education programs, attracted approximately 50 participants for two days of discussion. Sessions included updates on the dimensions of meta-leadership (the person, the situation, and connectivity) as well as new curriculum modules on organizational transformation, developing emerging leaders and leading across the “arc of time.”

NPLI faculty Dr. Leonard Marcus, Suzet McKinney, Eric McNulty, and Richard Serino were on hand to facilitate discussions. Marcus and Serino led the discussion of “the arc of time” drawing upon recent field research on the response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. They presented a construct of “is-was-will be” as a way for leaders to situate themselves and other stakeholders across the facets of time. Some will be in “is”–responding to immediate events. Others, for example elected officials facing re-election, may focus on “will be.” Still others, survivors mourning the loss of community and possessions, may find themselves rooted in “was.” Understanding where people are, and where they need to be, helps the meta-leader create unity of mission.

McNulty and McKinney led the session on emerging leaders. The discussion focused on using leader development as a way to build sustainable high performance in an organization. The group discussed three phases of leadership in a career: emerging, engaged, and executive. Contributions will inform the development of an emerging leaders program at the NPLI.

Mark Sutton discusses the cyber protection results of Team Don’t Take the Bait.

Serino and Peter Neffenger (photo above) discussed their experiences in organizational at FEMA and TSA, respectively. Each shared stories of unlocking potential within the organization as well as connecting with key external stakeholders in order to solve shared problems. Participants also heard project update presentations from Mark Sutton of Bain Capital (Team “Don’t Take the Bait”–an anti-phishing project); James Mynatt of Charlotte Douglas International Airport (Team “Stop the Bleed”–a project to place tourniquets in public places), and Suzy Connor of the CDC (Team “Artic Eight”–a project to create an application with real-time health care capacity and capability information for the Arctic).

Highlights of the program were discussions with two special guests: FEMA Deputy Administrator Dan Kaniewski and Special Assistant to the President and Associate Director of Presidential Personnel Katja Bullock.