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Harkcon Academy & Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies


"Navigating the Crisis: Before, During and After."

A 1-day Crisis Leadership Conference

8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Georgetown University

School of Continuing Studies

640 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC  20001

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About This Conference

Harkcon Academy and Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies present - Navigating the Crisis: Before, During and After.  This one-day leadership development conference exposes attendees to the fundamental principles and key lessons learned associated with planning for, responding to, and recovering from any type of organizational "crisis," ranging from man-made or natural disasters, fights or riots, localized disease outbreaks, and much more. 


Attendees will learn about Harkcon Academy's First-15 Crisis Leadership and Management Model, a comprehensive blueprint for stacking the odds in your favor during a crisis event.   “First-15” is a four-phased model designed to address any size and/or type of incident and minimize its impact and the follow-on recovery efforts, allowing organizations to return to normalcy as quickly as possible. 

Seating is limited to the first 125 people to register for this intimate, thought-provoking conference featuring some our nation’s premier crisis leadership experts.

About this Conference
Conference Speakers

Conference Speakers & Panel Members

Kelly J. Otter, Ph.D.

Dr. Kelly Otter is Dean of Georgetown University's School of Continuing Studies (SCS). In this role, she oversees professional graduate programs; liberal studies programs at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels; professional certificate programs and custom education; and summer and special programs. She is a member of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), the International Leadership Association (ILA), and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

Dean of Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

Kevin Harkins, Ph.D.

Dr. Harkins is the CEO of Harkcon, Inc., an award-winning Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned business, and has more than 30 years experience leading and consulting across a broad-spectrum of human performance improvement areas in the public and private sectors. A retired U. S. Coast Guard officer, he is recognized as a subject matter expert in discerning the nature of work and creating an environment where people thrive, and is the driving force behind Harkcon Academy.

Chief Executive Officer, Harkcon, Inc.

Mr. Brad Kieserman

Brad Kieserman has 30 years of experience in crisis and disaster operations.  A former member of the Federal Senior Executive Service, former Chief Counsel of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and a retired Coast Guard officer, he has led a variety of crisis operations ranging from maritime security interdiction, response to the piracy of the Maersk Alabama in 2009, Federal disaster response and recovery operations, and, most recently, the American Red Cross’ response to the unprecedented year of disasters in 2017.

Vice President of Disaster Operations and Logistics, American Red Cross

Vice Admiral Dean Lee, USCG (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Lee retired from the Coast Guard in 2016, following his final assignment as Commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, where he oversaw a force of 21,000 active duty personnel conducting missions spanning across 40 states, the Caribbean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean.​ In addition to his duties at Atlantic Area, he served as Commander, Defense Force East, and provided Coast Guard mission support to the Department of Defense and Combatant Commanders in the Arabian Gulf.

Vice Admiral, United States Coast Guard (Retired)

Dr. Jeff Stern

Dr. Jeff Stern was appointed to lead the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Commonwealth’s all-hazards disaster preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery agency, in 2014. Dr. Stern previously served in both the public & private sectors and academia. A former firefighter/paramedic, battalion chief, special ops team leader, and local emergency manager, his career has spanned operational, policy-making, and advisory roles from the local firehouse to the White House. 

Virginia State Coordinator of Emergency Management

Mr. Chris Geldart

Chief Operating Officer, Priority 5 Holdings, Inc.; Former Director, District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency

Ms. Tonya Coultas

Ms. Coultas has over 30 years of combined federal executive, local, state, military, and international experience providing authoritative executive-level guidance in support of national and international-level security, defense, intelligence, safety, disaster response, and crisis management.  As Georgetown University's AVP for Safety, Security & Emergency Management, she provides overall leadership and  oversight for the development of policies and strategies across the areas of emergency management, crisis and disaster preparedness, response and recovery, resiliency, and business operational continuity.

Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Safety, Security & Emergency Management, Georgetown University

Mr. Nitin Natarajan

Principal, The Cadmus Group, Inc.; Former Deputy Assistant Administrator, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Mr. David J. Kaufman

David J. Kaufman is the Vice President and Director for Safety and Security at CNA, a non-profit organization that provides in-depth research, analysis and results-oriented solutions to government leaders.  He is responsible for executive management, development, and execution of CNA’s work in the areas of public safety, homeland security, emergency management, and public health.  Mr. Kaufman is the former Associate Administrator for Policy, Program Analysis, and International Affairs at FEMA.

