THE CRISIS READY INSTITUTE BLOG

Establishing an Effective Threat Management Program (Part 3 of 5)

Part 3: Properly Assessing a Threat and Analyzing its Risk

While the terms ‘threat assessment’ and ‘risk analysis’ have been frequently used interchangeably, they are not the same.

Threat assessment is focused on determining what the associated potential harm could be (how could it hurt me?). Threat assessment focuses on possible consequences vs. probable consequences. When completed, a threat assessment will contribute directly to a risk analysis by identifying the consequences that will drive the related vulnerability analysis.

Risk analysis is focused on the effect of an event or incident on specific objectives or activities. Risk is recognized as a factor of probability (will it happen?) and vulnerability (can it hurt me? / do I care?). Effective risk analysis requires an understanding of what the likely consequences of an incident or event are, and the impact of those consequences on your organization’s ability to function. The best risk analysis that I have seen or participated in have two levels to their analysis – the overall probability and vulnerability to a specific threat, and then additional analysis of likelihood and vulnerability to focused consequences related to that threat.

Who Should Be Involved In This Process?

The cliché is that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a team to accurately assess a threat. Applying a multi-disciplinary approach towards threat assessment and risk analysis is perhaps the single most crucial feature of a practical threat assessment and risk analysis. A threat assessment team will provide the analysis that an organization requires to effectively quantify and prioritize the threats that they face. A well-rounded team includes a versatile group that can bring a variety of perspectives, capabilities, and backgrounds to play.

Threat assessment and risk analysis depend on the synthesis and analysis of both administrative and operational points of view. The assessment team should be comprised of staff that possesses fundamental knowledge across the range of functional disciplines and departments within the organization. They should be experienced individuals who can understand the possible cascading impacts associated with a threat and their potential consequences.

The Threat Assessment and Risk Analysis Process

Because of the foundational role that threat assessment plays in a threat management program, I strongly recommend the use of a standardized approach across an organization. There are any number of focused threat assessment models out there. I use one based on best practices introduced by ASIS, the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (ATAP), and the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association (NaBITA)

Threat Assessment / Initial Screening

Threat assessment is accomplished through a process of compiling and analyzing information about a threat to quantify the associated potential for harm. This boils down to determining what the possible consequences of an incident or event could be and identifying how those consequences may be mitigated. When dealing with human-centered threats, this involves consideration of interest, motive, and intention driving the potentially harmful action. For natural or technological threats, where there is no discernable intent involved, the focus is solely on the potential for disruption or level of lethality, which may result from an identified threat.

The goal of the initial threat assessment is to ascertain in a gross or general manner the urgency presented by the threat. The assessment team should consider all information available with the intent to determine if the threat is valid, a risk analysis is appropriate, or if emergency intervention is required. There are no standards for deciding which path to follow. The decision is based on the culture and tolerance for risk in an organization.

The Threat Assessment Process

Threat assessment involves an investigation into the identified threats, which consists of:

  • Gathering information regarding the threats;
  • Analyzing that information within the context of the organization; and
  • Generating a list of possible impacts on the organization which the threat may inflict.

The assessment begins with seeking and collecting information to identify possible consequences associated with a threat. While the direct effects may be easily identified, a valid assessment looks at cascading impacts—secondary and tertiary disruptions, which may threaten an organization’s capability or capacity to operate. Once an understanding of the possible consequences associated with a threat has been established, an analysis should be undertaken to determine how those consequences could directly or indirectly impact the organization.

There are a variety of evaluation frameworks or models, rubrics, and analytic tools that can be used in this initial threat assessment, depending on the type of threat in question (violence, cyberattack, severe weather, theft, etc.) and customized to an organization’s threat criteria and tolerance. These tools should be used to initially assess, and then regularly reassess, the possible harm associated with a threat and determine if more in-depth risk analysis is warranted.

A standardized tool should be applied to objectively assess identified threats, regardless of how serious or trivial the threat may seem, and consistently use a rating system to indicate whether a threat is a low / medium / or high priority within an organization. Assessing the level of concern in this manner will enable the organization to identify its concerns and contribute directly to the vulnerability elements of a risk analysis process. I recommend that organizations document the determined priority level each time a threat is assessed, with the level potentially shifting over time as the environment evolves.

When the Assessment Reveals that Concern is Unwarranted

If based on the initial assessment, it is determined that concern regarding an identified threat is unwarranted, then no additional action may be necessary. That does not necessarily mean that the attitude toward the threat will not evolve or that environmental conditions will not change, resulting in a different assessment outcome in the future. If the assessment team determines that concern is unwarranted, then that decision should be recorded and revisited on a regular (at least annual) basis for reassessment.

When the Assessment Reveals that Emergency Intervention is Required

If the assessment team determines that emergency intervention is required based on the initial screening, then immediate action should be taken by the organization. In cases involving natural or technological threats, direct action may include the evacuation of personnel, deactivation of systems or networks, or other measures necessary to rapidly mitigate the potential for harm that was identified. For a human-centered threat, that action may involve a request for assistance from first responders or law enforcement, or activation of an organization’s focused incident response plan.

Conducting the Risk Analysis

Up to this point, we have solely been thinking about threat in terms of what is possible. Risk analysis brings probability into the discussion. As with a threat assessment, risk analysis should be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team using a standardized approach. While I can share best practices that I have found to be helpful, every organization needs to determine its own appetite for risk.

Traditionally, risk is defined as the probability of an incident occurring multiplied by the vulnerability of an organization to the harm associated with the threat being assessed.

Risk = Probability x Vulnerability

In most cases, that approach will provide an adequate level of awareness of the associated risk—and it can easily be visualized and provided to your team on a simple risk chart. Let’s evaluate each of these factors.

