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Joe Supervielle: Welcome to Voices in Local Government, an ICMA podcast. My name is Joe Supervielle. With me is Melissa Agnes, Founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute. Thank you for joining us today.

Melissa Agnes: It's great to be here, Joe. Thanks for having me.

Joe Supervielle: So, the list of organizations you've worked with is quite impressive; local governments, which is kind of today's focus on today's audience, but also law enforcement agencies, the DOD and NATO, private businesses and healthcare, technology and finance, nonprofits, you're an author, you're a speaker. So again, quite a list. But take us back to the beginning and tell our audience the story about how you got started in crisis. Not crisis management, which we'll get to, but the crisis topic in general.

Melissa Agnes: Yeah, absolutely. It dates back. So I've been an entrepreneur since I was 21. And about, I'd say about 12 years ago now, I was not doing crisis, I wasn't in this industry, I was doing social media and digital branding, at the cusp of when organizations were really starting to get onto the social media bandwagon. And we had a small little firm, it was myself and my partner. I'm an avid reader, and I remember the morning that I was reading an article on social media and just whatever updates in news, evolutions were occurring and that applied to my business.

I remember the moment of thinking, nobody's talking about the risk. Everybody's talking about how great social media is, and social media is great, and how great technology is in general, but nobody's talking about the risk of digital. The risks involved with digital and too a communication and social media and the real time news cycle, and media sensationalism and its play in all of this, and all these things, the risk on business.

And the way that my brain works, just kind of the way that I'm wired, has always been that I'm hypervigilant, I see risk everywhere. I quickly see mitigation strategies for that risk. And then I see the opportunity through the mitigation, so new opportunities. And I remember the same moment thinking, I see the risks, I see how we can avoid them, how we can mitigate them if we actually start to talk about them. And then the opportunities that can stem from that, for brands and for government, would be unprecedented. So this was like a very split second light bulb moment in my mind. And due to my hypervigilance, due to the way that I'm wired, this really triggered a curiosity in me. And because at the time, prior to that moment, I didn't know that crisis management for businesses was actually a thing. I had never heard of it; it wasn't my realm.

So that triggered me into or launched me into spending about a year devouring everything that I could on the subject. And over the span of that year, one, it was feeding kind of the way that I'm wired, so it was super fascinating to me, it was igniting my inspiration and I was getting motivated by it. But I was also getting frustrated at the fact that nobody, in this space globally, at the time was talking about where the world was going, how it was evolving with tech, how that was playing into business and government and the risks that I had thought of in that initial moment, that light bulb moment.

I kept turning to my business partner at the time saying, there's something here I think that we should follow, but I don't quite know what it is yet. So about a year into my quote and quote "studies", we had just launched the website for one of our clients, and that client happened to be a real estate investment trust. So, a public company whose investors are its primary stakeholder. And we got a panicked call one morning, very early one morning from the VP saying their president was in the car with a prospective investor, a big playing investor. The media and the radio in the car was reporting that one of their buildings was about to explode. All of their other investors were hearing about it. Apparently the rumor wasn't true. So apparently the rumor started on this thing called Twitter, but they had no idea what Twitter is. But with a little bit of research, they realized that Twitter's a digital thing. And since we had just launched their website, digital website, hopefully we could help.

So, panic in that company, media reporting, story escalating, investors threatening to pull out, big crisis in the moment for this organization, had no idea what to do.

Joe Supervielle: In real time.

Melissa Agnes: In real time. And as one of the first... This is dates, so this wasn't typical in the world as a business kind of incident. And so they happened to serendipitously call the right person at the right time. Very long story short, within a half an hour we had the media correcting themselves, we had Twitter feeding to their website where their investors knew to go but didn't know about Twitter. We had all of these things, we saved the relationship with their prospective investor. And then the next day, I got a call from the president of the company who said, not only had their unit price, which is their stock price, not gone down since the day before, but it had actually gone up by a cent. And that was my kind of validation of, "Oh my goodness. This is a way that I can really serve in this world, and be of service, be of use in really critical dire times. I have a natural aptitude for it."

And so that was really kind of the launch of it. I turned to my business partner at that time and I said, let's do this. Let's pivot. Let's see where this goes. I don't know what it looks like, but I'm going to start blogging about it. I have all of these thoughts and all of these conversations that I think that the world should be having, that leaders and professionals should be having. So I'm going to start a blog. I'm going to dedicate myself to blogging five days a week, which I did for several years, and we'll see where that goes. And that was the very start of my career in this profession.

