Mar's goal is to bridge the gap between social media and emergency management. She is a leader in Virtual Operations Support (VOS) and applies new communication technologies and social media tools to emergency management and disaster recovery.
She has a degree from the University of Michigan in Psychology and an MA in Theoretical Linguistics from Oakland University. Mar also has certifications from the Monterrey Institute of International Studies in Russian and from the Coaches Training Institute in Co-Active Coaching. She has also worked for EDS, HP, and GM, most recently in Global End User Computing Infrastructure Operations.
Her pioneering work in VOS helped develop an approach that is used by emergency managers worldwide. VOS makes use of teams of trusted agents who can lend support via the internet to those on-site in an area impacted by disaster. VOS teams are key when the volume of social media interest and data generated may be overwhelming to those managing the incident.
Mar's VOS accomplishments:
- Leader of PNWVOST (supporting Type 1 incident management teams in the Pacific NW).
- Developed comprehensive method for planning and managing VOST incident deployments.
- Managed four Type 1 incident VOST deployments in 2012, as well as a number of smaller events.
- Trained team members, as well as incident cooperators, in VOST best practices.
- Mentored individuals in social media and emergency management (SMEM) best practices.
- Current member of VOST Leadership Coalition.
-Virtually responded to over 50 incidents, including the Nepal earthquake, Fort McMurray wildfires in Canada, The Roseburg Community College shooting, and several hurricanes.
Mar is active in New Mexico Search and Rescue, enjoys the food in Santa Fe and hanging out with the official VOST Cat.
"Marlita is an expert as a Virtual Operations Support Team leader. Her generosity in sharing her time and experience has been a real asset to our team. Not only did she provide virtual and social media support during the Table Mountain Fire in Washington State, but she extended her expertise in a training provided to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources."
Through virtual disaster deployments and in person preparedness workshops, Marlita has supported facilitation at the Field Innovation Team from Alberta, Canada to San Francisco, California to Midway, Utah. We have had the pleasure of working with Mar and we intend to continue bringing her aboard to help us educate emergency management in communities across the globe."