Diversity within Emergency Management: A Discussion with the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management

Episode #6

Diversity in America has become the leading headline in recent weeks due to events around the country. How diversified is emergency management – and how does that impact treatment and distribution of resources? In this podcast we are joined by representatives from the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management for a candid discussion on equality within our industry. In addition, Tidal Basin CEO Dan Craig will conclude the discussion with a special announcement about a new diversity scholarship opportunity.

The Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management was founded after cofounders Chauncia Willis and others experienced varying levels of racism, bias, and inequality within the emergency management sector. Personal bias can impact how emergency management programs are implemented at the local level, especially for underserved areas. The organization aims to increase community resilience, especially for underserved communities, through diversity and inclusion for equity in emergency management. Tidal Basin CEO Daniel Craig demonstrated a commitment to I-DIEM’s mission with the announcement of a new student scholarship program supported by a donation of $5,000 each from Tidal Basin and from Mr. Craig.

Tidal Basin’s donation will be supporting a new student scholarship program named in recognition of Lt. General Julius W. Becton, Jr., the first minority to serve as FEMA Director from 1985 to 1989. The Julius W. Becton-IDIEM Student Scholarship Fund will support diverse students in the field of emergency management.

Key Takeaways

  • [00:36] Introduction of guests Chauncia Willis and Ellis Stanley
  • [01:45] As we get started, let’s talk about the background of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management. What was the catalyst that started the organization?
  • [04:50] From an implementation standpoint in emergency management, why is diversity so important when you are trying to manage a program at the local or regional level?
  • [09:00] Both of you have experience working in both the public sector and private sector – is there a difference from one or the other when we look at the need for diversity in emergency management?
  • [11:06] Chauncia, you were about to tell us about an unpleasant experience while working in the private sector.
  • [14:12] As we look forward, where do you think we need to go next? What needs to happen from a short-term perspective and further down the road?
  • [16:05] Daniel Craig joins us now with a special announcement to recognize the hard work of our guests with the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management.
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Chauncia Willis
CEO and Cofounder
The Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management (I-DIEM)

Chauncia Willis is the Cofounder and CEO of the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management (I-DIEM).

Before cofounding I-DIEM, Chauncia Willis served as a professional emergency manager for over 20 years within local, state, federal and private sector organizations. Chauncia is a Certified Emergency Manager, Master Exercise Practitioner and Certified Professional Coach, and serves as the immediate past-President of the International Association of Emergency Managers, Region 4.  

Ms. Willis has a diverse background in disaster management and has overseen the response and recovery efforts for catastrophic hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, disease outbreaks, and civil disturbances. Additionally, Chauncia is an expert in large-scale event planning and has coordinated consequence management and homeland security activities for large-scale national and international events to include the Tampa Bay Super Bowl XLIII, the Republican National Convention, the International Indian Film Festival (Bollywood Oscars), the NCAA National Football Championships and the Women’s Final Four Championships.

Chauncia Willis grew up near the beautiful beaches of St. Petersburg, Florida. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola University New Orleans. She studied government and policy at the Georgia State University Andrew Young School of Policy Studies where she earned a Master of Public Administration degree. Her interests include the psychology of disaster trauma, vulnerable community resilience planning, gender and racial bias in disaster response, and the impacts of social inequities pre-and post-disaster. Ms. Willis is a graduate of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching and the FEMA Emergency Management Executive Academy, Cohort II.


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Ellis Stanley
Managing Partner
Ellis Stanley Partners, LLC

Ellis M. Stanley, Sr., is considered a luminary in Emergency Management. Mr. Stanley has been an influential voice of encouragement for many women and people of color interested in joining the field of Emergency Management. Mr. Stanley serves as Managing Partner of Ellis Stanley Partners, LLC. He has more than 40 years of emergency management experience. Formerly Executive Vice President at Hammerman & Gainer International, Inc. (HGI) responsible for disaster and emergency management services, as well as Vice President for Emergency Management Services at Dewberry LLC. He has also served as General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Emergency Preparedness Department.

Mr. Stanley graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1973 with a Political Science degree. He is also a graduate of the Executive Leadership Program for Senior Homeland Security Officials for the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, and graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. He was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in 2009, elected a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration in 2007, and inducted into Contingency Planning and Management Hall of Fame’s Public Servant in 2005. He is a member of National Academy of Sciences’ Resilient America Roundtable and Vice Chair of the Bill Anderson Fund Board of Directors.

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Daniel Craig
Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer

Daniel Craig is the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Tidal Basin and Adjusters International. He has extensive experience in the disaster consulting and post-disaster recovery industries. Prior to joining the Adjusters International team, Dan served as the President and CEO of Tidal Basin Group. He worked tirelessly with state and local governments and not-for-profits, helping them meet their recovery needs by providing experienced disaster recovery staff and proven grant management processes.

Dan also served as Director of the Recovery Division for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. He was appointed by President Bush in 2003 and was responsible for overseeing the Federal Government’s recovery efforts on all presidentially-declared events including the Space Shuttle Columbia crash, the wildfires of 2003 and the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.

Before becoming the Director of the Recovery Division at FEMA, Dan was the Regional Director for the New England area (Region I), where he was responsible for all FEMA mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, and training activities in the six New England state region. He was also Executive Director of the Eastern Regional Office at the United States Chamber of Commerce and a Legislative Representative and Grassroots Specialist for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. There he handled issues of federal emergencies, transportation, technology, privacy, and energy.

Earlier in his career, Dan worked as a campaign advisor, political fundraiser and research analyst for Congressional candidates, including Rep. Steve Buyer of Indiana, Rep. Vito Fossella of New York and Governor Bob Riley of Alabama.

  • Recipient of the Chairman’s Award for Leadership – May 2003

Dan has been featured as an expert panelist on Adjusters International’s Property Insurance Roundtable podcast in the episode titled, “Disaster Recovery Planning.”