Weds. Feb 3: When Bad Things Happen – Preparing & Managing During a Crisis

Are you prepared?

Organizations are somewhat prepared for natural disasters…but what about the issues-related crises and difficult situations that can affect our employer, our consulting firm, the non-profit we volunteer at, the board we serve on? Each of us has the potential of being touched by an accusation, lawsuit, theft of funds, arrest or death of a key player, program failure, scandal, or any other unexpected situation. Do you know how to respond? Could you advise your leaders/clients on how to respond? Learn the communications principles required to properly anticipate and respond under the most trying of situations. In this session, we will examine a specific set of steps to prepare a communications response, one that will serve you well whenever “bad things happen.”

Our guest speaker Sheri Benninghoven has four decades of communications experience, working with major corporations around the world and public agencies throughout the Western US. Sheri focuses on crisis communications counsel and has handled some of the Central Coast’s most recent challenges – from the Conception dive boat tragedy to the Montecito Debris Flow and even the COVID-19 response. Think about what keeps you or your executives up at night and bring your questions for a lively exchange of stories, ideas, lessons, and tools!

Sheri Benninghoven, APR

Sheri Benninghoven, APR, is the former Communications Director of the League of California Cities, and one of California’s most experienced public relations professionals in helping corporations, and state and local governments develop strategic and crisis communications programs.

Sheri has guided crisis response for many of California’s most challenging incidents; these include the 2020 SCU Lightning Complex Fire in Northern California, COVID-19 response, 2020 election security, Black Lives Matter protests, 2019 Conception dive boat tragedy off the Santa Barbara coast, the 2020 Golden Globes Awards, the LA Marathon, the 2018 Montecito Debris Flow, 2017 Thomas Fire, the UCSB mass shooting incident and numerous crises of confidence assignments. She’s also an expert advisor on issues such as cyberattacks, Public Records Act response, and First Amendment videography.

Sheri is a former Vice President/Group Manager/Global Account Director for Ketchum Public Relations and a former member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles. Sheri also served as Public Information Officer for the City of Anaheim, where she developed an award-winning crisis communications training program, which was adopted by the State of California. She also authored portions of the State’s Multi-Function Hazard Response Plan and has counseled the California Office of Emergency Services.


AWC-SB Member Spotlight: Joan Tapper



Joan Tapper is a writer and editor. The former editor of Islands magazine, she writes frequently for local and regional magazines and is the author of 9 books on travel, popular history, and crafts.


Wednesday, February 3, 5:30 PM PT


AWC-SB Members Free, Non-Members $10


Click HERE to register

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