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Mary Tyszkiewicz, Ph.D. (SAY: Tiz KEV itch) is a disaster readiness trainer, small-group innovation expert and impact evaluator. Her Heroic Improv Program© helps people be ready to get safe in life-threatening situations, using improv exercises.
Her upcoming book is called “Heroic Improv: Get Ready, Be Safe for Unimaginable Disasters.” The book describes how people naturally use small group innovation abilities in accidents, disasters and emergencies and how anyone can use Heroic Improv exercises to prepare for these events. She has case studies and survey data describing innovation in high-stakes crises by Filipino disaster survivors, Central American child migrants and American disaster volunteers.
With social science research, she shows how small groups (16 or fewer people) who care and connect with each other find innovative solutions to urgent problems. She has discovered the 5-step Heroic Improv Cycle (Alert, Ready, Connect, Focus, Move), which describes abilities that small groups use to respond to high-stakes crises. These abilities can be practiced with Heroic Improv exercises. The exercises generate the feelings of high-stakes problems, while practicing small group abilities used in disasters in low-stakes settings.
Dr. Tyszkiewicz has used her Heroic Improv programs with diverse groups of people like airline staff, child migrant caretakers, community emergency response teams, conference center staff, disaster innovators, disaster researchers, disaster survivors, disaster volunteers, emergency responders, indigenous tribes, homeless service providers, and school staff and university students in the U.S. and Philippines.
In her career, Dr. Tyszkiewicz, has prepared analysis for top decision makers in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She is a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Organization Research and Design. She lives in the Washington, DC area and uses her Ph.D. education in Public Administration from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School everyday.