Sydney Lewis Sydney Lewis
Associate Manager, Communications


May 31, 2024


For the past 13 years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has brought together leaders across sectors and industries to advance community resilience. This year’s Building Resilience Conference, held from May 15-17, 2024, emphasized forging trust before, during, and after disasters, and explored how we can shape the future of resilience through partnership and action. The event, held in collaboration with leading private and public sector organizations, is the longest-running convening of its kind, contributing to over a decade of global resilience strategies.  

As disasters, ranging from natural catastrophes to humanitarian crises, escalate in frequency and severity, strengthening resilience has become essential for building strong, flourishing communities. 

Explore key insights from this year’s Building Resilience Conference that are fostering trust and cultivating resilient communities below. 

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1/14Guests seated in The Great Hall at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters in Washington, D.C. for the 13th Annual Building Resilience Conference. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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2/14(L-R) Katharine Day (Booz Allen), Daniel Kaniewski (Marsh McLennan), and April Wood (National VOAD) speak on the “Forging Trust to Move Forward” panel, moderated by the Chamber Foundation’s Rob Glenn (R). Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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3/14The Small Business Administration’s Isabella Casillas Guzmán sits down for a fireside chat with U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation President, Carolyn Cawley. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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4/14Small Business Readiness for Resiliency (R4R) grantees (L-R), Samson Williams and Mityne Lewis, share the small business perspective on resilience in conversation with FedEx’s April Britt. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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5/14Lorraine Martin, president & CEO of the National Safety Council, highlighted how safe workplaces build resilient communities. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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6/14The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Christopher Roberti and CISA's Brandon Wales, executive director of CISA, engage in a fireside chat on cybersecurity. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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7/14(L-R) Veera Parko, Embassy of Finland; Scott Moreland, Institute for Security Governance; Daniel “Deak” Roh, U.S. Department of Defense; and Andrew Seiffert, CISA speak on the panel “Fostering Societal Resilience: Collaborative Partnerships at the National Level” at the Building Resilience Conference. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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8/14Madge Thomas, president of the American Express Foundation and head of corporate sustainability at American Express, gives a resilience purpose talk on “Backing Small Business Resilience and Recovery.” Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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9/14(L-R) Steven Smith, Airlink; Claude Zukowski, Procter & Gamble; and Marcia Wong, USAID join Jennifer Miel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in conversation for a panel on strengthening humanitarian response. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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10/14(L-R) Allstate’s Elliot Stultz and the Chamber’s Marty Durbin kick-off day two of the Building Resilience Conference with a fireside chat. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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11/14CISA’s Alaina Clark speaks at the Building Resilience Conference about the agency's “Secure Our World” initiative. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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12/14(L-R) Peter Kim, CISA; Katharyn White, Google; Joe Ruiz, Red Lightning; and Nicole Hudnet, T-Mobile discuss navigating cross-sector response and resilience challenges in the communications sector. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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13/14(L-R) Marc DeCourcey, U.S. Chamber Foundation; Tom Sivak, FEMA; Nikki Clifton, The UPS Foundation; David Mussington, CISA; and Nicolette Louissaint, Healthcare Distribution Alliance speak on the panel “Forging Trust for Resilience.” Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.
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14/14Diedra Henry-Spires, senior advisor to the administrator at the SBA shares insights on the panel “Overcoming Disaster: The Small Business Experience.” Photo courtesy of Jonathan Ernst.

“In the face of disasters, we’re all on the same mission in that we’re putting the self-interest of business aside and making sure communities are resilient and safe.”

– Nikki Clifton, The UPS Foundation

  • Building trust is a necessity for resilience. Centering resilience strategies on listening to impacted communities and understanding their needs is crucial. Stakeholder input is vital for making informed, impactful decisions. 
  • There is power in collaboration and connectivity. Building relationships today prepares us for tomorrow's challenges. Collaboration, especially public-private partnerships, builds community trust through a shared commitment. 
  • The world is changing as extreme disaster events become the new normal. With wildfires, heatwaves, extreme flooding, and threats in the cyber realm happening frequently, communities globally face unprecedented crises. This underscores the need for planning, innovation, best practice sharing, and adaptive collaboration. 
  • Preparedness is key to resilience. Continuous resilience exercises create muscle memory. Planning for the unexpected enhances confidence and validation when action is needed. 
  • Communication during crises plays a pivotal role in recovery. Transparency fosters trust and partnerships. It's about clearly communicating risks, championing readiness, and building relationships within communities and strengthening partnerships. 
  • The strength of small businesses is integral to the resilience of communities.  
    Building trust through community-centered partnerships, prioritizing disaster preparedness, and emphasizing education, ensures businesses and communities recover and thrive together.

“Trust requires a partnership, and public-private partnerships are essential in emergency response and building resilient communities.”

– Nicole Hudnet, T-Mobile


Tell Your Business-for-Good Story: Nominations are open for the 25th Annual Citizens Awards honoring companies and partnerships for their efforts to improve communities across nine categories, including disaster response and resilience. Nominate your business today! Deadline to apply is June 14, 2024.  

Save the Date: The 26th Annual Business Solves Conference will be held on October 29-30, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Stay connected to be the first to hear when registration opens!

About the authors

Sydney Lewis

Sydney Lewis

Sydney Lewis is associate communications manager for education, workforce, resilience, and thought leadership at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

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