Evaluating Probability

Probability is the likelihood of something happening. Where base probability is usually expressed as a percentage, getting that detailed for a risk analysis does not necessarily provide additional value and a debate over a single percentage point for a probability score can quickly derail your entire threat assessment process. I recommend using a simplified five-point scale:

ScoreProbability RangeDescription
Very Low (1)1 in 100Happens every 100 years (Catastrophic Flooding / Structural Collapse)
Low (2)1 in 10Happens every 10 years (Earthquake / Solar Flare)
Medium (3)1 in 5Happens every year (Tornado / Burglary)
High (4)1 in 2Happens every month (Lightning Strike / Robbery)
Very High (5)≥ 1 in 2Happens every week (Thunderstorm / Cyberattack)

Evaluating Vulnerability

Vulnerability is a consideration of how badly a threat can harm an organization. Like probability, a five-point scale should provide an adequate level of detail to support risk analysis.

ScoreLevel of HarmDescription
Very Low (1)NegligibleWill not impact operations (Laptop Failure With Backup)
Low (2)MinorDisruption measured in hours (Injury Requiring Medical Attention)
Medium (3)MajorDisruption measured in days (Local Evacuation Due to Weather)
High (4)SevereDisruption measured in weeks (Wildfire)
Very High (5)CatastrophicDisruption measured in months or greater (Pandemic)

Calculating your Risk Scores

Risk analysis is usually represented as a discrete risk score, computed by multiplying the probability and vulnerability values. If you had a risk that was identified as having a high probability (4) and medium vulnerability (3), it would result in a risk score of High (4) x Medium (3) = 12.

Using a standardized five-point scale for risk analysis allows for the risk scores to be further defined into categories such as Catastrophic, Serious, Moderate, and Low based on the calculated rating.

  • Catastrophic ≥ 15
  • Serious ≥ 10
  • Medium ≥ 5
  • Low ≤ 4

In cases where a threat can have multiple vulnerability scores (for different locations, or different operational units within an organization), there are two conventional methods to calculate a single risk score:

  1. Probability x Highest Vulnerability where only the highest vulnerability score is used to calculate the risk score.
  2. Probability x Average Vulnerability where the vulnerability scores are averaged before being multiplied with the probability score

Additional Dimensions of Risk

Traditional risk analysis is meant to provide insight into whether there is a need to mitigate a threat, or whether it can be tolerated by an organization without compromising operational capability or capacity. Simplifying risk as a factor of only two variables (probability and vulnerability) allows for rapid analysis and relatively easy discussion of the results. While this quick and easy approach can provide an adequate quantification of risk, it does not necessarily provide the depth of understanding that may be needed in order to come to conclusions that drive the best possible outcome for a threat management program.

The complexities of a modern threat environment, especially when considering technological and human-centered threats, may require consideration of additional dimensions of risk to provide a more granular understanding of a threat’s potential within an organization, focusing on the interaction of the threat with an operational concern. As I discussed in my post about defining threat, this interaction is a hazard.

These additional risk considerations include the ability to detect a threat before it becomes a hazard or harm actually occurs, and the ability of an organization to correct the harm caused by a specific threat or hazard.

Evaluating Detectability

Threat detection is the likelihood of discovering and correcting a threat before it intersects with operations and becomes a hazard. For example, if an organization has facilities located in a known flood zone, there are several options to increase the detection of flooding before it negatively impacts operations. They can monitor weather forecasts, or interface with local flood sensor networks to provide warning of rising water levels. Through the same consideration, if there was not a flood detection sensor system in the area, then the detection value for the organization would be lower, resulting in a smaller value towards managing vulnerability and not providing as much value in reducing the risk score.

A detection value can be used as a modifier for the probability measure, with moderate detectability having a neutral value and not affecting the risk score. Values above and below refer to poor and good threat detectability, respectively.

ScoreLevel of DetectabilityDescription
Almost Certain (0.5) < 100%Hazard is easily visible / obvious to most people
High (0.75)< 80%Hazard is visible to most people
Moderate (1)< 50%Hazard is visible to knowledgeable people
Low (2)< 25%Hazard is visible to experts / specialists
Remote (3)< 10%Hazard is not visible without specific investigation

To continue the earlier example of a risk that was identified as having a high probability (4) and medium vulnerability (3), adding a detectability rating of low (2) will modify the probability from 4 to 8 (4 x 2), resulting in a risk score of 24 (8 x 3).  A detectability rating of high (0.75) would reduce the probability value from 4 to 3 (4 x 0.75), resulting in a risk score of 9 (3 x 3).

Evaluating Correctability

Threat correctability is related to the relative ease of mitigating a specific risk. It includes consideration of the feasibility and effort required to minimize associated vulnerabilities. This consists of both technical and economic concerns, i.e.: “can it be done?” and “can you afford to do it?”

This factor allows for the prioritization of threats that can be managed relatively easily, regardless of their degree of importance. The easier the mitigation, the higher the correctability score, which results in a higher risk score and an indication that action should be taken. However, the reverse is not valid. If mitigating the hazard is difficult, the risk score should not be decreased. Additionally, an unacceptable risk should not be tolerated just because corrective actions are impracticable.

ScoreCorrectabilityDescription
4Highly PracticalMitigation can be done very easily and at low cost
2Moderately PracticalMitigation is feasible. The solution requires additional resources but is achievable at an acceptable cost
1ImpracticalMitigation cannot be done easily. The solution is not available or needs significant resources at an unacceptable cost

Once again working from the earlier example of a risk with a probability rating of high (4) and a vulnerability rating of medium (3), adding a correctability factor of moderately practical (2) will modify the vulnerability score to 8 (4 x 2 = very high). That score is elevated not because the vulnerability is increased, but to artificially raise the priority of mitigation efforts because they are feasible.

While a combination of probability and vulnerability is commonly used to assess risk, it can be useful to consider additional factors that may also impact the determination if a risk is acceptable to an organization. For increasing risk scores for higher probability and vulnerability, a high detectability should be scaled to decrease the risk score, giving a more acceptable risk. A higher correctability should increase the risk score, demonstrating higher risk, and highlighting the need to implement mitigation procedures.

