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Developing Successful PR Crisis Response Plans - WIPL

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 60 minutes
Recorded Date: October 29, 2020
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  • What is a crisis?
  • Planning for a crisis
  • Responding to a crisis
  • Leading during a crisis
  • Recovering from a crisis
  • Key Takeaways
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: October 29, 2020


In today's world of social media, bad PR travels fast. To combat these situations, the best offense is often good defense. Legal teams, marketing, and PR teams and firms must work in tandem to swiftly handle negative attacks against them. Industry leaders know that this requires a well-reasoned crisis management plan and one that involves multiple key teams to be effective.

Hear from leaders who have developed and implemented successful crisis management plans, including Who to involve in the creation of your crisis management plan; Actionable first steps to take when you find yourself in a PR crisis; Strategies for monitoring borderline incidents and determining when to step in.

This program was recorded as part of Corporate Counsel's Women, Influence, and Power in Law Virtual Conference held on October 29th, 2020.

Provided By

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Deanna Sheridan

General Counsel & VP
Spartan Race

Deanna Sheridan is the General Counsel and Vice President of Spartan Race, Inc., a global endurance sports and fitness brand. Deanna is a graduate of Boston University School of Law and Wellesley College. After several years in private litigation and corporate practices, Deanna began her in-house career in 2010 upon joining NORESCO, one of the largest energy services construction companies in the U.S. While there, Deanna managed transactional, compliance and risk management initiatives across the business, with a focus on championing the company’s ethics culture and coordinating ethics and compliance policies and providing employee training.

Deanna joined Spartan in 2016, and quickly transitioned to leading the legal team in 2017 as Spartan evolved from a sporting events start-up to a global lifestyle brand. As General Counsel, Deanna supports every aspect of the business - negotiating and managing contract relationships and disputes, and advising on compliance, investment strategy and risk mitigation in areas as diverse as technology, retail, e-commerce, media, manufacturing and distribution, construction, professional services, franchise relationships, safety and customer support. As a key advisor to the company’s leadership team, Deanna led the development of the company’s crisis communications protocol and is the executive co-sponsor of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Supporting a strong brand which enjoys a passionate global customer community and a dedicated staff, Deanna embraces Spartan’s mission to transform people’s lives through physical and mental fitness, coaching/education, and community. A member of USA 500 Clubs, the Women’s General Counsel Network, the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, and Women in Sports and Entertainment, she volunteers with Girls Rock Campaign Boston, a non-profit that promotes community, self-expression and self-confidence building among girls and youth of marginalized genders.

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Sydney Ann Neuhaus

Managing Partner

Sydney Ann Neuhaus has more than 25 years’ experience in developing and managing strategic communications and reputation management programs. She works directly with CEOs, senior administrators, Board members and subject matter experts for Fortune 500 companies, professional associations, non-profit organizations, and academic institutions. She is experienced in helping clients manage sensitive or high-stakes situations, offering strategic counsel and support in communicating with key stakeholder audiences and the media.

Prior to Finsbury, Sydney worked at FleishmanHillard, receiving the John D. Graham Award for Excellence, given to individuals who best exemplify leadership and the firm’s values.

Previously, Sydney headed the PR division of Harrison & Star and worked at Edelman Public Relations, where she was a member of a Silver Anvil-winning team. Ms. Neuhaus received a B.A. in English from Cornell University, graduating with Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. She sits on the Y of Greater New York’s Strong Kids Leadership Council.

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Grace E. Speights

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Grace E. Speights handles high-profile and high-stakes workplace matters for employers and is often called upon by clients for crisis management assistance. She is sought out by executives and boards for her experience in not only investigating workplace misconduct claims, but also examining the culture of companies and their workplaces.

Amid national attention on issues of racial equality and social justice, Grace helps employers navigate demands to create more diverse and inclusive workplaces, investigate allegations of noninclusive or racist workplace environments, and advise on corporate diversity and inclusion initiatives.

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Fannie Chen

Deputy General Counsel

Fannie Chen is Deputy General Counsel at Casper where she provides strategic legal and business advice across the company on matters related to commercial and operational strategy, risk management, corporate governance, securities law, and strategic transactions.

In her role, Fannie works closely with Casper’s C-suite and Board members on investor relations, corporate communications, and crisis management matters. Earlier this year, she helped lead the company’s $100 million initial public offering.

Prior to Casper, Fannie was Director and Counsel at Blue Apron, where she advised on the company’s strategic brand partnerships and public company governance. Before Blue Apron, Fannie was an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell, where her practice focused on financial regulation and mergers and acquisitions.

Fannie has also had a diverse range of experiences in the non-profit and public sectors, including at the White House National Economic Council, UN Development Fund for Women as a Fulbright Scholar, and the American Chamber of Commerce in China.

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Cari K. Dawson

Alston & Bird LLP

Cari Dawson is the chair of the Class Action Practice Team. She concentrates her practice on complex litigation matters, with particular focus on class action defense. Ms. Dawson has served as lead counsel in class actions for numerous Fortune 500 companies nationwide and defended class actions involving claims of fraud, breach of warranty, RICO, breach of contract, consumer protection, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and all varieties of state and federal statutory claims. Recently, Ms. Dawson served as lead economic loss class action defense counsel in the Toyota Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices and Product Liability MDL, one of the largest product liability MDLs in the country. She has an established track record of successfully defending clients as lead counsel in high-profile enterprise litigation throughout the United States, and in 2013, The National Law Journal named Ms. Dawson one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.”

Ms. Dawson’s practice also includes commercial litigation, business counseling and strategic planning. For the past several years,
Chambers USA has named her to the list of “The Best Lawyers in America” in the area of commercial litigation. In 2012, the John M. Langston Bar Association named her “Corporate Counsel of the Year,” and in 2011, she was named to the “45 Under 45” list of remarkable women lawyers by The American Lawyer. Ms. Dawson is a frequent lecturer and author on the defense of class actions and commercial litigation.

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