2021 CSMFO Annual Conference

Keynote Speakers

First, on Tuesday, we are so excited to hear from Rabia Siddique who will be talking with us about “The Gifts in a Crisis”.  Rabia is more than qualified to talk with us about dealing with a crisis.   Rabia is an international humanitarian lawyer, retired British Army senior officer, former war crimes and terrorism prosecutor and hostage survivor.

Having survived a hostage crisis in Iraq in 2005 Rabia sued the British Government for discrimination when both the military and government tried to cover up her involvement in the incident, which saw her leading hostage negotiations for the release of two British Special Forces illegally kidnapped and detained by Iraqi based terrorists. Rabia was held hostage for over eight hours and subjected to cruel and unusual treatment in front of her male colleagues. After their eventual rescue Rabia’s colleagues were recognized, psychologically supported and decorated for their efforts and bravery, however Rabia was gagged, ignored and ordered to never speak of the role she played on that fateful day where she almost lost her life.

Also she is the mother to young triplet boys!  That alone qualifies her talk and share with us about ‘gifts’ we can learn from a crisis.

Join us on Tuesday as we listen to Rabia talk about life being a choice we each make.  We can choose to be the victims of our circumstances, believing that we cannot change what seems overwhelming.  Or we can choose not to be defined by that which often confounds us.  We can choose to adapt, thrive, learn and lead the change that we are all capable of by seeking out the opportunities.  This is the mark of a great leader and change maker, and great leadership is characterized by those who embody and demonstrate resilience, courage, focus, discipline & authenticity.  It is this type of leadership that we need more than ever right now.

So what choice will you make?  How will you use your influence and privileged position?  What leader will you be?


On Thursday we are pleased to have back Rebecca Ryan who will share what she has learned over the last eleven months with meetings with local government agencies via her “Future Friday” webinars.  Rebecca Ryan and her team hosted free webinars to help to help individuals to imagine brighter futures with many of them focusing on governmental agencies.  Some of the web topics included discussions about, Scenario Planning for Anxious Times; A conversation about future public health and public safety; The future of work; and Preparing for the New Day: Local government finance, innovation and foresight just to list a few.  Theses webinars have given Rebecca a lot of information that would be beneficial to our members

We can all agree that 2020 was “the pandemic year” and 2021 begins our post-pandemic resurgence toward a better and different future.  To cross the chasm between past and future, we have to navigate “The Messy Middle.”  In this keynote address, you’ll learn how futurists think about navigating disruption and five techniques to lead your team toward post-pandemic possibilities.

For those that want to take these broad concepts from the keynote, Rebeca will be doing a breakout session the same day called “Foresight on a Shoestring”.  As public sector employees we are also futurists.  Futurists need to use tools and techniques to help anticipate what’s coming to our communities. In this breakout session, futurist Rebecca Ryan will teach a handful of techniques to help participants navigate “the messy middle” of 2021-2022.