Get a sense of what to expect from the CCM 2010 Annual Conference with our “Four questions for…” speaker series. Today’s guest is Mary Ann Kotlarich, Director, External Communications, Maersk North America. Mary Ann will be presenting When Pirates Attack: Crisis Communication Study.
1. Tell me about yourself and what you do.
My team and I handle the media, crisis readiness and response, corporate social responsibility and corporate event planning. Working with the C-Suite executives on a day-to-day basis gives me the advantage of having visibility to the current opportunities and challenges of the organization, the strategy for North America and the individual personalities, which is key during times of a crisis. We work closely with all levels within the organization from security to facilities to managers to ensure that our colleagues, customers and stakeholders are kept informed of a particular situation and the status of the response. Because of critical timing during a crisis and during the course of managing media issues, I work closely with the internal communications team as well to ensure internal and external announcement are carefully timed. As a member of a global organization, I also work closely with colleagues on an international basis. I am fortunate to be able to say I love what I do and that each day is a new adventure.
2. What is the one thing CCM attendees will learn that they didn’t know before your presentation.
Attendees will get a solid understanding, from a global organization perspective, of how our role in the internal and external communications process can be likened to a musical choreographer. They will glean the importance of the critical timing of information release and the ongoing flow of information as well as the crucial importance of having a solid crisis plan in place that addresses both internal and external communication processes prior to any incident. The dress rehearsals are the key to success. The music, the dancers, the actors, the costumes, the props, the marketing, the venue, and the attention to detail all need to be a synergistic experience in order for the audience to have the “wow”. The same is true for a crisis communications event. The participants, the situation room, the technology, the pre-existing relationships, the vested partners, the media and the flow of information are key.
They will also know what color my bathroom towels are!
3. After your session, what will attendees be able to immediately bring back to their job and implement.
Attendees will be able to takeaway a checklist from the presentation in order to review their current plan of attack for a given situation and ascertain what needs to be accomplished for an event to be less stressful and proactive.
4. What‘s in your crystal ball for “What’s Next” in communications for 2010 and beyond.
I believe the next step in the social media process will be for communicators to examine their specific industry and business and really begin to understand which vehicles are appropriate and relevant for their particular needs and applications.