Founder & Executive Director, LeadersLink

Kathleen Koch is an international speaker on disaster and resilience and founder of LeadersLink, the first nonprofit to harness and share elected officials’ disaster lessons learned to help other communities better prevent, prepare for and recover from similar crisesKoch is also an award-winning former journalist and author who for 18 years was a CNN Washington correspondent covering the White House, Pentagon and Capitol Hill as well as numerous disasters including 9/11 and Hurricane KatrinaShe currently writes op-eds for, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report and other publications.

Koch anchored two prize-winning documentaries on the recovery of her hometown, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and recorded its journey in a best-selling book, Rising from Katrina, which was named Best Nonfiction in the Southeast Region in the 2011 Independent Publisher Book AwardsShe also shared in the 2006 Peabody Award CNN received for its coverage of the hurricane.

Koch is the founding chair of Howard County, Maryland’s Community Organizations Active in Disaster, a network of more than 70 organizations working to speed and coordinate crisis preparation, response and recovery activity in the region.  She is also a member of the Greater Washington Area Advisory Board of Childhelp, a nonprofit working to stop child abuse and neglect. Koch is a Paul Harris Fellow and was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of Dijon. She is a member of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Alumni Hall of Fame and serves on the Mass Communications and Journalism Advisory Board.