What It's Like To Be...

A PR Crisis Manager

June 04, 2024 Season 1 Episode 20
A PR Crisis Manager
What It's Like To Be...
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What It's Like To Be...
A PR Crisis Manager
Jun 04, 2024 Season 1 Episode 20

Taking late-night phone calls from panicked clients, dueling with company lawyers over what to disclose, and rushing to preempt unfavorable stories with Chris Thomas, a PR crisis manager. What was it like to manage the media frenzy surrounding the Elizabeth Smart case? And what's the worst possible answer to a journalist's question?

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  1. What do people think your job is like and what is it actually like?
  2. What’s a word or phrase that only someone from your profession would be likely to know and what does it mean?
Show Notes Transcript

Taking late-night phone calls from panicked clients, dueling with company lawyers over what to disclose, and rushing to preempt unfavorable stories with Chris Thomas, a PR crisis manager. What was it like to manage the media frenzy surrounding the Elizabeth Smart case? And what's the worst possible answer to a journalist's question?

Follow us on Instagram!

Got a comment or suggestion for us? You can reach us via email at jobs@whatitslike.com

Want to be on the show? Leave a message on our voice mailbox at (919) 213-0456. We’ll ask you to answer two questions:

  1. What do people think your job is like and what is it actually like?
  2. What’s a word or phrase that only someone from your profession would be likely to know and what does it mean?

Dan Heath: A while back, a manager at a franchise restaurant fired an employee. Happens all the time, right? But this employee was a non-English speaker, and the manager fired them in a really demeaning way. And there was a video of it. The video surfaced online.

Chris Thomas: So the video was posted at seven o'clock the night before.

Dan Heath: That's Chris Thomas. He works in PR crisis management.

Chris Thomas: And by nine o'clock the next morning, there were 800,000 views of the video. There were boycotts planned in 10 cities, and there were even protests that were being organized.

Dan Heath: Chris gets called when a company like this one has a PR crisis and they're not sure how to handle it.

Chris Thomas: I got the call at nine o'clock, so I'm a little behind on this. And they also had just issued a statement, which they shared with us completely defending the manager.

Dan Heath: Chris says, this happens a lot. Companies get defensive and sometimes they get bogged down in who's right.

Chris Thomas: And a lot of times I have to convince the C-suite that it's not who's right, it's what's best, what's going to be best for your business? What's going to be best for your employees? This is how they're perceiving it.

Dan Heath: Chris said he had a tough conversation with the company's leadership.

Chris Thomas: You've done the wrong thing, you've said the wrong thing. It's impossible to get the genie back in the bottle. So you've gotta acknowledge that. Yeah, our initial response was wrong. And we've since then taken action.

Dan Heath: The company took Chris's advice. They reversed course and fired the manager, offered the employee their job back and started developing new training for its managers.

Chris Thomas: And this was one where I got the call at nine, I think three or four o'clock. We had a press conference and they took it head on. They were very receptive, but it was a hard conversation initially.

Dan Heath:  I am Dan Heath, and this is "What It's Like To Be." In every episode, we walk in the shoes of someone from a different profession, a standup comedian, a welder, a nurse. We wanna know what they do all day at work. Today we ask Chris Thomas what it's like to be a PR crisis manager. We'll talk about what it was like to help a family navigate international media scrutiny. Why no comment is the worst answer to a journalist question and why he prefers to stay out of the spotlight. Stay with us.

So let's say you get a call, I imagine this is not really a nine to five job, it's probably you're getting a call at 11 at night from somebody who got to you through a friend of a friend. And just for the sake of argument, let's say it's a regional bank, they've just discovered they've had a major data breach. They're not exactly sure how bad it is, who's affected, but they know they've gotta do something about it. They've heard you're good at this stuff. Walk me through, you know, what is that first conversation like? Like what are you hoping to learn from the person who calls?

Chris Thomas: Well, everything's about information brokering, and it's interesting, some organizations and individuals are very, very open and others are very guarded, sometimes for legal purposes or for other things. So the more I can get them to talk, with data breaches, and I've managed about a half dozen, the challenge is usually you don't know much initially. You know that there's potentially been a breach. You're then trying to get some forensics people in to find out the depth of that. And you're looking at, you know, who knows about this and what is the likelihood that this becomes public? And you know, one of the things you're working at is your audiences. People think immediately when it comes to crisis PR, that you're all about the media. And we look initially at, okay, who are the audiences? Who's impacted by this? Who's going to have the greatest influence on your reputation and your business? What is your existing relationship with them? What are their self-interests? And and what do they need to know? How do we communicate with them? That's when the process really begins.

