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Moderator: Manny J. Toro

Manny Toro serves as the Response Division Director with Region IV of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Previously, he was a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) serving as the president’s representative in the aftermath of federally declared disasters and emergency declarations.

Toro has more than 12 years’ experience as a senior emergency manager, planning, leading, and managing the delivery of federal disaster assistance to state, local, and tribal governments and communities. Since 2009, he has served as Chief of Staff, Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer (DFCO), and FCO for large scale response and recovery operations. He also has four years’ experience as an Operations Section Chief and Assistant External Affairs Officer with FEMA.

Toro has deployed to support more than 30 presidentially declared disaster operations in nine of ten FEMA Regions, including as Chief of Staff for Hurricane Sandy operations in New York. On Hurricane Sandy, one of the largest response/recovery missions in U.S. history, Toro had administrative oversight for as many as 6,000 personnel, including DHS Surge Capacity Force.

Toro holds a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management with a minor in Business from Barry University, Miami Shores, Fla. He is a member of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).


Nicolette Louissaint, Ph.D.

Dr. Nicolette Louissaint serves as the Executive Director of Healthcare Ready, where she works to meet the most pressing patient needs before, during and after natural disasters, disease outbreaks and catastrophic events. Healthcare Ready coordinates with health and emergency management across the public and private sectors to ensure communities are prepared and able to bounce back following disasters.

Prior to joining Healthcare Ready, Nicolette was the Senior Advisor to the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Ebola during the height of the Ebola Epidemic of 2014. In this role, she helped coordinate international response efforts. Nicolette currently serves as the Public Health Representative on FEMA’s National Advisory Council and as a Commissioner on the Baltimore City Sustainability Commission. Additionally, she serves as a co-Chair of the Healthcare and Public Health Sector Coordinating Council (HPHSCC), leading on supply chain issues. In this role she also manages the Medical Materials Coordination Group within the HPHSCC.

Nicolette holds Bachelors of Science degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biological Sciences from Carnegie Mellon University, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed post-doctoral fellowships at the Johns Hopkins University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Denis Rainey

Denis Rainey is Senior Vice President-Facilities & Emergency Management for ALG Senior. A twelve-year veteran of ALG Senior and its predecessor companies, Denis moved through the ranks as Executive Director, Regional Director of Operations, Senior Regional Director, Vice President – Operations, and Executive Vice President.   Three years ago he was asked to create and fill a new position and role as the Executive Team leader in Facilities and Emergency Management for ALG Senior which manages over 140 Long Term Care Communities in eight states.

Denis has directed every portion of Operations, from building acquisitions to crisis communications, disaster management, multi-unit operations, recruiting and retention of community leadership, and more.

Headquartered at the ALG Senior Support Center in Hickory, NC, Denis is an accomplished presenter and has spoken at many regional and national conferences.  He proudly serves as the Long Term Care Chair and resource for the North Carolina BEOC/ NC State Emergency Response Team.


Sarah Pickard

Sarah Pickhardt is the Emergency Management Planner for Orange County, North Carolina. In this role, Sarah has supported response and recovery operations for a number of hazards including a cyberattack, flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Currently, Sarah serves as the Plans Section Chief for the Orange County Emergency Operations Center’s response to COVID. She previously worked for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division and is an alumna of AmeriCorps NCCC – FEMA Corps. Sarah graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Peace, War, and Defense.


Faith Newton 

Faith Newton is the Sr. Manager of Emergency Preparedness for Walmart Stores Inc. overseeing the company’s enterprise preparedness program to ensure that associates and operations have the knowledge and resources to respond and recovery from disruptive incidents. She is responsible for cultivating public and private partnerships, maintaining crisis response resources, development of training material, and executing emergency preparedness campaigns for associates and customers. Prior to this role Faith was the Enterprise Business Continuity Sr. Manager managing the company’s business continuity and crisis management planning. During her time with the business continuity program she promoted the program globally through implementation and maintenance programs, developed and implemented a planning technology, and simplified the program to support business needs. Faith has been with Walmart for 6 years, all within the Global Emergency Management Division.

She holds an undergraduate degree in Emergency Administration Management (BS) and a graduate degree in Emergency Management and Homeland Security (MS) both from Arkansas Tech University.

Faith is a Master Business Continuity Professional (MBCP) through the Disaster Recovery Institute International.


Katie Murphy

Katie Murphy is the Senior Manager of Business Continuity at C&S Wholesale Grocers. She monitors threats to the supply chain, coordinates inter-department planning and responses, and coordinates with government partners at the local, state, and federal level to support the food supply chain. She has coordinated responses to a range of hazards, including hurricanes, winter storms, utility incidents, and COVID-19.

Prior to joining C&S Wholesale Grocers, she served as the Emergency Operations Center Director at New York City Emergency Management. In this role, she coordinated internal response teams, managed training and exercises, and facilitated post-incident debriefs and improvement planning processes. As EOC Manager and Planning Section Chief, she worked a range of incidents including multiple building collapses, winter storms, heat waves, Ebola, Legionnaires’ disease, Hurricane Sandy, and Hurricane Maria. In addition, she worked as a responder for the American Red Cross of Greater New York and consulted for The Chertoff Group.

Katie earned her MPH from Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, focusing on international health and development. She is also a FEMA-certified Master Exercise Practitioner.


Lilyn Hester

Lilyn Hester is Google's Head of Southeast External Affairs and Government Relations, leading the public policy, government and community relations efforts in the region. Lilyn is a proud Army brat who calls North Carolina home. Lilyn is a former journalist and communications professional. She's an avid gardener. Lilyn is a graduate of UNC-Charlotte.


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