Visualizing Risk

Numbers are just numbers, but a colorful picture can capture the attention of an audience faster than almost any other approach. Visualization of your risk scores will help stakeholders understand risk on a more intuitive level. It allows people to see relationships between the various threats presented, making connections, and identifying patterns in the data which they otherwise may not have been able to.

BLACK: Catastrophic
DARK BLUE: Serious
LIGHT BLUE: Medium
PEACH: Low

Risk analysis information has traditionally been presented in a two-dimensional matrix, with probability and vulnerability as the axes.

Using a five-point scale allows for the clear charting of unmodified risk scores. Applying modifiers for detectability or correctability will require you to expand your matrix to support a larger scale. I also recommend including at least half-point indicators for increased fidelity.

Threat assessment and risk analysis are challenging disciplines that are best addressed through the use of a team of individuals to determine the scope, intensity, and possible consequences associated with an identified threat. To support the mitigation of that threat, an organization must decide if the threat is valid by assessing the potential impact of the threat, the probability of the associated hazards, and the organization’s vulnerability to those hazards. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this process, it should be holistic and focused on providing information and recommendations to manage the threat effectively and efficiently.

Read the other parts of this 5-part series on developing your Threat Management Program:

Part 1: Defining and Categorizing Threats for your Organization
Part 2: Designing the Ability to Properly Detect a Threat
Part 4: Best Practices for Threat Management
Part 5: Building Your Threat Management Program

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Tarisa Shelton

Tarisa Shelton was born and raised in Arizona. She graduated with a Bachelors's in design studies and management from Arizona State University in 2015. After graduation, she traveled to multiple countries to try and learn from different cultures and perspectives. With being excited by what the world had to offer, she taught English in South Korea to elementary students for a little over a year.

After traveling and teaching in Korea, she worked as a production manager at an animation studio in DC. During that time, she committed herself to learning as much about finances as humanly possible. Through that journey, she found infinite banking, in 2018. Since then, she's been helping clients, family, friends implement this process to fundamentally set a financial foundation that is unshakable and sets them up for success not only today but for generations to come.

Dr. Rafik Chaabouni

Specialities: Cryptography, Security, public key cryptography, range proof, set membership, certificate revocation.

Benjamin Grant

Chief Student Affairs Officer & Title IX Coordinator, D’Youville

BG Grant is an innovative Student Affairs thought-leader, currently based in Buffalo, New York, with over seventeen years of experience across the spectrum of higher education. Specializing in engaging, supporting, and challenging students and the implementation of “what if we…?” Having obtained his undergraduate degrees from Paul Smith’s College and his master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, BG is currently working on his Doctor of Educational Leadership degree at D’Youville. Outside of work, BG enjoys spending time with his partner Jason and their three furry housemates; Juneaux Bear, Chester B. Arthur, and Saint D’Youville.

Melissa Agnes

FOUNDER AND CEO, CRISIS READY INSTITUTE

  • Recognized globally as an expert, thought-leader and visionary in the field of crisis management.
  • Has worked with global players, including NATO, the Pentagon (DoD), Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, aviation organizations, global non-profits, etc.
  • Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World—ranked amongst the leading crisis management books of all time and named as one of the top ten business books of 2018 by Forbes.
  • Creator of the Crisis Ready® Model–which is recognized and being taught as leading industry best practice in universities and higher education curriculums around the world, including at Harvard University.
  • Sits on the panel tasked with developing the International Standard for Crisis Management— ISO 22361, Guidelines for developing a strategic capability.
  • Visiting scholar at D’Youville University, where she co-created and co-teaches a Crisis Ready Program for young college students.
  • Sits on Police Professional Standards, Ethics and Image Committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
  • Global Advisor for The Institute for Strategic Risk Management (ISRM), a global player established to help progress and promote the underlying understanding and capabilities associated with strategic risk and crisis management on a global scale.
  • Leading international keynote speaker on the subject and TEDx alumna.
  • Founder of the Crisis Ready® Community.

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Shireen Fabing

With almost twenty years of marketing experience, thirteen of which was spent in the telecom industry, Shireen brings with her an experience toolkit which includes marketing, public relations, communications, training & development, fundraising and project management.

She started her career in a PR agency and her portfolio included retail promotions and events as well as various high-profile projects for the City of Cape Town. This position came only a few short years after apartheid was lifted in South Africa and it is what she claims toughened her up for the real world. She built tenacity, resilience and grit in those early years and more importantly, learnt the importance of building contingencies around all events and programs.

When she made the move to Canada in 2002 to join her mom and siblings, she was mentally ready for the challenge of starting a new life. Circumstances found her back at school studying part time, working full time in the PR division of an ad agency, and volunteering for a not-for-profit benefitting at-risk youth. It was in this latter portion of her journey that she found a passion for Sponsorship Marketing & Special Events.

Accepting an entry level marketing position at a large Canadian telco to get her foot in the door, Shireen quickly gained not only the North American experience she was lacking, but also credibility with internal and external stakeholders, with her strongest suite being that she was always prepared for whatever would prove to come. She enjoyed getting to see some of Canada while showcasing some of the biggest concerts, festivals, theme park & sports activations, along with a multitude of innovative product launches.

The personal pride of her career was finding non-traditional sales venues where she successfully “married” marketing tactics and sales with a profitable outcome for the organization.

Shireen’s bio is not complete without talking about her boxing life. Initially she started the sport to help her create a work-life balance, however in 2013, when she was asked to compete in her first sanctioned charity bout, she humbly obliged.

The Fight to End Cancer was founded in 2011 and has donated over $1.5M to date in support of cancer research with proceeds going directly to support the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. This didn’t come as a shock to her family, friends or colleagues as they knew she’d be all in for training and fundraising! Training like a fighter was no different from the day-to-day boardroom she was used to - only with gloves, her self-motivation and a will to win! She was the first female corporate fighter to enter the ring for this annual event and with her opponent, they set the stage for future female bouts in coming years as they claimed bragging rights for “fight of the night”.

