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Melissa Agnes

Crisis Communication Expert | Founder and CEO, Crisis Ready Institute

Melissa Agnes Headshot Oct 2023
TEDxLosAngeles: Secret to Successful Crisis Management
Melissa Agnes Headshot Oct 2023
TEDxLosAngeles: Secret to Successful Crisis Management

If crisis were to strike your company tomorrow, would you be ready? As an internationally recognized thought leader and visionary in the field of crisis management, crisis communication, and leadership, Melissa Agnes helps organizations prevent and manage crisis before it becomes catastrophic — with the aim of never having become catastrophic at all. Her powerful, customized presentations provide tools and strategies that create proactive, crisis-ready corporate cultures, ready to respond to whatever may arise.

Bilingual in English and French, Agnes is the founder and CEO of Crisis Ready Institute, which provides training and certificate programs on how to better protect people, brands, the environment, and the economy in times of crisis. Her past clients include such global players as NATO, the Pentagon, ministries of foreign affairs and defense, telecommunication firms, financial firms, technology companies, healthcare organizations, luxury brands, cities and municipalities, law enforcement agencies, aviation organizations, non-profits, and many others.

A TEDx speaker, Agnes is the bestselling author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World. She also sits on the Board of Trustees for D’Youville University and the Board of Directors for ZeroNow, and is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Speaking topics

Presentations listed below include in-person and virtual keynotes, as well as workshops, fireside chats, and other presentation formats.

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Client reviews

  • I initially contacted Melissa to feature as a panel member for the Crisis Communications panel at “NATO’s Social Media: Impact for Partners” forum in Sarajevo end April. Talking to Melissa via Skype I was impressed with both her knowledge of the topic as well as how easily she conveys certain elements thereof. It soon became obvious for me that Melissa would not only be a good participant but would excel as moderator for the panel. Both prior to and during the conference, Melissa showed a high level of enthusiasm and professionalism and ensured that all panel members were well prepared and she proved to be a fluent as well as experienced panel moderator.

  • I had the privilege of meeting Melissa at the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Crisis Communications Conference in Ottawa earlier this month.  Melissa’s keynote presentation focused on investing in everyday activities to help organizations prepare for a crisis.  Her messages were clear, used real-life scenarios, and were professionally relayed through picture, video, and text. It was refreshing to see a young woman at the helm of such an in-demand industry, emphasizing the importance of program implementation that operates at the core of every institution.  Two weeks later and I still find myself referring to her presentation notes. You’ve set the bar high Melissa! Keep it up.

  • I cannot speak highly enough about the quality of the presentation Melissa delivered and about the engagement it generated both on location and on social media. Melissa reminded us that best practices and a deep understanding of current realities can make a crisis work for you rather than against you. Her case studies and practical examples span across industries and got the room thinking and exchanging well beyond our physical location. IABC members in Ottawa, Toronto and Melbourne, Australia followed the event and interacted with us on social media. A must-attend training!

  • We brought together our legal, PR, communications, digital and staff engagement teams for nearly two days. Melissa guided our topics in such an engaging way driving us to tap what we already knew and to discover what was lacking in our current process and guidelines. This training session brought us together in such an effective way that not one person regretted the commitment we made to learn. Thank you, Melissa, for bringing a complex topic to us in a way that encouraged debate, hands-on experience and helped us make decisions.

  • Melissa did an expert job moderating a diverse panel on emergency communication to extract the maximum added value for the audience. She broke down a complex topic into easily manageable chunks, seamlessly steering the discussion between them and synthesizing where appropriate. She alternated between taking the lead and facilitating, doing both jobs with equal ease. Her performance relied on evident knowledge of the domain, but also on professional preparation and attention to the smallest detail.

  • I recently was part of a panel discussion on using social media in crisis communications at Social Media: Impact for Partners, a conference organized by NATO for its partner countries in Europe. Melissa Agnes was a moderator as well as a panelist. She did a great job putting the panel together, liaising with panelists across the globe, coming up with a great outline and running a terrific discussion. All in all, it was one of the most dynamic and engaging panels I’ve ever participated in, and one of the conference highlights. Melissa impressed me with her extensive knowledge and deep understanding of crisis communication as well as her ability to get all panelists to share interesting insights, while keeping the audience engaged. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Melissa as a keynote speaker or panelist for high-level conferences on crisis communications.

  • Melissa was well prepared, great on her feet, thoughtfully challenging, superbly engaging and displayed a depth of knowledge that gave her high credibility. Additionally, she made the session stimulating and fun. Her thought provoking presentation style spurred exceptional dialogue between the participants that attended our global crisis communications network meeting. Her insight and knowledge of the digital landscape opened our eyes to alternative communications approaches when dealing with a crisis.

  • Melissa proved to be highly effective in helping Domtar modernize its crisis management plan in the age of social media. While the fundamentals of good crisis management remain the same, Melissa helped us internalize how social media accelerates the speed and scope of how information is shared and public impressions are formed. As a result, we are better prepared to leverage the benefits of social media in a crisis situation, while avoiding mistakes and minimizing risks. Melissa accomplished this with a critical review of our procedures and plans, a customized exercise that engaged our entire team, and a thoughtful assessment of areas for continued improvement.

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