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Communicating in a Crisis: When Words Aren’t Enough
What happens when an organization finds itself drowning in a crisis? How do you counter the misinformation, rumors, and incendiary comments thrown in your direction? Who speaks on your behalf, to whom, and through which communications channel? Why does something we do every day – communication – seem to go so wrong when crisis strikes? The Windshear Group’s Managing Director August Whitcomb will share an overview of what organizations can do in advance of a crisis and how to begin thinking of a strategy that will help you survive the onslaught that comes with enhanced public scrutiny.
After attending this webinar, you should be able to:
Understand communications basics
Determine your organization’s communications challenges
Identify a strategy to proactively create a crisis communications plan
August E. “Gus” Whitcomb
Head of Group Business Resilience, Retired
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.
Gus has personally served on the crisis management teams for five fatal aircraft accidents, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and numerous legal and reputational crises.
A regular guest lecturer on crisis management at the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy, Gus also serves as a Business and Industry Advisory Board Member for the Family Assistance Education and Research Foundation (FAERF).
Gus practices and teaches holistic crisis management with a keen focus on the effect of nuance on crisis planning and response.
August E. “Gus” Whitcomb recently retired from Cathay Pacific Airways directly and under contract to Cathay Dragon and Air Hong Kong as Head of Group Business Resilience with responsibility for global emergency planning and response as well as business continuity in more than 30 countries.
Whitcomb has personally served on the crisis response teams for the following aviation accidents, primarily in the area of external communications:
American Airlines #587 – Belle Harbor, Queens, New York, USA – 12 November 2001
American Airlines #965 – Guadalajara de Buga, Colombia – 20 December 1995
American Eagle #3379 – Raleigh, North Carolina, USA – 13 December 1994
American Eagle #4181 – Roselawn, Indiana, USA – 31 October 1994
Aloha IslandAir #1712 – Hoolehua, Molokai, Hawaii, USA – 28 October 1989
He also served as the deputy crisis communications official for American Airlines during the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, in 2001. Based in the United States at the time, Whitcomb wrote Cathay Pacific’s first humanitarian response manual in 1997 to ensure the airline complied with the Foreign Air Carrier Family Support Act. The FACES (Family Assistance: Compassion, Empathy, Support) Team became an early forerunner of the airline’s current Care Team, which provides humanitarian support during a crisis. Whitcomb speaks at the emergency response and business continuity conferences throughout Asia. He is also a regular guest lecturer at the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy. A Wall of Fame alumnus of the California State University, Fullerton, Whitcomb’s formal education includes attending courses at the United States National Transportation Safety Board Training Centre, including Transportation Disaster Response – Family Assistance and Managing Communications during an Aircraft Disaster.