2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

A Perfect Storm: Technology & Disaster Education

#sxsw #CATprep


Over the past decade there have been 424 hurricanes worldwide, resulting in 165,000 fatalities. Ten of the 12 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history occurred during this time period—including Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012, two of the most damaging storms of all time. It is clear we must do everything possible to ensure people are prepared, and receive support during and after a catastrophe. With new social and digital technologies emerging every day, developing the tools to educate the public about mitigation and preparedness, and being with them every step of the way when disaster strikes—virtually at least—is easier than ever.
Representatives from four non-profit and government organizations doing groundbreaking work in the area of emergency and disaster communications, will discuss how new technologies are creating innovative, engaging multimedia and mobile experiences that can significantly improve disaster preparedness and mitigation behavior.



Andrea Basora


Insurance Information Institute

Andréa is a digital veteran who has been working with emerging technologies since 1996. She is currently Executive Vice President at the Insurance Information Institute, where she oversees the organization’s digital and content strategy and is responsible for the development of the I.I.I’s software and mobile apps, including Know Your Plan, a disaster preparation app that Mashable.com named one of its “Top Five Emergency Apps.”

Andréa provides consulting services for a number of insurance and financial companies and other non-profit organizations on social media strategy best practices and planning for regulated industries; and the use of social and mobile technology in disaster preparation and recovery.

Prior to joining the I.I.I. in 2005, Andréa was managing editor for Multimedia at Pearson Education where she created online teaching products. She was part of the original development team for Newsweek.com.


Corey Pieper

Techniques Dev Meteorologist

National Weather Service

I grew up in a small town in southeastern Indiana, loving weather since I can remember. After getting my Master’s and Bachelor’s of Science (Atmospheric Science) from Purdue University, I began my career as a meteorologist at the University of Kentucky as an Agricultural Meteorologist. Over the course of a year there, I became a regular voice on ClearChannel radio sharing forecast information across the state, and developed new and innovative ways to display weather data on the internet.

In 2003 I joined the National Weather Service (NWS) as a forecaster in Jackson, KY. Though my two year tenure there, I was awarded for my forecasting abilities, community outreach efforts, and web development projects, some of which – for better or worse – are still in use across the NWS today.

From Kentucky, I made the move to the El Paso, TX NWS for three years, where I broadened by web development scope to national projects, became very involved in GIS initiatives across the NWS, and began my passion for social media – and how the NWS could take advantage of that channel. There in El Paso, I also completed certification to become an NWS Incident Meteorologist (IMET). IMET’s are highly trained fire weather forecasters that the NWS sends into the field to directly support incident management teams fighting wildfires, or supporting other national disasters.

I made the move to where I am now, the NWS’s Southern Region Headquarters, in 2008 as a Techniques Development Meteorologist. There I continue my work as an IMET, web developer, GIS expert, and social media expert on a variety of national and regional teams. One team I’m most proud of is the NWS’s Emerging Technology (ET) Team, of which I’m a co-chair. The ET team has been the force in the NWS that allowed us begin to utilize social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and we continue to explore the utility of emerging options into the future.


Leslie Chapman-Henderson


Federal Alliance for Safe Homes

As President and CEO of the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, Leslie Chapman-Henderson is widely recognized for growing a small committee of volunteers in 1998 into the country’s leading consumer advocacy organization for disaster safety. Today, she serves as both the founder of the modern disaster safety movement as well as one of its leading voices.

Leslie is an engaging, in-demand speaker for consumer and corporate audiences alike because of her ability to relate complex topics through dynamic, clear communication delivered with sincere passion for the cause. Her combination of story-telling and innovative use of multi-media leave audiences enlightened, empowered and inspired.

Leslie has delivered keynote addresses for Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, national associations and more. She has appeared in hundreds of media interviews including television and radio appearances on CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, MSNBC, The Weather Channel, nationally-syndicated programs such as This New House, Home Again with Bob Vila and a one-hour, PBS special entitled, Blueprint for Safety – Disaster-Resistant Homes. She is also one of the first in the movement to recognize social media as an invaluable way to engage consumers in the disaster safety conversation.

Her experience and expertise span both creative and technical initiatives from delivery of the award-winning, 4-D “edu-tainment” experience, StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort to development of Blueprint for Safety®, a comprehensive education program on disaster resilience for graduate students, professionals and volunteers. A recent collaboration included the launch of a new, state-of-the-art mobile app that combines severe weather alerts with life-saving information in two languages.

Leslie’s extensive civic, community and professional recognition include designation by Cable News Network as a member of the CNN New Guard of the South – an elite group of leaders from academic, business, entertainment, government, nonprofit, philanthropy and sports.

Leslie is a 1982 graduate of the University of Florida and proud member of the Gator Nation.


Wendy Harman

Dir of Information Mgmt & Situational Awareness

American Red Cross

Wendy Harman is a proud Red Crosser and a digital nerd. In June 2013, she accepted a new role in American Red Cross Disaster Services leading the creation of a common operating picture during disaster response efforts. Previously, she served as the Director of Social Strategy and led the Red Cross to become a social organization ready for 21st century humanitarian work. She was responsible for the national social media presence, including the listening program, social content and community engagement. She also developed the Digital Operations Center, conceived of the Red Cross Disaster Digital Volunteer role and coined the phrase “digital hug.” She frequently speaks and writes about issues at the intersection of nonprofits, technology and the social web. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, she was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list. She taught President Obama to tweet in 2010 and is often cited for her smart handling of the #gettngslizzerd mistaken tweet.

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