Dan Heath: Chris works with a lot of lawyers who represent his clients, and he says, lawyers generally don't like to share a lot of information.

Chris Thomas: Yeah, I mean, they're looking at it from a very different perspective. I'm looking at it from the court of public opinion. They're looking at it from a court of law. And there's a lot of negotiation. A lot of times we're having discussions about can we compromise a little here or there? Or, the question I'm always asking is, what can we say? 'Cause attorneys will often say, we can't say anything, but you can always say something, I've yet to find a case where there was something that couldn't be said. And by just simply saying something, you are at least ahead of the game because most organizations in difficult situations say nothing. And it's damning. Time is of the essence in a crisis situation. I can't emphasize that enough. Legally you can delay things pretty easily. The media's going to bet with the story at five o'clock, whether you commented or not. And so you've got an hour or you've got, you know, a short period of time to determine whether or not you're gonna respond and how you're gonna respond to various audiences as well.

Dan Heath: What's the shortest time from when you agreed to be part of a case and when you had to, you know, communicate the first response to the media.

Chris Thomas: So like you said, these never come at opportune times. It's usually kind of strange times. One day I was finishing up work, I was just about to walk out and the receptionist said, "You have a call." And she's like, "I'm not sure what this is, but this person's pretty upset. I think you should take it." And I got on the phone and this woman was in hysterics and I heard the name of somebody I knew, and so I realized that it was somebody reputable. And I said, "Ma'am, you're gonna have to calm down. I can't help you until, you know, you tell me what the situation is." And in this particular case, this woman ran a nonprofit organization that provided training and jobs for intellectually disabled adults. And that afternoon, their bus driver had been arrested by the FBI. He had been on the lam for 17 years.

Dan Heath: Oh my.

Chris Thomas: And he had been, you know, the charges were serious charges. He had skipped bail. He had been charged with child sex abuse. And so what had happened is immediately were out front reporting on this story, and the parents of intellectually disabled adults are very sensitive and protective. So they were getting deluged with calls, and she had no idea what to do. And quickly realized the situation. I dispatched to the location. And the long and short of it was that they had done everything right. They had done annual background checks on this person. This person had been so elaborate in stealing someone else's identity that this third party didn't realize who they were. They also had a policy that they were always too deep. They always had two people anytime they were with their clients. And so we were able to get a press conference. This was about six o'clock at night, I got the call. At eight o'clock, we had a press conference where.

Dan Heath: Oh my gosh.

Chris Thomas: And it was huge. And the other thing that, you know, we were looking at initially, how do we get this out to the media? What do we say to the parents, you know, who do we get on the front line? Because the one person who answers the phone can't keep up with it. And then also, this organization received their funding from the state legislature. So let's get on the phone with this, the key legislative officials and help them to understand the situation, what you're doing about it and you know, how this occurred. And so that was by far the fastest, and it was almost a non-story by the next day. And it's so gratifying in situations like that where you can get involved and help somebody to tell their story, to get the facts out. And in that case, they were serving this really important audience, this really important community and helping them to be able to work through that was very gratifying.

Dan Heath: I can't believe that all happened in the span of two hours. Like what happens in that two hours? I mean, I imagine a lot of it is just you trying to get up to speed on the facts as they're known. But like, what's the work product? Are you trying to prepare a written statement for the media or talking points, or like, what are you working on?

Chris Thomas: You know, it depends according to the situation. Usually, I don't do it alone. I have a really great team. And so we're dividing and conquering. In a case like this where it's already hit the media, someone's looking at traditional and social media and what are they reporting and what's being said. What are the things that we need to address? We're working to get the facts, working with the executive director to understand and ask a lot of questions. You know, my questions were things that she hadn't thought of, you know, like, well, what are your policies? Well, we always have too deep. Well, huge, you know, that's a huge piece of information for people to know and understand. When you're in that circumstance, people are so overwhelmed and at a loss at what to do and not even thinking straight. So part of my role is I gotta get the information, I gotta get the facts, gotta understand what their story is and how to tell that story. And then through what method. I personally, and I've lots of communications folks and I have had arguments over this. It's kind of like defense attorneys don't like putting their client on the stand. In a situation like this, I wanna put my client on the stand. I want them to hear from the executive director because it's much more authoritative. It's much more real than this really nasty story. And at the very end, the anchor reads this statement that's almost meaningless. So doing that press conference, I'm working with the executive director, here are your talking points. Here are your questions. We do something we call AMP, Anticipate Message Practice. So what questions are they going to ask? What message are you working to get across? And in the 10 minutes we have, let's do a mock interview, let's get you ready so that you can go out and do that.

