Laura Olson has 17 years of experience leading disaster recovery, hazard mitigation, climate adaptation and resilience initiatives. She has responded to hurricanes, oil spills, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, and floods. She currently works with the United Nations Development Program’s Climate Change & Disaster Risk Reduction Team and with the Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN). Her work reflects a commitment to the cultural values of stakeholders and the delivery of effective disaster programs and services. Laura is Associate Faculty at Royal Roads University School of Humanitarian Affairs & Georgetown University’s Emergency & Disaster Management program. She is a Senior Fellow with Virginia Tech’s Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience, a Research Associate with Jacksonville State University’s Disaster and Community Resilience Center. She has a Ph.D. in Public Administration from The George Washington University.
Katherine E. Browne, PhD, is Professor of Anthropology at Colorado State University. Her disaster research examines how social history, cultural identities, and a sense of agency shape trajectories of collective resilience to adversity. She identifies practices of outside institutions that are misaligned with local needs and strengths and has promoted the use of culture brokers to address these cultural gaps. Her general-audience books, films, and articles suggest that a paradigm nudge is needed to integrate local knowledge into practices of mitigation and recovery in order to reduce risk, increase preparedness, and improve resilience. In 2016, she co-founded the Culture and Disaster Action Network (CADAN) as an academic/practitioner collaboration. In 2018, the American Anthropological Association named Browne recipient of its highest honor, the Franz Boas Award.
William Forstchen is the New York Times bestselling author of the One Second After series. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Purdue University, with specializations in military history and the history of technology. He has made numerous appearances on Fox News, ABC, CBS and NBC as a recognized expert on Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) and CPE events, with specializations in military history and the history of technology—he has written a valid and realistic account that expertly paints a picture of humanity’s reaction to a cataclysmic event. He is an in-demand speaker for audiences such as NASA and STRATCOM. He is currently a faculty fellow and professor of history at Montreat College, near Asheville, North Carolina.
John Evans joined Front Sight Protection with 20 years of experience in
security, intelligence, counterintelligence, crisis management, critical
infrastructure protection and executive protection for high profile clients.
After retiring from the U.S. Government, Mr. Evans worked in the private
sector as Manager for the Global Risk Intelligence Center at G4S and as the Strategic Intelligence Manager at Pinkerton’s Global Risk Group. In these roles he was responsible for all intelligence related operations and
assessments as well as security/crisis management for operations globally.
Prior to working in the private sector, Mr. Evans spent years with the U.S.
government managing several national operations centers and managing
operations both domestic and internationally. In these different positions, Mr. Evans also managed and led Special Events that included the Olympics, Pan American Games, Political Conventions, International Summits, Presidential funerals and more.
Throughout his career, Mr. Evans has managed activities on six continents and produced intelligence assessments that captured threats at least a year prior to an actual attack occurring.
Sofia Cardante joined Front Sight Protection as a Risk Manager after 15
years of security experience with G4S. Mrs. Cardante was part of G4S
Corporate Risk Services as Supervisor for the Global Risk Intelligence Center (GRIC).
In her latest role with G4S, Mrs. Cardante was responsible for ensuring that different operations, such as Executive Protection Assignments, Undercover Investigations, WPV and/or Hostile Terminations, Reduction in Force, were staffed globally. Furthermore, Mrs. Cardante produced all Daily Intel Reports, Due Diligence Reports, Travel Risk Assessments, Social Media Assessments, and others. Unlike traditional operations centers, as the GRIC Supervisor Mrs. Cardante managed the hotline services for clients that were utilizing the center as their hotline provider for allegations ranging from whistle-blower activities to medical evacuations.
At Front Sight Protection, Mrs. Cardante is responsible for assessing risk
related to overseas travel as well as monitoring ongoing international
developments for risk mitigation, preparedness and/or immediate response to recovery. As such Mrs. Cardante played a key role in coordinating communications on global risk and safety as well as collaboration with incountry resources, government contacts and emergency response offices.
Shaun is an award-winning journalist who has worked for the BBC and United Press International. In the past five years, Shaun has launched two of the best-respected and most widely read DC daily cybersecurity newsletters — POLITICO Pro's Morning Cybersecurity and Scoop News Group's CyberScoop.
Shaun became UPI's Homeland and National Security Editor shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, covering the Department of Homeland Security from its standup in 2003. His reporting on DHS and counter-terrorism policy earned him two (2005, 2011) "Dateline Washington" awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, and a senior fellowship at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.
In 2009-10 Shaun produced a major report on cybersecurity for critical infrastructure at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading Washington think tank.
From 2010-2013, he wrote about intelligence, foreign affairs and cybersecurity as a staff reporter for The Washington Times.