Joe Supervielle: Yeah. So not even necessarily planned, but it worked out. You are also right about, in the early days of social media and even the websites and online in general wasn't everything, it is now obviously. In 2008, 2009, organizations even governments were probably more focused on trying to figure out how to monetize it and get money out of it without realizing the potential downside or the risk, as you said, but even kind of mitigating that risk can eventually lead to a financial success story, like in the example you just said. But aside from the finances, it took a while for people to understand, especially leaders of these big organizations, to understand everything that goes into-

Melissa Agnes: It's still hard for people to understand. Social media.

Joe Supervielle: Yeah, it's still hard.

Melissa Agnes: It's not just social media. Cyber security is one of the biggest threats right now that has kind of taken a backseat, not in risk and not in threat but in boardroom conversations and acknowledgement due to COVID, over the span of COVID, and yet it's only enhanced over. Just everything related to digital or... Now we have deep fakes. There's so much risk. I founded the Crisis Ready Institute last year, but prior to that I'd been working. I coined the term Crisis Ready a decade ago. And for me it was, a crisis preparedness is the kind of the terminology that's known in the crisis management and business continuity fields. And yet crisis preparedness, the status quo of that, is to create a plan, have a few people within the organization and potentially consultant come in and create a plan, that plan goes down on paper. Leadership checks off a box that says, Hey, if we have a crisis, we've got a plan for it. That plan is very siloed. It's very linear. It's very theoretical. And that's what crisis preparedness has always kind of been.

So, when I termed the coin Crisis Ready, for me Crisis Ready is a completely evolved approach from that. And anybody who had a crisis management plan at the start of COVID quickly realized how little that actually served them. Crisis Ready is cultural. It's a mindset, it's a skillset, and it's capability that served the mindset and skillset so that you have an entire team that... If you look at the example from the real estate investment trust, my once upon a time client, decade ago, when they managed this real time crisis, they came out of it with increased stock price. So they had increased trust and credibility in their brand as a result of the management of that incident. To me being crisis ready means that you have the capacity, the skillset, the mindset, the capabilities internally throughout the entire organization to handle a real time incident in a way that actually fosters increased trust and credibility in the brand. And that's required today.

Joe Supervielle: Yeah. It's an evolving fluid situation based on culture and the ability to respond quickly and appropriately versus just that static plan that is maybe literally in a printed binder.

Melissa Agnes: Literally in a printed binder.

Joe Supervielle: At best the digital documents somewhere. But like you said, I think with local government, there's some kind of typical supposed crisis or emergency disaster kind of things like natural disaster, things like that. But you said it, COVID was a wakeup call.

Melissa Agnes: It should be. It needs to be.

Joe Supervielle: Yeah, it needs to be. I think a lot of local governments know that it is, but they're still not totally sure how to get basically to what you're saying especially... We'll kind of get into the differences, but based on resources, staff size, budget of course, it's easy to say, "Well, this is so important, you got to get it done," but easier said than done for the local government. So can you also give us a sense on, how do you define a true crisis versus an issue or a problem or something serious. But where is that line where it kind of crosses to true crisis mode? And are there different metrics or ways you can define that? And then based on how you define that, does that impact what the appropriate response would be?

Melissa Agnes: The incident absolutely impacts what the appropriate response is. Under the Crisis Ready framework we know that an effective response requires the right actions to be taken, to respond, to fix the situation, the right communications to be provided, communicated, and the timeline of response for those things. So it's those three things that equal effective response. Those three things done well and simultaneously equal effective response. With regards to what a crisis is, so this is really important, and in my experience through training and working with leaders around the world in so many different contexts, it's one of the most challenging things to grasp, and to really build in. But once you get it, you get it. So knowing that a crisis for one organization does not necessarily translate into a crisis for another. So, it really is subjective to the organization for which you're talking about or working for.

We've built out a framework. So essentially, a crisis is an event or a situation that's stops business as usual, to some extent, requires immediate escalation straight to the top of leadership, so if leadership is in a meeting, if they're sleeping, if they are on vacation, they're getting called out of that meeting, they're getting woken up or they're getting called home from vacation, because this incident threatens material impact on people. So whether that's internally and/or externally. On the environment, depending on the context of the organization and its business operations, environment can be economy, it could also be the planet, the business's operations, its reputation, and/or bottom line. So, material impact on people, environment, operations, reputation, and/or bottom line.

