Managing a Crisis – Canine Influenza Hits Chicago

Canine influenzaAs any public relations professional will attest, a crisis can take many different forms. Virginia Mann has dealt with a variety of crisis, from product recalls to plant closures to changes in corporate leadership. In the spring of 2015, Virginia played a lead role in an especially challenging crisis, one that provides a useful roadmap for communication professionals dealing with a rapidly changing crisis and multiple audiences.

In Spring of 2015, veterinarians in Chicago began seeing a large number of coughing dogs. Initially, they believed they were dealing with an unusually large outbreak of a contagious, but fairly common dog illness called Kennel Cough. It quickly became apparent that something much more serious was at hand as large numbers of dogs became critically ill, requiring extensive medical attention or hospitalization. In a matter of a few short weeks, more than 2,000 dogs, primarily in downtown Chicago and on the near north-side, contracted what turned out to be a highly contagious form of Canine Influenza Virus never before seen in the Americas.

For about eight weeks, Virginia worked with primary care, emergency and specialty care veterinarians, veterinary pharmaceutical companies and universities to address the crisis.

On behalf of her many veterinary clients, Virginia and her team rapidly created and implemented comprehensive communications to alert veterinarians, pet owners, the media and the public about this dangerous illness. Virginia and her clients were responsible for much of the media coverage worldwide on this topic, from CNN to Huffington Post to U.S. News & World Report, and virtually every Chicago media outlet.

Join us to learn how Virginia and her team managed the rapidly changing crisis while engaging a variety of audiences on behalf of multiple clients effected by the situation. Her learnings can easily be used as a roadmap for those dealing with a crisis.

Virginia Mann
Virginia Mann

Virginia Mann is an award-winning corporate communications, public relations and public affairs professional who heads up her own boutique agency. Her experience includes extensive work with CEOs, boards of directors, the media, employees and the public.

Her broad experience includes in-depth work with blue-chip, Fortune 500 and industry-leading consumer products companies as diverse as Astellas Pharmaceuticals; Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center; Diversified Real Estate Capital; Lou Malnati’s Pizza; United Airlines; and West Loop Veterinary Care; among others.

In addition to her clients, Virginia is an adjunct instructor at Loyola University in Chicago, teaching public relations courses in the School of Communication. She is the Treasurer of the Chicago Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, and is a former board member of the International Association of Business Communicators.

She and her husband Gary Dupuis are the proud pet parents of Spencer, an American Kennel Club Champion Tibetan Terrier.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
6 pm Networking, 6:30 pm dinner
Uno’s Pizzeria & Pasta
1160 Plaza Dr, Schaumburg, IL 60173
Corner of Meacham & Golf Roads (Woodfield Mall)

$25 Members, $35 Non-Members, $20 Students
Ticket includes dinner and program


Uno's Pizzeria Schaumburg
Uno’s Pizzeria Schaumburg