The National Resilience Institute (NRI) hosted its 4th annual international Resilience Summit at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago from October 16-18, 2017. Keynote speakers included Michelle Gay, Co-Founder of Safe and Sound Schools: A Sandy Hook Initiative; Steve Gross, Founder and Chief Playmaker of the LIfe is Good Kids Foundation; Janet Hilary, CEO of the Floreat Education Trust in London, Dr. George Bonanno, Chair of the Psychology Department at Columbia University; Dr. Stevan Hobfoll, Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush Medical College, representatives from Wounded Warrior Project’s Warrior Care Network and more!

The Summit brought together stakeholders from across the country and globally to share proven tools and strategies, explore innovative solutions, and engage in collaborative human resilience building.

Michele Gay, the co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools, opened the first session on Collaborating for Better Solutions with a recount of December 14, 2012; the day her daughter, Josephine, was killed during the Sandy Hook shooting and the impact of the tragedy on her community. She shared lessons learned around preparation and response to a traumatic event. Gay emphasized the importance of reviewing emergency preparedness plans with the input of emergency responders, professionals, and other community stakeholders. She encouraged everyone in the room to think about the “pillars” of their support system before a loss. For Michele, these were her faith, family, and friends.

The event continued with four more sessions on Leading through Adversity, Putting Resilience Research into Practice, Building Psychosocial Resilience, and Responding after Crisis. Presentations addressed trauma-informed strategies to build childhood resilience, creating a continuum of support for Veterans, caring for caregivers, and creating environments that support cultural awareness and resilience. Each session dedicated time for attendees to ask the Summit faculty questions and collaborate with each other. Attendees also were given time to participate in fun Resilience Challenges and snap photos. Another highlight was being entertained throughout the Summit by internationally award-winning operatic artist, John Cimino.

To learn more about the resources the National Resilience Institute provides visit

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Make sure to follow @ResilienceInst  for updates and announcements about next year’s summit!

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