Whereas an issue or an incident, whatever terminology you want to use, is a negative event that just... It doesn't stop business as usual and it doesn't require the oversight and the directives and the guidance and strategic decision making from leadership, because it doesn't threaten material impact on any one of those five things. So issue management is more like your job description, just the part of your job description that is a nuisance, and you don't like. But it's not that stop everything, we need management or leadership to really look at this because it threatens material impact. What's really important. Taking that framework, and then in order to really answer the question of what's an issue versus what a crisis is, and to your point, Joe, and how do you know if one is escalating from issue to crisis level, and also if it's deescalating from crisis to issue level, we need to know that too in real time, is defining the criteria of threshold.

If you were to say, for example, you're an organization and there's a natural disaster. Natural disaster is a scenario, it's a high risk scenario especially in this world of climate change. And if you were to say natural disaster is the scenario, at what point for our organization would this be an issue, versus a crisis? At what point would a natural disaster stop business as usual, immediately require escalation to leadership for its directive and its guidance, strategic decision making, because it threatens material impact on people, environment, operations, reputation, and/or bottom line? And so it's defining that criteria that then you have... You can create almost like a checklist, putting it in very simplistic terms, almost a checklist of, if these things get triggered, if we lose this, if we have impact of X or Y or whatever it is, this is now triggered as a crisis scenario and we need it escalated immediately.

Joe Supervielle: And part of the culture you talked about earlier is understanding that even if you have a checklist, it's not always going to be black and white.

Melissa Agnes: It's never going to be black and white.

Joe Supervielle: If you know the team, not just the leader, whether it's the city manager or a CEO of a private business, that person and the core team, if there are kind predefined roles or that inner circle, everyone understands there's going to be a conversation about it, we'll use a checklist as a guideline and then kind of come to a conclusion as a team and then be able to take a next step because plans are plans, but kind of one of the definitions of the crisis is you don't know every variable going in.

Melissa Agnes: Exactly, that is one of the definitions or criteria of a crisis, is that it's highly volatile, it should be unprecedented. It's like saying if we were to relive 2020 in 2022, COVID, that should not be a crisis, because we've done it, it's not unprecedented. That should be an issue at that point. But if we go back and we have a hindsight being 2020, if we look back at the last 12, 18 months, and you say, okay, in March, 2020, was that an issue or a crisis for our organization? The state of the world, and what was happening in our local community and impact on our business, was it an issue or a crisis?

It may have felt like a crisis, but maybe with hindsight you're going to say, you know what? For the first six months, because we had a runway of six months where we didn't have to worry... We had enough money in the bank, capital to not have to worry about laying people off or lack of supply, or that would impact operations and business and reputation, all these things. For the first six months, that was just an issue, and instead it felt like a crisis. We have that ability now with hindsight to go back and to really ask these important questions and say, at what point did COVID, as an example, did COVID become a crisis? And why was that? What was triggered that it became a crisis? At the time, did we think of it as an issue? Did we think of it as a crisis? Were we accurate? What can we learn now? And how do we apply our learnings to build the skillsets of our teams?

Because the reality is that 2020 launched us into an era of change and challenge that's not going away, there's more coming. And I don't mean that as the doom and gloom, I mean that as a reality. And being crisis ready, being able to truly be resilient and to really rise as a leader in times of crisis, especially for government, and we need that, requires the mindset, the skillset, and then the capability, the processes, the procedures, the governance structure, et cetera, that support the mindset and the skillset. But they're learnable skills. And if we don't take the time to learn them now, we are doomed.

Joe Supervielle: Yeah. And unfortunately, part of human nature maybe is to both kind of brush it off or underestimate it at first, but then later maybe switch right into panic mode.

Melissa Agnes: And then you're being reactive versus responsive. And you're not in the best position.

Joe Supervielle: But leadership, local government, whatever industry, it's a life-or-death responsibility to do better for the public.

Melissa Agnes: And it's your responsibility. To be in that position comes with the responsibility of being able to lead through crisis. And unfortunately the skillset isn't yet taught in schools, those who are in these leadership positions today weren't taught the skillset. But then there's organizations like Crisis Already Institute that is dedicated to teaching the skillset to leaders and professionals today so that we can equip them.

Joe Supervielle: And part of, I'm not sure if you'd call it a skill, but one of the big aspects to me it seems is the ability to earn and keep trust with whether it's shareholders or just the general public, for local government. Again, without being too negative about it, it seemed like that did not really go well during COVID, a lot of-

Melissa Agnes: That's not negative, that's just factual. It's unfortunate and factual.