Today she continues to support the initiative, pursuing the sport as an amateur boxer and boxing coach allowing her to share her passion for the sport that found her.

Shireen spreads the word that she is living proof that you can do whatever you set your mind to, no matter what stage you’re at in life. Her personal mantra - strong is my beautiful - has turned into the driving force that is behind the self- proclaimed “Machine”.

Detective Frank Rivas

High Tech Professional with diverse,domestic and international background: Business Development, Operations Management, Program/Project Management, Partner Management, Process Improvement. Additional experience includes: asset and brand protection, threat/risk analysis.

Always interested in new challenges, dynamic work environment which provides intellectual stimulation and professional growth.

Specialties: Partner management, supply chain management, Operations Management, Latin American region, Public Safety, Risk/Threat Analysis, Leader / Talent Development

Peter Willis

My gift is to help individuals and groups of people think wider and deeper together than they might otherwise, especially about matters of critical importance. My current work is to help decision-makers reflect on, and learn from, their response to crisis.

Tom Compaijendion

Working on a future-proof crisis organization

✓ CRISIS MANAGEMENT IS CUSTOMIZATION A lot comes to your organization during a crisis. It is not always easy for employees to switch quickly from daily activities to the ‘crisis position’, with clearly defined roles, tasks, sharp processes and short consultations. Many employees are too little concerned with crisis on a daily basis to be really good at it. In short: crisis management is always tailor-made – and that is not always easy in a crisis situation, in which crisis consultations are often unstructured and go in all directions. I ensure that crisis organizations are better prepared for a crisis through advice, training, training and practice, so that they take the right actions more quickly, maintain confidence in the organization and thus prevent the crisis from becoming a ‘reputation crisis’.

✓ ANALYSIS AND YOUR ENVIRONMENT IN IMAGES A crisis places high demands on communication: the public and stakeholders expect a quick response (within an hour); the reaction must be visible among the thousands of messages on social media and one must take into account that the emotion wins over the ratio. I help organizations to set priorities and, in the midst of the complex playing field, to maintain good coordination with all stakeholders and to take on the role for which the organization is responsible.

✓ IMPACT ON YOUR ORGANIZATION In times of terrorism, (a growing number of) cyber attacks, coronavirus and other crises, knowledge of crisis management and crisis communication is crucial. After all, a crisis poses a risk of (image) damage. Most companies are therefore working on it, but despite the training, it turns out that it does not work well during an exercise. I guide and advise organizations in the transition to a more organized and partly automated information management system.

✓ROADMAP TO PERFECTION Compaijen Crisis Management and Communication has knowledge and experience at all levels: both national (Ministries), local (municipality of Amsterdam, security region) but also international (United Nations, EU consultation). As a trainer, I am one of the few with exceptional crisis experience. This allows me and we are able to convey a clear story with interesting cases and keep things simple. We always aim to make the organization truly better – and not just to complete training.

*Translated from Dutch

Lisa DuBrock

Lisa has 20+ years both in Management of fortune 100 firms and in the Management Consulting Business. She specializes in security both physical and logical. Lisa utilizes a myriad of methodologies based on her clients needs, including: ISO 27001, ISO 20000, ISO 9001, ISO 22301, ANSI/ASIS-SPC.1, ANSI/ASIS-PSC.1 and ISO 18788.

She has a CPA, a CBCP (Certified Business Continuity Professional), and an MBCI.

Lisa teaches at George Mason University in their PTAC and she sits on the ASIS Standards and Guidelines Commission developing ANSI accredited standards.

Prior to becoming a Managing Partner at Radian Compliance, LLC, Lisa spent a number of years at Discover Card, where she held positions such as National Director Cardmember Service, National Director Business Continuity, Bank Operations and Regulatory Compliance and she assisted on the launch of their credit card in the UK market.

Her goals are to grow her own firm, Radian Compliance, LLC, over the next 5 years.

Andrea Bonime-Blanc

Andrea Bonime-Blanc, JD/PhD, is CEO and Founder of GEC Risk Advisory and a global governance, risk, ESG, ethics, cyber and crisis strategist, serving a broad cross-section of business, nonprofits, and government agencies. Since 2017, she has served as the Independent Ethics Advisor to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico.

Dr. Bonime-Blanc spent two decades as a c-suite global corporate executive at Bertelsmann, Verint, and PSEG overseeing legal, governance, risk, ethics, corporate responsibility, crisis management, compliance, audit, InfoSec and environmental health and safety, among other functions. She began her career as an international corporate lawyer at Cleary Gottlieb, was born and raised in Europe and is multi-lingual.

She serves on several Boards and Advisory Boards including Greenward Partners (a Spanish green energy firm), Ethical Intelligence (an EU-based AI ethics firm), ProtectedBy.AI (A US based AI cybersecurity firm), Epic Theatre Ensemble (a NYC nonprofit), the NACD New Jersey Chapter and NYU Stern-based think tank, Ethical Systems. She also serves as a Governance Mentor at Plug & Play Tech Centre, a global start-up eco-system. She is a NACD Board Leadership Fellow and Governance faculty and holds the Carnegie Mellon CERT Certification in Cyber-Risk Oversight.

Andrea is a global speaker, including at Davos, and appears regularly on Bloomberg TV, Yahoo Finance, Cheddar and other media. She is faculty at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs Masters program teaching “Cyber Leadership, Risk Oversight and Resilience”. She is an extensively published author of many articles and several books including The Reputation Risk Handbook, Emerging Practices in Cyber-Risk Governance and The Artificial Intelligence Imperative. Her latest book, Gloom to Boom: How Leaders Transform Risk into Resilience and Value (Routledge 2020) debuted as an Amazon #1 Hot Release in Business Ethics and Game Theory. She lives in New York City with her family and is an avid photographer and artist.

