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Turning Crisis Into Opportunity

February 09, 2011 1:30 AM
Mark Meister

From the Deepwater Horizon disaster to the subprime mortgage debacle to the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, recent history is filled with examples of crises that pose daunting, multileveled challenges to the organizations involved. But trying events can present unique opportunities, and that is the theme of this year's Burkenroad Symposium on Business and Society on Feb. 18.

Burkenroad Symposium

Crises like the Deepwater Horizon disaster can present unique opportunities. Speakers at the Burkenroad Symposium on Business and Society will focus on “Honor in the Face of Fire.”

“Crises can result from negligence, chance or willful misdoing, but regardless of the cause, the critical issue is how organizations prepare for crisis and, more importantly, how they respond, both internally and externally,” says Adrienne Colella, the James McFarland Distinguished Chair in Business and director of the Burkenroad Institute at the A. B. Freeman School of Business.

For the 18th annual Burkenroad Symposium, “Honor in the Face of Fire: Turning Crisis into Opportunity,” a distinguished panel of scholars and business experts will explore the issue of organizational crisis and discuss ways in which forward-thinking companies can transform adversity into competitive advantage.

The event, which is free and open to the public, opens at 10 a.m. in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall of the Lavin-Bernick Center on the uptown campus.

“The speakers at this year's Symposium on Business and Society will address the ethical, leadership and communication issues involved when organizations experience a crisis,” Colella says.

This year's presenters include Gael O'Brien, founder and principal of Strategic Opportunities Group, a consulting firm specializing in ethical leadership, social responsibility and crisis management; Anjali Sheffrin, a research professor at the Tulane Energy Institute specializing in market design for wholesale electricity markets, economics of renewables and regulatory policy; and Robert R. Ulmer, professor of communication at the University of Arkansas–Little Rock and an expert in risk and crisis communication.

For more information, e-mail Christian Galvin or call 504-862-8481.

Mark Miester is senior editor in the A. B. Freeman School of Business and editor of Freeman magazine.