Joe Supervielle: Yeah. So a lot of it, without getting into the politics, a lot of that was on the federal level and even state level. ICMA is focused on local government and it seems there could be a better chance for that level to have a better relationship with their citizens. But I guess that's kind of the million dollar question is, without just doing PR or putting out nice statements, it seems, going back to the word earn, you have to kind of be consistent and transparent, it's a buzzword but it's true. So how can a city county manager earn and keep the trust of their citizens?

Melissa Agnes: That's done every day. So the way that I see, and you're right with trust, the way that I see... I don't even want to say trust management, but trust strengthening. It's never something that should be viewed as being acquired. You never reach the pinnacle of trust. You never reach the goal of trust because it is something that's always... To put a visual to it, it's like it's always in arm's length if you're working towards it. But it's a moving target that you are always consistently earning. Because the second you stop and you take it for granted and you think, we have it now we can stop, and you end up taking that for granted, you're going to lose it. So it's this constant effort and proactive initiative to earn and to strengthen trust. And so that, doing that, building that up prior to crisis is a big part of becoming crisis ready because when you have that, a crisis strikes, you're already in that leadership position, you already have those relationships, you're already trusted, so you have a better ability to rise and to own your own narrative in a crisis.

Joe Supervielle: Going back to the skills you say that aren't necessarily taught, is emotional intelligence maybe... When it comes to building and keeping the trust, emotional intelligence, how does that factor in compared to just the very matter of fact, rational, logical, dry government, which... We put out our statement, that's what it is, we just expect people to believe it. It's not that easy anymore.

Melissa Agnes: It's not that easy anymore because there's so many other organizations or entities with agendas that counter yours, that know how to play with emotion or use emotion to their advantage. And when we're talking about a crisis situation, we're talking about a highly emotional situation, whether that emotion is sadness or anger or fear, whatever it is, it's intrinsically emotional. And we know, one of the Crisis Ready rules is you cannot beat emotion with logic. So you can have all of the facts and all of the truths and all of the rights in the world, and you can have a highly emotional public that their logic, the left side of their brain, logic, is being clouded by their emotion because we are emotional beings as human beings. So emotional intelligence is one of the skillsets of being a crisis ready leader, being a strong leader through crisis so that you can have the ability, you have the skillset to really understand the emotion being felt.

There are crisis ready formulas to use, that you can use and leverage here, but to get in through the heart so that you can reach that logical side of the brain that's being clouded by that emotion before your counterparts or your opposing entities with opposing agendas beat you to it, and then own that narrative. And then all of a sudden you're constantly playing catch up, and you're never fully in that leadership position where you have important directives or information or things that you need the public to hear, and to listen and to believe, and to follow for their own safety, perhaps. You want to be in that position where when you speak, you resonate emotionally and they follow logically.

Joe Supervielle: And some of those issues that the public might have, city managers are apolitical, they're there to manage the city or county, it's not necessarily red or blue. But unfortunately, there are those other factors going back to the social media and negatives that can kind of cause... They're out there. So the emotional message, is it better to keep that unified and hope it resonates with as many people as possible, or do leaders need to understand that different subgroups are going to want to hear a different type of emotional message?

Melissa Agnes: The whole point is not even looking at different subgroups, but it's conducting what I call a stakeholder mapping exercise. So if we understand, if we've identified the difference between issue and crisis, and we know those thresholds of the criteria that escalates something, that brings it past that threshold and escalates it to crisis. If we also conduct a stakeholder mapping exercise whereby we're looking at identifying the different stakeholder groups that we need to be able to lead through crisis, that will turn to us, that we are responsible for in some capacity, and then you take those scenarios, so let's go back to COVID or a natural disaster and say, in these types of situations, if we go down that list of stakeholder groups and subgroups, what matters to each one of those different collectives of people that we need to be able to address?

So, what matters to them? What are they feeling? Why are they feeling that? What's the root cause of that feeling, that root feeling or emotion that we need to speak to, that we need to relate to, so that they know that we care about the same things that they care about and that they can trust us in it. And then there's always kind of an overlap and then there's always nuances. So you're going to have your main message points, you're going to have your main directives. But in order to have those directives or that information resonate with the different people that you need to resonate with, you'll need to understand the nuances of why it's important to them and how it applies to them and what emotional connection they have to it.

