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Recovery, Renewal and Resilience in the wake of Covid-19

At this Vital Topics event we will explore how Covid-19 has created opportunities for change across both central and local government, while our panel will also share their thoughts on the need for deeper resilience building as life gradually returns to normal in the wake of the pandemic.

Much has been written over the past two years about how the pandemic will create opportunities for transformative change. But where do we stand today, and is that transformative change really likely to happen?
At this Vital Topics event we will look at how Covid-19 has created opportunities for change across both central and local government, while our panel will also share their thoughts on the need for deeper resilience building as life gradually returns to normal in the wake of the pandemic. Our speakers will also explore the need for society to better engage with this agenda and at what decision-makers need to be doing to further embed the recovery among local communities.

Chaired by Dr Simos Chari, joining us on our panel will be Duncan Shaw, Professor of Operational Research and Critical Systems at Alliance Manchester Business School, Dr Kathy Oldham OBE, Chief Resilience Officer for Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Andy Wright, former Chief Executive at Braintree District Council and Issa Kassis, the Mayor of Ramallah.

Dr Kathy Oldham OBE, Chief Resilience Officer, Greater Manchester, UK

Kathy currently heads up a specialist unit delivering disaster risk reduction and emergency response services for Greater Manchester’s ten local authorities. She has led the development of Greater Manchester’s Resilience Strategy and provides a strategic advice function to the multi-agency Greater Manchester Resilience Forum partnership.

Kathy leads Greater Manchester’s participation in the international Resilient Cities Network, UNDRR’s Making Cities Resilient 2030 (MCR2030) initiative, within which Greater Manchester has been recognised as a Resilience Hub, and also the Counter Terrorism Preparedness Network (CTPN).

With over 15 years’ experience in resilience, Kathryn has been engaged in drafting national, British, European and International Standards on resilience.

Kathy holds a medical degree and has previously held a wide range of positions in local government.

Andy Wright, former Chief Executive at Braintree District Council

Andy has 37 years Local Government experience and in 2017 became Chief Executive of Braintree District Council in Essex. Nothing had prepared him or the Council for the many challenges the lockdown announced on 23 March 2020 was going to relentlessly present over the next few years. As Co-Chair of the Essex Resilience Forum Recovery and Renewal Group he led the approach across the whole Essex system.

Andy joined local government with a Sport and Recreation Degree and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity. Driven by his background in sports coaching he became a qualified coach and mentor in the workplace. His inclusive management style helped to develop the whole system approach to the impact of Covid 19 on the health, economy and social wellbeing of Essex residents and the impact on businesses, infrastructure and essential services.

Balancing the response to the pandemic and maintaining the essential services the Council and its partners delivered was a significant challenge. Over the last four years he led the organisation to deliver a £100m investment programme in Economic Growth projects, increased levels of customer satisfaction, improved ratings on the Customer Services Excellence model and achievement of the Councillor Development Charter Plus accreditation.

Issa Kassis, Mayor of Ramallah

Issa Kassis is the Mayor of the city of Ramallah. A financial expert, he is the founder of Awn Factors, the founder of Maalchat Digital Wallet and was the general manager of Palestine Investment Bank from 2014 – 2018.

He served as CEO for The Palestine Mortgage and Housing Corp 2008 – 2014, advisor and board member at the Palestine Monetary Authority PMA, and was a financial advisor at Palestine Investment Fund for SMEs finance and affordable housing.

Issa is married and has two daughters. He has an International Executive MBA from Kellogg / Northwestern University in Chicago, USA, and an undergraduate degree in banking and finance.

Professor Duncan Shaw, co-founder and co-chair, National Consortium for Societal Resilience [UK+]

Duncan is Professor of Operational Research and Critical Systems, a position he took in January 2015. He is Honorary Professor in the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) which is based in the School of Arts Languages and Cultures.

Duncan co-founded and co-chairs the National Consortium for Societal Resilience [UK+] which was established to enhance local resilience by s…

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