Event Recap: An Introduction to Crisis Communications From Kristin DeRosa

By: Ali Cappetta and Maggie MacDonald, Communications/Digital Strategy Committee Members

CS19XmWW4AA-wgK.jpg-largeFormer Penn State PRSSA President Kristin DeRosa embodied everything that is post-graduate goals at this month’s general meeting. She discussed her experience working in crisis communications with the chapter.

Kristin has worked at Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm, since graduating Penn State in 2012. She became acquainted with the company through their ten-week internship program, which she highly recommended to the students. DeRosa proved to be an on-the-spot thinker and problem-solver through her career examples.

Attendees were taught that crisis is, “a sudden, unexpected event; a situation causing a serious disruption; or a severe loss of confidence,” as defined by DeRosa – all things she, and Burson-Marsteller, are fully equipped to handle at any given time. The world renowned firm has dealt with some of the most famous crisis communications cases to date.

DeRosa credits her abilities to experience and to classes she took at Penn State. In particular, DeRosa recommends that students take Steve Manuel’s crisis communications class (COMM 373).

DeRosa’s crash course in crisis communications 101 taught the audience the seven crisis management principles. Kristin stressed to always do the right thing, always link communication to action, take appropriate ownership of the crisis, assume that all information is public information, communicate early and communicate often, beware of the false dawn of premature recovery, and always be prepared with a plan.

The crisis communications expert ended her presentation with two quotes that she felt embodied crisis communications as a whole. One quote was by Henry Ford and the other was by the late and great James Brown, who said, “If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”

Take it from DeRosa and James Brown: preparedness is key.

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