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Boston Chapter Event

When: 04/06/2017

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WCD Boston Chapter Event



Topic: Your Brand is Under Attack: Now What Do You Do?


Date: Monday, April 3, 2017 


Time:  6:00 PM Cocktails, 7:00 PM Dinner and Discussion


Location: Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Avenue, Boston


Details of the Event and Guest Speakers: 

In a world with fast news cycles and instant communication, the board’s role in risk management has never been more difficult.  Events can grab the attention of the media, customers, and employees and go viral before the company has a chance to manage the situation.  The sound bite that gets re-Tweeted is rarely the entire story and can cause significant damage to a company’s brand.  Brand equity that has been built up over decades can be destroyed overnight and cause a significant drop in the stock price. Some of the news stories are business issues that have been taken out of context by politicians or reporters for their own reasons.  Others are low probability/high risk events that could not have been easily mitigated.  News that has hurt a brand’s image has been as varied as rogue employees in financial services to high drug prices in the pharmaceutical industry to companies moving manufacturing overseas.

·         The brand-building opportunities of social media are limitless, but so are the risks. Do directors know enough to ask the right questions of management?

·         In the past, social media controversies have centered around customer dissatisfaction. Today, there are many examples of reputational damage, such as Uber. How should a board react when the “corporate brand” is threatened?

•     Can a board do any advance planning to manage unknown events that might impact the brand? 

•     What can directors learn from some of the very public brand attacks in recent years?    


The NACD published an article in January called “When Trump Comes Tweeting: A New Playbook for Boards” that has some useful advice:


Our panelists include: 


Linda De Renzo is Chief Legal Officer and Secretary at Civitas Solutions (NYSE: CIVI), also known as The Mentor Network, a national health and human services firm.  She is a member of the senior management team guiding company strategy and manages the regulatory compliance, risk management and litigation, labor and employment and corporate legal functions.  She also supports the Board in its corporate governance and enterprise risk management oversight activities.  Prior to joining Civitas, she was a business lawyer in private practice advising fast growth companies and their financiers in a variety of industries.   Ms. De Renzo is on the boards of Newton Wellesley Hospital and the Newton Wellesley Hospital Physicians Organization.   Ms. De Renzo received an AB from Dartmouth College, and a JD from Harvard Law School.  


Alison Taunton-Rigby, Ph.D., O.B.E., is a well-known executive, leader and entrepreneur in the world of healthcare, life sciences and financial services. Currently, she is a Director of a number of public, private, college, foundation, non-profit, ESOP and mutual fund boards (Blumont/IRD Inc., ICI Mutual Insurance Company, Columbia Funds, IWF Leadership Foundation and Boston Children's Hospital). Alison has served as President and CEO of several public and private biotechnology companies (Mitotix, Cambridge Biotech Corporation, Aquila Biopharmaceuticals) and held senior executive positions at Biogen and Genzyme. As an entrepreneur she has successfully founded, built and financed biotechnology companies, including RiboNovix, a company developing antibiotics that are resistant to drug resistance. Her career includes the leadership of teams that discovered, developed and introduced a number of life-saving drugs, many for diseases that affect children. Alison attended the University of Bristol in England and the Harvard Business School. She was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II for her work as a leader in the research, development and promotion of biotechnology.


Sharon F. Merrill is founder and Chairman Emerita of Sharon Merrill Associates, Inc., a nationally recognized, multi-million dollar investor relations and corporate communications consulting firm serving public, pre-IPO and private companies across a range of industries. Sharon has more than 30 years of first-hand expertise in building a national brand. She recently sold the firm and continues to be its ambassador to financial and professional organizations across New England. Sharon has advised CEOs and CFOs on a range of issues including leadership transitions, M&A transactions, crisis communications, reputation management, activist campaigns and financial challenges. An investment community authority and financial expert, she also understands how Wall Street values companies and has used this knowledge to assist boards and management teams with their messages to investors and shareholders.  Sharon holds an MBA from Simmons College.

Mary Ann Tocio retired as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Bright Horizons Family Solutions in June 2015. During her 23 year tenure, Bright Horizons was recognized 16 times as one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America”.  Prior to this, she was the Senior Vice President of Operations for Health Stop Medical Management, Inc., a national provider of ambulatory care and occupational health services. Mary Ann currently serves on the board of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care as Chair and is on the boards of Civitas Solutions, Inc., (NYSE: CIVI),  Burlington Stores, Inc.(NYSE: BURL), Bright Horizons (NYSE:BFAM), Veritas Collaborative, Telecare Corporation and is a Governing Trustee of Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Mary Ann received her MBA from Simmons College Graduate School of Management.



We look forward to seeing you April 3.


Elaine Eisenman, Pam Lenehan, Mary Ann Tocio


RSVP to Pam Lenehan: or 781-449-9665