Navigating the Unthinkable: A Holistic Approach to Mitigating Risk and Responding to Event Threats

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In an era where preparedness is paramount, event professionals must have mitigation and response plans in place for all hazards – whether they are human-caused, natural or technological.  

Join renowned experts in security risk management, workplace violence reduction, and critical incident response, for a compelling session that will delve into the multifaceted landscape of risk mitigation and active threat response. You’ll be equipped and empowered with valuable insights from event case studies, practical tools, and a holistic approach to risk mitigation and active threat response, enabling you to safeguard your events and attendees. 

This session was recorded Live at Convening Leaders 2024

Learning Objectives:

• Identify event vulnerabilities and assess their strategic impact to create a holistic risk management and response plan with your team.

• Apply strategies to successfully overcome potential system failures between critical business & event related security functions when a violence act occurs.

• Examine the complexities of how to respond to and recover from a significant crisis to enhance your decision-making and response mechanisms during active threats.

Course Information

CMP Credit Hours:

Course Domains:

Kate Colberg

Kate Colberg started her career with the United States State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) where she covered the region of South and Central Asia. Since leaving government service, Kate embarked on a 20+ year career in risk and crisis management which has included:

  • Case management on dozens of kidnap for ransom, piracy, extortion, and unlawful detention cases
  • Coordination and management of evacuations for multinational corporations
  • Development and delivery of international travel safety and security training specifically designed for female travelers
  • Physical site security assessments for multinational corporations & government clients
  • Numerous security-focused speaking engagements including keynote speaker for the National Women in Business Aviation Conference

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John Gainer

Mr. Gainer is a Vice President and risk management leader for TorchStone, providing expert advice, strategic solutions, and professional training services with an emphasis on security assessments, crisis management planning, critical incident response, and workplace violence reduction.

John is an elite instructor with over 30 years of experience demonstrating thought leadership, directing cross-functional teams, and orchestrating tactical operations. He is committed to building strategic solutions, making the critical difference, delivering on complex security projects, and achieving operational excellence.

John successfully completed 25 years of honorable service as an FBI Special Agent, earning a pinnacle career highlight as an Operator on the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). He has confronted the most complex national security threats, engaging in high-risk arrests, deploying on multiple international operations and combat theatre missions.

Deployments for National Special Security Events (NSSE) include the MLB All-Star Game, NFL Super Bowls, and Republican National Convention, all requiring intense pre-planning, strategic and tactical oversight, targeted risk mitigation, operational security briefings of key internal and external stakeholders, and management of SWAT presence during each event.

As a corporate security director, John managed strategic level coordination of enterprise security functions, including physical security operations, technical security programs, security risk management, security training, and security awareness programs.

John is also a U.S. Navy veteran with service as an Operations Division Officer onboard the USS John L. Hall (FFG-32). He led over 30 high-sea maritime security operations supporting U.N. sanctions in the Persian Gulf during Southwest Asia Service.

John earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, with a Minor in Naval Science at Marquette University, and a Master of Arts in Police Leadership at the University of St. Thomas.

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Gary LaBranche, FASAE, CAE

Gary LaBranche is the CEO of RIMS, the risk management society®. Prior to his appointment, he served as President & CEO of Virginia-based National Investor Relations Institute and has led association such as the Association for Corporate Growth, the Association Forum of Chicagoland and several others.

He was named ASAE’s Key Award winner for 2007, the highest award in the association management profession. He was also named the 2012 National Association Executive of the Year. The Association Forum named him the 2019 recipient of the Samuel B. Shapiro Award for Chief Executive Achievement. He is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Association Committee of 100 and is past chairman of the Chamber’s Institute of Organization Management. He was named an ASAE Fellow (FASAE) in 1995.

A graduate of The Ohio State University and resident of Evanston, Illinois, Gary has authored more than 300 articles, podcasts and columns, as well as the book, “The Association CEO Succession Toolkit” published by ASAE in 2018.

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Stuart Ruff-Lyon

Stuart Ruff-Lyon is the Chief Events and Sales Officer at RIMS where he leads a team of event and sales professionals. Stuart has worked in the hospitality and events industry for more than 20 years, with experience in planning international events and global citywide conventions.

Stuart is very active in the events industry and is a passionate advocate that business events drive community, commerce, and connection. He served as the Chairman of the Board for PCMA (2020). A frequent speaker at industry events, Stuart has presented at local PCMA chapter events and at ASAE, PCMA, CEIR Predict, and IAEE. Stuart serves as an advisory board member for Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, Anaheim, Dallas, Philadelphia, Denver, the Georgia World Congress Center, and Omni Hotels.

Stuart was named a Meeting Planner of the Year by Smart Meetings magazine (2022). Other accolades include Meetings Professional of the Year from the New York Society of Association Executives (2020), Show Manager of the Year from the Expo Group (2017), Meetings Trendsetter from (2016), Industry Change Maker from Meetings and Conventions Magazine (2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Event Professional by Collinson Media (2011).

Stuart will serve as the Executive in Residence for the L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University for the 2024 Spring Semester.

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