Joe Supervielle: And one of the stakeholders is also, it's not just the public for our local government, it's the staff. Going back to limited resources, limited budget, overworked, just everyone's doing two, three things at once, even before the crisis. So how can a leader ask more of them while also understanding what they're going through? And they're living there too, they're not immune to whatever the crisis is, how-

Melissa Agnes: They have their emotions, they have their fears, they have their worries and concerns for their families' wellbeing, they're going through those same things. The leader needs to lead them as well. And it comes back to, in this context, it comes back to that cultural component or aspect of crisis ready, where if your organization, if every single member of your team, traditionally, and not successfully, crisis preparedness, not crisis ready but crisis preparedness, is really created in a vacuum and employees aren't privy too, even the fact that there's a plan. Traditionally speaking, generally speaking, that's a truth. Crisis ready is a cultural thing. If you have a team, one that you're training with the skillset to have this emotional intelligence that we're talking about and being able to communicate with each of the stakeholders that they're responsible and have relationships with, in that context, with that discipline, with that skillset.

If you also are bringing Crisis Ready to them and letting them know, Hey, in the event of crisis X and Y and Z or crisis X, Y, and Z, yes, this is what we expect of you, this is your role and responsibility, but here's also what you can expect from us. So you also want to position yourself as a credible leader for your people, so that in times of crisis, they also have that trust to go, "I don't need to panic right now because I know the leaders of this organization are going to communicate with us. I know that there's a plan. I know what they're doing right now. I know the second they have more information, we're going to be the first to know, we can trust them." And then they're going to help us in our role to communicate that externally. They need to have that level of confidence in your competence, as a leader, in order to help them just even mitigate some of the stress level that they're going to feel at the onset of a crisis.

Joe Supervielle: And knowing nothing's going to work out perfectly and it's going to be difficult. It's not like let's convince them, if they do this, it's going to magically go back to normal. It's being honest and open with them. This is what has to get done, it's going to be difficult, might take a long time but-

Melissa Agnes: And maybe we don't want things to go back to normal. Normal wasn't good enough. If we look at the world right now, normal was not good enough. We need to be striving for better.

Joe Supervielle: Right. So you've kind of covered it, but what happens when crises overlap? COVID, we've kind of been focused on that, we'll get to a few other ones here in a minute, but that's been ongoing. But just because COVID's happening doesn't stop the fires or the hurricanes or the shootings or the political scandals or anything else that might happen that a city manager's going to have to deal with. So limited resources, all this stuff's happening at once. Even if it's not a tangible answer, what is your pep talk of sorts to the manager who just feels overwhelmed as it is and is like, "We just can't handle anything else."

Melissa Agnes:

I don't know if it's helpful to hear that you're not alone. I don't know that that helps me, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. I think that the entire world right now is, each of us in our own way are struggling through some form of PTSD, over the last 18 months plus. We are as a whole exhausted and drained and overwhelmed in all these things. So it's not unique to any one person, it's something that we're all going through, even though it can feel very isolating and very individual. Honestly, I think the best offer that I can give in terms of recommendation, or I don't know, acknowledgement of this truth is, one that you're not alone, and two, because you're not alone, there are things of support. So, for example, and I'm not being self-promotional here, I founded these things because of these issues, to hopefully help solve for these massive issues.

Crisis Ready community is a community of support. It's a community where no matter where you sit under that umbrella of Crisis Ready, no matter what position, no matter what industry, no matter what sector, it is a home to you if you'd like it, where we're talking about these issues and where we are providing support. And you can tap into a network of a vast diversity of professionals with unique viewpoints and lived experiences and lenses and expertise and say, Hey, this is what I'm feeling, or this is what I'm seeing, or this is what we're going through, or this is what we don't know, and gain that support.

I think right now, because of the truth of what you just stated, Joe, we're all feeling that. And if we can find ways to... It's also why the Crisis Ready Institute was founded, was to say, we've got a course coming out that's designed to help professionals, communication professionals particularly, strengthen their crisis communication readiness and program. And it's super affordable, it's with a lot of worksheets and things that you can actually apply to your business. So all of that to say, you're not alone, and there are resources out there that are designed to support you so that you don't have to feel so alone.

Joe Supervielle:

Yeah. And if they feel, "Hey, no one trained me for this," I know it's part of the job description in theory, but this does just become crazy. Those are the kind of resources to take a first step. I shouldn't say first step, because people have been doing their best since they've been in the roles, but to take an additional step to keep improving at it, to help your staff improve at it, because the next crisis is coming, whether we like it or not.

