Featured at the Summit:
3-Day Portable Solar Generator Build Project
Right outside the Summit doors, you will have a the opportunity to observe an outdoor workshop that will engage local fire fighters learning to build three solar generators for later use by volunteer fire departments in Northern California: Sonoma Valley Fire District, Two Rock Volunteer Fire Department, Fort Ross Volunteer Fire Department.
Tuesday, September 20
REGISTRATION in the LOBBY + COFFEE on the PATIO
After the Fire Board Meeting in the Courtyard
Morning Workshop for Wildfire Community Leaders in the Auditorium
About the Workshop
A collaborative, participant-driven session focusing on the recovery milestones, challenges and opportunities for wildfire community leaders, facilitated by Pamela Van Halsema, Director of Community and Digital Programs, After the Fire USA
You will get a chance to meet and talk with a diverse group of effective leaders from many different fires - from California, Oregon, and Colorado. Come ready to reflect on what you have already navigated through the first stages of recovery and later phases. We will have people participating from less than a year after the fire, up to more than five years. Bring the topics YOU want to raise and discuss with others in the room. Share both the big milestones and also the issues you are facing now related to the post fire recovery.
This will be a wonderful opportunity to begin this three day Summit, and get to know and learn from peers and collectively build new knowledge and understanding together.
Full Program for All Attendees in the Auditorium
MODERATOR: Pamela Van Halsema, Director of Community & Digital Programs, After the Fire USA
- Jeff Okrepkie, Founder, Coffey Strong
- Nancy Presser, Disaster Case Manager Coordinator, Plumas Rural Services
- Tucker Teutsch III, Executive Director, Firebrand Resiliency Collective
- Anne Whatley, Facilitator, Ventura County Long Term Disaster Recovery Group
- Lara Wheeler, Founder, Rebuilding Greenville Resource Center and Director, Indian Valley Innovation Hub
About Wallace "J" Nichols, Ph.D., best selling author of Blue Mind and the new Children's book, Dear Wild Child.
Dear Wild Child: A story inspired by a letter from a father to his daughter about wildfire, loss, and learning that we carry our homes inside us wherever we go.
Dr. Nichols helps people reestablish healthier, more creative and regenerative relationships with themselves, each other and their environment through water, wonder, wellness and wildlife.
Dr. Wallace "J" Nichols — called a “Keeper of the Sea" by GQ Magazine, “a visionary" by Outside Magazine, a "water warrior" by AQUATICS International, a "friend of the sea" by Experience Life Magazine, and "the godfather of water" by Irish Life Health and Santa Cruz Waves Magazine — is an innovative, silo-busting, entrepreneurial scientist, movement maker, renown marine biologist, voracious Earth and idea explorer, wild water advocate, bestselling author, sought after lecturer, and fun-loving Dad. He also likes turtles (a lot).
Dr. Nichols collaborates tirelessly and artfully to create the new story of water and share it with the world. This story includes the vast cognitive, emotional, psychological, social, physical, and spiritual benefits that we can all derive from healthy waters and oceans throughout our lives.
Nichols' experiences and creativity as a field research scientist, government consultant, founder and director of numerous businesses and nonprofit organizations, teacher, mentor, parent, and advisor all support his quest to build a stronger, more inclusive, innovative and diverse blue movement.
Formerly a Senior Scientist at Ocean Conservancy, Nichols holds a B.A. degree from DePauw University in Biology and Spanish, an M.E.M. degree in Natural Resource Economics and Policy from Duke University, and a Ph.D. degree in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. He received a Bradley Fellowship to study the impacts of sea level rise at Duke University Marine Lab, a Marshall Fellowship to study conservation while at the University of Arizona, and a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico marine station in Mazatlan. In 2010 he delivered the commencement address at DePauw University where he also received an honorary doctorate in science. In 2011 he was inducted as a Fellow National member of the Explorers Club. In 2014 he received the University of Arizona's Global Acheivement Award and in 2019 The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences presented him with The NOGI Award for the Enviroment, considered "the Oscar of the ocean world", the oldest and most prestigious award in the recreational diving world, recognizing individuals who have made significant career contributions to the sport, the industry and the world in the arts, sciences, environment, sports/education and through distinguished service.
"Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, is likely the world’s foremost authority on the mental-health benefits of spending time near, in, on, or under water — what the marine biologist calls a Blue Mind state." ~ Experience Life Magazine
He has authored more than 200 scientific papers, technical reports, book chapters, and popular publications; lectured in more than 30 countries and nearly all 50 states; and appeared in hundreds of print, film, radio, and television media outlets including NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, USA Today, Elle, Vogue, Fast Company, Surfer Magazine, Scientific American, and New Scientist, among many others.
His research interests span ocean and aquatic ecosystems, migratory species, marine protected areas, fisheries management, and plastic pollution with special emphasis on building new action networks and developing novel interdisciplanary solutions, sometimes involving so-called enemies. He takes a slow, collaborative approach with leaders in businesses, government, non-profits, and academia to inspire a deeper connection with nature and inventive approaches to pressing issues ranging from supplies of fresh water to improved hospice care for our aging population.
His current focus is on what he refers to as Blue Mind, a powerful new universal story of water. In this story society accurately describes all of the physical, ecological, economic, cognitive, emotional, psychological, physical, and social benefits of healthy oceans and waterways. By connecting neuroscientists and psychologists with aquatic experts and artists to ask and answer exciting new questions his work is transforming many sectors, including: health and wellness; education and parenting; arts, architecture and design; real estate and urban planning; travel and leisure; and sports and recreation.
His book Blue Mind, published in summer 2014 by Little, Brown & Company, quickly became a national bestseller and has been translated to numerous languages and inspired a wave of media and practical application.
J. knows that inspiration comes sometimes through adventures, or simply by walking and talking. Other times through writing, images, and art. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But he also knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves. At every turn he encourages people to disconnect from the grid and reconnect with themselves, those they love, and the special places they care about.
His research, expeditions, and work as a guide have taken him to coasts and waterways across North, Central and South America, to Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe where he continually finds that the emotional connection to waters of all kinds—rather than force or financial gain—is what keeps his colleagues and collaborators working hard to understand and restore our blue planet.
J. is currently Chief Evangelist for Water (CEH2O) at The Blue Mind Network, a Senior Fellow at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies' Center for the Blue Economy, a Research Associate in the Herpetology Department at California Academy of Sciences and a co-founder of Ocean Revolution, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEE Turtles, a conservation travel network, Grupo Tortuguero, an international sea turtle conservation network, the Plastic Pollution Coalition, among other projects, organizations and campaigns.
He co-mentors a motivated group of international graduate students and serves as an advisor to numerous non-profit boards and committees as part of his commitment to building a more creative, stronger, modern, and connected environmental community.
J. lives with his partner Dana, two daughters and some cats, dogs, and chickens on California's Slow Coast, a rural stretch of coastal mountains overlooking the Monterey Bay where organic strawberries rule, mountain lions roam and their motto is "In Slow We Trust". The Nichols chose to settle down in this area after trekking the entire 1,800 kilometer coast from Oregon to Mexico. "We liked it here", Nichols said. They are slowly restoring the land after the summer 2020 wildfires took their beloved home.
MODERATOR: Lorez Bailey, Publisher, The North Bay Business Journal
- Jake Valentine Bentz, Distribution Coordinator, Santiam Hospital and Clinics - Disaster Services
- Alma Bowen, Founder and Executive Director, Nuestra Comunidad
- Karym Sanchez, Executive Director, North Bay Organizing Project
About Dr. Adrienne Heinz
In addition to her private practice, Dr. Heinz is a research scientist at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the Palo Alto VA Health Care System and Stanford University School of Medicine. Within this organization, she conducts research trials to improve treatments for PTSD, disaster, and addiction, develops mobile mental health apps, and facilitates the implementation of mobile health technology into VA care nationwide. Dr. Heinz also works as a consultant advising on mental health strategy in the workplace.
She currently serves as Vice President of the Redwood Psychological Association and is striving to increase awareness of the intersection of climate change and mental health in California.
Listen to a How to Disaster Podcast with guest Dr. Heinz.
MODERATOR: Dr. Adrienne Heinz, Ph.D., Research Scientist National Center for PTSD, Palo Alto VA Healthcare System and Stanford University
- Steve Akre, Fire Chief, Sonoma Valley Fire Response Agency
- Susan Dunn, Education & Support Services Manager, NAMI Sonoma County
- Sue Farren, Founder and Executive Director, First Responders Resiliency and Paramedic (retired)
- Erin Hawkins, Vice President, Hanna Institute @ Hanna Center
- Aristotle Wolfe, Assistant Chief, California Highway Patrol, Northern Division
About Margo Robbins
Margo Robbins is the co-founder and president of the Cultural Fire Management Council (CFMC). She is one of the key planners and organizers of the Cultural Burn Training Exchange (TREX) that takes place on the Yurok Reservation twice a year.
