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The Six Stages of Leadership During an Unprecedented Crisis

Start Date:7/21/2020

Start Time:12:00 PM EDT

Duration:60 minutes


Disruption comes with the territory when you’re in business. Smart organizations and their executives understand the importance of crisis preparedness and have plans ready when the situation arises. 

However, the truly global and all-encompassing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic poses unprecedented obstacles. This is new territory for everyone – comms pros certainly included. The nature of the function and the accompanying relationships are different now. 

In this webcast, sponsored by Allison+Partners, industry leaders help redefine what it means to support a brand or client – today and in the near future. Counsel will be provided on the best ways to maintain business continuity – a necessary focus – during this period. 

And a key to all this is recognizing how to lead during each of the six phases of COVID-19 disruption:
  • Shock. The moment the disruption first happens.
  • Orientation. When initial responses are considered, countered, and ultimately crafted.
  • Command. The point where you can start taking charge of the situation, knowing you must be agile to adjust as necessary. This is what most of us are experiencing as case numbers surge throughout much of the United States and some places reimpose restrictions, while others continue to reopen their economies. 
  • Recovery. The period where the emergence has passed, but normal operations have not yet returned.
  • Bump. A sudden business surge often resulting from a prolonged period of pent-up demand. 
  • Equilibrium. “The new normal.” The sustainable tempo of business post-crisis.

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Scott Allison

cofounder, chairman, and CEO


Scott is chairman and CEO of one of the fastest-growing global communications firms in the industry. Known for its unique culture, Scott founded Allison+Partners with a vision to build a positive and entrepreneurial environment where talented people at all levels could do great work and thrive. Scott oversees the firm’s Global Board, while continuing to provide communications counsel to many high-profile executives and clients. He is an expert in issues management and crisis communications; presentation and media training; and is regularly called upon to speak about issues facing the public relations industry. Prior to founding Allison+Partners, Scott was the West Coast president of Connors Communications and a senior vice president and partner at The Gable Group. Scott is a member of the Arthur W. Page Society and serves on the advisory board for ISOThrive, The Fraternity and the Church of the Resurrection. He is a recipient of the Monty Award given to San Diego State University alumni and was a finalist for both the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® and the American Business Award’s Communications Executive of the Year. A patron of San Diego State University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies, Scott provided a founding gift to the Glen M. Broom Center for Professional Development in Public Relations and funds a scholarship that supports internship opportunities for students.

Pete Lancia

VP, marketing

Qualcomm Technologies

Pete Lancia is vice president, marketing for Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and is responsible for all external communications, including media, social influencers and analyst relations strategy and execution across Qualcomm. Pete’s oversight includes corporate reputation & crisis management, financial communications, company thought leadership, and communication for all products and technologies. Pete is a seasoned marketing and communications executive with more than 20 years of experience in the mobile industry. His experience includes a range of marketing and communications roles including product marketing, technical marketing, investor relations, strategic marketing and more recently public relations and analyst relations. Pete first joined Qualcomm’s infrastructure business in a product marketing role in 1998, he then went on to work in Ericsson’s CDMA infrastructure group in several different marketing and business development roles. Pete rejoined Qualcomm in 2005, leading technical marketing efforts for some of Qualcomm’s key wireless technologies. Pete received his Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from MIT and his Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Vermont.

Hanneke Willenborg


Seventh Generation

Hanneke Willenborg started her career in the Unilever Foods division, first in The Netherlands and later in Moscow. From Russia she moved to Rome, working in Unilever’s Ice-Cream category. She moved to Vermont as the ‘Great Brand Mother’ of Ben & Jerry’s. In 2012 she transferred to the Unilever Home Care Category, first as Global Brand Development VP of the Dishwash category and then as Global Brand VP in the laundry category. Hanneke returned to Vermont in 2017 and serves as Chief Marketing Officer of Seventh Generation. Hanneke is co-chairing the ‘Leadership Vanguard Alumni’, a global community of future-fit leaders, working together to reinvent growth. She sits on the board of the Howard Center, a local Vermont based organization that helps people and communities thrive by providing supports and services to address mental health, substance use, and developmental need Hanneke currently lives in VT with her husband LJ and their children Duco (12), Mike (10) and Sara (8).

Steve Barrett

VP, editorial director

PRWeek, Moderator

Steve Barrett oversees content operations across Haymarket Media’s flagship business title PRWeek. PRWeek is the premier global media brand for the communications and PR industries, publishing daily online news, a weekly online edition and sector bulletins, bimonthly in print, podcasts, video, blogs and other digital content. Barrett leads creation and production of all brand content. He manages editorial budgets and liaison with Haymarket Business Media’s central Content Hub and Custom Studio. Barrett is the public face of PRWeek U.S. and works closely with the brand's commercial team on revenue generation, building readership and enhancing market leadership. Barrett has been editor-in-chief of PRWeek U.S. since March 2010.
The Six Stages of Leadership During an Unprecedented Crisis
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