Marylène Ayotte

Marylene is a Life Transformation Consultant, Trainer and Coach licensed with The Brave Thinking and HeartMath Institutes, premier training centers for transformational coaching in California. She also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Human Resources Administration and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Communications and Change Management.

Through her professional career and track record of over 20 years as a Coach, HR Executive Leader and Change Management expert in medium and large corporations, Marylène now shares her know-how & proficiencies through inspiring workshops and in-depth, proven and reliable transformational coaching tools and programs.

Marylene’s passion is to inspire in others self-reflection and greater awareness leading to growth mindsets and behavioural changes. As a result, individuals reach and sustain new heights in performance, success and vitality.

Licy Do Canto

Licy Do Canto, is a veteran of public policy, corporate strategy, health care communications and diversity and inclusion, is managing director of APCO Worldwide’s Washington D.C. office headquarters and mid-Atlantic region lead. Licy is also a Global Advisory Council (GAC) member here at the Crisis Ready Institute and a highly recognized African-American public affairs, lobbyist and communications strategist— recognized by TheHill newspaper for the 11th consecutive year as one of the most influential leaders in Washington, DC.

As Executive Vice President and Managing Director in the BCW Public Affairs and Crisis practice, Licy drives healthcare and social impact policy and strategy, and helps shape strategic direction on diversity, inclusion and belonging for the firm and its clients across North America, in public and corporate affairs, government relations, communications, crisis and reputation management. Licy also leads the BCW Healthcare Team in Washington, D.C.

An expert in public affairs, policy and diversity and inclusion, with over twenty five years of experience at the international, national, state and local levels across the nonprofit, philanthropic, corporate and government sectors, Licy is an accomplished, values-driven leader with unparalleled experience in developing and leading integrated public affairs campaigns combining strategic communications, public relations, political/legislative initiatives, policy, coalition building, grassroots efforts and advocacy.

Before joining BCW, Licy built and lead a nationally recognized minority owned strategic public affairs and communications firm, served as Health Practice Chair and Principal at The Raben Group, was the Chief Executive Officer of The AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families, and managed and helped set the leadership direction for strategic policy, communications, and advocacy investments in executive and senior government affairs roles for the American Cancer Society and the nation’s Community Health Centers.

Before joining the private sector, Licy was domestic policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Barney Frank and served in several capacities in the Office of Senator Edward M. Kennedy. During his extensive tenure in Washington, D.C., Licy has played a leading role in efforts to draft, shape and enact legislation and policy to improve the public health, health care safety net and the lives, livelihoods and well-being of the nation’s disadvantaged and underserved communities. 

Licy also has worked with Moet Hennessey to drive diversity and inclusion on Wall Street and corporate America. He has partnered with Vice President Al Gore, senior government officials, scientists, NGOs and activists, on global climate change impact and sustainability across Africa. And he was appointed by Republican and Democrat governors to oversee the conservation, preservation and management of a prominent U.S. national historic landmark.

Licy is a graduate of Duke University and holds a certificate in public health leadership in epidemic preparedness and management from the University of North Chapel Hill—School of Public Health and Kenan Flagler Business School, and is the recipient of multiple industry awards and citations for his leadership, policy and public affairs acumen, including being named to The Hill Newspaper list of most influential  leaders in Washington, D.C. consecutively over the last ten years. As a global citizen, Licy has lived in Turkey and Spain, and is fluent in Spanish and Cape Verdean Portuguese.

Melissa Agnes

Recognized globally as an expert, thought-leader and visionary in the field of crisis management, Melissa Agnes has worked with global players, including NATO, the Pentagon (DoD), Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, aviation organizations, global non-profits, and many others.

Melissa is the author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, which is ranked amongst the leading crisis management books of all time, by Book Authority, and was named as one of the top ten business books of 2018 by Forbes.

She is the creator of the Crisis Ready® Model, which is recognized and being taught as leading industry best practice in universities and higher education curriculums around the world, including at Harvard University.

As a leading international keynote speaker and a TEDx alumna, Melissa has traveled the world helping organizations and leaders further strengthen their crisis ready mindset, skills and capabilities.

In 2019, Melissa founded the Crisis Ready® Community, a space for professionals to come together to support one another, collaborate and strengthen their crisis ready skills.

Melissa sits on the Board of Trustees for D'Youville, a private University in New York, where she also serves as a visiting scholar for the course she co-created and co-teaches on Crisis Leadership.

Passionate in serving law enforcement professionals, Melissa sits on the Police Professional Standards, Ethics and Image Committee for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), where she currently co-chairs an initiative to help law enforcement bridge the gap between agencies/officers and the communities they serve.

In 2019 and 2020, Melissa sat on the panel tasked with developing the International Standard for Crisis Management— ISO 22361, Guidelines for developing a strategic capability; and she is currently a member of the Global Advisory Council for The Institute for Strategic Risk Management (ISRM), a global player established to help progress and promote the underlying understanding and capabilities associated with strategic risk and crisis management on a global scale.

Erick Anez

Erick Anez is the Global Head of Business Resilience at Finastra. Erick is a proven leader with well over a decade of experience leading change and transformation in the Operational Resilience field.

His hands-on approach focuses on operational learning, culture, and reputational management. Erick holds a Bachelor of Emergency & Homeland Security, Graduate studies in Security and Disaster Management, is a Certified Business Continuity Professional (CBCP), Certified Risk Management Professional (CRMP), graduate of the FEMA institute in Incident Management and Command, and is a respected member of Public-Private partnerships within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and  the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Some of his most notable achievements in the field include leading the private sector response to Hurricane Maria as well as working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Continuity of Operations (CCOP) projects for mission-critical facilities in the United States. Erick has also trained with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Infectious Disease Planning and community response, including Point of Dispensing initiatives.

From 2016 to 2019, Erick held several roles at Crowley and, most recently, was the company’s Managing Director of Safety & Resilience. During this time, he was responsible for resilience operations supporting all business segments as well as leading the organization’s safety culture improvement journey. At Crowley, he led the Occupational Health & Safety, Business Continuity, and Crisis Management teams.

