Wednesday, May 9

9–9:50 a.m.
Opening keynote

The canary in the coal mine: Crisis communications in the information age

From sophisticated activist investors and NGOs to online campaigns and citizen journalists, no organization these days is immune from a crisis. Most aren’t good at anticipating the “canary in the coal mine”—and crisis teams aren’t always on the same page as their adversaries. They’re accustomed to reacting as communicators have done for seventy years. Crises now operate at the speed of light, leaving little time for reaction, only anticipation and preparation. We now must be proactive. This requires a radical transformation of how we do our jobs in today’s corporate structure. Join to hear what it will take to break down silos and improve risk intelligence so you can successfully embrace the speed, transparency and trust necessary to survive (and thrive) in today’s climate of constant conflict and crisis.

You’ll learn:

  • How ideas become movements—plus, how to identify threats and anticipate crises
  • Speed, trust, transparency—the key elements of the new, proactive crisis PR
  • How to use peacetime wisely—from risk intelligence to identifying allies
  • The importance of striking down silos so all departments work together
  • Insights into empowering communicators and engaging C-suites in a 24/7 crisis world
  • How to constantly assess new and evolving threats with sophisticated risk mapping

Chairman and CEO

Read bio
10–10:50 a.m.

Category 5 alert: Irma’s lessons for the new age of natural disasters

From hurricanes to earthquakes to wildfires, the past year saw countless deadly disasters. The urgency surrounding these catastrophes provides powerful lessons in crisis communications—including those learned by Baptist Health South Florida, a network of 10 hospitals. As Hurricane Irma approached, the communications team rapidly mobilized all its platforms to inform its communities. The integrated response across social media, traditional media and internal channels was a huge undertaking, and it serves as a model for any team preparing for tomorrow’s threats today. Join for a behind-the-scenes look at this Category 5 crisis response.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Manage teams with an integrated, digital-ready crisis plan
  • Plan for effective media relations during a crisis, including:
    • Build relationships with key reporters in advance
    • Craft messages that convey facts—and concern
    • Handle news crews and embedded reporters
  • Lead your social media response in a crisis, including:
    • Monitor official social feeds with tools like Meltwater
    • Respond quickly with tools like Sprout Social
    • Shoot and share updates to Skype and Facebook Live
  • Monitor, measure and adjust your crisis plan on the fly

Communications director

Baptist Health South Florida
Read bio

Media relations manager

Baptist Health South Florida
Read bio

Social media manager

Baptist Health South Florida
Read bio
11–11:50 a.m.

CYA on social media: Protect your reputation in the age of Trump tweets

Every organization or individual with a reputation worth protecting should be ready for their moment in the crisis spotlight. This interactive session will arm you with the know-how you need to build and defend reputations from threats as varied as data breaches and product liability cases to natural disasters and even late-night Presidential tweets. The session will be capped off by a live crisis training session that will put your skills to the test under the most extreme circumstances.

You’ll learn:

  • How to effectively train your team in social media use
  • How to influence online communities while opposition groups are aggressively driving the online conversation
  • How to develop a comprehensive crisis communications program
  • Best practices for establishing authentic and credible social media channels to engage key stakeholders before, during and after a crisis
  • How social and digital mediums can drive traditional media outcomes
Senior vice president, head of communications
Read bio
11:50 a.m.–12:50 p.m.

Networking lunch

(provided on site)

1–1:50 p.m.

Rebuilding trust: Combatting a “crisis of trust” in today’s global landscape

The public no longer trusts you or your brand—and you’re not alone. We’re facing an epidemic of diminished trust in institutions. Today’s crisis of trust is compounded by unprecedented risks to data security, global safety, changing political landscapes, new systems of influence and a world where promises are no longer good enough. How do you safeguard your organization’s relationship with the public? How do you build and keep the public’s trust amid new threats? Join this session to discover how to promote, protect and advance your reputation in the face of today’s era of eroding trust.

You’ll learn:

  • A strategic snapshot of the state of trust worldwide
  • How to be prepared: Steps to execute risk assessments in a global context
  • How to practice messaging with purpose—internally and externally
  • How to practice greater accountability and transparency
  • How to use social media channels to build trust in the face of skepticism
  • How and when to tap media, spokespeople and partners to engender trust

Global communications director

Save the Children International
Read bio
2–2:50 p.m.

Manage the unexpected: Nine unspoken rules of crisis communications

Countless books, presentations and classes claim to teach you how to manage a crisis when it’s all on the line—but the unexpected is rarely discussed: That changes today. This session will give you a behind-the-scenes look into the skills and mindset it takes to successfully handle unanticipated situations. Matt McKenna, former senior advisor and spokesperson for President Clinton and former Uber communications executive, will share his stories in navigating crisis and upholding an organization’s trust, credibility and reputation throughout certain uncertainty.

You’ll learn:

  • How to successfully predict when a crisis is coming
  • When to trust your instincts—and when to call for help
  • Smart ways to avoid the most common crisis traps
  • Secrets of knowing (and managing) crisis assets and liabilities
(Former senior advisor to President Clinton)
(Former head of communications, Uber)
Co-founder and managing partner
Read bio
3–3:50 p.m.

Data meets crisis management: How to analyze coverage and influence the message

Just because crises are chaotic doesn’t mean your response has to be. Join this insightful session to sharpen your crisis communications skills—and learn the metrics that can help you shape a more systematic crisis communication strategy. You’ll discover methods to use PR analytics to minimize damage to brand and reputation—and to build greater trust in clients and influencers. Russ Somers, VP of marketing at TrendKite, will reveal these and other earned media best practices to help you improve your crisis communications when it matters most.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Quickly and efficiently analyze crisis coverage
  • Discover the publications and journalists writing about the crisis
  • Understand the impact current coverage is having on your brand
  • Engage and build trust with influencers talking about the crisis
  • Leverage media, clients and influencers to help shape the message
Vice president of marketing
Read bio
3:50–4:10 p.m.

Networking break + lightning talk

4:10–5 p.m.
Closing keynote

Create a “Quick Reaction Force”: Crisis lessons from Baghdad to Puerto Rico

This fast-paced session will transform your approach to crises. You’ll hear how a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) of truth and transparency was unleashed during recent tipping-point crises—from the Al-Qaeda insurgency that created a flashpoint crisis for the White House during the Iraq War to the disasters of terrorism in San Bernardino, Orlando and Europe and the natural disasters of 2017 that produced a “new normal” model for crisis communicators worldwide. The insights you gain will help you create your own QRF so you can better navigate what’s becoming the era of constant crises.

You’ll learn:

  • Key questions every crisis communications strategy must answer, starting with: What’s the truth? Where can we be transparent?
  • How to build a QRF “Go Team” to deliver truth and transparency—long before competing narratives can air
  • Steps communicators can take to stop disasters from becoming crises
  • The typical phases of disaster—and how to react at each critical stage
  • How to keep a crisis from snowballing (this is where most communicators lose control of their crisis plan)
  • How to stop worrying about your job and lead from the front: Inspiring lessons to guide your career and crisis management
director of communications

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Read bio

For event information, contact Customer Service 800.878.5331, or