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How to Prevent and Survive Cancellation: Responding to a PR Crisis

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 62 minutes
Recorded Date: October 06, 2021
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  • Organizations Existing in a High-Risk World
  • Case Study: The Crock-Pot
  • Case Study: Fast & Furious
  • The Media Landscape
  • Balancing and Managing Risk
  • Stakeholders/Audiences
  • The Role of Legal in Times of Crisis
  • Avoiding Unintended Consequences
  • Best Practices for Crisis and Litigation Communications
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: October 6, 2021

For NY - Difficulty: Experienced Attorneys Only (Non-Transitional)


In today’s social climate, developing a response plan to a PR crisis has become vital to business strategy. Navigating the bumpy terrain of “cancel culture” is perhaps one of the most complex challenges for today’s GC. Join us for this insightful session as we tackle the difficult balancing act of a PR crisis response.

This program was recorded as part of Corporate Counsel's Women, Influence, and Power in Law Conference held on October 6th, 2021.

Provided By

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Katie Clark

Senior Vice President, Crisis & Reputation Risk

For more than 25 years, Katie has been helping clients protect and promote their brands. As the lead of Edelman Crisis & Reputation Risk practice in Atlanta and the South region, she counsels clients on crisis preparedness, issues management, crisis response and reputation recovery. She also serves as a member of Edelman’s global crisis network and supports the firm’s Data Security and Privacy Group, leading this work for clients based in the South and across the U.S.

Katie’s crisis response and management experience is extensive. She has counseled organizations on high-profile issues and crises as well as high-risk operational incidents; and her crisis and risk expertise spans a variety of sectors, issues, crises and special situations. She has deep experience helping organizations and brands protect their operations and reputation. Her diverse background in communications gives her unique insight into a variety of issues related to data security & privacy, health and safety, restructuring, litigation, accidents, corporate malfeasance, regulatory investigations, corporate transactions and product quality (recalls, strategic sourcing issues).

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Adrienne Petz

Managing Director, U.S. Litigation Communications Crisis & Risk

A veteran communicator with 25 years’ experience, Adrienne partners with her clients to develop, manage and execute strategic programs that meet their communications needs while striking a delicate balance between the communications and legal worlds.

She’s spent over 20 years at Edelman in a variety of different positions focused on client service, efficient operations and people development. For the last two years, she served as Chief of Staff & Operations for the Washington, D.C. office under President Lisa Ross. Previous to that, she served for four years as the Regional Strategy & Operations Director for Edelman’s U.S. Crisis Practice. For several years, she served as Group Head of the DC Crisis practice, which she helped form.

Her specialty is preparing and assisting clients who are facing challenges to their reputations. She offers her clients superior knowledge and strategic judgment on a variety of risk-related issues including: antitrust, class action lawsuits, consumer product recalls, corporate malfeasance, crisis preparation and risk mitigation, data security & privacy, government and congressional investigations, intellectual property rights and labor union corporate campaigns. Her clients have included a cross-section of national and international industry leaders: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Atria Senior Living, Carter’s, CME Group, Equifax, International Research & Exchanges Board, Iraq Study Group, Microsoft, Nissan, PhRMA, Samsung, SAP, Shell, Standard & Poors, Starbucks, Toyota, Walmart and Wawa.

As part of Edelman’s Data Security & Privacy Team, Adrienne has led breach response efforts for many companies in the health care, retail, insurance, finance and technology industries.

Adrienne has won several industry awards for programs she directed, including a PRSA Silver Anvil, two PR Week and three SABRE awards. The work she did for the International Research & Exchanges Board helped free a woman from an Iranian prison and was honored to be named both the Crisis and Public Affairs Campaigns of the Year from PR Week.

Previous to Edelman, Adrienne worked on Capitol Hill where she served in several positions and was deputy director of communications for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science. The Science Committee is the only congressional committee whose primary focus is science and technology issues. Adrienne graduated with honors from American University, where she earned a dual bachelor’s degree in psychology and law and society.

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Susanne Sachsman Grooms

Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP

As a former federal prosecutor and one of the nation’s leading experts in congressional investigations, Kaplan Hecker & Fink partner Susanne Sachsman Grooms helps clients navigate high stakes, complex investigations that potentially involve multiple federal and state agencies, Congress, and regulatory authorities, as well as significant reputational concerns.

Susanne’s extensive record of leading hundreds of these investigations from inside the government—including being a critical part of the Congressional oversight of several national crises—gives her a leading edge in assisting clients with congressional investigations, other government and regulatory investigations, internal investigations, and crisis management.

Susanne spent more than decade in the senior leadership of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the principal investigative committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving as the deputy staff director and chief counsel for Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and her predecessor Chairman Elijah E. Cummings. She also served as Staff Director and General Counsel for the Democrats on the Select Committee on Benghazi and on the trial teams for both impeachments of former President Donald J. Trump.

Susanne began her career as a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the Department of Justice and served in the Internal Revenue Service in several roles, including as advisor to the Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement and as a senior counselor to the Chief of Criminal Investigations.

Susanne Sachsman is admitted to practice in New York. Her application to the D.C. bar is pending; she is practicing under the supervision of licensed D.C. bar members.

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Catherin S. (Kate) Duval

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Clients seek out Zuckerman Spaeder partner Kate Duval when they face their toughest challenges – whether responding to high-profile government inquiries, preparing to take the stand, or conducting sensitive internal investigations. Importantly, she knows how government works. Her years of government service have made her no stranger to pressure from regulators or the glare of the public eye.

Kate’s work in each of the government’s three branches—as a Senate staffer, a judicial clerk, and in the Obama Administration, where she led teams of lawyers responsible for investigations and oversight-related matters at two agencies, first as counselor to the commissioner of the IRS and later at the U.S. Department of State—provide unique insight and perspective to guide her clients. She deftly manages her clients’ interests while shielding them from unwanted spotlights.

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