The Training Exchange (TREX) program has been utilized across the country and throughout the world to bring together fire practitioners to learn and burn together. TREX is a unique opportunity for new and seasoned fire practitioners to share their passions and knowledge while managing natural resources with intentional use of fire. CFMC hosts a twice annual TREX in Yurok Territory focusing on sharing Yurok culture and conducting cultural burns.
She is also a co-lead and advisor for the Indigenous People’s Burn Network. Starting in 2015 with a single landscape in the combined ancestral territories of the Yurok, Hoopa and Karuk Tribes of Northern California, the IPBN has grown to include participants from multiple pueblos in New Mexico, land managers from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota, and the Klamath Tribes in Oregon. The network is also exploring connections with tribes in North Carolina, Texas and Washington.
Margo comes from the traditional Yurok village of Morek, and is an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe. She gathers and prepares traditional food and medicine, is a basket weaver and regalia maker.
She is the Indian Education Director for the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School district, a mom, and a grandma.
MODERATOR: Marko Bey, Founder and Executive Director, Lomakatsi Restoration Project
- Belinda Brown, Tribal Partnerships Director, Lomakatsi Restoration Project
- Trina Cunningham, Executive Director, Maidu Summit Consortium
- Margo Robbins, Executive Director, Cultural Fire
Wednesday, September 21
MODERATOR: Christa Lopez, Ph.D., CEM, Specialist Leader, Deloitte
- Larry Florin, CEO and President of Burbank Housing, and After the Fire USA Executive Board Member
- Heather Lagrone, Senior Deputy Director, CDR, Texas General Land Office
- Michael Morter, Principal, DiamondM Consulting and Former Wildfire Recovery Ombudsman, State of Oregon
About Maria Evans, Vice President, Community Impact, Fannie Mae
Maria leads the Community Impact team which delivers positive social and environmental outcomes for homeowners, renters, and communities by executing community-based initiatives in support of Fannie Mae’s Mission and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Strategy. Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Environmental, Social, and Governance, Maria is responsible for developing partnership opportunities with organizations that focus on historically underserved communities and supporting innovative projects with healthy, affordable housing at the center. She is also responsible for promoting climate resiliency and partnering with local leaders to support their long-term housing recovery plans following natural disasters. Additionally, Maria oversees the company’s corporate citizenship efforts and is responsible for the enterprise strategy to engage Fannie Mae’s 7,500 employees through volunteerism and employee giving programs, ensuring alignment with Fannie Mae’s key business priorities.
Previously, as Chief of Staff to the CEO, Maria was responsible for supporting the CEO’s key priorities and goals, managing the Executive Office operations, and overseeing special projects. Before joining Fannie Mae in 2010, Ms. Evans served in the Peace Corps, based in South Africa. There, she worked as a Schools and
Community Resource Volunteer with Partnership Foundation, a local non-governmental organization, designing and leading leadership and career development programs for young people.
MODERATOR: Tennis Wick, Permit Sonoma Director, County of Sonoma
- Katie Arrington, Assistant Recovery Manager, Boulder County, Colorado
- Kevin Goss, District 2 Supervisor, County of Plumas, California
- Gabe Osburn, Deputy Director of Development Services, City of Santa Rosa
- Belia Ramos, District 5 Supervisor, County of Napa, California
- Ted Zuk, CBO, Development Services Director and Building Official, Jackson County, Oregon
About Alister Watt, Chief Product Officer, IBHS
Alister Watt joined IBHS in 2018, bringing 25 years of strategy consulting and management experience across public and private sectors. Alister has worked in financial services, risk management, broadcast media, and fast-moving consumer goods.
As the Chief Product Officer, Alister leads the efforts to translate IBHS’s top-tier science into action. In addition to his enterprise-wide leadership role, Alister is responsible for several critical IBHS program areas, including FORTIFIED, media, product design, and technology.