Dan Heath: Chris says a lot of clients he works with haven't done a lot of interviews with journalists asking tough questions, but that it's still better for his clients to answer questions rather than him.

Chris Thomas: My preference is to stay behind the scenes as much as possible. Occasionally I will, but for the most part, it's not as authentic as when it comes from the horse's mouth. And I usually try to avoid having the attorney out there as well. People just don't trust attorneys or spokespeople. They wanna hear from a chief.

Dan Heath: Yeah.

Chris Thomas: They want to hear from the executive director. It, you know, it's credible and the people, you know, in those key audiences, those parents, when they see her talking to the media, that gets them a lot of faith and trust in the situation and in the individual and their leadership. So I try to stay behind as much as possible. You know, it's a field that's not talked about a lot. A lot of people don't even realize what we do. We're kind of a phantom type of role where the very best in my profession, you've never heard of and you've never seen.

Dan Heath: You, in an interview, had a great quote. You can't communicate your way out of a crisis. What did you mean by that?

Chris Thomas: It's a misnomer. Oftentimes in that initial intake call, they want some silver bullet. They want me to come in and be the spin meister, which I was called by a journalist one time, and to come in and spin a situation. And that's a misnomer. Good communication is addressing the issues. There's no way to talk our way out of this. So what are we doing to address the situation or what are we doing to address it doesn't happen again? And being able to provide some input, in some cases, helping organizations and individuals to do the right thing, to apologize, to take responsibility, to implement training, to, you know, a number of different elements that they can do. But really what you're communicating is how you're responding and what you're doing, not somehow trying to talk your way out of it.

Dan Heath: So I'm curious, like, how do you know in these situations whether you are a success or not?

Chris Thomas: Early on, there's always a conversation about, you know, we're not gonna make lemonade outta lemons here. I'm coming in to mitigate the situation. I'm not gonna fix, there's not some way that we can make this positive and it can be thankless because often expectations are really high and they somehow thought there would be this miraculous ending. You know, there's a negative story. You can't make the negative elements of that story go away. What you can control is what you're doing and how you're communicating it in that story.

Dan Heath: What are some of the mistakes that you see young people in the field make? Or maybe even mistakes you made yourself where you sort of realize, oh, I thought that would work, but it really doesn't.

Chris Thomas: The biggest mistake is treating the media as the only audience and neglecting other audiences. I mean, there are several. I managed some in recent years where it was managed so well that it never became a public issue. They nipped it in the bud. They did the right things, they communicated with the right audiences and it didn't overflow into something bigger. And so, you know, immediately going there, breaking into jail is something we talk a fair amount and that's where there's an issue and you're over-communicating it, and you're making it a bigger issue than it needs to be. And so being really surgical.

Dan Heath: Oh, that's interesting. What's an example of that?

Chris Thomas: I'll give you this quick case study. So we're working with a client, got a call from an employment attorney and she says, "Hey, this client has this issue. It's a healthcare organization, they have locations, you know, throughout the state, and one of their employees on social media attacked a member of the LBTT community and told them that they should kill themselves and we need you to write a statement to basically make this go away." And it's like, that's not going to go away. And she says, but you know, we're arguing. She's like, "But you know, there's some new employment laws that we can't communicate anything about this." And I end up getting the CEO on the call or on the phone and I explain like, there's nothing I can do and this is going to get really bad. You're gonna have people showing up at your locations and causing stirs and protesting and this is really ugly and it's really wrong. And you need to, you need to say something about it. And he agreed. And one of the cases where I'm sure she hated me, the attorney did later, but, you know, agreed. And they took action against the individual. They contacted the people online. We posted some things there. They had some conversations with others to explain that this was not at all in the values of the organization and that they were shocked and disappointed and apologized profusely communicated with their employees that were involved. They did a really nice job communicating. And it never became a story. It could have easily become a story. Well, how you would break into jail on that is instead of working with those audiences, putting a statement out to the media about it or communicating something broadly to people who don't even know, you know. We become so segmented.

