Corte Madera, CA, USA
Tell us about your professional background
I have consulted for federal and municipal public health agencies, healthcare systems and corporations in crisis. I have conducted media training for private sector leaders as well as police executives, scientists and public health professionals. And I have worked with police departments adapting to social media and other modern communications.
What is it about communications, media or crisis comms that interests you so much?
When I was a firefighter, showing up to prevent injuries or harm was my motivation. As PIOs, we have the opportunity to improve safety on a larger scale. The right communications during an emergency literally makes life or death differences. So many emergency leaders have communicated well, yet there are many who are unprepared. My goal is to help people prepare for emergency or crisis communications without getting bogged down drafting elaborate plans that won't help when the alarm goes off.
Why did you decide to write a book?
Peers from around the country kept asking me to share the systems that I implemented to manage emergency communications when I was chief communications officer at a major New York medical center. The book was a chance both to give back to people who have shared so much experience and wisdom with me and to help others respond better to whatever emergency occurs.
What one piece of advice would you give to those wanting to start a career as a Public Information Officer or comms professional?
Practice. The best way to get comfortable in front of cameras or answering questions live is to do it -- preferably in non-crisis or practice settings so that your first time on the hot seat doesn't burn anyone.
Which book by any other author would you recommend?
Crisis Ready by Melissa Agnes includes some very powerful tools to help plan and prepare for reputation threats and other crises. https://amzn.to/3kHTcGm.
Which podcast, if any, would you recommend?
Tell us about any professional groups you are a member of that you think would be beneficial
The Public Information Officer section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police is a terrific resource. View here.
For medical and higher education professionals, the Association of American Medical Colleges Group on Institutional Advancement is an excellent place to find others who are in your world. .
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about or recommend?
I'm passionate about planning and preparing so that emergency responses are done well. Communications is a core competency for any leader, and effective communications is essential to managing any and every emergency.
Tell us about any other professional services you offer
Workshops led by Peabody-award winning journalist, former firefighter and EMT, and communications expert Doug Levy help organizations apply the Communications Golden Hour® approach to plan, prepare and execute effective communications – no matter what the situation. Consulting, writing and coaching services also available. Visit website