Building Organizational Capacity for Disaster Recovery in Small Communities and Rural Places Webinar

Tags | Community Resilience | News & Resources

On May 15th, 2013 IEDC hosted a webinar on building organizational capacity for disaster recovery in small communities and rural places with Tish Williams, the Executive Director of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce and Hancock Community Development Foundation and Todd Letts, Executive Director of Community Economic Development for the Huron Chamber of Commerce and President of Todd Letts Consulting. The webinar focused on disaster recovery efforts in two communities: Goderich, Ontario and Hancock County, Mississippi. Mr. Letts shared lessons learned during the recovery efforts in Goderich following a 2011 tornado that damaged much of the downtown area, and Ms. Williams discussed the recovery efforts of Hancock County after Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. In their presentations both speakers addressed:

  • Strategies for rural communities in dealing with limited capacity following a disaster;
  • Leveraging resources at the local, state, provincial, and national level for recovery; and
  • Efforts to create new programs designed to increase community resiliency.

Download the Webinar

Click here to download the webinar recording.

Download the Presentations

Click here to download Tish Williams' presentation. Click here to download Todd Letts' presentation.


Tish Williams

Tish Williams, Executive Director Hancock County Chamber of Commerce and the Hancock Community Development Foundation Tish Haas Williams has 30 years of experience in nonprofit management and economic development. She is one of the leading forces in producing solutions and strategies to address serious capacity and delivery needs caused and exposed by hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill to support existing businesses as well as sustain long-term growth in the county and region. Ms. Williams also serves as Secretary and Executive Director for Partners for Stennis. Her professional accolades include a 2006 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contribution to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official by the U.S. Small Business Administration, inclusion on the 2005 Sun Herald’s list of the region’s Top Ten Community Leaders in South Mississippi, and a 2009 Jody Compretta Person of Passion Award for her persistence and leadership to rebuild Hancock County. 

Todd Letts
Todd Letts, Executive Director, Community Economic Development, Huron Chamber of Commerce and President, Todd Letts Consulting Mr. Letts has been helping to build strong businesses and healthy communities for more than 25 years. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Community Economic Development for the Huron Chamber of Commerce and President of the Chamber Executives of Ontario, a professional development association for chamber leaders. Mr. Letts has been working extensively with leaders in Goderich, Ontario to revitalize their economy following a devastating tornado in 2011. His career has included experience as a municipal economic developer in the greater Toronto area in addition to senior roles in the technology, economic development, finance, and business advocacy fields. He has enjoyed over a dozen years as an association executive with business organizations such as the Toronto Board of Trade, the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Business Improvement Association, and the Ontario division of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. In 2007, he was named a Ford Fellow in Regionalism and Sustainable Development, and is the former chair of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Executives Council and a past director of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives.


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