Dan Heath: Oh, I see what you're getting at that, that's super interesting.

Chris Thomas: Yeah, it's interesting too. I'll have clients that just get so excited about something and I'm like, you know what? Probably maybe 10% of of the population even knows what you're talking about. And if you really get out there and communicate it, it's gonna be 30 or 40%. And I don't know you wanna bring more attention to it. How do we surgically work with those people who matter most in that 10%?

Dan Heath: Hey folks, Dan here. So we asked you to help us with a survey a few episodes back. And boy did you respond. 124 of you to be precise, from age 10 to age 75, from Rio Rancho, New Mexico to Abu Dhabi. I was amazed at how many of you said you'd listen to all of our episodes. Thank you so much for sticking with us. I thought I'd share some highlights from the survey, the most commonly cited, other podcast you all listen to include "Hidden Brain," "Freakonomics," "How I Built This," the Economics of Everyday Things, all great shows. Sure, nice to be in that company. And I thought I'd also share your favorite episodes of this podcast. So drum roll please. "Stadium Beer vendor" is number one. "Professional Santa Claus" is number two. And the "Forensic Accountant" coming in at three. But honestly, it was pretty fragmented. The number one choice got 18 votes out of 124. So different strokes for different folks. That's it. Let's get back to the episode.

Chris has managed more than 300 crises and issues for clients. Most of those were for companies, but some were for individuals or families who, for whatever reason, were under intense media scrutiny. Like the family of Elizabeth Smart. You might recognize her name. And a quick warning to anyone listening with young kids, you might wanna skip ahead 30 seconds right now to avoid some graphic details. Elizabeth Smart was 14 years old in June of 2002 when she was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City by a man with a knife.

Chris Thomas: That first week she was missing, more than 10,000 people in the Salt Lake community searched for Elizabeth. And that continued for some time.

Dan Heath: It became an international news story. And Chris, who was just 30 years old at the time, became the smart family's guide to navigating the media frenzy. He wrote a book about the experience.

Chris Thomas: It wasn't uncommon to have 50, 60 cameras covering a press conference. It's still hard to comprehend just how crazy that time was.

Dan Heath: I asked Chris to paint a picture of what a typical day looked like for him then.

Chris Thomas: So it's about 3:30 in the morning. I start talking to the morning shows on the East coast, confirming details and information. I'm getting dressed kind of during that period, about 4:30, 5 o'clock I arrive at the area where they're doing interviews. I would prep family members for those interviews. We'd sit through those interviews. We would do local morning television and some cable television after that. There was an eight o'clock meeting where we went through the investigation and prepared for two press conferences that day, one at 10 o'clock and one at four o'clock. Would do interviews with the cable lifestyle shows, and then local media until about 11 o'clock at night, would look through coverage logs until about midnight, 12:30 would try to catch a couple of hours of sleep and then the phone would ring again at 3:30.

Dan Heath: Unbelievable. I mean, that must have taken a toll on you, those kinds of hours and that much stress.

Chris Thomas: Absolutely. I found out during that period that I grind teeth and I now have a night guard, but I broke five teeth during that nine and a half months.

Dan Heath: Just from the sheer stress.

Chris Thomas: And it definitely took a toll in lots of areas. And in the same vein was a once in a lifetime opportunity that has changed and refined me in so many wonderful ways.

Dan Heath: At first, the media focused on the search efforts, but about a week into the work, something happened. It was a Saturday around 8:00 PM and Chris got a call from a source at a TV network.

Chris Thomas: The Salt Lake Tribune was about to publish a story implicating the extended Smart family in Elizabeth's abduction.

Dan Heath: The story was due to come out the next day in the Sunday edition. Then, the ABC news affiliate in Salt Lake did a quick preview of the story at the end of their 10 o'clock newscast on Saturday night.

Chris Thomas: At that point, my phone was ringing off the hook and, you know, how do we respond to this situation that could be highly detrimental to the family, to the search, to the variability to find her.

Dan Heath: Chris went into overdrive to try to find out exactly what would be reported.

Chris Thomas: The family couldn't respond to a story they hadn't seen. And so I started talking to media and saying, hey, have you seen the story? And it's interesting, you always get more information from the media often than you do from law enforcement or from other sources. So I'm always asking them questions. I always kind of turn things and I said, they're gonna respond as soon as we can get a copy of that story, they'll respond, but I gotta get a copy. And this was, you know, many years ago before things posted online immediately.

