After The Cameras Are Gone

Recent storms have wrung the last ounce of reserves out of every helper – and helping organization. The cameras are gone now. Emergency responders (those we make heroes) are standing down. Power is back. There are no more photos ops or press conference- able announcements. But the wreckage is everywhere. What little people had put […]

Foresight, Connection, Reflection

Last week at this time, I was preparing to open a meeting of a Disaster Roundtable, a milestone in an effort Mayor Whitmire had asked me to undertake the day after he was elected. Mayor Whitmire had the foresight to seek out experience and knowledge of disaster response from a wide spectrum of leaders. When […]

Disaster Reminders

There is no such thing as a single sector recovery. Public, private and philanthropic sectors must connect and work together to pull off an effective response. We have too many good examples of this in Houston to name here. Seeing government, corporations and nonprofits pull together, each doing what they do best is pure gold. […]

We Do Good Work

Most of us make some sort of one sided bargain with the universe. We will do good work and … we will be rewarded with a desired outcome. One aspect of what we view as civilized society is this predictability of reward for effort. If rewards are fair and shared in some rationalized way, we […]

Leading in Disasters – Communication Reminders

Storms don’t care about any artificial line we draw. But people do. So name the areas impacted. Repeatedly. So everyone knows what neighborhoods and zip codes have what degree of risk and damage. All those that activate for recovery need this information asap. When you go to the mic, the message is all about the […]

War is Personal

As I continue each day to write about disaster and displacement, and how we go on after the unthinkable, I watch as millions more people worldwide are added to the rolls of those made rootless, stateless, homeless by war and weather. Those of us who try to care and help can’t work fast enough to […]

All Knowing Saints

You don’t have to be an all knowing saint. Pure and holy. To be good for the world. To pray for the killing to stop. You don’t have to be a genius of geopolitics and a scholar of the history of the global order to want it to end. It isn’t a prerequisite that you […]

Chaos / Collision

Today I’m working on a hard section of my Big Fat Writing Project. It’s a particular stage of long term “recovery.” When the needs of those impacted directly collide with the bureaucracies intended to “assist”. I’ve struggled with this chapter. Wrestling with this material is a good mirror of the experience itself. (Mirror: a reflection […]

Good Planning

A good plan should be like your favorite pair of jeans, neither too tight nor too loose. Too loose and you end up with your butt showing and that only works in the street not in the boardroom. Too tight and when the right partner/opportunity comes along you can’t dance/move. Or eat. A few holes […]

Starting Places

Five years ago, Judge Ed Emmett rang me up as I was juggling two phones trying to get information about which of our centers were flooded and which were dry. As then CEO of BakerRipley I was thinking past the immediate emergency of drastic flooding and stranded people, trying to inventory what assets we had […]