Shaun, who is British, has a master’s degree in social and political sciences from King’s College, Cambridge. He is married and lives in Washington, DC with his wife and three American sons, Miles, Harry and Peter.
Ajit Maan, Ph.D. writes the Narrative & National Security column for Homeland Security Today featuring her original work and work by guest experts in narrative strategy focused on identifying active narratives, who is behind them, and what strategies they are deploying to manipulate and muddy facts to the detriment of America. She is founder and CEO of the award-winning think-and-do-tank, Narrative Strategies LLC, Adjunct Professor at Joint Special Operations University, Professor of Politics and Global Security, Faculty at the Center for the Future of War, and member of the Brain Trust of the Weaponized Narrative Initiative at Arizona State University. She is also author of seven books including Internarrative Identity: Placing the Self, Counter-Terrorism: Narrative Strategies, Narrative Warfare, and Plato’s Fear. Maan's breakthrough theory of internarrative identity came in 1997; she published a book by the same name in 1999 which was released in its second edition in 2010 (with the addition of the subtitle Placing the Self). Internarrative identity deals with one’s sense of identity as expressed in personal narrative, connecting the formation of identity with one assigns meaning to one’s life experiences. Maan’s theories are influenced by Paul Ricoeur’s writings in narrative identity theory, and she cites several of his works in her book (Maan, Internarrative Identity: Placing the Self 90). The connection between the interpretation of personal narrative in relation to the larger social group seems to be a key factor in the work of both Maan and Ricoeur. She states that “Following Ricoeur, I’ve argued that who one is and what one will do will be determined by the story one sees oneself as a part of. Going further than Ricoeur, I have suggested that a genuinely imaginative theory of narrative identity would be inclusive of alternatively structured narratives” (Maan, Internarrative Identity: Placing the Self 71-72). This seems to indicate that Maan believes that identity influences behavior, but she also recognizes that one can be constrained by society to accept a self-narrative that fits within existing cultural norms. After establishing herself through her work on Internarrative Identity, Maan has now turned her attention to the analysis of narrative as a means of understanding (and combating) terrorist recruitment tactics. Her 2014 book, Counter-Terrorism: Narrative Strategies, examines the scripts perpetuated by a wide range of terrorist organizations while also making important interdisciplinary connections between studies in the humanities and current world events (a workbook companion to the text was published in 2018). She collaborated with the late Brigadier General Amar Cheema on the edited volume titled Soft Power on Hard Problems: Strategic Influence in Irregular Warfare, published in 2016. Maan's 2018 book, titled Narrative Warfare, is a collection of articles examining the topic of
weaponized narrative; her 2020 book, Plato's Fear, examines the relationship between narrative and power. Her work was the focus of Representations of Internarrative Identity, a 2014 multi-authored scholarly monograph dedicated to the exploration of Internarrative Identity through diverse fields of study and from international perspectives. In addition to her contributions to academia, Maan has been active in sharing her knowledge with a wider audience thereby uniting military and academic experts in the cause of eradicating violent extremism around the world.
Anthony Robbins is Vice President, North America Public Sector, NVIDIA. In his role he works with the US Federal Government, State and Local Governments, Higher Education and Research Universities in service to their enterprise goals, and ushering in the era of Artificial Intelligence across Public Sector. Robbins has more than 30 years of industry experience providing IT solutions for our nation’s warfighters and citizens, which includes delivering more than $15B in revenue.
Prior to NVIDIA, he was Vice President, Global Defense, AT&T Business Solutions – Global Public Sector where he was responsible for delivering integrated solutions that drive innovation, modernize networks, provide advanced cyber capabilities and mobilize the warfighter. Before joining AT&T, Robbins was Vice President of Federal at Brocade where he led sales, engineering and the partner ecosystem that support defense, civilian and intelligence agencies as well as systems integrators. Previously, Robbins held numerous leadership positions including Senior Vice President of North America Public Sector at Oracle; Vice President, Federal at Sun Microsystems, Inc.; and Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and President of SGI Federal at Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI).
WashExec named Robbins one of the Top 25 2019 Executives to watch. AFCEA International presented him with the 2018 Leadership Award. Executive Mosaic recognized Robbins for his work in artificial intelligence and network modernization vision by inducting him into the 2019 and 2016 Wash 100. In 2018 and 2015, he was selected as a FedScoop 50 Industry Leadership Award Winner. Robbins was also recognized as a Federal 100 Award Winner in 2013. Currently, he sits on both the AFCEA-DC and USO Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore Board of Directors. He’s the Executive Vice President of the AFCEA-DC Chapter and has been the Chairperson of their annual signature event – the Winter Gala – which has generated more than $500,000 to local communities for STEM under his leadership.
Robbins has a B.S. from Jacksonville State University in Alabama. In 1998, he was awarded the JSU Alumnus of the Year.