Home 7 Best Reputation Risk Speakers to Help Your Organization Survive and Thrive

7 Best Reputation Risk Speakers to Help Your Organization Survive and Thrive

Reputation risk is one of the key factors to an organization’s long-term success. We’ve seen tech companies like Uber, WeWork, and others take reputation hits that affected the bottom line. All it takes is one wrong move to destroy a reputation — and it can take years to gain back that trust. It’s easy to find lists of motivational speakers, but it’s harder to find specific experts in areas like reputation risk.

The damage can come at any time from virtually anywhere: an angry employee with an agenda, a security breach that wasn’t handled properly. Before your organization gets in trouble, understand and prepare for the risks to its reputation.

The Reputation Management Environment

Reputation management has many names. There is online reputation management and Internet reputation management as well as brand perception. Despite different names, all share a common goal: create or influence a positive public perception about an individual like a company leader or entrepreneur or about a company or brand.

Most of today’s reputation management happens online through various digital channels and the conversations shared on those channels. While that can help spread a positive image of an individual, company, or brand, it can also just as quickly move a negative impression across the Internet that becomes hard to clean up.

Reputation Management is Big Business

Everything you do offline or online becomes part of reputation management, including videos of offline experiences with your employees, products or services, and/or locations. Any negative situation that get shared can lower market cap values, diminish brand value, and result in dramatic drop in revenue. In one survey, it was found that 87% of customers will reverse a purchase decision after finding negative content about a brand or product online.

Everything is now about Yelp reviews, online forums, and social conversations. However, there are also companies out there that convince individuals and brands to spend money with them to manipulate their online reputation. This leaves many struggling to figure out where they should go or who they should trust when it comes to managing their online and offline reputations.

Taking Control of Your Reputation

There are now ways for individuals and companies to take control of their own reputation without resorting to relying on a company to do it for them. This includes reputation and social monitoring tools as well as SEO and technical optimization. While this can help get some control back over your reputation, there is still limited control compared to what can happen on a viral basis to spread positive or negative news about your brand, name, or company.

There are many ways to address existing negative information. You will need to analyze the damage, track existing press and anything new that has been said. Plus, you will have to acknowledge the negative information with stakeholders, including any investors, customers, and even employees.

From there, you will need to regain control and turn the negative situation around. You may need to issue a public apology or acknowledge anything that is actual about the negative information. If there is anything that is inaccurate, now is also the time to address those issues. Then, there is the need to create a recovery roadmap to start making strides to improve company or individual reputation.  You will need to do this by developing and promoting positive content and consistent messaging.

To better respond to the reputation management environment, it can be beneficial to learn from industry thought leaders by catching some of the top reputation risk and reputation management speakers.

Here are the Top Reputation Risk Speakers:

1. Anthony Johndrow

Best reputation risk speaker with deep experience and thought leadership  

2. Dave Stangis

Best reputation risk speaker with a corporate background and focus on corporate social responsibility

3. Bill Wohl

Best reputation risk speaker with a broad background and unique focus on press relations and crisis communications 

4. John Eltham

Best reputation risk speaker with an insurance and European perspective on risk management  

5. Leslie Gaines-Ross

Best reputation risk speaker for her focus on research, executive reputation repair, and corporate and CEO activism  

6. Peter Horst

Best reputation risk speaker for multi-industry marketing, brand management, and retail- and finance-related reputation risks

7. Mike Fernandez

Best reputation risk speaker with an academic background and theoretical approach to risk and reputation management

Ingredients of a Compelling Risk Reputation Speaker

We’ve identified some key ingredients that define the best risk reputation speakers available today. Here’s what to look for:

Area of Expertise

Many reputation risk management speakers have specific specialties that make them ideal for specific types of webinars or conferences. Some may focus on particular industries while others have expertise related to crisis management, social media monitoring, public relations or some other component of  reputation management, brand management, and publicity.


Since there are so many unique and complex issues related to today’s company and leader reputation management needs, it’s important to find a speaker who has the range and depth to cover many aspects of these complicated situations.


The best public and keynote speakers have the best stories. Make sure your speaker choices are adept at relating a number of stories and examples to add color to their presentation.


Look for a speaker who has an engaging delivery beyond just the great stories. It helps to have a speaker that can blend humor, insight, unique perspectives, and actionable device in one presentation.


Yes, their reputation counts just as much as any other leader or influencer. Look for those reputation management speakers that have a solid following and growing fanbase. They will attract the most people to your event.

