Crisis Communications Planning and Response – An Interview with Sean Smith


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Presented By:

Robert Burton & Sean Smith


Organizations have a responsibility to prepare their public relations teams for a wide-range of crises. Communicators need to create crisis response plans in order for them to respond in both a timely and organized manner, otherwise mistakes can be made. Many crises create stressful situations so being prepared is critical. Is your communications team ready?  

In this Q&A style webinar, Sean Smith of Porter Novelli provides an insight into the world of crisis communications.  

Topics covered in this webinar:  

  • Common crisis communication mistakes  
  • Decision-making challenges and what leaders need to do to ensure their communicators are ready  
  • Crisis Communications Plans – The essential components  
  • How to positively utilize social media during crises  


About the guest:

Sean Smith leads the global Reputation Management practice at Porter Novelli. He has established an innovative approach to corporate communications that integrates the varied functions a company utilizes to build a corporate brand and create trust among its key audiences. His team of experienced specialists stretches around the world and leverages cutting edge technology to help clients enhance and protect their reputation.

Sean has developed creative and substantive campaigns to build, strengthen, and maintain brand reputation and then implemented those campaigns through executive visibility, thought leadership, CSR, social media, media relations, internal communications and financial communications.

Since joining Porter Novelli in 2011, he has developed and led corporate reputation campaigns and managed issues for Disney, McDonald’s, Bel Brands Cheese, Timberland, Chapstick, Almond Board of California, National Honey Board, Hewlett-Packard, Palo Alto Networks, SanDisk, NetApp, Dun & Bradstreet and other Fortune 500 companies.

He advises a number of CEOs and other prominent executives at some of Porter Novelli’s biggest clients.

From January 2009 to April 2011, Sean was the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In that role he was responsible for managing all aspects of the Department’s brand and reputation. He was the principal advisor to the Secretary on these matters and eventually advised several other Cabinet Members. While at DHS, Sean led the Obama administration’s public response to attempted terrorist attacks, the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill, the H1N1 outbreak, border violence in Mexico, cyber attacks and dozens of other breaking news incidents.

Prior to his time in the Obama administration, Sean worked on a number of political campaigns, including three presidential campaigns, and served in a variety of public affairs capacities. He has been a Lecturer at Yale University, Johns Hopkins, and the University of California San Diego.

Sean holds degrees from Harvard University and the University of Oregon.


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