Preparing for disasters, before it’s too late

Too often, work to develop climate resilience and global disasters occurs when a disaster, such as a hurricane, earthquake, or tsunami, has already devastated entire cities and shattered communities. But Elizabeth Petheo, MBA ’14, says her work has recently focused on preparation.

It is difficult to draw attention to preparedness efforts, explains Petheo, director of Miyamoto International, an engineering and disaster risk reduction consulting firm. “You can always get a lot of attention when there is a disaster, but right now it’s too late,” he adds.

Petheo leads company projects and partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region and advises globally on international development and humanitarian assistance. He is also working in preparation in the Asia-Pacific region with the United States Agency for International Development.

“We are doing programs on private sector participation in disaster risk management in Indonesia, which is a country very prone to disasters,” he says. “Smaller and medium-sized companies make an important contribution to job creation and economic development. When they fall, the impact on the lives, livelihoods and ability of the community to respond and recover effectively is extreme. We work to strengthen their own understanding of their risk and that of the community around them, to guide them through an action planning process to build resilience, and to link it to larger policy initiatives at the national level. ” .

Petheo came to MIT with international leadership experience, having managed global development and high-risk risk mitigation initiatives at the World Bank in Washington, DC, as well as with U.S. government agencies and leading international organizations. global humanitarian responses and teams in Sri Lanka and Haiti. But she says her time at Sloan helped her prepare for this next phase of her career. “Sloan was the experience that brought all the pieces together,” he says.

Petheo has maintained strong connections with MIT. In 2018, she received the Margaret LA MacVicar ’65 Award, ScD ’67, in recognition of her role in initiating and directing the MIT Sloan Club in Washington, DC, and her work as an inaugural member of the Graduate Alumni Council (GAC). ). He is also a member of the Friends of the MIT Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center.

“I believe deeply in the power and impact of the work and people of the Institute,” he says. “By the time I graduated, my thought process was, ‘How can I repay and how can I continue to strengthen the experience of those who will come after me?'”

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