Free Webinar May 15th: Building Organizational Capacity for Disaster Recovery in Small Communities and Rural Places

Natural disasters happen in all types of communities, both large and small, but small communities and rural places face unique challenges to recovery and long-term resilience. Small communities and rural places are often spread out, without densely populated areas; this can make communication more difficult. While these communities may have fewer financial resources than their larger counterparts, small and rural areas have some advantages with regard to economic recovery and resiliency. Join IEDC on May 15 for Building Organizational Capacity for Disaster Recovery in Small Communities and Rural Places, a webinar that will focus on disaster recovery efforts in two communities: Goderich, Ontario and Hancock County, Mississippi. Mr. Letts will share lessons learned during the recovery efforts in Goderich following a 2011 tornado that damaged much of the downtown area, and Ms. Williams will discuss the recovery efforts of Hancock County to Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Using the experiences of Goderich and Hancock County as a guide, participants will learn about:

  • 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.

Please note: This web seminar is not eligible for CEcD recertification credits.


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, 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. Join the webinar on May 15, 2013, from  2:30 – 4:00 p.m. ET  




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