Vice President and Director, Safety and Security, CNA; Former Associate Administrator for Policy, Program Analysis, and International Affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Navy SEAL Command Master Chief William Dewilde (Ret.)

Master Chief Dewilde retired from the Navy in 2017 after serving more than 30 years in various operational and strategic roles. He has vast experience in leading SEALs and other Special Operations units worldwide. His operational assignments and leadership tours include SEAL Team Two, Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGROUP), Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Naval Special Warfare Center, and Naval Special Warfare Group Two. 

Independent Executive Leadership Advisor and Business Development Professional

Mr. Tom Atkin

Tom Atkin is the Founder and Managing Principal of The Atkin Group, a firm that provides strategic and operational advice to senior government and corporate executives.   Prior to founding The Atkin Group, he served as the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security. Mr. Atkin has significant government experience, including serving on the White House National Security Council.

Founder & Managing Partner of The Atkin Group; Former Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security

Phil Anderson, Ph.D.

Dr. Anderson serves as the Associate Director of Research and Innovation at the Global Resilience Institute at Northeastern University, where he helps lead a university-wide research enterprise to inform and advance societal resilience in the face of growing man-made and naturally-occurring turbulence. He also serves as Affiliate Professor of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. He is the former ANSER Chief Operating Officer and director of the Homeland Security Studies & Analysis Institute (HSSAI).

Associate Director of Research and Innovation, Northeastern University Global Resilience Institute

Mr. Eric Ridge

Mr. Ridge is the Deputy Director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience, which was established in 2017 to advance approaches that help nations, cities, communities, and individuals respond and adapt to disruptions in today’s unpredictable global environment.  Before joining the Atlantic Council, Mr. Ridge served in a range of roles at the Department of Defense, most recently as the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of Policy.  Mr. Ridge was also previously a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where he worked on a range of defense and national security issues.

Deputy Director, Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Center for Resilience

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Conference Schedule

8:00 - 8:30 am

​Doors open; social networking, light breakfast & coffee

8:30 - 9:00 am

Welcome and Opening Remarks
- Dr. Kelly Otter, Dean of Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies (SCS)
- Dr. Kevin Harkins, CEO of Harkcon, Inc.

9:00 - 9:50 am

Dean Lee: "Setting the Stage - Placing Crisis Leadership in Context"

9:50 - 10:10 am

Networking Break

10:10 - 11:15 am

Panel "Crisis Leadership: Lessons Learned for the Future"
- Tonya Coultas, Moderator
- Nitin Natarajan
- David J. Kaufman

11:15 - 12:30 pm


12:30 - 1:40 pm

Panel "Building Self Resiliency"
- Will Dewilde, Moderator
- Tom Atkin
- Phil Anderson
- Eric Ridge

1:40 - 2:00 pm

Networking Break

2:00 - 3:00 pm

"Peer-to-Peer Discussion - Crisis Communications"
- Dr. Jeff Stern
- Mr. Chris Geldart

3:00 - 3:45 pm

Brad Kieserman: "Crisis Intersections - Public & Private, Law & Policy"

3:45 - 4:00 pm

Closing Remarks

4:00 - 6:00 pm

Beer and Wine Reception Hosted by Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

6:00 pm

No-Host Reception at Farmers and Distillers, 600 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC  20001

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Conference Schedule

Register Now!

The conference registration fee is $150 per person.   

The registration fee includes a light breakfast, box lunch and an invitation to the Beer and Wine Reception.


Seating for this intimate discussion on navigating a crisis is limited to 125 people. 


Conference Sponsors

Sponsorship Opportunities

Interested in sponsoring this important event? We offer ample opportunities to promote your brand and share your message with decision makers within the regional business community.

We want to make your sponsorship experience as easy and smooth as possible.  To get started, download our sponsor package or simply call or email our event coordinator, Ms. Laurie Mosier, at 800-499-6456 Ext 5123 or  

Conference Sponsors

Location & Directions

Georgetown University

School of Continuing Studies (SCS)

640 Massachusetts Ave NW

Washington, DC  20001

SCS Auditorium, Room 104, 1st Floor

For parking directions and other transportation options, including rail and bus, visit the School of Continuing Studies website.

Location & Directions
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