Annual CCTT gathering explores READINESS as a new crisis management model

A group photo of the CCTT members standing outside Grady College.
Members of the sixth annual Crisis Communication Think Tank on April 11, 2024.

Annual CCTT gathering explores READINESS as a new crisis management model

April 18, 2024

The Crisis Communication Think Tank (CCTT) hosted its annual event at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication on Thursday, April 11, 2024. Under the year’s overarching theme of READINESS, this gathering of industry experts and leading scholars from the U.S. explored the dynamic landscape of crisis management from an interdisciplinary perspective, including attendees from UGA’s Terry College of Business and School of Public and International Affairs.

Dean Charles Davis welcomes scholars and practitioners to Grady.

The concept of READINESS was developed by members of the CCTT and captures the proactive state of preparedness required for crisis management. The day-program consisted of four sessions discussing key elements of READINESS and industry trends.

The sessions included the topics “You Can’t Please All The People All The Time,” “The Past Does Not Always Predict The Future,” “How We Goofed.. How We Can Do Better” and “It’s Complicated…” They tackled persistent challenges in the industry including weighing stances on social issues, understanding key internal and external stakeholders and managing complex situations like data breaches, public health crises and AI capabilities.

“The CCTT’s annual gathering delivers on bringing expert researchers and practitioners together to advance both fields,” said Kate LaVail, Managing Director of Analytics at Ketchum. “The value of the insights emerging from the conversations and ensuing collaborations is second to none. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to connect with the best and brightest in crisis communications.”

Jason Epstein, Kate LaVail and Matt O’Connor present “It’s Complicated…” to members.

Following these sessions, attendees had the opportunity to engage in breakout discussions. These interactive sessions allowed participants to delve deeper into specific topics, sharing best practices and learning from each other’s research and experience. 

Additionally, the event gave the CCTT headquarters the opportunity to share its most recent updates and developments, including the CCTT’s international expansion. 

Jason Anthoine presents to CCTT members.

As a part of the CCTT’s upcoming works, they announced a call for a new special issue in the Journal of Communication Management. Titled “Navigating uncharted waters: The forefront of crisis READINESS,” this issue will delve into managing and preparing for crises and risks within the increasingly dynamic realm of strategic communication and crisis management.

Co-Founder and Director, Dr. Yan Jin gives closing remarks to members.

Following Thursday’s day-program, several attendees, along with additional scholars and practitioners in the field, convened in Atlanta at the Terry Executive Education Center for a new executive education session on crisis management.

In his introductory remarks, Dick Yarbrough shared, “My goal is and has been to raise a new generation of professionals who will have a seat at the head table in times of crisis, not to be told what to do, but to be involved in the final decision making.”

Authors: Lila Maiolo, | Kathryn Penn,