Dan Heath: Finally, he got the story. It claimed there was evidence suggesting that an extended family member was responsible for the kidnapping. A Smart family member told Chris it was simply not true. Chris knew that it was important that the family respond as quickly as possible and that they show a united front.

Chris Thomas: We put a statement out at 2:30 in the morning. I blast faxed that out, which tells you the time. This is before email was in vogue, and then took hard copies and put it on the satellite trucks for the various networks. Good Morning America actually read with our story, and this was before the hard copies of the Tribune were even available, which was a huge victory.

Dan Heath: So you managed to preempt this conspiratorial story.

Chris Thomas: To a degree. I mean, you can't make it go away, but what it demonstrated is the family wasn't hiding, that they were cooperating.

Dan Heath: Months passed. Police had a suspect they believed was responsible, who had died in prison, but they were no closer to finding Elizabeth. Then in October.

Chris Thomas: Elizabeth's sister who was asleep in the bed, had had an epiphany and remembered the voice in the room. She never actually saw the individual well enough, but remembered the voice of the person. And he was this homeless man who had worked in the backyard one afternoon.

Dan Heath: Chris says, the police didn't take the epiphany seriously, but the popular TV show "America's Most Wanted" put together an episode featuring a sketch of the man. And about a week later.

Chris Thomas: The sister of this man, Brian David Mitchell, who ended up being the man who had abducted her, came forward and said, "That's my brother." He's capable of this. We need to find him.

Dan Heath: On March 12th, 2003, more than nine months after Elizabeth had been abducted, her father, Ed, got a call from the police department telling him to come to the police station immediately. Chris wasn't sure what that could mean. So he called a friend who was now a detective to try to find out.

Chris Thomas: And so I began calling him incessantly until he answered and actually yelled at me initially, and then called me back 10 minutes later and told me that they had brought in an indigent teenager that they believed was Elizabeth Smart. And I was overcome with emotion and trying not to demonstrate that. And I said, "Where did you guys find the body?" And he said, "What body?" She's right in the room next to me. So after the press conference and everything that night, phones didn't work. We couldn't get calls in and out. There was such a volume of calls that I went up to the house to meet with Ed to plan the next day. And as I got to the door, there was each of the children. I cannot tell this story without getting emotional either. Each of the children in silk pajamas on the stairs that kinda led down to their entryway. It looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. And I was overcome. And I noticed Elizabeth kind of gave me this weird look. And Ed caught it, fortunately, and she said, Elizabeth, "You don't know who this is, do you? And she said, "no." And she said, "This is Chris. And he's like a brother to me and you should consider him like your brother." And I turned and wept. I was asking Elizabeth about this recently. Do you remember me bawling? And she's like, "You cried?" And I was like, "Okay, good. I'm glad you didn't see that." But it was one of the most emotional and meaningful experiences of my life. And, you know, it really made it all worth it. Seeing her and seeing them back together and, you know, she's become a dear friend and really kind of like a sister to me over the years and seeing the good that she's done and seeing how she has become this amazing voice and advocate for so many who are, don't have a voice. And it's just been inspiring to see her. I've been truly blessed through the whole thing.

Dan Heath: Reading the book, I mean, it's hard to come away with a positive image of the media. It was just like an insatiable media appetite for a story where, you know, on any given day there probably wasn't that much to report, you know, factually. And so, you know, that breeds conspiracy theories and, you know, all these weird points of view. Like how did this shape your view of the media and like how did it change your work in the aftermath?

Chris Thomas: Yeah, this might surprise you. I see my role, if this was a court of law, the media is the prosecution and I'm the defense attorney. And I still have huge respect for the institution of the media as our fourth estate of government. They have such an important role in what we do. And while there have been times that were communicated through the book where, you know, there were less than scrupulous tactics. At the same time, I'm always turned off by clients who blame the media and not that there aren't issues. Not that there are challenges. But if you can work within the parameters of what they're doing and keep them honest in what they're doing, it's a much more positive outcome. You know, the Elizabeth Smart case you can look at all the the ways and all the crazy things that happened, but at the end of the day, she came home as a result of them. And so I'm always very, I defend the media and I work with very closely and I have huge respect for the members of the media that I work with.

Dan Heath: So Chris, we always end our episodes with a quick lightning round of questions. So let me fire away here. What's the most insulting thing you could say about a crisis communicator's work?