Mr. Watt has led large and small teams across the U.S., Europe and former Soviet Bloc. In these diverse roles, Alister brought structure to problem-solving, creativity to developing solutions, and rigor to implementing change. Prior to his work at IBHS, Alister’s career has spanned independent consulting, consulting for Accenture, Coray Gurnitz Strategy Consulting and Acquisition Solutions, and project management for Mars, Inc.
A Scot by birth, Alister earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Aberdeen, and subsequent to emigrating to the U.S., he earned a Masters of Business Administration from the Tuck School at Dartmouth College.
MODERATOR: Tim Carpenter, Director of Disaster Rebuilding and Recovery, Fannie Mae
- Valerie Brown, Deputy Executive Director, United Policyholders
- Jackie Boles, Senior Director, Partner Relations, Money Management International
- Molly Mowery, AICP, Executive Director, Community Wildfire Planning Center
- Alister Watt, Chief Product Officer, IBHS
MODERATOR: Stephen McMahon, CEO of McMahon Solutions
- Trey Bearden, Chief Operations Officer, ToolBank USA
- Heather Irwin, Founder, Sonoma Family Meal
- Jon Kennedy, CEO, Rebuild Now, Inc.
- Michael Gorham, Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Team Rubicon
About Bill Dodd, CA State Senator, District 3
Elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020 to represent California’s 3rd Senate District, Sen. Bill Dodd is a fifth-generation Californian and lifelong resident of the district, where he grew up on a small family farm in Napa County. The district includes all of Napa and Solano counties and portions of Contra Costa, Sacramento, Sonoma and Yolo counties. Sen. Dodd serves as the chair of the Governmental Organization Committee and is a member of the Transportation Committee, the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and the Insurance Committee. He is co-chair of the Senate Select Committee on California’s Wine Industry and the Legislative Delta Caucus.
His work in the Senate has spanned many topics – from improving public education and the environment to data privacy and protecting seniors. He is one of the Legislature's most prolific legislators, authoring 80 bills that were signed into law in the last 8 years. As a senator representing wildfire-torn Napa and Sonoma counties, he co-chaired the 2018 conference committee on wildfire safety and prevention and authored numerous bills that were signed into law to protect Californians from future infernos and accompanying utility rate hikes.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Sen. Dodd represented the 4th Assembly District. In the Assembly, he worked to help small businesses, protect the environment, and support seniors and working families. He advanced a balanced, sustainable budget that invests in our education system from preschool through higher education. He helped establish the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, promote career technical education, and create the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument – preserving over 330,000 acres of the California Coast Ranges in Napa, Yolo, Solano, Lake, Colusa, Glenn and Mendocino counties.
Before the Assembly, Sen. Dodd served on the Napa County Board of Supervisors for 14 years. His accomplishments include the completion of Napa’s flood control project, which protects thousands of properties from flooding, restored 900 acres of environmental wetlands and produced $1 billion of investment in local businesses.
Prior to his time in elected office, Sen. Dodd was a successful small business owner. He owned and operated one of the largest full-service Culligan Water operations in California, and served as president of the water quality industry’s state and national trade associations. Sen. Dodd is a graduate of California State University, Chico.
Sen. Dodd and his wife Mary live in Napa and have five grown children and 12 grandchildren. The Napa Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized the Dodds' philanthropic efforts by awarding Sen. Dodd its 2014 “Citizen of the Year” for raising over $3 million for local charities.
MODERATOR: Jim White, Executive Director, Nonprofit Association of Oregon
- Megan Barber Allende, Chief Executive Officer, Community Foundation of Mendocino County
- Tatiana Hernandez, CEO, Community Foundation of Boulder
- Gabriela Orantes, Just Recovery Partnership Manager, Latino Community Foundation
- Alena Wall, Public Affairs Director, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Santa Rosa Service Area
- Jake Weir, Disaster Recovery Specialist, Good 360
LOCATION: Sebastiani Theater, 476 1st St E, Sonoma, CA 95476
6:00-7:00 PM Before the film, please join us for a wine reception featuring wines from Obsidian Wine Company, one of our event sponsors.
7:00-9:30 PM Screening with Q and A after the film with
Free for Summit attendees. Wildfire Leadership Summit registered attendees will be admitted to the screening with their conference badge.
Additional tickets available for a donation. All others may purchase tickets online or at the door for $15, which includes the wine reception and post film discussion. Proceeds will benefit The North Bay Forest Improvement Project.
