2015 PR People Awards: Crisis Manager of the Year

Winner: Karen Doyne, Managing Director and Leader, US Crisis Practice, Burson-Marsteller

From the tragedy at Virginia Tech to the Target data breach to the Lufthansa/Germanwings crash to countless other crises, Karen Doyne brings to every client the benefits of her decades of issues and crisis experience, her intelligence, analytical skills, sound judgment, creativity, focus, boundless energy and ability to earn trust in the most challenging of situations.

In the fall of 2014, Doyne led the cross-agency Burson-Marsteller team supporting Texas Health Resources (THR), owners of the first U.S. hospital to diagnose a patient with Ebola. As the crisis moved quickly from the death of the initial patient to the infection of two hospital employees, Doyne worked hand-in-hand with THR's executive team - in the trenches and virtually around-the-clock - to craft the strategy and messages that turned around a seemingly insurmountable crisis.

This complex program included media and stakeholder communications with the community, hospital employees and government entities at all levels; opinion research and messaging; rallying third-party validators to defend the hospital system as well as anticipating and managing litigation. As THR discovered, even in the most highly charged environment, Doyne leads confidently and with a track record of experience and success that is extremely comforting to clients who find themselves unexpectedly in the spotlight.

On the Ebola crisis, for example, Doyne and her team helped give voice to the hospital’s nurses, whom polling showed to be among the most credible voices and who wanted to more publicly defend the hospital. The activities included a press conference featuring the Chief Nursing Officer and nursing team (wearing their #presbyproud buttons); sendoff and welcome-home rallies for the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola; personal thank-you appearances or calls to the nursing staff by President Obama and former President George W. Bush; and a well-received television spot in which nurses and other staff expressed appreciation for the local community's support (it also received more than 6,000 YouTube views).

Honorable Mentions:

•             Yasmine Esparza, Newlink Group

•             Jerry Nappi, Entergy Wholesale Commodities

•             Jamie Schumacher, SSP Blue