Ms. Maria J. Vorel is a retired career public servant in emergency management. Ms. Vorel coordinated disaster operations for the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In this capacity she was responsible for developing and maintaining the capacity and effectiveness of the insurance and mitigation disaster workforce. Her office was responsible for developing the doctrine, tools and training to effectively deploy staff engaging communities to build back stronger after natural disasters. Prior to this position, under the leadership of FEMA Director James Lee Witt, Ms. Vorel served as the National Director for Project Impact, a highly innovative community based risk reduction program. This program represented a significant shift the emergency management, depending on incentives, stakeholder engagement and public/private partnerships to change community decision-making. Ms. Vorel grew the initiative from 7 pilot communities to 250 communities nationwide. She encouraged national public policy dialogue on the benefits and systems of community-based mitigation; designed program guidance and policy, long term planning and budget formulation.
Ms. Vorel began her career in FEMA as a disaster reservist deploying to disasters; working with Members of Congress whose districts were affected by disaster. Representing FEMA, Ms. Vorel worked with Members of Congress to problem solve and educate legislators and staff. Within FEMA's Office of Legislative Affairs, Ms. Vorel advanced through the ranks managing the development of the Congressional liaison disaster cadre, designing and developing standards and training for nationwide use. She was the primary Stafford Act legislative architect working with Congress, OMB and the White House from 1983-1997. In 1993, Ms. Vorel was promoted to serve as the Deputy Director of FEMA's Office of Legislative & Intergovernmental Affairs, with responsibilities for managing staff covering the wide array of legislative authorities under the jurisdiction of over 20 Congressional subcommittees.
With a longstanding commitment to leadership development, Ms. Vorel served as a Leadership development coach for the Council for Excellence in Government fellows program. In this capacity, Ms. Vorel coached and mentored 25 fellows from a variety of Federal agencies, in a yearlong leadership journey in the areas of Values, Vision and Mission, Measuring for Results, Leading Change, Leading People and Building Coalitions.
August 2002: Czech Republic. Following the floods of 2002, Ms. Vorel, as the lead FEMA Official, designed and managed the official U.S. delegation visit to the Czech Republic. Her leadership provided technical assistance in disaster loss reduction practices to local Czech officials.
August 2000: Reykjavik, Iceland. Ms. Vorel delivered multiple presentations regarding best practices for community-based risk reduction at the International LACDE Conference; a conference for local officials from over 20 countries.
1991: Czechoslovakia. Served as a member of an official U.S. delegation to Czechoslovakia in 1991, advising on Czech cultural and political conditions in order to design and improve the effectiveness of FEMA presentation on emergency preparedness to senior members of the Czech and Slovak governments. This formal consultation in Prague was part of the Czech and Slovak structuring of a new government following the fall of the Communist regime.
Bachelor of Arts, with majors in political science and sociology, State University of New York at Fredonia.
Certified Literacy Tutor, Literacy Council of Northern Virginia – August 2010
Leading Positive Change; An Appreciative Inquiry Program - April 15-17, 2009
Developing Mitigation's Leadership & Management Skills – Based on OPM's Leadership & Performance Management Competencies - September 2007
Council for Excellence in Government; one year fellowship program - October 1, 2001 to September 30th, 2002. Leadership development program which included reading, benchmarking public and private sector leaders, discussions, reflection, presentations and projects. Themes of sessions revolved around leading change, leading people, measuring performance, building coalitions, and managing for results.
Federal Executive Institute, Charlottesville VA. Facilitative Leadership, 1996
Member, Board of Directors, Alice's Kids – July 2011 to present. Private nonprofit serving local area children in need of financial assistance.
Virginia Policy Chair, ALS Association – 2007-2009. Coordinated activities with Virginia Legislature and US Congress to raise awareness, provide research funding and constituent services for persons living with ALS.