Oh Snap! Crisis Comms

by Tina Paredes

As a public relations professional, crises can either be your worst nightmare or a small bump in the road. Either way, crises are inevitable. The only way to alleviate the hassle is to always be prepared and act accordingly for the situation at hand.

Holly Baird, of Sitrick and Company, is a seasoned professional when it comes to dealing with crises and reputation management. Whenever there’s an issue at 3 a.m., she’s there to mitigate the issue to the best of her ability. With over 13 years of experience, Baird has worked on over 200 cases dealing with entertainment, sports, litigation support, media training and marketing/social media development. Before working at Sitrick and Company, she worked at Ogilvy & Mather and CBS Enterprises.

While speaking at the Next Generation Public Relations Conference (NextGenPR) at her alma mater, Cal State Fullerton, Baird was ecstatic to share her advice and experiences with young PR students from the west coast. “It’s amazing being here again and talking to you guys. I’m so happy to be here,” said Baird.

Baird has worked with a variety of high profile clients such as Chris Brown and Harvey Weinstein. She explained that it’s important to choose a client that you can trust, and who won’t turn their back on you when you’re not paying attention. She continues with, “Never put yourself in a situation that can damage your reputation, your career or your life.”

Working in crisis communications means that you’re on call 24/7. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas Eve or if your best friend is getting married, duty calls at any time. “I had to miss friend’s weddings or the birth of their children but they understand,” said Baird. “When you work in crises communications, you need to have people in your life who understand that work goes first. This is especially important for significant others. If they don’t understand how important your job is to you…dump them. They’re not worth your time.”

Since working in crisis communications is such a fast-paced and often unpredictable job, it has the potential to lead to a stressful lifestyle. Because of this, Baird emphasizes the importance of self-care and alone time when she needs to cool down from work-induced stress.

Baird concluded her time by offering students a last piece of advice, “Remember to always take care of yourself when you can. It’s not possible to perform your best work if you’re not sleeping or eating enough. Always know your limits and know when it’s time to take a break.”