In this special episode, it’s a break from format in response to unfolding developments in the COVID-19 outbreak. As a veteran crisis manager, Tim recently wrote a blog post on how to reduce panic and fear in the wake of recent events. The post has been broadly picked up and shared in the public relations and communications industries. In this episode, Tim shares that content with you in the hopes it can help you become a calming force for those around you.
About Tim O’Brien
Tim O’Brien is an accredited communications strategist and consultant, advising clients from Fortune 100 companies to associations, start-ups and nonprofits. He has provided service to clients across every major sector and has seen programs from conceptualization through planning. He has worked extensively in crisis communications, issues management, professional services marketing, writing and content development, marketing, media relations, message development, and workplace communications.
He formed O’Brien Communications in 2001, a Pittsburgh PR firm, after serving as Communications Director and the Chief Investor Relations Officer at Tollgrade Communications, a telecom firm that played a significant role in the rollout of broadband technology. At Tollgrade, he was a member of the company’s Executive Committee, responsible for all internal and external communications, serving as primary spokesperson.
Before Tollgrade, Tim spent ten years at Ketchum, where he was a Vice President, a member of the Pittsburgh office’s Management Committee, and a leader in Ketchum’s Crisis Communications and Issues Management practice areas. At Ketchum, he managed corporate, employee and media relations, in addition to crisis communications programs, community relations and marketing communications initiatives.
He started his career as a Producer/News Writer at KDKA TV & Radio. Tim earned his bachelor’s degree with majors in Journalism and Speech Communications at Duquesne University.
He was accredited (APR) by Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in 1990, and he is on PRSA’s Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS). He has served on the PRSA/Pittsburgh Board of Directors.
An experienced PR pro, he has presented at professional and trade functions, including the American Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education programs. Tim has also lectured at graduate and undergraduate programs at institutions including: Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University, Chatham University and at other colleges and universities.
He contributed to the PR News Crisis Management Guidebook, the PR News Employee Communications Guidebook, and he was featured in Harvard Business School Press’s The Essentials of Corporate Communications and Public Relations. In 2017, he was honored with the inaugural “Indie Award” from the Public Relations Society of America for his contributions to the national independent PR consultant community. His work has been recognized in several competitions, including receipt of the Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation from PRSA for the Shaping Opinion podcast, PRSA Renaissance Awards, the Association of Business Communicators and the Dalton Pen Communications Award Program for Excellence in Annual Reports, the NFPW Communications Awards, the International Academy of the Visual Arts’ Communicator Awards, and the Pennsylvania Press Club.