By Dennis Culloton

History books are filled with pivotal moments where powerful leaders are overcome by events.

2020 was one of those pivotal years. It humbled everyone. We won’t attempt to add to the first draft of history here other than to repeat that it was a dumpster fire sitting on top of a burning trailer barreling toward the proverbial fuel depot.

But what can you learn from last year that can help your business in the future, especially when it comes to PR crisis management? I mean beyond learning how to add funny hats to your Zoom meetings …

Here is my takeaway:

As PR crisis management experts, we strive to prevent the business leaders we advise from being overtaken by events. However, we also know the process of preparing and over-preparing creates a rigor and mindset of having a plan A and a plan B. As former U.S. Army General Norman Schwarzkopf and Gulf War hero preached, “expect the worst and hope for the best.” That means prepare, leave nothing to chance and adapt as conditions change on the field of battle.

2020 has taught us that when you think things can’t get worse, they will. So it serves us well to plan for the downside in order to attain the upside.

Our PR crisis management approach:

At Culloton + Bauer Luce, our approach is to build our PR crisis management strategies with our clients. We bring the experience of guiding our clients through epic challenges–even before 2020. Our clients bring the expertise of knowing their industry, their people and their vision. We never presume to know more about our clients’ businesses than they do, but we do presume to know how quickly campaigns and reputations are won and lost.

To that end, we have added a skilled, experienced advisor who has been in the crucible of big-city politics known as Chicago’s City Hall. We’re thrilled Anel Ruiz has joined our team as senior vice president after serving as Mayor Lightfoot’s press secretary. Leading communications for a mayor trying to advocate for their agenda while going to battle with political rivals, sparring with the City Council, providing critical health and public safety services and navigating a vigorous Chicago media landscape is a tough job even at the best of times. To come away from that role, as she did, with her head on her shoulders and the respect of all those players in politics, government and the media is nothing short of remarkable.

We’re excited for Anel to share her significant experiences from the pressure cooker and play a critical role in shaping strategies and providing counsel to our clients as they rebuild and refocus on the future.