Leadership Sarpy (sarpychamber.org/leadership-sarpy) participants got to ask a panel of experts several important questions on public communication in a crisis. The panel included Annette Eyman, director of communications Papillion La Vista Community Schools; Jeff Calentine, deputy director of public works, City of La Vista; Matt Hardebeck, director, innovation and continuous improvement, Omaha Public Power District; and Captain Jeremy Kinsey, City of La Vista Police Department.

All of these speakers shared valuable insight from their own experiences as well as unique insight into the numerous times their organizations needed to coordinate and collaborate.

The group also heard from Captain Kevin Griger with the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department.

Griger outlined the tragic events surrounding an active shooter situation in Colorado in 2006 that lead to the creation of I Love You Guys Foundation, an organization that dedicated its efforts to creating an effective plan for schools in a crisis situation. The result was the Standard Response Protocol (SRP), a unified plan for the four school districts in Sarpy County.

Griger has worked to adapt this plan to businesses and gave an overview of how it works. The Sarpy Sheriff’s Department will work with businesses in the county to teach SRP and help businesses implement it. The session was impactful and eyeopening for many Leadership Sarpy participants.

Earlier in the day, participants were given the opportunity to test their own skills and knowledge through a crisis simulation. They were tasked with making hard decisions in hard situations while also trying to communicate internally as an organization and externally to the public.

Crisis management is a critical organizational function for a business and it encompasses more than just violence. It should also account for weather, fire, injury or illness. Failure can result in serious harm to employees and stakeholders, losses for an organization, or even end its very existence. This is why the topic of crisis management is an integral part of Leadership Sarpy, a program that develops people personally and professionally for leadership positions not only in their place of work, but in the community as a whole. Applications for the next Leadership Sarpy class will be open soon so check sarpychamber.org/leadership-sarpy for all the latest.