With our country in a period of political polarization not seen perhaps since the years of the Vietnam War, the utterances of a senior executive as well as his/her participation on a politically sensitive advisory board or other activity, which may formerly have been fairly innocuous, can take on an outsized importance and have potentially serious consequences for a company’s brand, relationships with customers, vendors and employees, and its enterprise value. In addition, the erstwhile noncontroversial policies of a company about how to conduct its business may touch upon “litmus test” issues that can be political landmines.
How can boards deal proactively with these sensitive issues, and what principles should guide them? How do company codes of ethics, whistleblower hotlines, and other tools of management and governance relate to these issues? Join our panel of experts as we explore an extremely topical – and complicated! – issue.
Richard Levick, Esq. is Chairman & CEO of LEVICK, representing countries and companies in the highest-stakes global communications matters – from the Wall Street crisis and the Gulf oil spill to Guantanamo Bay and the Catholic Church. LEVICK is the communications firm of choice for international companies with critical Western-facing communications and public affairs needs.
Mr. Levick was honored multiple times on the prestigious list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the Boardroom" and has been named to multiple professional Halls of Fame for lifetime achievement.
He is the co-author of four books including The Communicators: Leadership in the Age of Crisis and is a regular commentator on television and print.
Amy Binder is CEO of the New York City-based RF|Binder. For close to 30 years, Amy has been committed to bringing new and innovative thinking to the public relations field. Since founding RF|Binder in 2001, Amy has focused on working with major corporations, brands, government organizations, and institutions on corporate reputation and brand marketing assignments.
Previously she was President of the Americas for the Ruder Finn Group where she, along with her father David Finn and her siblings, built the company into one of the largest independent public relations agencies in the world. In addition to overseeing the business direction and growth of the agency, Amy is focused on ensuring that every client receives consistent, high-quality service and has continual access to the agency’s best creative and strategic thinking.
Amy believes that applying effective, results-driven processes across the firm, encouraging research-based strategic counsel and creating a symbiotic approach across communication channels, are key to developing integrated communications campaigns that will deliver results in the changing media environment that we live in today. Amy has worked across industries including food and beverage, financial services, lifestyle, luxury products and services, and education.
Amy has worked with some of the largest Global and U.S. based companies including Ameriprise Financial, Bank of America, Capital One, Cargill, Citi-bank, Dunkin’ Brands, The Hershey Company, Johnson & Johnson, McGraw-Hill Education, Staples, Stride Rite and Tupperware Brands, developing a breadth of communications initiatives ranging from CEO positioning, corporate reputation, corporate social responsibility and thought leadership to marketing communication and digital, and social marketing to crisis communication & issues management. Most recently, Amy has become involved with the issue of social impact and how it impacts a diversity of corporate stakeholders including investors. She has worked closely with SASB, Pax World, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Opportunity Finance Network, among others.
Amy is on the board of the Institute for Public Relations. She also serves on the Media Advisory Committee for Brown University and serves on the Advisory Board of the Family Business Institute at Columbia Business School. She received her A.B. with Honors from Brown University and M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business, Columbia University.
Ellen focuses her practice on assisting public companies, private companies, startups and emerging companies, and large nonprofits with the unique challenges they face. For more than 25 years, she has counseled executives, directors, corporate boards of directors, entrepreneurs, and businesses in a wide variety of industries and stages of development.
Ellen has substantial experience in corporate governance, and advises public and private companies and nonprofit corporations on issues such as board and committee structure, governance processes, codes of business ethics, and corporate compliance. She has significant experience with cyber-related issues and counsels corporations and boards of directors in managing the risks associated with cybersecurity concerns.
She also advises public companies regarding Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and NASDAQ Stock Market disclosure and compliance issues, public company equity issuances, private offerings, and corporate transactions. In addition, she is knowledgeable about equity-based crowdfunding and new capital raising techniques under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.
Ellen devotes a significant portion of her practice to working with emerging companies, assisting them with issues at every stage of development, from formation to financing (including private offerings from seed stage through venture capital), to strategy and growth. Her emerging company clients operate primarily in the Mid-Atlantic region, and include health care and technology companies. She also
represents companies participating in programs with the firm’s strategic partner, Dreamit, which Forbes magazine has named one of the top 10 business accelerators.
Ellen is a member of the firm’s Corporate Law Practice Group and the Privacy, Data & Cybersecurity Industry Team, and is involved in the firm’s emerging company and cannabis initiatives. Before joining Cozen O’Connor, she served as corporate counsel at Safeguard Scientific, Inc., where she was responsible for SEC public company reporting, NYSE-listed company compliance, corporate governance, board functionality, and corporate contracts.
She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received her undergraduate degree from Allegheny College. She is a member of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Business Law Section Committee on Corporate Governance, co-chair of the ABA Corporate Governance Corporate Counsel Sub-committee, and a co-editor of CGC In Sight, the quarterly publication of the ABA
Corporate Governance Committee regarding current topics in corporate governance. Ellen frequently speaks and writes on corporate governance and emerging company topics. She is admitted to active practice in Pennsylvania and Virginia.