Vancouver names Chief Resilience Officer

At an April 4, 2017  press conference with 100 Resilience Cities, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson,  formally launched their partnership today and announced the appointment of Vancouver’s first chief resilience officer, Katie McPherson.

Through the support of 100RC, Katie will lead the development of the citywide Resilience Strategy to ensure our residents, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems can persist, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks Vancouver may experience.

The appointment of a chief resilience officer is a core component of the 100RC program, and is funded by the organization through a grant to the city. As CRO, Katie will leverage resources and knowledge from 100RC, its partners, and other member cities to drive action to address the city’s most pressing resilience challenges.

At a day-long workshop, over 80 leaders from different backgrounds, experiences, and expertise in Vancouver were brought together to discuss existing initiatives and identify opportunities that assess the social, cultural, environmental, and economic systems that shape our city, and identify our collective resilience to the shocks and stresses Vancouver faces as a growing urban centre.

About Katie McPherson

Katie has been with the City of Vancouver Office of Emergency Management for five years. She recently led the implementation of a new community resilience portfolio with a mandate to work collaboratively with government and community stakeholders to promote resilience to all hazards.

As manager of community resilience, and former manager of emergency planning, Katie:

  • Developed new ways for citizens, businesses, and volunteers to engage in community emergency preparedness
  • Led regional risk assessments for oil spills
  • Engaged a wide range of inter-agency partners to assess risk and develop plans for emergency response and recovery
  • Took leadership roles during emergency responses to the 2015 Marathassa Oil Spill, the 2015 Port of Vancouver container fire, and the 2013 Calgary Flood

Katie has a wealth of unique experience in the private and non-profit sectors. She led an award-winning, multi-disciplinary climate adaptation project. She volunteered in emergency social services volunteer for the Red Cross and the City of Vancouver. She’s planted over one million trees across Canada.

Her passion for resilience comes from her experiences as a volunteer responding to the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. She worked with community members to support a successful grassroots recovery project that:

  • Provided employment for local citizens
  • Resulted in the construction of an art centre for local youth

Background

Vancouver was named part of the 100RC network in 2016, joining cities such as London, New York, Bangkok, and Buenos Aires – and was selected from more than 1,000 applicants from around the world. Other Canadian member cities include Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

Each city in the 100RC network receives four concrete types of support:

  1. Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a chief resilience officer, who will lead the city’s resilience efforts
  2. Technical support for development of a robust Resilience Strategy
  3. Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their Resilience Strategies
  4. Membership in a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other

Through the 100RC program, Vancouver will have access to a carefully curated suite of nearly 100 platform partners, providing expertise in a wide range of areas that includes diagnostic analysis, risk and hazard assessment, climate change, financial analysis, data management, resource and energy use, and social services and development. These and other services are available to support resilience priorities in our city, including fast-tracking actions laid out across existing strategies, and in support of local partners and organizations leading efforts that contribute to urban resilience here in Vancouver.

 

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