Top 7 Risk Reputation Speakers

Now that you understand the criteria for speaker qualities and you are focused on identifying and managing the reputation risks facing your organization, these are seven of the best resources to catch at their next speaking engagement:

1. Anthony Johndrow


For more than two decades, Anthony Johndrow has advised enterprises on reputation management. To describe how closely financial performance and consumer perceptions are tied to one another, he coined the term “reputation economy.” Consumers care more about what organizations stand for than they used to, Johndrow warns, and they vote with their wallets.

Johndrow is regularly interviewed by media outlets, including The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He’s also the creator of the Public Relations Society of America’s reputation risk certificate program. Equally comfortable with TED-style talks and intimate chats, Johndrow is an entertaining pick for industries ranging from consumer packaged goods to technology.

2. Dave Stangis

Dave Stangis

Before becoming an entrepreneur and speaker, Dave Stangis led reputation management programs at Campbell’s and Intel. With an emphasis in corporate social responsibility, Stangis suggests community initiatives to improve investor relations, company pride, and employee engagement.

Now the founder and CEO of 21C Impact, Stangis advises corporations on public policy, sustainability, social impact, transparency, and disclosure. In conjunction with Katherine Smith, executive director at Boston College’s Center for Corporate Citizenship, Stangis wrote “21st Century Corporate Citizenship.” Stangis is a great choice for companies that care about sustainability and its ties to the environment.

3. Bill Wohl


Having headed communication teams at SAP, Hewlett-Packard, and United Rentals, Bill Wohl has a broad background in reputation management. Wohl has also worked as a press relations expert for the Delaware governor’s office, making him a great option for public organizations interested in reducing their reputation risks.

What areas of reputation management does Wohl specialize in? Message development, crisis communications, executive counsel, social media, and employee communications are all within his wheelhouse.

4. John Eltham



Few industries are more familiar with risk management than insurance. For nearly 22 years, John Eltham has served as head of commercial strategy and performance at Miller Insurance Services. As executive director at Aon, Eltham managed political risks like trade disruption and offshore energy development.

Based in London, Eltham is a smart choice for British and European firms worried about reputation management in the Brexit era. Having held senior roles at the Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers, as well as Lloyd’s, Eltham is especially knowledgeable about risks associated with banking and international trade.

5. Leslie Gaines-Ross

Leslie Gaines-Ross

As chief reputation strategist at one of the world’s leading PR firms, Weber Shandwick, Leslie Gaines-Ross is an expert in how CEOs should handle their first 100 days. Specializing in executive reputation repair, Gaines-Ross is a great choice for firms with new or embattled leaders.

One element of Gaines-Ross’ work that makes her a compelling speaker is her focus on research. At Weber Shandwick, she’s led initiatives around artificial intelligence, employee activism, employment branding, civility in America, and gender equality at the C-suite level. An increasingly hot area, corporate and CEO activism are also among her specialties.

6. Peter Horst


A multi-industry marketing executive who specializes in brand management, Peter Horst is the founder of CMO Inc. Horst authored “Marketing in the #FakeNews Era,” which lays out a set of rules for reaching audiences in tribalistic, distrustful, and activism-driven economic environments. Horst also serves as an advisor at Reputation Economy Advisors.

Having once worked as CMO at The Hershey Company, Horst is a smart pick for CPG and retail companies. He’s also served as CMO at TD Ameritrade and senior VP of brand marketing at Capital One, making him a knowledgeable speaker about finance-related reputation risks.

7. Mike Fernandez


A professor of strategic communication at Boston University, Mike Fernandez also serves as CEO of Spain-based reputation management consultancy LLYC’s U.S. arm. Prior to that, he created Pensar Strategies, a strategic communications firm that manages corporate and political reputation risks. His strengths lie in environmental sustainability, civic conflict, natural disaster response, national product recall, and labor relations.

Equally at home in corporate, political, and academic environments, Fernandez has held C-level roles at enterprises ranging from Cargill to State Farm to Cigna. He’s won a range of awards for his work, including the Pioneer Award, the Alexander Hamilton Award, and an induction into the PR Hall of Fame.

Don’t let your reputation get burned. From publicity and reputation monitoring to how to hire a company that can legitimately help you improve your individual or company reputation, the speakers on this list of risk reputation thought leaders can help you handle all types of risk reputation management challenges, tools, partners, and strategies.

Looking for a few top speakers for your next event? Here are a few other top speakers we have found on a wide range of topics that impact your business and strategy:

A few other guides to finding the best speakers include:



Updated June 2020

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Brad Anderson
Former editor

Brad is the former editor who oversaw contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase.

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