The State of Corporate Communication Five Years
after the Meltdown

12th Annual Symposium on Reputation at Pfizer

About the Program

financial-crisis-2008Volatility in global financial and commercial markets; political turmoil in Western democracies and the developing world — combine to make planning for the future filled with high levels of risk.

Daniel Kahneman sheds light on this when he observes that “illusions of validity and skill are supported by a powerful professional culture…Given the professional culture of the financial community, it is not surprising that large numbers of individuals in that world believe themselves to be among the chosen few who can do what they believe others cannot.” (Kahneman, 2011, p. 217.)

And he notes a 20 year study on so-called expert predictions by Philip Tetlock in 2005 that concluded according to Kahneman, “people who spend their time, and earn their living, studying a particular topic produce poorer predictions than dart-throwing monkeys… Even in the region they know best, experts were not significantly better than non-specialists.” It is not what they believe, it is how they think.

They “know one big thing,” have a theory about the world, and use a coherent framework to explain events, intolerant of those who disagree, and are confident about their forecasts.  “They are opinionated and clear, which is exactly what television producers love to see on programs…by contrast, are complex thinkers.. [who] don’t believe that one big thing drives the march of history… [They] recognize that reality emerges from the interactions of many different agents and forces, including blind luck, often producing large and unpredictable outcomes” (Kahneman, 2011, pp. 219 – 220).  They are usually not invited on Sunday morning television talk shows, or Cable TV. (Thinking, Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2011)

Are we back from the brink? As corporate communicators, what is the state of corporate reputation five years after the meltdown?  Do we as a profession recognize the confluence of factors that pose risks and opportunities for the corporations we serve?  Do we position ourselves as “experts” within the corporation or are we the “complex thinkers” that Kahneman describes?  Come hear our panelists and decide for yourself the role we play, or should play. Is the brink behind us or is it a continuing possibility ahead of us?  Given this uncertainty, what unique perspective can we deliver when counseling the corporation five years after the financial meltdown?

Program video in two parts: Part 1   Part 2





kathybostjancicKathy Bostjancic is director for macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board. A specialist in the U.S. economy and financial markets, she is a member of the team that produces the U.S. economic forecast and global outlook for The Conference Board. She oversees and is a regular participant in The Conference Board Economics Watch™ monthly webcasts, author of The Economics Watch U.S. View, and frequently briefs member firms and larger audiences on the economic outlook. Bostjancic also appears regularly on Bloomberg Radio and TV and in the financial press.

Her recent publications include Economic Growth in the EU in the Age of Globalization: Issues and Policies, in which she and chief economist Bart van Ark examine the short-run and long term economic outlooks for the major global economies and the potential impact of global fiscal stimulus packages.

Kathy was previously senior director, U.S. economist, at Merrill Lynch. She holds an MA in economics from New York University and a BA in economics from Rutgers College.


Shellie Roth #2Shellie Roth founded Investor Relations Partners, Inc., in 1990 to provide value-added corporate communications and investor relations advice to public companies, specifically proactive input on a broad range of business, organizational and operational issues. Over her career, Shellie has contributed to prominent mergers and acquisitions, change of management programs, corporate repositioning, pre- and post-IPO financial communications planning and implementation, restructuring programs, and crisis management in a diverse group of industries. The firm supplements ongoing financial and communications advice with programs such as perception studies, issue audits and investor targeting studies.

Before founding IRP, Shellie headed communications departments at two Fortune 500 companies, Primerica Corp. (the restructured successor to American Can Co.) and GAF Corp. In the early 1980s, she created the investor and public relations function for one of the first public entrants to the biotechnology arena (Genex Corporation). During that tenure, she created the first public education pamphlets for the new Industrial Biotechnology Association.

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history, Shellie completed additional credits in business and finance and studied at the University of Strasbourg, France.  She had been a member of the National Investor Relations Institute, its Senior Roundtable, and a founding member of its Strategic Communications Roundtable. Today she works with Penn State’s College of Communications on its Board of Advisors to the Dean, and its Alumni Academy in Ethical Leadership.

She is the author of “Investor Relations: The Scope of the Position,” a publication of the National Investor Relations Institute that has been updated regularly since its original publication in 1996. She speaks before professional groups, has written for professional publications and leads relevant workshops. She is also a Board member of the Livingston (NJ) Symphony Orchestra, and has taught as an adjunct professor in the graduate program at Fairleigh Dickinson University.


Ray PellecRay Pellecchiachia, Jr. is a senior consultant with Zito Partners. He has more than 20 years of experience at the world’s highest-visibility financial marketplace – the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). He is a trusted spokesman and counselor to senior management during major corporate transformations, and a former journalist known for creating new platforms for impactful storytelling.

At the NYSE, Ray pioneered the exchange industry’s first public blog, which was named one of Securities Technology Monitor’s “Top Financial Tech Blogs.” He co-led the creation and execution of a social-media strategy that achieved business goals and gained hundreds of thousands of followers. Ray served as company spokesman and counseled management during the “flash crash;” the merger that created the first global exchange group; the NYSE’s initial public offering; its expansion into new market sectors; and governance and regulatory crises. He also led such initiatives as generating visibility for the now-familiar NYSE bell-ringing events

Prior to joining the NYSE, Ray was an award-winning editor and writer for community newspapers. He began that work while attending Fairleigh Dickinson University, from which he graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Communications, Speech and Theater.

Register by ….

Emailing Tina Genest at
  • Complimentary registration: provide her with your name, title & company or organizational affiliation.
  • Payment required: please complete registration form available here and email or fax to 973-270-0039.
CCI Sponsors & Baruch MA Corp Comm Students: Complimentary
CCI, The Communication Leadership Exchange, RSA, & Arthur Page Society Members: $75
Non-Members: $95
Nonprofits: $85
Graduate Students: $20
Baruch Faculty & Staff: No charge
Seating is limited. Advance registration is required.
April 11, 2014
  • 12:00 pm - 4:00 pmBack from the Brink