Before joining Crowley, Erick held similar roles at Southwest Gas and Third Federal Savings & Loan.

Aaron Marks

Founder and Principal, One Thirty Nine Consulting
Global Advisory Council Member, Crisis Ready® Institute

Aaron Marks is the founder and principal of One Thirty Nine Consulting, providing services for small and large businesses in Risk, Crisis, and Consequence Management.

Supporting both domestic and international clients, he provides operational and subject matter expertise in readiness and preparedness, crisis and incident management, and business and operational continuity for complex systems and organizations.

Aaron has provided in-depth review, assessment, and analysis for technology, policy, and operational programs for clients in healthcare, critical manufacturing, and entertainment and hospitality, as well as for state, local, tribal, territorial, and federal governments in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He is a recognized authority on the application of nontraditional techniques and methodologies to meet the unique requirements of training, evaluation, and analytic games and exercise.

Prior to entering the readiness and preparedness field, Aaron was the Director of Operations for a commercial ambulance and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider in western New York State where he participated in the integration of commercial EMS and medical transportation resources into the local Trauma System.

During his 30-year career, Aaron has worked in almost every aspect of EMS except fleet services. This includes experience in Hazardous Materials and Tactical Medicine, provision of prehospital care in urban, suburban, rural, and frontier environments, and acting as a team leader for both ground and aeromedical Critical Care Transport Teams.

Aaron is a FEMA Master Exercise Practitioner and received a B.A. in Psychology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and a master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. He is also a Nationally Registered Paramedic and currently practices as an Assistant Chief with the Amissville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, Amissville Virginia.

Chris Hsiung

Chris is the 11th Police Chief of the Mountain View Police Department, located in the heart of Silicon Valley. For more than 25 years, he has served the Mountain View community, and as the department’s leader, is passionate about maintaining MVPD’s role as a progressive law enforcement organization in the 21st century.

Chris is an internationally recognized speaker and columnist on the areas of crisis communications, critical incident management, leadership, and engagement with stakeholder groups. In his time with Mountain View PD, Chris has held a variety of investigative, tactical, and leadership roles, serving in every division in the organization. He is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in State and Local Government program and has a master’s degree in eBusiness Management from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, CA.

Chris also serves in several leadership positions on multiple boards, including as president on the Government Social Media Leadership Council and committee member on the IACP's Professional Standards, Ethics, and Image Committee. Previously, Chris served as a board member for the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center and two terms as a commissioner on the City of San Mateo Community Relations Commission.

You can connect with him on Twitter @Chief_Hsiung or LinkedIn.

Ashley Davis

Ashley is a Brand and Marketing Strategist who partners with CEOs, executives and solopreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands. After spending over a decade working in strategic communications for multimillion dollar brands and startups, Ashley knows what truly drives conversations, builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their stakeholder groups and attracts strong strategic partnerships.

Ashley has helped organizations and leaders increase employee awareness and overall understanding of the company vision. She has strong experience / knowledge of social media tools and techniques for driving awareness, reputation and brand—and is known for advancing a company's messaging in the marketplace by growing the following of now multiple multimillion dollar brands and startups.

Ashley has served as the Editor of monthly all employee publications by managing the planning, writing and production. She is an integral part of new product launches and is frequently engaged to train entire sales teams along with channel / distribution partners on new product launches. In addition to her extensive experience, Ashley is a trained business coach.

Ashley holds a BA in Global Business Management from the University of Phoenix.

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Alliancé Babunga

Alliancé [pronounced “aliya-n-say”] comes with a background in politics, leadership and education which speaks to her passion for people and positive change. Through her experiences she has learned first-hand the importance of having a unique voice, the value of authentic communication, being relatable with one's audiences, establishing relationships and working collaboratively to get things done.

She has worked in multiple political campaigns; a highlight being the successful election of two city councilors, one Member of Parliament and one Prime Minister.

As a crisis communications enthusiast, she came to the realization that the traditional crisis preparedness plan does not meet the demands and needs of today—the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath demonstrated the extent of this truth. She sought for a more proactive approach that would empower leaders and organizations to readily take on the new evolving challenges. It is her curiosity that grounded her interest in pursuit of crisis communication and led her to the Crisis Ready® Institute.

In 2020 and 2021, Alliancé grew her career with the Crisis Ready® Institute as the Marketing and Community Manager. Her portfolio included building and strengthening the Institute’s brand reach, visibility and engagement, and fostering the growth of the Crisis Ready® Community.

Alliancé holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of British Columbia, studied Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden, and recently completed the Public Relations Certificate program at Simon Fraser University.

Alliancé serves as Events Manager in the British Columbia chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Regional VP Administration in the British Columbia chapter of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) as well as Public Policy Coordinator on a Partisan National Women’s Commission.

Emmie Saavedra

Emmie Saavedra is the President and Co-Founder of The Champions Institute, where she leads teams of expert coaches, trainers and consultants on Sales, Communication and Extreme Leadership. With more than 30 years in the medical and dental industries, and over a decade in entrepreneurship, her strengths lie in building deep relationships, elevating personal and team performance, and empowering strong leadership. She is an award-winning Certified Trainer and Coach with Codebreaker Technologies and masterfully trains the B.A.N.K. Methodology to teams and entrepreneurs to produce astronomical results, top revenues, and trusting relationships. Emmie is committed to empowering others to achieve phenomenal success both in life and in business because she believes that both are tightly integrated and hold the KEY to living a fulfilling and joyful life.

Lorelei Russell

Employee Services provides Compensation, Benefits and Wellness services to over 8000 employees represented by 14 Collective Agreements and professional associations.

