Crisis Communications Boot Camp 14

28-29 October 2021, Hilton Hotel, Austin, Texas

Register now

About the Event

Welcome to the 14th edition of the Crisis Communications Boot Camp and our first live Crisis Comms Boot Camp in 2021!

The COVID-19 pandemic and the societal and political turmoil have drastically changed the way that consumers interact with brands. In this new reality, it is now more important than ever to communicate effectively to the right audience, with the right message and plan for every potential threat to your brand’s reputation.

In our two days, interactive Boot Camp, our international panel of speakers will help you identify and tackle every element of a crisis whilst safeguarding your organization's reputation in a post-pandemic world. 

Please note that the Boot Camp is a live, in-person event, limited to 70 participants only. For those that choose to attend the event virtually, all content from the Boot Camp will be live-streamed online in real-time and recorded for you to watch in case you miss anything. 

Why register?

  • Adapt your strategy to the new world of crisis management.
  • Hear practical, real-world tips on how to prepare for a crisis.
  • Understand the importance of empathy in crisis communications
  • Take a human-first approach to crisis management.
  • Deal effectively with outrage and polarisation on social media.
  • Leverage technology and media intelligence to manage crisis communications effectively
  • Detect early warning signs for a crisis, and minimize the damages
  • Structure a robust and effective crisis management and communication plan
  • Leverage social media for effective crisis and communication management
  • Rebuild trust and reputation post-crisis







Facts & Figures

  • The first ever Crisis Communications Boot Camp was held in Calgary in April 2017.
  • In less than three years, over 2000 PR and communciations professionals from Europe and North America have attended the Crisis Communications Boot Camps in Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Helsinki.
  • Previous delegates at the Crisis Communications Boot Camp include PR representatives from: Bechtel, Morehouse School of Medicine, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Duke University, Harvard University HPAC, Visa Inc, UPS, University of Central Florida, Edelman, The Calgary Airport Authority, Export Development Canada, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, National Gallery of Canada, University of Ottawa, Target, Bank of America, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Turner, Spotify, Harvard Law School...


Nancy Seideman Emory University

Ginger Buxa Plumbo Mayo Clinic

Nancy Bistritz-Balkan Director, Cybersecurity Communications Program Company, McKesson

Vitor De Souza Cisco

Mary Jo Jacobi Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, Former Assistant US Commerce Secretary for President George H.W. Bush, British Civil Service Commissioner

Donald Steel Former Chief Communications Advisor, BBC

Patrick Jephson Former Chief Of Staff To Princess Diana



Opening Keynote: Managing Reputational Risk in Unprecedented Times
Mary Jo Jacobi is the only person in the world appointed by two US Presidents, two UK Prime Ministers and the Queen of England.
In this opening keynote, drawing from her experience at Royal Dutch Shell, BP America, Lehman Brothers, HSBC Holdings and Drexel Burnham Lambert, Mary Jo will share with you what it takes to build and maintain a global reputation in the post-COVID era, how to successfully handle corporate and financial crisis and most importantly, how to craft the perfect apology after a major crisis.
Mary Jo Jacobi, Former Assistant U.S. Commerce Secretary, Former Chief Reputation Officer at Royal Dutch Shell and Former Executive Vice President of BP America


Out of the Shadows: The Most Important Trends in Reputation that CEOs Need to Understand
Patrick was Princess Diana’s first and only Chief of Staff. He served the Princess for eight years (1988-96), responsible for every aspect of her public life, charitable initiatives, and private organization. Now, an internationally renowned reputation consultant, a Bestselling Author and consultant for Netflix’s “The Crown”, in this session Patrick will help you identify the qualities people expect to see in CEOs and senior officials, how to prepare them for major crisis, build their key messages but most importantly acquire substance, not spin. 
Patrick Jephson, Former Chief of Staff to Princess Diana, New York Times Bestselling Author & Consultant, Netflix's The Crown


How to Protect Your Staff and Reputation in 2022 and Beyond
- Create or update your organization's risk communications plan
- Build a rapid-response internal culture that's ready for emergencies
- Work with legal to ensure social media compliance and risk mitigation
- Quickly make use of your intranet and digital channels in risk situations
Nancy Bistritz-Balkan, Director, Cybersecurity Communications Program, McKesson


Lunch for Speakers and Delegates


Cyber Crime: Preparing Your Organization for the New Normal
Headlines such as "Cyberattacks on the rise during the Covid-19 pandemic", "How Is Covid-19 Creating Data Breaches?","Top Cyber Security Experts Report: 4,000 Cyber Attacks a Day Since COVID-19 Pandemic" show that aside from COVID-19, 2020 will also be remembered as the year that security events exploded and cybercides transformed society in numerous ways.
In this interactive session Vitor will help you educate your workforce on potential cyber threats, identify which data needs to be absolutely protected, as well as plan in advance for a cyber attack but most importantly rebuild trust with consumers after a security breach in your organization.
Vitor de Souza, VP Communications, Cisco, USA


