The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Emergency Management, in cooperation with Lower Columbia College and local supporters, present:

Managing the Message
Pacific Northwest Crisis Communication Workshop

Wednesday, September 26 | Lower Columbia College | $195

Space is Limited! 

  Full Flyer  |  Registration Form in PDF  Registration Form in WORD

Direct all inquiries to Lorraine Churchill at (360) 577-3130

Learn from internationally acclaimed emergency media experts. Australia’s Peter Rekers and Rebecca Riggs join forces with the United Kingdom’s Chris Webb, offering a meaningful program illustrating how to manage the message before, during and after a crisis. The day’s workshop will include an introduction and regionally-framed scenario in concert with the Port of Kalama and the Port of Longview. Scroll below for speaker information, or download the Full Flyer (above) to see all workshop details.

Internationally Acclaimed Speakers

With over 30 years emergency experience, Peter Rekers is professionally recognized as being one of the most veteran and polished crisis management specialists in Australia. His experience encompasses developing crisis management communications systems and risk management systems for private and public sectors, to operational experience in war zones as a senior communications officer, to being a Spokesperson for various agencies and Governments, to coordinating the communication strategy for Tropical Cyclones for the Queensland Government.

Peter has served in senior management roles at Brisbane City Council, State and Federal Departments and is the founding CEO of the non-profit Emergency Media and Public Affairs (EMPA) group. EMPA delivers conferences in New Zealand and Australia, channeling profits into research. It also exists to lead and support the evolution of effective communication and community engagement before, during and after emergencies, by providing a network for all interested in emergency communications. EMPA strives to bring together like-minded people progressing the art of emergency public communications through these annual Conferences and advocates for international standardization of policies and approaches that impact communication in disasters to save lives.

Peter also served as a Lieutenant Commander in the Australian Navy and completed two operational postings in 2003 to Iraq as a Public Affairs Officer. In HMAS Kanimbla, Peter was deployed during the Iraq invasion, which earned the Meritorious Unit Citation for the Ship's actions. His role was to advise the Australian Navy Task Group Commander on all media and Public Affairs issues and lead a small public affairs team. Later in 2003, Peter deployed to Baghdad to run the Coalition Press Information Center, coordinating all media relations, conferences and services for the Coalition in Iraq. This included media management during the 2003 UN Headquarters bombing and liaising with up to 450 in-country media personnel. Peter's time in the Navy was also spent as a Naval Police Officer where he led the Naval Investigations Security Intelligence Cell, headed the Naval Investigation Service and other security and policing roles. His training included focus with the Australian Federal Police in Investigations and Bomb Search.

Peter helps organizations become Crisis Ready through planning, training, simulations and live support. Examples from around the world range from the Asian Community Mental Health Leadership Forum in Singapore, to the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto, to the FEMA External Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C., and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Authority Conference in Abu Dhabi. Peter looks forward to joining us in the Pacific Northwest and sharing best practices between us each.

As the Principal of HighGround Communication, Rebecca empowers leaders to respond to the challenges of both adversity and growth. She brings capacity to communicate in crisis, emergency and disaster, and to facilitate organizational change. She works to examine how the stories we tell ourselves define us and impact on our ability to transform our expectations, our environments and ourselves. Narrative, motivation, connection, complexity, symbols and values are her stock in trade. She balances and integrates theory and practice; policy, plans and actions; and organizational perspectives with community needs.

Rebecca also empowers those whose role it is to speak to and for their organizations. She supports them in finding the insights necessary to find the unique, authentic teller of story that they need to be; to give them the capacity to change and grow their own story, and to share those changes in ways that resonate and ignite a spark.

She has worked with emergency management and communities before, during and after disasters. Rebecca has worked on the front line, communicating during disasters and emergencies as spokesperson and public information officer and has trained emergency managers and practitioners as well as corporate crisis communicators from: Australia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, China, Thailand, New Zealand and Bhutan.

Her research project - Understanding Resistance to Disaster Messaging, with Dr. Lynda Shevellar has been published in AJEM (Australian Journal of Emergency Management). She is a Fellow and active member of EMPA (Emergency Media and Public Affairs), has been appointed the Co-Chair of the EMPA Knowledge and Development Committee and is a Fellow of the Centre for Emergency and Disaster Management (CEDM).

Rebecca has worked with sectors as varied as mining and child care, defense and water utilities. She has lectured at universities in Queensland and NSW and trained countless professionals on the importance of messaging and detailing the impact of narrative on who we think we are – and what we can become.

Chris is the former Head of News and Deputy Director of Public Affairs at the Metropolitan Police Service. He is recognized as one of the United Kingdom's leading experts in crisis management and crisis communication, having dealt with almost every major incident and high profile security event to impact on London in nearly 30 years.

He now provides crisis communication advice, support and training to public and private sector organizations through his company CriComm.

Chris has played a major role in advising and influencing the police services, law enforcement agencies and Governments (both nationally and internationally) on crisis communication policy, structures, plans and training.

He has sat on a number of the UK's disaster response and emergency planning committees including the Government's crisis emergency group COBRA, the Cabinet Office Media Emergency Forum (MEF) and the Home Office Counter Terrorism Group. He chaired, for 10 years, the London Resilience GOLD Communication Group with the Heads of Communication from the other emergency services and lead responding agencies.

In 2014 Chris was appointed the strategic comms lead for the NATO Summit in Wales and in 2013 undertook a similar role for the G8 summit of world leaders in Northern Ireland. In 2012, he led the policing and security comms response for the London Olympics and Paralympics at a national level.

In July 2005, he was appointed the strategic comms lead for all the emergency services to manage and direct the national and international media and communication response to the London bombings.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks he was asked by Government Ministers to head a working group to look at how the UK would handle a multi-sited terrorist attack. The plans he developed were adopted nationally by all emergency services.

At the request of the Foreign Office, Chris has assisted a number of overseas countries in the management of high profile events, including the Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean (2007), Greek terror attacks (2003), Athens Olympics (2004) and Asian Tsunami (2004).

He lectures regularly on crisis communication and disaster management both at home and abroad.


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