First ever Crisis Communication Think Tank brings a collaboration of great minds to Grady College

The first ever Crisis Communication Think Tank was a huge success. Thank you to all the attendees for your presence, hosts and sponsors for organizing the event and presenters for sharing their valuable insights. We are thrilled to see what is in store for years to come.  #CCTTGRADY

“It was especially nice that Dick Yarbrough made opening remarks since this was our inaugural event of the C. Richard Yarbrough Professorship in Crisis Communication Leadership. It’s absolutely true that the emphasis in crisis communication at Grady would not be happening if it weren’t for the generosity of Dick and Jane Yarbrough. It was wonderful to have their daughter, Maribeth Wansley, present for part of the day too.”

– AdPR Department head Dr. Bryan Reber


CCTT Mission Statement

The Crisis Communication Think Tank (CCTT) is a yearly event, sponsored by the C. Yarbrough Professorship in Crisis Communication Leadership, the Center for Health and Risk Communication, the Georgia Athletic Association Professorship in Grady College, and the Hearst Visiting Professionals Fund at the University of Georgia.  The CCTT attendees are invited members of a crisis communication coalition, selected as thought leaders in the field.  The CCTT aims to build collaborations among researchers, practitioners, and educators, in and outside the U.S., in advancing crisis communication science and practice through dialogue on emerging topics and co-creation of evidence-based advice for next-generation crisis research and practice.

2018 Presenters

Matt Auer, University of Georgia

  • Matthew R. Auer is Dean and Arch Professor of Public and International Affairs at the School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia (UGA). Matt’s research focuses on environmental and energy policy, and foreign aid. In recent years, he has collected and analyzed data from social media platforms, such as Twitter, to elucidate flows of information and patterns of influence on topics like climate change. Auer has served in a variety of public policy roles at national and international levels, including for USAID and the U.S. Department of Energy. He was senior adviser to the U.S. Forest Service from 2001 to 2006.

Jeff Breslau, City of Johns Creek

  • Jeff Breslau is Communications Director of the City of Johns Creek, Georgia. Prior to joining the City of Johns Creek as its Communications Director in 2015, Breslau served for more than 20 years in U.S. Department of Defense communications. His career focus includes work on major public relations, media engagement, and crisis communications efforts in Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. He has extensive experience collaborating with both U.S. and international government organizations, as well as with non-government organizations. He holds degrees in English, and National Security and Strategic Studies, and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.

Yan Jin, University of Georgia

  • Yan Jin, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Assistant Department Head of Advertising and Public Relations, as well as Associate Director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication, at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, U.S.A. Her research focuses on the role of emotions and social media in crisis communication. She has authored over 60 journal articles and 20 book chapters. She is the co-editor of the book, Social Media and Crisis Communication (Routledge, 2017). She received the AEJMC’s Krieghbaum Under-40 Award in 2014 and is an elected member of the Arthur W. Page Society.

Glen Nowak, University of Georgia

  • Glen Nowak, Ph.D., is a professor of advertising and public relations in the Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. He is also director of the Grady College Center for Health & Risk Communication. Dr. Nowak has extensive experience in public health crisis and risk communication, including from serving six years as associate director for communication at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)’s National Immunization Program and six years as CDC’s director of media relations. Since returning to Grady in 2013, he has continued to be involved in infectious disease and vaccine-related risk and health communication projects.

Greg Trevor, University of Georgia

  • Greg Trevor has been executive director of media communications at the University of Georgia since October 2016. His responsibilities include serving as the university’s official spokesperson and overseeing issues management, crisis communications and emergency communications. Before coming to UGA, Trevor held a similar position at Rutgers University in New Jersey for more than 12 years, where he managed communications surrounding a series of major issues, emergencies and crises. Prior to Rutgers, Trevor worked in the Office of Media Relations at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from 1998 to 2004.

Toni van der Meer, University of Amsterdam

  • Toni G. L. A. van der Meer is an assistant professor at the Department of Corporate Communication of the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam. His research in the field of organizational communication/PR mainly focuses on crisis communication and the framing of organizations or organization-related issues.

Additional 2018 Contributors

Lucinda Austin, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Glen Cameron, University of Missouri-Columbia

Michael Greenwell, ICF

Greg Guest, Georgia-Pacific LLC

Matt Harrigan, The Home Depot

Mallard Holliday, Cox Enterprise, Inc.

Suzanne Horsley, University of Alabama

Eyun-Jung Ki, University of Alabama

Brooke Liu, University of Maryland-College Park

Mark McMullen, Knights of Columbus

Deanna Sellnow, Central Florida University

Timothy Sellnow, Central Florida University

Karen White, Amgen


Yan Jin, University of Georgia

Glen Nowak, University of Georgia

Bryan Reber, University of Georgia

Thank you to our Sponsors:

Center for Health and Risk Communication

Grady College: Hearst Foundations Visiting Professional Program

Yarbrough Professorship in Crisis Communication Leadership

Screen Shot 2018-03-30 at 5.08.56 PM

If you would like to share your experience from the CCTT, please use the hashtag #CCTTGRADY on social media.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *