Desiree Matel-Anderson

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Desiree Matel Anderson 2Desiree (Desi) Matel-Anderson is a survivor of the tragic Valentine’s Day school shooting in 2008 and spent the last decade deploying into emergencies. As the first and former Chief Innovation Advisor at FEMA, she led an innovation team in Hurricane Sandy to provide real-time problem solving in a Federally declared disaster. During and after her tenure at FEMA, she founded the Field Innovation Team (FIT), an organization that focuses on implementing smart technology and design into disaster response. As FIT’s Chief Wrangler, she has deployed teams into several disasters including, the Boston Marathon Bombings assisting at the scene with social media analysis, the Oso, Washington Mudslides with drone flights and 3D printing topography maps for incident command.

Other endeavors include launching artificial intelligence to support psychosocial services in Lebanon during the Syrian Refugee Crisis with coders and coordinating public health gaming with the Miami-Dade Public School System to educate on the outbreak of the Zika virus. Desi continues to work in disasters with communities’ worldwide.

Desi began her emergency management experience working for the Southeast Wisconsin Urban Area Security Initiative and as an Emergency Management Accreditation Program Assessor nation-wide, which includes assessing the City of Boston’s emergency management services prior to the tragic bombings. Desi lectures on innovation at Harvard, Yale and various universities. She serves as a consultant on innovation for governments, nationally and internationally, including her advisor role to the United Nation’s European emergency management consortium I-REACT.

Desi attended Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Institute (NPLI) at the Kennedy School of Government and School of Public Health and was selected on Harvard’s NPLI Advisory Board. She also obtained a law degree from Northern Illinois University and is a licensed attorney. When Desi is not deployed in a disaster around the world, she enjoys the fresh mountain air in Utah with her dogs and family.

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