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IEM Leadership


Elizabeth Zimmerman

Senior Executive Advisor

Elizabeth Zimmerman, an eminent figure in emergency management, acts as a Senior Executive Advisor to IEM. Her career, marked by a deep commitment to aiding disaster victims, began with a presidential appointment to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where her tenure was characterized by her leadership in administering the Agency’s response and recovery operations, and she notably became the highest-ranking woman. She managed over 930 disaster and emergency declarations, efficiently channeling over $6.5 billion in aid to individuals and families and securing over $27 billion in federal disaster assistance for various groups.

Elizabeth’s responsibilities at the Agency’s Office of Response and Recovery were vast, encompassing the roles of Associate Administrator and Director of Disaster Operations. She was pivotal in directing and coordinating the activities of multiple directorates. Her leadership was crucial during significant disaster and emergency activations, ensuring seamless response, recovery, logistics, and field operations. Elizabeth’s strategic thinking and management skills successfully implemented these programs.

A champion of innovation and effective disaster management strategies, Elizabeth spearheaded the development and implementing of the National Disaster Recovery Framework, Recovery Support Functions, and the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinators. Various countries have internationally recognized and adopted these frameworks, demonstrating her global influence in emergency management. She also played a significant role in enacting the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, revolutionizing individual assistance and public assistance programs.

Throughout her career, Elizabeth has emphasized the importance of understanding the unique needs of communities affected by disasters. Her approach involved firsthand experiences in all states and territories, allowing her to tailor recovery efforts effectively. Additionally, Elizabeth is known for her dedication to supporting and mentoring women in emergency management. She established the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Women’s Forum. She was inducted into the International Women in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Hall of Fame in 2014.

Before her federal government service, Elizabeth held significant positions in the State of Arizona’s Division of Emergency Management and the State of Utah’s Division of Emergency Management. These roles involved directing recovery operations and managing substantial budgets and programs. Her academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and certifications from renowned institutions, underscoring her comprehensive knowledge of emergency management. Elizabeth’s career is a testament to her exceptional skills, dedication, and influential role in shaping the field of emergency management both nationally and internationally.

Elizabeth A. Zimmerman

About IEM