Crisis Boot Camp Agenda

Join PR News on September 15, 2014, at the historic Yale Club in New York City for an intensive boot camp will put you through the paces of crisis communications to help you avoid, or at least mitigate, the damage that can come to a brand. Our expert crisis managers will share their experiences and insights in developing a crisis plan, managing a team to execute that plan and how to guide an organization through its inevitable stormy seas.

Years of hard work in building and shaping your brand’s reputation can be undone in a matter of hours, even moments, when a crisis hits. A lapse in judgment on social media, a careless quote tossed out in mixed company, even a no-fault accident beyond human control—any of these can bring down an executive or an entire company. And no company is immune.

Here’s just a taste of what attending a PR News conference is like.


Bonus Checklists & Tip Sheets

All Attendees Will Receive the Following

  • • Crisis Communications Plan Checklist
  • • Proven Tips for Using Twitter During a Crisis
  • • Internal Communications Crisis Checklist
  • • Media Relations Crisis Cheat Sheet
  • • Crisis Resolution Checklist

Schedule At–A–Glance

8:00 a.m. – 8:35 a.m.
8:35 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Detailed Schedule

8:00 a.m. 8:35 a.m.

Registration & Networking Breakfast

8:35 a.m. 8:45 a.m.

Opening Remarks

8:45 a.m. 9:30 a.m.

Your Crisis Management Dream Team

A company with a pre-selected and well-trained team in place will weather a crisis much better than one that reacts only when trouble strikes. In this session, you will learn what makes for an effective crisis team, how to assemble a skilled group of people from within your company that you can deploy when the time comes.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Identify and recruit members of your team based on the skills needed to make the team effective
  • Establish a schedule of regular meetings to keep the team informed
  • Conduct a vulnerability audit to assess potential crisis scenarios
  • Conduct crisis exercises to identify weak spots in management structure
  • Identify and train a spokesperson to be the public face of the team
  • Establish a notification and communication system that will keep the team connected and informed at all times

Bonus: Crisis Communications Plan Checklist


© 2012 | Kristina Sherk Photography |
Sandra Coyle
Coyle Communications
Peter LaMotte
Senior Vice President & Chair, Digital Communications Practice
9:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m.

Battle Stations: The Critical First Hour

How your team responds during the first 60 minutes of a crisis can set the tempo for how well your brand navigates the situation. This is a vulnerable period that can be filled with emotion and misinformation that can derail your response. This session will focus on the key points to remember and stick with during that crucial hour.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Assess what has happened and the potential impact it will have on your brand
  • Deploy your crisis team in a manner that fits the scope of the situation
  • Determine who needs to be notified internally and how to craft that message
  • Prepare a public statement that shares relevant, verified information with the media
  • Ensure that internal and external communications remain consistent
  • Closely monitor and engage the media to prevent your message from getting misdirected

Bonus: Internal Communications Crisis Checklist


Tina Cassidy
Senior Vice President & Chief Content Officer
Paul Dickard
Vice President, Corporate/External Communications
10:30 a.m. 10:45 a.m.

Networking Break

10:45 a.m. 11:45 a.m.

When Your Social Media Platform Becomes the Crisis

Social media can be a tool in your crisis management kit, but sometimes it’s the source of the crisis itself. This session will explore the (often careless) ways a crisis rises out of social media, and how to contain the situation before it consumes not only your social media channels but also your whole brand.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Institute posting policies and author guidelines for your social media channels
  • Properly monitor your social media channels for potential problems
  • Engage in digital defense for a crisis arising out of social media
  • Proactively address concerns while protecting your channels
  • Craft a core message that can be communicated through various social media channels

Bonus: Proven Tips for Using Twitter During a Crisis


Nick Goodwin
Group Manager, Corporate Issues
Weber Shandwick
Jeff Porter
Director, Digital Strategy
APCO Worldwide
11:45 a.m. 12:00 p.m.

Networking Break

12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote: LAX Shooter Incident—Crisis Communications Lessons Learned

As a communicator, it is not pessimistic for you to assume that facing a crisis is inevitable. In fact, it’s smart thinking to prepare for the worst even when things seem at their best. Mary Grady, managing director for media and public relations for Los Angeles World Airports, knows firsthand the value of having a plan in place ready to go at a moment’s notice. In her riveting keynote address, she will give a moment-by-moment account of how her team responded to the LAX shooter incident of November 2013—and share practical takeaways communicators can use for all kinds of crises.


Mary Grady
Managing Director, Media and Public Relations
Los Angeles World Airports
1:00 p.m. 1:15 p.m.

Networking Break

1:15 p.m. 2:15 p.m.

Interactive Clinic: How to Manage an Escalating Crisis in Real Time

Crisis management expert Dallas Lawrence will guide attendees through a one-hour interactive drill that will test your crisis skills and your instincts. This is a chance to learn what you need to lead your organization at the moment of truth. Dallas will also share some tips on best and worst social media practices.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Prevent or deter issues from escalating into a crisis
  • Evaluate emerging situations and determine what to do in the first 24 hours
  • Engage company employees, the media and followers on social media during a crisis
  • Align your messages on social media with your other crisis management efforts
  • Measure the effectiveness of your crisis communications

Bonus: Media Relations Crisis Cheat Sheet


Dallas Lawrence
Adjunct Instructor on Crisis Communications
USC Annenberg School of Communications
2:15 p.m. 2:30 p.m.

Networking Break

2:30 p.m. 3:00 p.m.

The Crisis Postmortem: Assessing Your Brand After the Smoke Clears

As with all aspects of PR, you need to measure your crisis management efforts to ensure that you’ve poured water on the fire and not gasoline. This session will examine how to assess the damage that your brand may have sustained and explore some ideas about how to repair its reputation.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Track your crisis messaging across social media platforms
  • Engage customers and brand advocates to address their concerns
  • Do proper outreach to the people most affected during the crisis
  • Develop methods to rebuild brand reputation and public trust
  • Identify and attend to elements of the company culture that may have led to the crisis in the first place

Bonus: Crisis Resolution Checklist


Mitzi Emrich
Chief Social Strategist
3:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m.

Turning Failure Into a Gateway to Success

After an intense and informative day of learning how to deal with disasters, this final session will take a different turn, exploring how to convert failure into success. There are those who maintain that success comes from hard work alone, but some of the greatest entrepreneurs past and present have maintained that success cannot happen unless you first experience failure. You will leave this session and the day knowing that whatever your brand faces—and whatever comes your way professionally and personally—you will always have opportunities for learning, rebirth and expanded horizons.


Charles Manz, Ph.D.
Nirenberg Chaired Professor of Leadership
Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts
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