Melissa Agnes:

It's coming, it's on the horizon, and we know this. I sit at some really interesting tables around the world and we're looking at what they can be and what they're likely to be in different regions globally. The other thing I wanted to say is that this role, crisis communication, crisis management, crisis readiness, was isolating and kind of very siloed prior to COVID. And so in COVID, that's kind of amplified. And so to be a part of a community that gets that, even just there as the baseline has proven to be very therapeutic and advantageous for a lot of us.

Joe Supervielle:

Right. So we have talked about COVID quite a bit, I wanted to bring up another topic which is not any easier and can be just as stressful and difficult, but also just as important, which is local policing. You are involved with the International Associations of Police Chiefs. It's a big topic within the ICMA community.

I just wanted to give you an opportunity to speak about what that organization is doing. Going back to the trust issue, what police chiefs and the departments can do to just communicate better and interact better with the public and hopefully prevent some of the incidents we've seen far too often. But aside from that, just the day to day a better relationship. So again, a heavy topic. We can't solve it today, no one's going to solve it tomorrow or next week, but that doesn't mean we can stop talking about it. We have to keep trying and learning from each other. Please share what you've been doing with that association.

Melissa Agnes: Absolutely. So I have been a member of or part of the IACP for a couple of years now and... No, several years now. And then at the start of, pretty much at the start of 2020, one of the chiefs came to me and asked if I would be a part of a committee called PPSEI, so Professional Police Standards, Ethics and Image, something like that, I'm always mixing up all the words, but committee. And so I absolutely said yes. But they asked me to come because I'm somebody who really... I don't not get shit done. For me, it's not about talking, we need to talk to create awareness, but then we need to act. So they came and-

Joe Supervielle: Yeah. What's the next step? That's exactly right. It can't just be the talk, that's for step one, but then what? That's always my question too.

Melissa Agnes: Absolutely. And so as a result of that, then we created this subcommittee that I don't know how ended up co-chairing, but I did. And the task has been, how do we provide the law enforcement agencies across the country with some kind of support? What does that support look like, and what does it entail, in order to help bridge the divide between law enforcement agency and community on a local level. And I've been co-chairing that subcommittee for IACP for the last year and a bit, and we just started to put... Well, we've just put together something and now are taking it and building a technology around it. That is very high level, because it isn't out yet, but very high level. Essentially, it's, how do we provide agencies with a pulse, a finger pulse, a pulse, into their community to gauge the level of trust in a way that is constructive and productive so that they can essentially come out with a real time kind of understanding of, is our trust in the red, is it in the yellow, is it in the green?

What does that mean? How do we gauge that regularly? So if we know that today trust level with our former community into our agency is in the red, we'll hear some then we'll provide some strategies and some tactics to actually go out and do some additional work to mend that trust, to build that, to strengthen that trust or to mend those bridges and build that trust. And then you can literally see it go from red to yellow. So now you have some positive reinforcement and wins to take back internally to say, Hey, this is working, and we can actually see it in real time. So we're building out technology for that, that's to come in the course of the next several months.

But what's coming out very soon is more of a, I don't want to say a white paper because it's not a white paper, but a resource, that's the right word, a resource that says, here's how you can begin to do that without the technology that we're developing, and here are wherever you currently sit on that spectrum of trust, then here are some tangible tactics, some tried and true techniques that other agencies who are maybe in the green or in the yellow, if you are in the red, are implementing and seeing positive results from. And here's how to do that, and then here are some additional resources of support to help you go and implement.

Joe Supervielle: Great. Well, that's what ICMA is here for too, to share things like that, get those resources in as many hands as possible so everyone can learn from each other and just try and improve as we go. So thanks again for joining us today. It's a difficult topic but we've learned the hard way that it's important and local government has to take it seriously and it's going to continue. So appreciate your insight. We will link to the Crisis Ready Institute website, and some of these resources you've been mentioning, as well as your book, Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World will be listed. And thanks again for your time today.

Melissa Agnes: This was great. Thank you for having this conversation and for inviting me to be a part of it, Joe.

Guest Information

Melissa Agnes, Founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute, Author, Keynote Speaker

Episode Notes

Melissa Agnes, Founder and CEO of the Crisis Ready Institute, explains how local government can transform from being dependent on static emergency management or disaster recovery plans to become crises ready.

Visit for more information and join a two-part digital course on November 15 and 17, 2021.


Crisis Ready Institute Website

Developing your Crisis Communication Program | Digital Course

Check out Melissa's book Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World

Get more expert insight from Melissa on Twitter, follow @melissa_agnes!

Find the Crisis Ready Institute on Facebook and Instagram.

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