Cathy Compton, HALL OF FAME CHAMPIONSHIP COACH

Cathy Compton truly is a coach of Champions. For over 20 years, Cathy has been coaching championship teams and building empowering leaders. With an extensive background in coaching world class athletes, Cathy has worked with, coached, and consulted top level CEO’s, corporate executives, Olympic Athletes, business owners, Major League Baseball players, and other elite professionals who are committed to peak performance. Cathy ranks as one of the most successful college coaches in NCAA Softball history and is a member of two college Halls of Fame. Her expertise is building winning teams, developing empowered leaders, and training top performers how to better communicate and collaborate for optimal results.

Career Highlights Include:

  • Overall Coaching record 410-130 ranking her as one of the top winningest coaches in NCAA history
  • 15 winning seasons over 15 years as a Head College Coach
  • Built the LSU softball program achieving a top 10 national ranking in her first two years leading the program
  • Coached professional Women’s Softball (Durham Dragons) Durham S.C.
  • Has coached All-Americans, Olympic athletes, and professional athletes across multiple sports
  • Member of 2 College Softball Halls of Fame
  • Built and managed Corporate wellness programs for America Online, Motorola, 3 Com, EMC, Netscape and Netpark
  • Co-founder of Youphoria, A Wellness based, weight loss company
  • Performance Coach for CEO’s, Olympic athletes, business owners, and Major League Baseball players
  • Author of “Empowered Women” an Amazon Best-Seller

Certification/Awards:

  • Body Code & Emotion Code Certified Trainer
  • Extreme Leadership Coach/Trainer (Steve Farber)
  • Bankcode Technologies Coach and Certified Trainer
  • BANK Blueprint ICON award - Codebreaker Technologies

Pragya Dubey

Pragya Dubey is Vice President, Global Services & Media Analytics at Agility PR Solutions. Pragya has over 20 years of industry experience in consulting and executing public relations, communications, and media measurement programs. She has worked with a range of clients representing Fortune 500 companies, federal, provincial, and municipal government divisions, and small to medium sized businesses. The key focus of her work has been in tracking companies’ communication activities to measure, and correlate and connect how these activities are impacting business objectives. Pragya’s approach includes educating, consulting, problem solving for clients, and creating solutions that are objective-based programs with defined success metrics.

Pragya has taught at the Ottawa-based Algonquin College’s public relations program and given guest lecture at Carleton University. She was the speaker at the Public Relations Society of America's (PRSA) 2020 annual conference on the topic of measurement. She actively conducts measurement-related webinars for Agility PR Solutions and other PR forums.

Liam Kelly

Liam Kelly has worked in the field of church communications in the Catholic Church for more than forty years, including time in the Vatican and in London at the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Since 2002 he has been working in the Abbot’s office at Ampleforth Abbey.

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Shawna Bruce

Shawna Bruce is a seasoned strategic communicator and trainer with 30 years of crisis communications, public information and public affairs experience and a passion for public safety.

After serving in the Canadian Forces as a Public Affairs Officer (27 years) and working in the petrochemical industry at Dow Canada as their national Public Affairs Manager (8 years), Shawna began putting her focus into crisis communication, community preparedness, public information and emergency management training when she began her own consulting business: M.D. Bruce and Associates Ltd in 2019.

Shawna considers herself "a life-long learner" and is a leader who specializes in developing teams and sharing her knowledge and experience on the critical role of public information in emergency management with an emphasis on how communications support operational objectives.

A self-identified "Master of Disaster" (RRU MA DEM) Shawna's goal is to support emergency managers and DEMs identify opportunities to communicate throughout all phases of an emergency management program, and works to prepare communications teams to respond in an emergency setting.

Currently, Shawna is also a part-time instructor for NAIT’s Disaster and Emergency Management program (Disaster and Crisis Communications), supports co-instructing the Public Information Officer course as part of NAIT's Centre of Applied Disaster and Emergency Management IMT Academy, develops curriculum for delivery in post-secondary school and Continuing Education programs and is the Public Member on the Board of Directors at NR CAER - a mutual aid emergency response organization in Alberta's Industrial Heartland.

An engaging speaker and trainer, Shawna delivers workshops for risk and crisis communications, emergency public information, how to use public notification systems effectively, on-camera media awareness training, and spokesperson training for industry, municipalities, organizations, first responders and anyone who is looking to build the skill sets of their teams to respond to fill the need of crisis communications and public information.

Molly Shea

🍎 School district communicator @ Stoughton Area School District.

🏙 Belmont University grad.

Melanie Litten

Media • Social Media • Public Relations • Nonprofit Director

Mark Hobden

Currently employed as the Director of Operations Support with Bidvest Noonan.

Having worked on several high profile contracts at Management level, I am a results driven and self-motivated professional. A wealth of practical security experience within the security industry and HM Forces. Well developed presentation and communication skills at all levels. Proven planning, organisational and administrative abilities.

Jan Walther

I bring the most value when I'm given a "blank sheet" opportunity to develop solutions for complex, multifaceted, consumer-focused challenges. I am most passionate about identifying or creating opportunities to increase engagement, visibility, and revenue.

Understanding and advocating for memorable consumer experiences is at the heart of what I bring to any opportunity. While providing leadership and strategic vision is what I do best, focusing on what is relevant and important to target consumers is essential.

I am passionate about building brands that drive consumer insistence and loyalty. My experience in developing brands ranges from the core of strategy building and story creation to tactical activation and data assessment to measure success.

Whether leading enterprise integrated marketing strategies, creating content, or developing relationships as a business partner, I am a visionary and results-oriented collaborator with extensive experience in metrics-driven, brand-focused marketing and communications.

As an outstanding innovator, communicator, and relationship builder, my expertise in translating business objectives into strategies have proven to grow revenue and engagement especially in large organizations in which local market integration is essential.

My leadership style is based on a true coaching philosophy that encourages growth and trust for all team members. I am a highly-effective, hands-on team leader who enthusiastically influences and motivates teams to meet complex business challenges.

Lewis Werner

My mission is to cultivate proactively safer communities.

