IOSC Opening Plenary Session

Join us on Tuesday, May 14 from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. for the Opening Plenary Session, featuring several presentations and awards, including:

  • Welcome Remarks from the 2024 IOSC Chair, Dr. Victoria Broje from Shell
  • Presentation of IOSC Lifetime Achievement Awards
  • Presentation of the Film Festival and Photo Contest Winners
  • Remarks from ADM Poulin, USCG Vice Commandant
  • Presentation on Mental Health and Resilience, featuring Dr. Sarah Jahnke, the Director of the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research at NDRI USA, Inc. – Sponsored by OSRL
  • Keynote Speaker Presentation on Crisis Leadership at the Cutting Edge, featuring Dr. Leonard Marcus, Co-Director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.
Dr. Leonard Marcus

Admiral Steven D. Poulin
USCG’s Vice Commandant

Admiral Steven D. Poulin, the 33rd Vice Commandant since May 31st, 2022, serves as the Vice Service Chief and Chief Operating Officer, executing the Commandant’s Strategic Intent, managing internal organizational governance, and serving as the Component Acquisition Executive. With a diverse career, he previously commanded Atlantic Area and Coast Guard Defense Force East, concurrently serving as Director of DHS Joint Task Force East. Past roles include U.S. Southern Command's Director of Operations, Commander of the First Coast Guard District, and Judge Advocate General. Notably, he directed Coast Guard operations during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and served in various staff and special assignments, including legal counsel and legislative counsel roles. Poulin is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and holds multiple advanced degrees. His military accolades include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal and multiple awards for meritorious and commendation service.

Dr. Leonard Marcus

Dr. Leonard Marcus
National Preparedness Leadership Initiative


Keynote Session


Preparedness oftentimes manifests as a logistical process, ensuring that the equipment, supplies, and resources are ready to go in an emergency. What does it mean to be prepared to lead? What does it mean to be ready to lead? And when a crisis occurs, what does it take for a leader to apply emotional intelligence and an open mindset to meet the challenges?

This session provides an applied introduction to Meta-Leadership, an original model of crisis leadership developed by Dr. Leonard Marcus and his colleagues at Harvard University. Constructed from direct field experience of crises studied over twenty years, the Meta-Leadership model is a robust and vibrant reference point for crisis leaders as they prepare, ready, and respond to crises.

One key responsibility of the crisis leader is bringing together the people, resources, and assets required to meet the crisis head-on. Dr. Marcus will describe the research that led him and his National Preparedness Leadership Initiative colleagues to develop the framework and practices of Swarm Leadership.

About Dr. Leonard Marcus

Dr. Marcus is a trailblazer in crisis leadership studies and teaching. Shortly after 9/11, the federal government asked him and the Harvard Kennedy School’s David Gergen to establish the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI) at Harvard University. For twenty years, the NPLI has embodied a unique combination of on-scene crisis leadership research, original development of key themes and practices such as Meta-Leadership, Swarm Leadership and The Walk in the Woods, along with assistance to leaders in times of crisis.

During the Deep-Water Horizon crisis, Dr. Marcus was on scene in Louisiana and Washington, observing and meeting with key leaders responsible for the crisis response. Since then, he has lectured around the world on leadership practices designed for such events. Through the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Marcus actively worked with government and business leaders, teaching and advising people around the world. Shortly after the national emergency was declared and FEMA was placed in the lead of the U.S. response, Lenny met each evening with FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor to discuss and advise on the work and leadership of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. He also directed the Aviation Public Health Initiative, in which the NPLI worked with leaders of the domestic aviation carriers to lower the risks of COVID transmission on aircraft and in airports.

Dr. Sarah Jahnke

Dr. Sarah Jahnke
Director of the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research at NDRI USA, Inc.
Sponsored by OSRL

Dr. Sara Jahnke is a prominent figure in firefighter health research. She is known for her dedication to translating scientific findings into practical solutions that improve the well-being of firefighters and emergency responders. With a diverse background in psychology and epidemiology, Dr. Jahnke has made significant contributions to understanding and addressing the unique health challenges individuals face in the fire service.

In 2011, Dr. Jahnke became the Director of the Center for Fire, Rescue & EMS Health Research at NDRI USA, Inc. – a not-for-profit research firm in Leawood, KS. During her tenure, she has spearheaded numerous research projects aimed at understanding the health risks faced by firefighters and developing evidence-based interventions to mitigate those risks. Research as a principal investigator or co-investigator has totaled more than 30 million dollars from organizations such as FEMA, NIH, DoD, and several health-focused foundations.

In recognition of her groundbreaking work, Dr. Jahnke has received several prestigious awards and honors, including the President's Award for Excellence in Fire Service Research from the International Association of Fire Chiefs twice and the John Granito Award for Excellence in Firefighter Research from the International Journal of Fire Service Leadership and Management.

Dr. Jahnke's leadership extends beyond academia, as she actively engages with professional organizations and community initiatives related to firefighter health and safety. She serves on dozens of advisory boards and committees, providing expert guidance to organizations such as the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and the Fire Protection Research Foundation.

One of Dr. Jahnke's notable accomplishments is her role as the President of Science to the Station: A Health and Wellness Alliance, where she leads efforts to translate scientific research into practical strategies that promote the health and well-being of firefighters across the nation.

Throughout her career, Dr. Sara Jahnke has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to advancing firefighter health research and bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and real-world application. Her contributions have profoundly impacted the field, helping to improve the lives of those who dedicate themselves to protecting others.