City launches partnership with 100 Resilient Cities and names first chief resilience officer

Chief Resilience Office Katie McPherson
April 4 2017 –

Mayor Gregor Robertson, along with representatives from 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) – pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation – formally launched their partnership today and announced the appointment of Vancouver's first chief resilience officer, Katie McPherson.

Through the support of 100RC, Katie will lead the development of the citywide Resilience Strategy to ensure our residents, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems can persist, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks Vancouver may experience.

The appointment of a chief resilience officer is a core component of the 100RC program, and is funded by the organization through a grant to the city. As CRO, Katie will leverage resources and knowledge from 100RC, its partners, and other member cities to drive action to address the city's most pressing resilience challenges.

At a day-long workshop, over 80 leaders from different backgrounds, experiences, and expertise in Vancouver were brought together to discuss existing initiatives and identify opportunities that assess the social, cultural, environmental, and economic systems that shape our city, and identify our collective resilience to the shocks and stresses Vancouver faces as a growing urban centre.

About Katie McPherson

Katie has been with our Office of Emergency Management for five years. She recently led the implementation of a new community resilience portfolio with a mandate to work collaboratively with government and community stakeholders to promote resilience to all hazards.

As manager of community resilience, and former manager of emergency planning, Katie:

  • Developed new ways for citizens, businesses, and volunteers to engage in community emergency preparedness
  • Led regional risk assessments for oil spills
  • Engaged a wide range of inter-agency partners to assess risk and develop plans for emergency response and recovery
  • Took leadership roles during emergency responses to the 2015 Marathassa Oil Spill, the 2015 Port of Vancouver container fire, and the 2013 Calgary Flood

Katie has a wealth of unique experience in the private and non-profit sectors. She led an award-winning, multi-disciplinary climate adaptation project. She volunteered in emergency social services volunteer for the Red Cross and the City of Vancouver. She's planted over one million trees across Canada.

Her passion for resilience comes from her experiences as a volunteer responding to the 2004 tsunami in Thailand. She worked with community members to support a successful grassroots recovery project that:

  • Provided employment for local citizens
  • Resulted in the construction of an art centre for local youth


Mayor Gregor Robertson says, "The City is proud to launch this partnership with 100RC to build a stronger resiliency strategy tailored to the issues and challenges our residents care about most, led by our first-ever chief resilience officer. Vancouver has a strong foundation of being a highly adaptive city, thanks to our nation leading green economy and policies to build a healthy, liveable, sustainable city. With 100RC support and driven by our chief resilience officer, we'll be in an even better position to tackle our most pressing challenges – like housing affordability, emergency preparedness, climate change, and social connectedness – making sure the City's work goes hand in glove with the incredible work driven through our network of community partners."

Chief Resilience Officer Katie McPherson says, "In an era of global uncertainty, climate change, and growing local pressures, this is an important opportunity for our city. Our people are our biggest asset, and we're looking forward to partnering with and learning from a broad range of stakeholders. This opportunity will allow us to elevate and share the incredible work already happening across our community, and to achieve big pieces of work that we can't do alone."

100 Resilient Cities President Michael Berkowitz says, "Vancouver is part of a global movement of cities focused on building urban resilience. The launch of the city's resilience agenda at today's workshop, along with the appointment of Katie McPherson as chief resilience officer, will provide the City of Vancouver with a starting point to clarify the city's needs, surface innovative thinking, and give us a blueprint to bring Vancouver the tools and resources needed to become more resilient."


Vancouver was named part of the 100RC network in 2016, joining cities such as London, New York, Bangkok, and Buenos Aires – and was selected from more than 1,000 applicants from around the world. Other Canadian member cities include Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal.

Each city in the 100RC network receives four concrete types of support:

  1. Financial and logistical guidance for establishing an innovative new position in city government, a chief resilience officer, who will lead the city's resilience efforts
  2. Technical support for development of a robust Resilience Strategy
  3. Access to solutions, service providers, and partners from the private, public and NGO sectors who can help them develop and implement their Resilience Strategies
  4. Membership in a global network of member cities who can learn from and help each other

Through the 100RC program, Vancouver will have access to a carefully curated suite of nearly 100 platform partners, providing expertise in a wide range of areas that includes diagnostic analysis, risk and hazard assessment, climate change, financial analysis, data management, resource and energy use, and social services and development. These and other services are available to support resilience priorities in our city, including fast-tracking actions laid out across existing strategies, and in support of local partners and organizations leading efforts that contribute to urban resilience here in Vancouver.

Learn more about the development of Vancouver's Resilience Strategy

Learn more about the 100 Resilient Cities, pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation External website