As the Eagle Creek Fire burned in 2018, Portland filmmakers Trip Jennings, Sara Quinn, and Ralph Bloemers took to the air and the ground to help the community make sense of the fire. Their work led to a deep investigation of wildfire in a hotter, drier, more crowded world, and includes the 2020 wildfires that burned across one million acres and destroyed numerous communities.
Five years in the making, Elemental is the product of their journey across the United States and into fire affected communities. Produced and edited in Portland, Narrated by David Oyelowo (Emmy & Golden Globe Nominee), supported by National Geographic and Patagonia
After the screening, stay for a Q&A with filmmaker Ralph Bloemers, cultural fire practitioner Margo Robbins and wildlife Biologist Maya Khosla, who will be ready to take your questions on home hardening, cultural fire, community safety, and more.
Thursday, September 22
Mike Thompson represents California's 5th Congressional District. The district includes all of Napa and parts of Contra Costa, Lake, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He was first elected in 1998. Prior to serving in Congress, Thompson represented California's 2nd District in the California State Senate, where he chaired the powerful Budget Committee.
Thompson is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means and serves as Chairman of the Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee and as a senior member of the Health Subcommittee.
Thompson is the co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Wine Caucus, which consists of over 215 U.S. Senators and Representatives. He is a member and was twice co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. He is also a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, which is composed of Democrats committed to bipartisan problem solving and fiscal responsibility.
In 1990, Thompson was the first Vietnam veteran elected to the California State Senate. He served in combat with the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant/platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart. He was also an instructor at the Army's Airborne School.
Thompson is recognized in Congress and throughout his district as a strong leader for Democratic principles who has built a solid reputation for bipartisan problem solving.
Thompson’s number one priority in Congress is to create jobs and grow our economy. He has co-authored numerous pieces of legislation to improve our nation’s infrastructure, boost our renewable energy economy, and better our education system.
As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Military Veterans Caucus, he led the effort to improve treatment options for service members suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. He has authored bills to help veterans find work as they make the transition back to civilian life. And, as someone who went to college on the GI Bill himself, he helped lead the effort in Congress to pass the 21st Century GI Bill.
With a national debt of more than $30 trillion, Thompson is working on a balanced approach to get our fiscal house in order that includes creating jobs, cutting spending, asking everyone to pay their fair share, and requiring Congress to pay for the bills it passes.
In the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Thompson was named Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Thompson is a hunter, gun owner and strong supporter of the Second Amendment. He also believes that Congress should do more to reduce gun violence. In February of 2013, Thompson’s task force released a comprehensive set of policy principles that will reduce gun violence and respect the Second Amendment, including expanding the criminal background check system to all commercial firearm sales.
Thompson is the husband of a family nurse practitioner. He knows firsthand of the challenges that exist in our health care system. That is why he voted to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and is working to build on the reforms made in the ACA to further improve everyone’s access to affordable, quality health care.
As an avid outdoorsman, Thompson is committed to preserving our district’s beautiful lands. Thompson was awarded the Sierra Club’s Edgar Wayburn Award for passing legislation that permanently protects 273,000 acres of wilderness in Northern California. The award is given in recognition of service to the environment by a person in government. Thompson was joined by other Sierra Club award winners, including former Vice President Al Gore and author and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
Thompson is the co-author of comprehensive immigration reform. He also has worked to ensure equal rights for same sex couples, and has co-authored legislation that gives state and local law enforcement the tools to prosecute hate crimes based on sexual orientation. As a combat veteran, Thompson worked to end the discriminatory policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Thompson is a small vineyard owner and was the maintenance supervisor for the Beringer Winery. He has taught Public Administration and State Government at San Francisco State University and California State University, Chico. He received his Master’s of Public Administration from California State University, Chico.
He is married to Janet Thompson. They have two sons, a firefighter and a deputy sheriff, and three wonderful granddaughters.
