- Jan. 23, 2020
-- Humanity Road, a Virginia-based disaster response organization that helped pioneer the use of social media for humanitarian support, is celebrating 10 years of worldwide operations in January and welcoming four new members to its Board of Directors.
"The use of social media and digital listening for disaster response efforts has changed dramatically in the past decade, but there is still so much work to do," said Christine Thompson, Humanity Road's president and co-founder. "As we look forward to our next decade of operations, we believe our new board members — and our many other partners, volunteers, and supporters — can help us navigate the ever-changing digital landscape to provide even greater support to those in need."
Humanity Road's four new directors bring decades of disaster response expertise, honed in military, government, and industry crisis response organizations. Joining the board are:
- Jose Beitia — Mr. Beitia has supported U.S. federal response to international disasters for eight years, including more than five large-scale disaster responses and disaster risk reduction activities in more than 15 countries. Over his career, Mr. Beitia's roles have included systems trainer, technical communications specialist, and regional operations manager for the Department of Commerce, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Department of State. He holds a bachelor's degree in management information systems from Atlantic University College.
- Dr. Joyce "JB" Blanchard — Dr. Blanchard joined the Defense Department's Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance in 2014, and serves as a senior disaster management and humanitarian assistance advisor specializing in crisis action planning and civil-military coordination in the Asia-Pacific Region. Dr. Blanchard retired as a U.S. Navy officer following 27 years on active duty, spending her final seven years on the staff of the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There she held the positions of deputy for functional plans, crisis action and exercise planner, and served as the Pacific Fleet's civil-military coordinator. Dr. Blanchard holds a bachelor's degree in geography, master's degree in foreign affairs, and doctorate in organizational leadership.
- Scott "Cobra" Keefer — Mr. Keefer is a retired U.S. Army officer with extensive and diverse experience as a Civil-Military Operations Officer during global humanitarian and disaster response operations. Mr. Keefer currently leads the all-hazards exercise program at a major financial institution, designing and developing training events that provide opportunities to practice disaster response and business continuity plans and procedures. Mr. Keefer also brings prior board experience to Humanity Road, having served as the Board President for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, a 501(c)(19) veterans organization. During his military career, Mr. Keefer participated in combat, disaster response, and humanitarian operations around the world, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cuba, Iraq, Kosovo, and the United States. He holds a bachelor's degree in political science and government from Clarion State University.
- Katie Nelson — Ms. Nelson is the social media and public relations coordinator at the Mountain View Police Department in Northern California. Since 2015, Ms. Nelson has managed the department's social media accounts and outreach campaigns, focusing primarily on the department's engagement efforts, as well as serving as the agency's public information officer. She presents across the country on social media best practices and crisis communication strategies, serves as an instructor with the California Office of Emergency Services, and is the secretary of the International Association of Chiefs of Police PIO Section. Prior to joining the department, Katie was an award-winning journalist covering public safety in the Bay Area. She holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature from the University of California, Berkeley.
During the past 10 years, Humanity Road has been honored for its efforts by numerous influential organizations, including the United Nations Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In 2018, Christine Thompson was honored by TIAA as one of the top 100 Difference Makers in the United States
Humanity Road continues to connect people, animals and emergency officials with help and resources when disaster strikes, using the power of the Internet to gather and share information and aid during times of crisis. To learn more about our online situation reports and other relief efforts, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit us online at www.humanityroad.org