Ask the Expert: Disaster Strikes, Now What? Using Technology for Disaster Response and Preparedness

How is your organization equipped to respond when disaster strikes? In a crisis, you’re lurched into a crazy mix of circumstances and often a lot of uncertainty, so it’s important to be agile in your day-to-day work, and have systems in place for your organization to speed ahead, if necessary. Be it a natural disaster or political unrest, this online, interactive Ask the Expert session will explore how you can prepare for the unexpected and thrive in the face of catastrophe.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Ways to effectively deal with heightened public scrutiny and visibility in times of crisis

  2. How to use social media to get information during emergencies

  3. Important systems to have in place before disaster strikes

  4. Strategies for changing tactics on the fly and learning from mistakes

This online event is guided by you, our Members! You can ask your questions on social media using #ntenlearn or interact with speakers during the call. “Ask the Expert” is an online series exclusive to and free for NTEN Members. Not a Member? Become one today!


Speaker: Gregg Swanson
After serving with the U.S. Air Force as a pilot and staff officer, Gregg held executive and management positions in several Silicon Valley technology companies, primarily in operations and international programs. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, he has studied in Germany as an Olmsted Scholar and has graduate degrees in international affairs from the American University and in business from Stanford University. Before founding HumaniNet in 2002, Gregg was Director of Technology at Northwest Medical Teams in Portland, Oregon, U.S.
Speaker: Wendy Harman
In mid 2013, I took a newly created position in the Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services department as Director of Information Management and Situational Awareness. I have the unique privilege to create a program around dynamic and collaborative information sharing in disasters. Have ideas or want to be part of it? Please get in touch with me. I am a proud Red Crosser and a digital nerd. Previously, I served as the Director of Social Strategy at the Red Cross, where I led the organization towards becoming a social organization ready for 21st century humanitarian work. I was responsible for the national social media presence, including the listening program, social content and community engagement. I developed the Digital Operations Center, which endeavors to give the public a seat at the table of domestic disaster response via (1) big data situational awareness (2) individual needs routing and (3) individual engagement. I conceived of the Red Cross Disaster Digital Volunteer role and implemented the digital hug. I taught President Obama to tweet in 2010 and am often praised for handling the #gettngslizzerd mistaken tweet. Before joining the Red Cross in 2006, I managed operations for Future of Music Coalition and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, in addition to creating my own artist management firm. In these roles I advocated for artists’ rights within the changing technology landscape and embraced the wave of disruption the social web brought to the music industry. I earned a BA in English and Psychology from Emory University, and a JD from Northeastern School of Law. In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 I was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list. I frequently speak and write about issues at the intersection of nonprofits, technology, and the social web, and was featured in Charlene Li’s book Open Leadership and Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s The Networked Nonprofit. I am an active NTEN member, and I've got a darn cute dog named Stella.