Frances Townsend
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Travels From: Washington, D.C. & New York

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Our audience absolutely loved Fran Townsend and rated her performance as EXCELLENT.
World Travel, Inc
Frances Townsend was fantastic! We loved her presentation!
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer, & Feld
We could not have had such a phenomenal event without her – her willingness to engage with her attendees was much appreciated, and because of her, everyone left feeling more prepared to handle whatever comes their way.
U.S. Travel Association

Frances Townsend

National Security Analyst, CBS News; Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (2004-2008)

With over 20 years of world crisis experience, Frances Townsend identifies the danger spots around the world and analyzes their potential impact on you and your organization.

Exclusively WSB
  
Strategic Risk and Crisis Management: When Bad News Becomes Good News

Any commercial or economic crisis creates business opportunity, opportunity that must be met with leadership, courage and discipline. But before a crisis happens, what must leaders do to prepare to meet adversity head on? A global leader on strategic risk and crisis management, Frances Townsend contends that there is great opportunity in crisis but only when leaders are prepared to confidently address a situation rather than shrink from it. In today’s world, while traditional business risk remains important (insurable risk, reputation risk, etc.), Townsend shows audiences that we now must expand our view of risk and how we mitigate business exposure. Business leaders must now demand that their organizations aggressively seek out vulnerabilities and problems so that they can be addressed, “looking around corners” using a very deliberate and disciplined process. Townsend uses her years of crisis planning, mitigation and management to explain a specific, measurable process that corporations can implement immediately.

Leading Change from Within an Organization

Any commercial or economic crisis creates business opportunity. The real question is how to best prepare to take advantage of the opportunity. Frances Townsend's view - and her experience proves it - is that great leaders do not fear adversity, but are invigorated by their greatest challenges. Just as the pitcher who steps on the diamond with bases loaded and only one out, successful leaders cannot dread the critical moment, but instead are excited about the opportunity it presents. She knows how a crisis can foster positive change, by creating a new culture from within and building momentum to propel the organization forward. As the president's former homeland security and counter-terrorism advisor, Townsend shares her first-hand experience of testing in a true crisis and turns her recount into an opportunity to learn about ourselves and others, about egos and the willingness to listen, and about team trust and loyalty.

Public Service and Volunteerism

Frances Townsend made a conscious decision to devote 23 years to a career in public service, and is grateful for every single day she served. While not everyone will choose a similar path, she challenges us to consider ways we can contribute to others through public service. Reflecting on her own diverse career spanning law enforcement, intelligence, homeland security and more, Townsend inspires audiences to truly make a difference by getting involved in public service. Many are dissatisfied with the way government works, but only the bold will step forward to cultivate change. Criticism without action is whining and that never changed anything. No more excuses - it is time to get involved!

Meet Frances Townsend


With over 20 years of world crisis experience, Frances Townsend identifies the danger spots around the world and analyzes their potential impact on you and your organization.

Frances Townsend is a national security leader who has worked across party lines to address some of the world’s most complex and volatile security issues. With more than two decades of public service, including being the original first Assistant Commandant for Intelligence of the Coast Guard, Townsend has worked in law enforcement, intelligence, national security and homeland security; in both civilian and military organizations; in policy and operational jobs; and on domestic and international issues. As Chair of the Homeland Security Council and one of President George W. Bush’s top advisors, Townsend offers an informed viewpoint on the global issues facing the country. As national security analyst at CBS News, Townsend contributes to coverage of homeland security, foreign policy counter terrorism and intelligence and she also appears on the network’s digital streaming service, CBSN. Through her insights, gleaned from real-world experience, Townsend shares advice for businesses of all shapes and sizes by contending that companies’ view of their global risk must be expanded to properly mitigate their exposure in today’s environment. Townsend has specific steps that business leaders can adopt now so that their organizations can aggressively seek out their vulnerabilities and address those problems they present.

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Secretary of Defense (2006-2011); Author, New York Times Best Seller, DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary at War and A Passion for Leadership

CIA Director (2013–2017); Assistant to President Barack Obama for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Deputy National Security Advisor (2009–2013); Interim Director of the National Counterterrorism Center and Founding Director of the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (2003–2005)

Director, Central Intelligence Agency (2011-2012); Commander of U.S. and International Security Assistance Forces-Afghanistan (2010-2011); Commander, U.S. Central Command (2008-2010); Commander, Multinational Force-Iraq (2007-2008). Currently Partner, KKR and Chairman, KKR Global Institute and a Professor at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College and the University of Southern California