Taking a Stand Amid Political and Societal Turmoil
Speaker TBC


Short Networking Break


Lessons Learned from COVID- 19 - Virtual Media Briefings: The Press Conference is Reborn
Besieged with media requests regarding COVID-19, the patient surge, and vaccines, the Mayo Clinic media relations team began offering virtual media briefings several times per week starting in September as one of many crisis management tactics. These briefings quickly became an effective and efficient way of using experts’ time and satisfying numerous media requests simultaneously. In the age of COVID-19, the press conference was reborn.
In this session, Mayo Clinic will share their learnings and tips to make virtual media briefings successful - in times of crisis or not - as well as metrics and results.
Ginger Buxa Plumbo, Communications Manager, Mayo Clinic


Lessons Learned From the Ebola Crisis in 2014 and How Those Tactics Were Applied to the COVID-19 Crisis
In this session, Emory University’s Vice President for Academic Communications and Reputation Leadership will share with you how Emory managed the communications around the treatment of four Ebola patients in 2014, and how strategy and tactics deployed then have been applied to the COVID-19 crisis. Nancy will reveal tips to help you prepare BEFORE the emergency hits, and how to quell public fear and misinformation that could damage an organization’s reputation, internally and externally. 
This session will also help you understand how to determine if your crisis really is a crisis, the best ways to prepare and collaborate with stakeholders, how and when to assemble the players and their roles, as well as why organization leaders and subject matter experts must be front line with internal communications, and tips for managing a torrent of media.
Nancy Seideman, Vice President for Academic Communications and Reputation Leadership, Emory University


Closing Discussion


End of Day One

10.00 - 16.00

Full Day Crisis Communications Workshop with Donald Steel, UK's Leading Crisis Expert & Former Chief Communications Adviser at BBC
The past year has shown us how we, and our institutions can rapidly adapt at a time of global crisis. It’s not over yet, but a different crisis may be waiting around the corner to hit just as we are at our most exhausted and vulnerable.
In this one day specialist workshop, international crisis communicator Donald Steel will lift your vision and energy to make sure your organisation is fully crisis communications ready. 
In this fully interactive and engaging day, together we will discover what success looks like in crisis communications and gather learning from situations where people have got it right.  We will also find solutions together and hear from the experience of each other.
We will explore how the cameraphone will dictate the narrative in a crisis, and how we must broaden our crisis communications response to include pictures as well as words if we wish to succeed.

At the end of this workshop you will:

- Understand the relationship between advance preparation and speed in crisis communications
- Be equipped to review your organisation’s tone, language and style on social media in a crisis
- Be familiar with aggressive question types in crisis media interviews and how to deal with them
- Be ready to review your organisation’s crisis communications plan in the light of the workshop

You will leave the workshop feeling energised, with a checklist of actions to take back as you seek to take your crisis preparedness to the next level.


Interactive scenario part one
- The new crisis communications timetable
- Getting ahead of the narrative on social media
- Staying victim focussed


Interactive scenario part two
- Building the statement blocks in a crisis using social media
- The role of the CEO on social media and why they must be reheased
- Building public confidence
- Types of crisis narrative such as Heroes and Villains


Lunch for Speakers and Delegates


Interactive scenario part three
- Establishing the dominant narrative
- Avoiding losing control
- Handling aggressive media interviews and recognising question types
- Dealing confidently with emerging issues


Interactive scenario part three continued
- Media interview practice with representatives of groups


Summary of key points and closing discussion

Our partners


Hilton Austin, Austin, Texas

Adjacent to the Austin Convention Center and within walking distance to nightlife on Sixth Street, this hotel features on-site spa services, an 8th-floor outdoor pool with hot tub and poolside bar, and a fully-equipped fitness center. Only 0.8 mi from the Hilton Austin, guests can explore the Texas State Capitol building.

Each room features a flat-screen TV with premium cable and pay-per-view channels. A compact refrigerator, iPod dock and coffee machine are also included. The private bathroom features a hairdryer and free toiletries.

Guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast from the on-site restaurant, or relax after a long day with a massage from the full-service spa. Steam rooms and saunas are available in the 1,500-square-yard fitness center. The knowledgeable concierge staff can help arrange dinner reservations, area tours and more. Laundry and room service are offered, as well as luggage storage. Gift shops and clothing stores are also located on site.

Just 1.3 mi away, guests can spend the day at Bullock Historical Museum or the LBJ Presidential Library. Zilker Park and Barton Springs are 10 minutes' drive from the downtown hotel.

Click here for more hotel info.