Proactive risk management makes people less stressed, more comfortable, happier, and more productive. Cultivating proactive security operations desrisks and accelerates human progress, raising quality of life for everyone.

I cultivate proactively safer communities by arming Security Professionals with the data they've been missing for decades. Operations, Finance, Marketing & Supply Chain have been building metrics and KPIs based on real-time process control, outcomes, and projections. Security, especially physical security, has been left with: "Monthly Incidents and Annual Budget".

If you HAVE data, you can measure it. If you MEASURE data, you can IMPROVE it. I started Quill Security to provide risk data for security professionals.

Quill Security is building the inevitable future of the security industry. When you embrace risk data, you will:

  • Earn your seat at the table with answers instead of assurances.
  • Communicate clearly with non-security stakeholders to achieve buy-in.
  • Spend less time debating and more time taking PROACTIVE ACTION.
  • Know your measure of success and unambiguously achieve it.

Nothing like Quill has ever existed before. Protect your community with the future of security.

Angelica Montagano

I specialize in communications (corporate, internal and external), digital and content marketing, brand awareness and reputation and public relations. I’ve advised individuals and businesses (small and large) on what steps they need to take to reach their target audience.

If you need help with content marketing strategy (blog writing, podcasting, YouTube), strategic communications strategies (internal communications, crisis communications, corporate communications), public relations, lead generation or even team building and relationship management – then please feel free to reach out to me.

Amy McKenzie

Passionate communications professional with a diverse experience in public relations, social media, and leadership.

Patrick Campion

Founder of Preparedness Advisors LLC. I am an experienced emergency management and homeland security professional focused on providing innovative strategy and data analysis solutions, streamlined project management support, and straightforward consultation. Please visit the Preparedness Advisors website: www.preparednessadvisors.com for more information.

Elle Arlook

Elle Arlook serves as APCO’s Deputy Advisor on Equity & Justice and a senior associate director in the Corporate Communications practice. Elle has a depth of experience counseling clients through transformation rooted in efforts to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion. She has counseled clients through challenges that range from responding to external societal crises to racial discrimination lawsuits and boycotts. Her background includes experiences that sit at the intersection of DE&I and traditional corporate communications, stakeholder relationship development, non-profit strategic counsel, media relations and crisis management. Her clients have included one of the world's largest global health companies and household names such as Walgreens, Walmart, National Urban League, CarMax, and the University of North Carolina System's Racial Equity Taskforce.

David Meerman Scott

I was fired. Sacked. My ideas were a little too radical for my new bosses. So I started writing books, speaking at events and advising emerging companies. That was in 2002 and since then my books have sold over a million copies in 29 languages.

Many new forms of social media have burst onto the scene over the years, including blogs, podcasts, video, virtual communities, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Instagram, and many many others. But what’s the same about all the new Web tools and techniques is that together they are the best way to communicate directly with your marketplace.

My latest Wall Street Journal bestselling book "Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans" released from Portfolio / Penguin Random House. I wrote Fanocracy with my 26 year old daughter Reiko. The book is about Fandom culture and how any business can grow by cultivating fans.

My 2007 book "The New Rules of Marketing & PR" opened people's eyes to the new realities of marketing and public relations on the Web. Six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list and now in a 7th edition with 400,000 copies sold in more than 29 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese, "New Rules" is now a modern business classic.

My other international bestsellers include "Real-Time Marketing & PR" and "Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead" (written with HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan) and my most recent books are "The New Rules of Sales & Service", and "Marketing the Moon" (written with Richard Jurek and with a foreword from Gene Cernan, the last man on the moon and now being made into a film).

I'm Go-to-Market LP at Stage 2 Capital where I invest in and advise some of the most promising new businesses in the world. I'm a co-founder and Partner in Signature Tones, a sonic branding studio.

I serve as an advisor and investor in emerging companies that are transforming their industries by delivering disruptive products and services.

Pre-pandemic, I delivered keynote speeches at in-person conferences and company meetings all over the world. Now I focus on virtual events.

Katie Nelson

I am the Social Media + Public Relations Coordinator for the Mountain View Police Department in northern California. I specialize in social media management, speaking across the country on social media best practices, crisis communications and forming positive working relationships between law enforcement and the media.

Before joining MVPD, I worked as a public safety reporter for papers including the San Jose Mercury News, the East Bay Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Published nationally, I was an award-winning journalist for my breaking news coverage of the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport and my investigative work on the state Department of Social Services led to major legislative reform to protect elderly residents in California.

Lisa Manyoky

With over 30 years of communication, branding, marketing and entrepreneurial expertise in my hip pocket, I understand people, interpersonal dynamics, motivation, expression, business—and words, especially words!

I can't resist the chance to help professionals figure out if what they're putting out there—whether you can see it, hear it, read it or feel it—is getting them where they want to go OR if where they are is where they should be. I look for that delicious sweet spot of what they WANT to do, ARE BUILT to do and ARE MEANT to do. Then, I determine if their “message” is working for them, fix it if it needs fixing, adjust the volume so their world can hear them, and make a plan that helps them keep on keepin’ on as they stretch toward their goals.

As a career entrepreneur, founder of Presence Intelligence™, and licensed, specialty-certified coach with a neuroscience focus (wow!), I blend an understanding of brainpower, behavior, aesthetics and communication with business smarts to help professionals...

  • identify what makes them tick
  • find their "fit"—personally and professionally
  • strengthen and make good use of their natural assets
  • develop their one-of-a-kind presence that’s true to who they really are
  • refine communications to reflect who they are and draw in resources and people right for them
  • improve perception and reception
  • become excellent (or more excellent than they already are)
  • shape lives in important ways
  • get remembered for something great by those who matter to them.

I am a bit of a firecracker who champions self-mastery, integrity, personal best and kindness. I am the consummate wordsmith with an energetic style, a quick wit and an expansive mindset. I am direct but diplomatic, dynamic and funny. I also have a very big heart.

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