Keynote Speakers 2021

Keynote Speaker

Innovating Through Disruption

We are excited to have two incredible Keynote Speakers committed to the 2021 Emergency Management Stakeholder Summit (March 23 and 24, 2021). 

Chris Clearfield and Sue Henry, two of the leading experts in their fields, will be delivering presentations related to the conference theme for 2021: Innovating Through Disruption.

Ryan Jespersen will return to the conference as Master of Ceremonies. 

Additionally, plenary speakers David Cory, Scott Roberts and Greg Solecki will be presenting on emotional intelligence.  Dr. Jody Carrington will  provide her expertise on building strength through authentic connection.

Learn more about our Keynote Speakers Chris Clearfield and Sue Henry below. More information is also available about Ryan Jespersen, our Master of Ceremonies.

Gain knowledge and expertise on how to innovate through disruptions by registering for the Summit.

Chris Clearfield

Chris Clearfield

Presentation Title: The Simplicity of Complexity How Great Organizations Pivot, Disrupt, and Win

How many things need to go right for your project to succeed?

As soon as that question needs asking, you’ve got a complex system on your hands, says Meltdown co-author Chris Clearfield. In this gripping talk drawn from his National Business Book Award-winning title, Clearfield shows that as our technology, organizations, and ambitions have grown, there is more potential for catastrophic failure. 

Practical and proactive, Clearfield initiates audiences into the pivotal principles of transparency and simplicity—and how you can endow your professional systems with them. Keeping it simple (but not stupid) means finding ways to make your complex system more legible and accessible. Keeping it transparent is up to leaders, managers, and organizers: to leave a clear path to open conversation, and highlight future failures before they arise.

You will leave this talk with a set of logical and surmountable principles, pivoting you safely towards success.

Chris Clearfield Biography

Bio: Chris Clearfield is co-author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It—a frank, convincing guidebook to understanding how modern systems are vulnerable to collapse, and how we can learn to avoid disasters before they happen. The book explains the central paradox of progress: that as our systems become more capable, they also become increasingly complex—and much less forgiving.

Today, as actors within a web of dizzyingly complex networks—healthcare to travel, high finance to geopolitics, social media to our personal, domestic troubles—we are more likely to make errors. But these errors can, and will, lead to tremendous disasters, from bankruptcy and economic collapse to loss of life. Meltdown, written with András Tilcsik, shows us why our systems fail, explains the shared DNA connecting them all, and with great clarity, outlines solutions we can use to prevent failures from occurring. Meltdown won the McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize for best business proposal by an author or authors under 35, and after publication, was named a Best Book of the Year by the Financial Times. Called one “one of the stand-out business books of the decade” by Thinkers50 founders Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove—who awarded Clearfield and Tilcsik the prestigious Thinkers50 Strategy Award—Meltdown also took home the National Business Book Award.

Clearfield began his career as a derivatives trader at Jane Street, a New York-based quantitative trading firm, where he managed the risks that arise when people try to use extremely fast computers to make money. During the 2007–2008 financial crisis, he watched from his trading desk as Lehman Brothers collapsed and stock markets around the world unraveled. At the same time, he began to train as a pilot—and developed a very personal interest in avoiding catastrophic mistakes. He is the founder of System Logic, a research and consulting firm that helps organizations manage the risk of catastrophic failure. He also worked in Tokyo and Hong Kong, where he developed an appreciation for cultural influences on decision making. He has written about catastrophic failure, technology, and finance for The GuardianForbesProject Syndicate, the Harvard Kennedy School Review, the popular science magazine Nautilus, the Harvard Business Review blog, and in a memo to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Clearfield is a licensed commercial pilot and a graduate of Harvard University, where he studied physics and biology. Before that, he spent two years at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, where he and two classmates, working with their physics teacher, discovered a long-searched-for pulsar in the remnants of an exploded star.

Sue Henry

Sue Henry

Presentation Title: Innovation & Adaptation Through COVID-19 and Beyond

The scale, scope, and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged many assumptions of emergency management and changed the operating landscape for emergency managers dramatically.

Highlighting the experiences of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency’s (CEMA) response to COVID-19, this session will provide insight into the lessons learned throughout 2020-2021.

Chief Henry will discuss the strategic positioning and attitudes required to enable rapid adaptation to highly volatile and complex situations, drawing from her experiences with COVID-19 and other disasters.

Additionally, the presentation will provide recommendations and ideas for Emergency Managers to implement both before and during disaster situations.

Sue Henry Biography

Bio: Susan Henry was appointed Chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) in 2020 and has been with The City since 2001.

Susan was the Deputy Chief of CEMA from 2015-2020, where she was second-in-command. She was responsible for disaster risk reduction, community education and outreach and business continuity. She also provided leadership to Canada Task Force 2, an all-hazards disaster response team, into one of the leading six heavy urban search and rescue teams in Canada. In addition to creating national and international relationships, Henry was also responsible for the management, training, development and deployment of over 150 highly skilled volunteers.

Henry has played key leadership roles in the 2013 Southern Alberta floods, wildfires in Chuckegg Creek, Fort McMurray and Slave Lake, the flooding in St. John, and supporting The City’s response to COVID-19.

Prior to her tenure in CEMA, Henry was a firefighter with the Calgary Fire Department, rising to the rank of Assistant Deputy Chief.

Henry holds a Masters of Science in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University, is a Certified Emergency Manager with the International Association of Emergency Management, received the Medal of Honour for her role in the 2011 Slave Lake wildfires, and is a past winner of the Emergency Management Exemplary Service Award from Public Safety Canada.

Henry was born and raised in Calgary, has a passion for long-distance running and is an adventure traveler.

Ryan Jespersen

Ryan Jespersen

Master of Ceremonies

Ryan Jespersen talks news, politics, and pop culture as the host of Real Talk, Canada's most-listened-to daily podcast.

Ryan Jespersen Biography

Ryan Jespersen's show, Real Talk, streams live weekday mornings at

You may recognize Ryan as the in-game host for all Edmonton Oilers home games at Rogers Place. He's a proud alumnus of Avenue Magazine's inaugural list of Edmonton's Top 40 Under 40, and Venture Magazine's list of Alberta's 50 Most Influential People.

You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram @ryanjespersen.

Mar. 23, 2021 – Mar. 24 Event

2021 Emergency Management Stakeholder Summit

NAIT’s Centre for Applied Disaster and Emergency Management is proud to host the 2021 Emergency Management Stakeholder Summit.

  • 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM
  • Virtual

Our Sponsors

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Plenary Speakers 2021

View the Plenary Speakers for CADEM and NAIT's 2021 Emergency Management Stakeholder Summit (EMSS).