Survivor Informs our Risk Planning and Post-Incident Response at 2018 TGC

On April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks (another six people were injured escaping from classroom windows), approximately two hours apart, before committing suicide. 

At that time, it was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history. 

11 years later, the question remains, how to protect our schools. But there is another question lingering behind the scenes that has sparked many great conversations: "How do we provide better intelligence, better situational awareness, and better actionable response.?"

What if one of the survivors were able to speak to us, not from just the pain, but also from a studious examination of the facts that led up to the event as well as the aftermath? What lessons could be learned that would inform and infuse our strategic plan and our core processes and tools?

One of our keynote speakers at The Great Conversation in Security was a survivor. More importantly, she has dedicated her life to advancing the goals of her non-profit: The Koshka Foundation:

  • Improving campus safety

  • Empowering student activism

  • Forging connections between survivors of various causes

Her name is Kristina Anderson and she is the Executive Director of Koshka. 

Kristina was shot 3 times. She returned to graduate from Virginia Tech with a degree in International Studies and Foreign Languages, and is now a resource to school administrators, teachers and students within higher education and K-12 regarding violence prevention initiatives and ways to increase individual personal safety awareness. The Koshka Foundation also partners with law enforcement agencies and first responders to provide educational presentations on surviving an active shooter from a survivor’s perspective, and best practices in incorporating lessons learned. 

Her presentation will create an incredible conclusion to two full days of conversations with some of the brightest minds in security. 

Beyond the politics and the pain, are steps everyone of us can take to protect the people in our organization.