Leadership During Crisis

Leadership During Crisis Podcast Series

"Leadership During Crisis" is a collaboration between GSPIA's Center for Disaster Management and the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum. In exploring stories from leaders who have led through crisis, we consider the behaviors and attributes that are necessary to guide others under stress, ambiguity, or even danger to achieve the best possible outcomes. 

Over the course of the academic year, we'll speak with leaders across local, national, and global events, and—at the end of our five-part series—we’ll look back to observe what is common among leaders who are effective during crisis.  

This podcast is supported by students across GSPIA programs. Are you a current GSPIA student interested in this project? Please contact Lucy Gillespie at lucy.gillespie@pitt.edu. 

2017-2018 LDC Podcast Project Team

Lindsey Anderson
Robert Michael Bryant
Chelsea Buckwalter
Alia Dwirahmani
Alyson Harding
Lucy Gillespie
Alyssa Jones
Aishwarya Kumar
Ivoree Svoboda
Allegra Tartaglia
Terry-Ann Wellington

Episode 1 (December 2017) - Community Leadership During the 2017 California Wildfires

In Episode 1, we focus on the fundamental role that individuals and communities play in their own response to crisis and disaster. We tell the stories of three leaders who each took action outside their normal roles to help their community understand and respond to the October wildfires in northern California. How did these leaders make sense of what was happening and what was needed? Why and how did they decide to act? Our episode begins at the State of California’s Emergency Operations Center in Sacramento, where we learn more about the nature of these dangerous fires from the head of California’s Office of Emergency Services and FEMA’s Region 9 Administrator.

Part I: Understanding the October Wildfire Threat – (3:28-7:34)

Mark Ghilarducci, Director of CAL OES & Robert Fenton, FEMA Region 9 Administrator

Part II: Advocating for Community Needs – (7:35-22:51)

Jennifer Gray Thompson, Aide to Sonoma Valley District 1 Supervisor

Part III: Adapting Community Networks – (22:52-36:26)

Maureen Cottingham, Executive Director, Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers

Part IV: Turning to Community Recovery – (36:27-47:08)

Corey Beck, President, Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Part V: Observations of Effective Community Leaders in Crisis (47:09-49:18)

Post-Script on Effective Leadership in Crisis (49:19-53:48)

Mark Ghilarducci and Robert Fenton

Episode 1 Team: Lindsey Anderson, Alia Dwirahmani, Leah Kaufman

Episode 2 (January 2018) - Local Leadership and the Pittsburgh Water Problem - Forthcoming

Episode 2 Team: Lucy Gillespie, Aishwarya Kumar


Episode 3 (February 2018) - Operational Leadership during the U.S. Response to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake - Forthcoming

Episode 3 Team: Ivoree Svoboda, Chelsea Buchhalter, Alyson Harding, Terry-Ann Wellington

Episode 4 (March 2018) - Law Enforcement and the 2015 Charleston Church Shooting - Forthcoming

Episode 4 Team: Alyssa Jones, Robert Michael Bryant

Episode 5 (April 2018) - Federal Leadership during the 2017 Hurricane Season - Forthcoming



Center for Disaster Management
3807 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260