Chris Thomas: Most insulting thing about someone's work is where they said, no comment. I mean, to me that's the most triggering and worst thing you can possibly say. I mean, there's been research that demonstrates those, that term no comment is so negatively perceived. Even when you can't say something, there's usually something that can be said, but the words no comment. I mean, you might as well be dropping f-bombs. It's almost that offensive. Maybe not as as consciously,

Dan Heath: It's sort of like pleading the fifth.

Chris Thomas: It really is. It's so damaging and one of the worst possible things you can do.

Dan Heath: What's a tool specific to your profession that you really like using?

Chris Thomas: Simulations. So in certain situations, especially, you know, if there's opposition. Managed a few years ago, a labor dispute with a Fortune 500 company and took part of my team who wasn't involved and assigned to pretend that they were the agency representing the labor union. Put a plan together and tell me what you're gonna do, research, figure out kind of what they would do, and then let's see how that plays into what we're doing. We also will do that sometimes with a story, like the story's coming out, it's gonna be really ugly. Have one of the journalists on my team put a rough draft of that story together. And from that, try to back out where we want to communicate or what things are are most prominent. So it allows us to be a little bit more strategic in how we're approaching it. Kind of like a mock trial with legal, but much less involved.

Dan Heath: What phrase or sentence strikes fear in the heart of a crisis communicator?

Chris Thomas: It's always that call that I get where they say it's really not that big of a deal. The place is on fire and there's multiple fatalities. I'm being facetious, but it's not that big of a deal. And you're like, eh, it's great.

Dan Heath: It's all gonna blow over.

Chris Thomas: It kind of is. I had a client one time, I did a big intake and was going to work with him and the president of the organization told the communications people to put me on hold and I said, why? And he said, "Well, once it gets really serious, then he wants to hire you." And I said, "Well, you can tell him," and I said it much more diplomatically than this, "once it gets really serious, I'm not gonna get involved because you've gotta get it before it's an inferno. We need to address it before it gets too big."

Dan Heath: What kind of personality do you need to be good at this work?

Chris Thomas: Flexibility. I think a a level of empathy. Also a level of assertiveness. You've gotta be able to speak up and say, that's not going to work. Or you need to consider this. The people at the agency who ha have worked with me that have been successful at this, generally, for some strange masochistic reason, just love it. The drama is like unlike anything else. I think it was interesting when you had the FBI special agent on and he talked about how his job was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle, one piece at a time. And as I was listening to that, I thought my job is like playing speed chess while multitasking. It's just such a stark contrast to putting those little pieces together because that happens so, so quickly. And so you've gotta have the ability to think and adapt and really try to figure things out and for some reason really enjoy doing it. Which I really do. It's a rush. There are times too where I need a lot of downtime. I know I wanna get away from it. I can't do this anymore. 'Cause it can be very, very exhausting. But overall it's an adrenaline rush every time something goes down.

Dan Heath: Chris Thomas is president of Intrepid, a public relations firm in Utah. He's also the author of "Unexpected," a memoir about his time working with the Smart family. This is kind of a weird connection, but I'm recording this reflection the day after my little girl had her tonsils out. And I know it's one of the world's most common surgeries and the chances of something going wrong are super remote, but when somebody's operating on your kid, you're pretty raw. And I was marveling at how good the staff of this hospital was at attending to us. Managing our emotions was part of their job. And now imagine that part of your job wasn't to help manage the emotions of the parents of a tonsillectomy patient, but in Chris's situation, the parents of a child who had been violently abducted, unimaginable. And it made me think about several of the professions we've explored on the show where people's work connects them to some of the worst emotional times in people's lives. The criminal defense attorney, the couple's therapist, the nurse in the burn unit, and of course Chris, with his work in crisis PR. It's a burden for all of them. You can't possibly wall yourself off from experiences that are this raw, but it's also a burden that they choose. This is their work. They take pride in it. And look, Chris isn't always working with victim families. Most often he's working with corporate leaders whose organizations have done something really stupid and they wanna minimize the effects of that stupidity. That's part of the work too. Just like the defense attorney represents people who did what they're accused of. And just as with these other professions, Chris's work demands that he be calm and professional and thoughtful in situations where his clients have a hard time doing that. Finding solutions and high pressure situations, searching for clarity and gray circumstances, projecting confidence in shifting times. Folks, that's what it's like to be a crisis PR manager. This episode was produced by Matt Purdy. I'm Dan Heath. Take care.