Wednesday, September 11

4:20 pm - 5:00 pm

Leading in high stress and/or dangerous contexts is fundamentally the same, yet qualitatively different, from leading in other contexts. These contexts are known as in extremis, defined as leading where there is physical danger or where followers believe that leader behavior will influence their well-being. Outcomes mean more than success or failure, pride or embarrassment – they can be hurt or healthy, dead or alive. The unique psychological, social and organizational demands that arise during in extremis situations is what makes leading and developing teams within these contexts very different. Arguably, these contexts produce leaders that are high performing and teams that are high functioning – desirable traits for success in any field.

In addition to discussing the career, psychosocial and role model mentorship functions, development for high stress and in extremis leaders requires creating integrated leader development frameworks that accomplish two main goals: clarification and recognition of the demands placed upon leaders; and explanation of the capacities needed so that leaders can best adapt to challenges and changes in a variety of situations. As such, research findings indicate building leaders that can perform during in extremis contexts requires a holistic developmental model which integrates interrelated psychological structures, capacities, traits and skills that facilitate both leaders’ and followers’ ability to operate in a given high stress context. This session will discuss the model, which includes six main facets: worldview, self-awareness, sense of agency, self-regulation, self-motivation, and social awareness/connection to others. In addition to the science, this session will also discuss lessons learned and implications for developmental experiences, training, and intervention strategies from other high stakes/high stress contexts for participants to relate to their own arenas.


  • Hear from a Special Operations veteran about in extremis experiences and the leadership required for our nation’s highest performing defenders.
  • Learn to create developmental frameworks which optimize both the individual and social characteristics for premier leaders and close-knit teams.
  • Understand the combat-tested research behind holistic developmental models and apply it to your own high-performing/high-stress contexts.

Chaveso “Chevy” Cook

Executive Director

About Chaveso “Chevy” Cook

Chaveso “Chevy” Cook is a Major in the U.S. Army. His career spans the historic 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC. After selection and training for Army Special Operations, he transferred to Psychological Operations, continuing service at Fort Bragg. Chevy has also been an instructor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at United States Military Academy (USMA). During his career he’s deployed during “The Surge”, the “Arab Spring”, and the fight against ISIS in positions working with a wide variety of American embassies, assisting foreign militaries, and special operations task forces. These and other experiences span Iraq, Qatar, Niger, Jordan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Tajikistan and the United Arab Emirates.

Chevy’s education includes degrees from USMA (B.S. Psychology), the University of Texas-El Paso (M.A. Leadership Development), and Columbia University (M.A. Organizational Psychology). He is currently a Tufts University doctoral student, focusing his research on Human Development. His professional memberships, including the American Psychological Association, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and his non-profit role as co-founder and Executive Director of allow him to uniquely serve others outside of the uniform. He’s guest spoken and been widely published on topics of character, leadership, organizational change, diversity, inclusion, innovation, mentorship, and other professional development topics.

Of his awards and decorations, he is most proud of his two Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medals for sustained community and organizational investment and the 2016 Secretary of the Army Diversity and Leadership Award, given to one Army officer yearly for commitment to equal opportunity practices, Army Values and the professional development of others.

Chevy and his wife Ashley are from Columbia, SC. She is his high-school sweetheart and a personal trainer. Their most important triumphs are being together for over 20 years and their beautiful daughters London and Lola.