Poarch Creek’s April Sells Selected for FEMA Leadership Program

ATMORE, AL – April Sells, Director of Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ (PBCI) Tribal Emergency Services, has been selected for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Vanguard Executive Crisis Leaders Fellowship. Sells was one of 26 senior crisis leaders chosen for FEMA’s executive leadership cohort focused on disruptive changes in emergency management and crisis leadership.

FEMA Vanguard’s cohort represents some of the most influential and experienced minds in crisis leadership, including state, local, tribal and territorial emergency management directors, corporate executives, philanthropic leaders, elected officials, academics, policymakers, and other emergency management executives. Developed by FEMA, the program is designed to establish the relationships needed to innovate, prepare, and respond to future crises more effectively.

Sells has worked with the Poarch Creek Indians since 1986. Currently, serving as the Tribal Emergency Services Director, she oversees Emergency Management and Fire Service operations. Under her leadership, the fire department, initially a volunteer fire department with a 35-year history, has evolved significantly. Collaborating with Emergency Management, her team actively engages in hurricane response efforts, including coordinating with the Alabama Urban Search and Rescue team. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sells led her team in procuring personal protective equipment (PPE), managing logistics, and establishing the Tribal COVID-19 Health Task Force. This task force played a crucial role in guiding the tribe’s reopening and vaccination efforts, ultimately securing the first Federal Declaration for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in response to COVID-19.

The two-week cohort is held at rotating sites across the U.S., allowing selectees to meet with leading experts in crisis leadership from across the country. The executives are also invited for a series of high-level engagements with the National Security Council, Congressional representatives, Department of Homeland Security leadership, the FEMA Administrator, and former FEMA Administrators.