On-Demand Webinar: Leading through Crisis and Establishing a New Normal for Communicators After the Apex

This event recording is available for purchase. Free for PRSA Chicago chapter members or $10 for non-members.

This webinar took place Tuesday, April 28. You will receive a confirmation email from [email protected] with the webinar link once you have placed your order. Please check your spam/junk folder if you do not receive the confirmation within one hour of placing your order.


During the COVID-19 national public health emergency, public relations practitioners and communicators across the globe are on the front lines more than ever to help their organizations share timely, accurate and pertinent information to employees, stakeholders, media and the general public.

As the pandemic continues to evolve, industry leaders shared:

  • best practices and personal experiences to help peers navigate through the current phase of crisis through effective and meaningful communications; and,
  • expectations on what a successful recovery phase might look like for communicators, when appropriate.


Jim Cohn
Senior Director, External Relations, Walgreens
Jim Cohn is senior director of external relations for Walgreens, and oversees the U.S. media relations team as well as corporate PR strategy, issues management and various other facets of external and executive communications. He has been with Walgreens since 2009, and among his accomplishments, Cohn created the Walgreens Flu Index, and spearheaded the development and launch of the company’s mental health initiative in 2016.

Prior to joining Walgreens, he worked in PR with a specialty in travel and hospitality, including several years at Orbitz Worldwide and previously, Wyndham Vacation Ownership. Cohn began his career in sports broadcasting, spending nearly a decade with network affiliates in southeastern Wisconsin, South Bend and Orlando, and received two Associated Press awards and an Emmy nomination for sports reporting. He’s a graduate of the University of Kansas (go Jayhawks) and received his master’s degree in broadcast journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University

Rodrigo A. Sierra
Chief Communications Officer and Senior Vice President, American Medical Association
Lauded as a trailblazer, Rodrigo A. Sierra is chief communications officer and SVP of the American Medical Association (AMA) where he is leading a transformation of the 173 year-old organization to reclaim a leadership position in shaping the evolving healthcare system for the nation. The brand repositioning, media and public affairs expert is reponsible at the AMA for public relations, internal and external communications, leadership positioning and enterprise social responsibility. Sierra’s leadership has secured year-over-year increased media metrics for 7 consecutive years. He is executive sponsor of the AMA’s Latinx employee resource group and Chair of the Enterprise Social Responsibility Committee.

Over a distinctive and award-winning career, Sierra has been instrumental in achieving meaningful results in high-profile corporate, media, government and regulatory positions. In 2013, Hispanic Executive magazine named Sierra one of the top 10 executive leaders in the nation. He has a proven record of developing innovative solutions for companies, governments and not-for-profits in challenging marketplace circumstances. His brand and crisis management experience in strategy, policy and organizational issues equip him to create and implement proactive initiatives that effect positive results.

Sierra has a demonstrated ability to transition between public and private sectors, which has been a key element in his success in building the type of mutually beneficial partnerships that leverage both resources and brand equity.

Heather Woodard, APR
Multicultural PR and Engagement Communications Lead, McDonald's U.S.A.
Heather Woodard, APR, leads communications for McDonald’s multicultural customer segments as well as strategic support of the brand’s promotions and activations.

With more than 15 years of consumer PR experience, Woodard has played an integral role in developing and executing award-winning PR campaigns on behalf of clients including Procter & Gamble, Target, General Mills, and Spectrum Brands. While she’s spent a lot of time launching products targeting the general market, Woodard is passionate about helping brands reach multicultural consumers in authentic and meaningful ways.

Woodard has worked for two of the world’s leading PR agencies – FleishmanHillard and Weber Shandwick– and recently served as VP of Public Relations at H&L Partners, where she led PR and crisis communications efforts for several McDonald’s markets, including the Greater Atlanta and San Francisco Bay Areas.

Woodard received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Public Relations from the University of Central Missouri in 2003, and obtained the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) certificate in 2011.


Chandler Goodman
Director, Gagen MacDonald
Chandler Goodman uses his passion for language and storytelling, as well as analytical problem-solving capabilities, to design communication strategies that create clarity from chaos, motivate and inspire employees, enhance corporate reputations, and improve business performance.

Now in his second tenure with Gagen MacDonald, in addition to advising clients, Goodman plays a leadership role in the firm’s thought leadership practice, assessing how changes in technology, culture, demographics and economics are reshaping the role that corporations play in society, and the role communications plays in corporations.

Before rejoining Gagen MacDonald, Goodman played a leadership role on the Corporate Communications team at Lundbeck, a global pharmaceutical company focused on brain disorders. At Lundbeck, Goodman initially led sales force communications for the company’s neurology business unit, helping numerous sales and marketing leaders express their visions and operating priorities, and build their team’s culture. Most recently, Goodman led Lundbeck’s U.S. corporate reputation efforts, including U.S. media relations, executive communications, community relations, and brand ambassadorship.

Goodman was initially with Gagen MacDonald for eight years, during which time he had long standing working relationships with numerous clients, including helping a leading insurance company implement a significant business transformation (which included a major divestiture); assisting one of the nation’s largest electric utilities simultaneously implement new HR, finance, procurement, and logistics systems; and working with numerous large pharmaceutical companies to revitalize their approaches to sales force communications.

Outside of work, Goodman is an improviser and sketch comedy writer who performs regularly at Chicago’s iO Theater and CIC Theater. He is a graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York, where he earned his degree in Political Science.

Program Details


$0.00 Chicago Chapter Member - FREE

$10.00 Non-member

All ticket sales are final. Substitutions may be made at any time.

May 13, 2020 12:00 AM CDT to May 13, 2021 12:00 AM CDT

On-Demand Webinar