MODERATOR: Luke Beckman, Division Disaster State Relations Director, American Red Cross
- Matt Lawyer, Policy Analyst, Marion County, Oregon, Board of County Commissioners
- Sidra Goldwater, Advisor, Disaster Recovery and Rebuilding, Fannie Mae
- Seana O'Shaughnessy, President and CEO, Community Housing Improvement Program
- Louie Delaware, Founder and President, Living in Place Institute
MODERATOR: Richard Seline, Co-founder, Resilience Innovation Hub
- Ken Calligar, CEO, RSG 3-D
- Mike Francis, CEO and Co-founder, NanoTech
- Paul McCarren, President and CEO, Grid Sentry
- Bungane Mehlomakulu, Head of Building Science and Building Performance, ICON Build
MODERATOR: Chisato Fukuda-Calvert, Ph.D., Strategic Partnership Director, Sinai Technologies
- Chris Godley, Director of Emergency Management, County of Sonoma
- Gil Gonzalez, Co-founder, Subcity.com
- Dominic Traina, Field Sales Engineering, Power Products Division, ASCO Power Technologies
- Jamie Swezey, Program Manager, Footprint Project
- John Clarke Mills, CEO, Watch Duty
About Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary for Forest and Wildland Resilience
Jessica Morse joined the California Natural Resources Agency in April 2019. As the Deputy Secretary for Forest and Wildland Resilience, she is working to increase the pace and scale of science-based forest management to restore healthy forests, improve watershed health, protect California's unique ecosystems and make Californians wildfire resilient. Before joining Governor Newsom's administration, Jessica spent nearly ten years in National Security working for the Defense Department, State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Her assignments included a year and a half in Iraq and tours in India, Myanmar, and US Pacific Command. In 2018, Morse ran for U.S. Congress in California's 4th Congressional District in the Sierra Nevada region. Jessica is a fifth generation Northern Californian. She and her family still own and manage their original homestead forestland in the Sierra foothills. An avid backpacker, Jessica has hiked over 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Jessica holds a Masters of Public Affairs from Princeton University and a Bachelor of Arts in economics
MODERATOR: Lisa Micheli, Ph.D., President and CEO, Pepperwood Preserve
- Marko Bey, Founder and Executive Director, Lomakatsi Restoration Project
- Che Casul, CEO, Circuit Rider Community Services
- Jessica Morse, Deputy Secretary for Forest and Wildland Resilience for the CA Natural Resources Agency
- Molly Curley O'Brien, Director of Grants and Government Programs, After the Fire USA
About Jennifer Gray Thompson, CEO, After the Fire USA
Jennifer Gray Thompson is a lifelong resident of Sonoma Valley in Northern California. She attended Santa Rosa Junior College and graduated from Dominican University in 2001 with degrees in English and History. After teaching high school for 10 years, Jennifer went on to earn a master’s degree in Public Administration from University of Southern California’s Price School of Public Policy. Postgraduate school, Jennifer worked for the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. After the devastating fires in the North Bay of San Francisco in October 2017, she accepted a position as Executive Director of the newly formed 501c3 nonprofit Rebuild NorthBay Foundation (RNBF), an organization dedicated to helping the region rebuild better, greener, safer, and faster. In summer of 2021, RNBF created After the Fire USA in response to the prevalence of massive megafires in response to climate change and wildland imbalances. Our tagline remains “Recover. Rebuild. Reimagine.”
As CEO of this evolutionary organization, Jennifer expanded her commitment to help communities navigate the aftermath of wildfires not only for the short term, but also for the longterm slog that is rebuilding post-disaster. Jennifer and her team are committed to equitable and resilient recoveries for every community, regardless of their ability to pay. ATF USA does not charge communities for their services and primarily acts as a support for locally led and designed recoveries. ATF USA has a thriving resiliency program called “Before the Fire” that is the lead agency for nearly $10M is state and federal grants for wildlands fuel mitigation programs. The mission of After the Fire USA is to help communities across the American West navigate wildfire disasters and build resiliency before the fire. Jennifer is nationally recognized as a leader in the space of wildfire and has presented at several national conferences on the issue by invitation of the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, HAC, Fannie Mae, Brownsfield, Smart Cities, FEMA, and many more. She is cofounder of CANVAS, an association of professional leaders in disaster working together to “listen locally, act regionally, reform nationally.” Jennifer is the creator and host of the “How to Disaster” podcast, which highlights proven and effective leaders with great ideas in the space of disaster. She is on the board of directors of La Luz Center, a nonprofit serving primarily the Latino community in Sonoma Valley.
MODERATOR: Jennifer Gray Thompson, CEO, After the Fire USA
- Jen Goodlin, Executive Director, Rebuild Paradise Foundation
- Bailey Farren, CEO, Perimeter
- Matt Weiner, CEO and Co-founder, United States Megafire Response
- Tanni Swisher, Program Director, Santiam Disaster Services