Crisis Management Workshop

March 22, 2024

At Blue Moon Consulting Group (BMCG), we strongly believe that the effectiveness of the response can have more influence on the reputation of a school than the underlying event or issue itself. Managed well, the reputation of the organization and its leadership can be burnished. Managed poorly, the response will be remembered and the reputational damage significant.

Unfortunately, in the midst of a crisis, when events are unfolding rapidly, accurate information is scarce, and the pressure to respond is high, it quickly becomes clear that the very processes that you rely upon day to day are simply not engineered to provide the rapid response and strategic decision-making that is necessary to navigate treacherous and fast-moving waters.

We understand this challenge along with the broad range of risks inherent in higher ed. Our team has been in the trenches with institutions in crisis for decades–we know what works, what doesn’t, and how to prevent needlessly making the situation worse.

This one-day, crisis management crash course includes:

  • An introduction of key concepts related to crisis management and reputational risk
  • Scenario-based crisis exercises and new decision-making frameworks
  • Guidance on how to prepare for and effectively manage contentious meetings on your campus
  • A focused session on active aggressor, what to expect and how to increase your institution’s preparedness

Part 1: Crisis Management Best Practices and Frameworks

This part of the workshop includes a discussion of best practices in combination with 2-3 short exercises that test reputational risk awareness, understanding of key stakeholder expectations, and the quality and speed of strategic decision-making.

During the morning, we cover:

  • The nature of crisis and reputational risk
  • How to respond to reputational, “self-inflicted” crises, not just physical emergencies
  • The differences between emergency and crisis management and how to ensure effective alignment
  • The optimal crisis management team
  • The critical elements of decision-making in a crisis and how it differs from business as usual
  • Understanding the human factor—both on the institution and on oneself
  • Team dynamics including how to avoid groupthink—or worse, bunker mentality—to get the very best from your team
  • Communications strategies, the role of social media and speaking with the press, or not
  • The role of the president and board during a crisis
  • Getting ahead of the issue—understanding the role of context and externalities, including political pressure and unrelated events
  • Culture and management processes necessary to prevent a crisis from occurring in the first place

Part 2: Beyond Media Training—Preparing for Contentious Interviews & Meetings

During periods of significant change or crisis, there are unavoidable high stakes encounters with key stakeholders that can present significant risk to an institution, its leadership, or even an individual team’s credibility. They are also the situations in which the reputation of the institution and its relationship with its critical stakeholders can either be strengthened or severely damaged.

It is possible they may take the form of a media interview or press conference; however, it is far more likely that these encounters will take the form of a challenging, unpredictable, and contentious meeting with key stakeholders—the students, faculty, staff, parents, donors, legislators, and neighbors that are most directly impacted by the school’s actions and decisions. Failing to listen to, connect with and effectively communicate to these key groups may create the kind of news and social media attention you were hoping to avoid. During this session we’ll:

  • Learn key interview/meeting skills including:
    • Adhering to core messaging
    • Using bridging techniques
    • Controlling voice and body language
    • Avoiding risks and pitfalls
  • Learn psychological/interpersonal skills including:
    • The importance of and approaches to demonstrate active listening
    • Understanding deeper and, perhaps, unstated stakeholder needs and perspectives
    • Reflecting compassion and empathy in your speech and demeanor
    • Reading the room and adapting your approach in the moment
    • Identifying appropriate “venting” versus indicators of possible violence

In developing our tailored, contentious meeting and media training sessions, we leverage the real-world expertise of the BMCG team, which includes:

  • a psychiatrist specializing in crisis response and intervention, violence prevention and recovery, and humanitarian assistance on behalf of schools, veterans, law enforcement, prisons, health care, and some of the country’s largest corporations.
  • the spokesperson for FDNY during the 9/11 attack, and former head of communications for the FAA and the country’s most prestigious public university system
  • an Emmy award-winning journalist with extensive experience in television news, including at CNN and Headline News

This session will help prepare you to confidently manage the media and contentious meetings not only through highly effective communication tools but with the essential interpersonal skills that enable you to reach stakeholders with credibility and compassion on even the most difficult subjects.

Part 3: Campus Active Aggressor—Preparing for The Unthinkable

Daily headlines remind us of the threat and impact of violence on our community. In its most extreme form—active shooter/mass casualty—these events are sudden, unexpected, and high-profile and can have a profound impact on students, parents, faculty, and staff and the trust they have in the safety of their classrooms, residences, and workplaces. In this session, we will review steps that your team can take now to develop a broad and holistic approach to mitigate, respond to, and manage the impacts and consequences of this most troubling of risks.


  • Establishing prevention programs
  • Planning an operational and strategic response
  • What to expect when police arrive
  • The importance of interfacing with and organizing first responders, governmental agencies and the myriad of other civic and volunteer organizations responding to the event
  • Humanitarian assistance considerations
  • Understanding the long-term impact—guidance and planning for vigils, memorials, & charities


Individual price: $579/each

Groups of 3+: $549/each

Designed for:

AVP or VP level in:

  • Communications
  • Legal
  • Student Affairs
  • Advancement
  • Academic Affairs

Chief of Staff to President

Key leaders with a role in their institution’s response to significant issues, crises, or events


Date: March 22, 2024

Time: 8:30 to 5:30. Optional hosted happy hour to follow.

Location: Courtyard Boston Downtown > 

Price: $579


Register Now!


Space is limited!

What’s included?

Full day of instruction from crisis management experts

A free copy of Managing Partner Simon Barker’s book “Preventing Crises at Your Institution” 

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks

Optional “happy hour” drinks after the session completes for those able to stay


Our Team- Black and white photo of Simon Barker

Simon Barker, Managing Partner

As BMCG’s Managing Partner, Simon provides issues and crisis management advice and counsel to clients spanning high-profile product recalls, protests, cyber attacks and data breaches, active aggressor events, natural disasters, and a broad range of ethical, financial, and social issues.

Learn more about Simon >

Our Team- Black and White photo of Pam Roskowski

Pam Roskowski, Senior Advisor, Security Management

Pamela Roskowski holds extensive policing, emergency management, security, public safety policy and executive leadership experience and accomplishments developed through a 40 year career including Municipal, County, State and University public safety service, including her roles as University of California San Francisco Chief of Police.

Learn more about Pam >

Our Team- Black and White photo of Lynn Tierney

Lynn Tierney, Senior Advisor, Crisis Communications

With a career spanning almost 40 years, Lynn Tierney is one of the most experienced crisis communications experts in the country. Prior to joining Blue Moon Consulting Group, Lynn was Vice President of Communications for the ten campus University of California system and was a member of the top management team assembled to lead NYC through the rescue and recovery of 9/11/01.

Learn more about Lynn >

Our Team- Black and White photo of Kent Cassella

Kent Cassela, Client Lead

A retired U.S. Army officer with more than 20 years of active-duty service, Kent has held a variety of leadership positions and has directed public relations and crisis management and communication strategy around the world.

Learn more about Kent >

Our Team- Black and white photo of Jennifer Rettig

Jennifer Rettig, Partner & Client Lead, CBCP

Jen leads the development of BMCG’s crisis readiness assessment methodology and supports clients through the development of crisis management exercises, business resiliency, crisis and communication plans, and facilitated crisis management planning sessions.

Learn more about Jen >

Can’t make it to the course? That’s ok, we (literally) wrote the book on Higher Ed crisis management.