DRI Leadership Perspectives: Chloe Demrovsky at the Caribbean-Central American Action Workshop
By Chloe Demrovsky
President and CEO, DRI International
We all know how hard the 2017 hurricane season hit the Caribbean. We will not soon forget the devastation caused by a series of storms that just would not quit. And while it is hard to believe — and harder still to face — the 2018 hurricane season is upon us. Our communities need to be thinking hard about the lessons learned from last year and focus on building resilience while still in recovery mode. Last week, I was called to Kingstown in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to discuss preparedness with a group of leaders from the public and private sectors about what they are worried about as they work on their plans.
Saint Vincent is a beautiful southern Caribbean nation comprising a chain of islands known as the Grenadines. The mainland island, Saint Vincent, is blessed with an abundance of fertile soil. It would be hard for a person to go hungry on this island where just about everything is edible. But of course, the reason for the rich soil is the active volcano on the northern side, La Soufrière. So while we were ostensibly gathered to talk hurricanes, our discussion ended up comprising a variety of hazards and the necessity of creating a national plan that is focused on dealing with effects rather than merely identifying the myriad potential causes of disasters.
As part of our outreach efforts, DRI is a member of Caribbean-Central American Action (CCAA) and I was honored to present as a part of its 2018 Disaster Management Workshop Series. The series is co-hosted by CCAA and Tropical Shipping alongside collaborating partners from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), and in collaboration with the national disaster management organizations, as well as with community-based private sector organizations, in each destination. This year’s theme is “Building a Culture of Preparedness — When Seconds Count”.
My presentation was entitled “Community and Business – Threats & Response Mechanisms”. I discussed what makes a system resilient and how both public and private organizations can apply them to minimize disruption and most importantly, to care for their people. We discussed the value of using the Professional Practices as a framework for drafting a plan and how the process of planning will result in greater resilience. I enjoyed our discussions both during the presentations and then later in the breakout planning groups. I look forward to staying in touch with this group of professionals and seeing how their plans will be implemented in Saint Vincent.
Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) has been promoting private sector-led economic development in the Caribbean Basin since 1980. The organization serves its goal of facilitating trade and investment by fostering constructive dialogue between the private and public sectors to improve the policy and regulatory environments for business at the local, regional, and international levels. The organization’s programs focus on regional issues such as energy security, trade facilitation, transportation, financial services, disaster mitigation, and information technology. CCAA is a non-profit, non-governmental charitable organization.