CAPIO ADVANCED TRACK: Advanced Strategies for Communicating During a Crisis
Power Lunch Webinar


As a senior communication practitioner, you play a different role in managing a crisis at your agency. You are required to call upon not only your ability to develop and execute a successful communications strategy, but also serve as a trusted advisor to your executive team during tough situations.

Scott Summerfield and Sheri Benninghoven, APR, principals of SAE Communications, will share first-hand experience and lessons learned on how to navigate crisis management. In addition, the City of Vacaville’s Fire Chief and Interim PIO Kris Concepcion will present a recent case study on an advanced crisis management strategy.

Key Topics Covered During This Webinar:

  • What you need to know to advise executives on proactive crisis response and strategy
  • How to create tailored communications strategies and messages for every crisis
  • How to scan for and identify signals that a crisis is brewing
  • Why reputation management is important to build and maintain credibility
  • How to manage prolonged crises
  • How to lead and maintain staff morale during difficult situations
  • What techniques and tools are required to implement successful crisis outreach efforts
  • What are the latest crisis communications tools and trends
  • How to manage post-crisis communications

CAPIO’s Advanced Track courses are offered to members with more than five years of experience in communications (or related field) and/or to CAPIO members who have completed CAPIO’s Certificate in Communications.


Recorded: Wednesday, October 13

Cost: CAPIO Member $20. (Member-only training)


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Scott Summerfield

Sheri Benninghoven


Scott Summerfield is an expert in strategic communications counsel with over three decades of award-winning public information/public participation experience, along with tenures at several organizations focused on community issues. Scott specializes in assisting public agencies with their media and presentation training programs and strategic counsel.

Scott is the former Public Information Officer for the City of Newark and also served as project manager for the largest grant program in League of California Cities history, supervising a team of nine communications consultants throughout the state who worked with local communities to implement public education and public participation projects.  

Scott also served as Director of Communications for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. The Oakland native is a graduate of San Diego State University in Telecommunications/Film. He is a past president of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) and recipient of their lifetime achievement award; a Dean of Instruction at the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI), grants chair of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame; a former executive board member of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA); a board member of the Bay Area Cable Excellence Awards; and a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication and San Jose State University.

Sheri Benninghoven, APR, is the former Communications Director of the League of California Cities and one of California’s most experienced public relations professionals in helping corporations and public agencies develop strategic public relations programs. As one of two principals of SAE Communications, she serves of counsel to the firm’s public agency clients. Areas of expertise include writing public agency communications plans, writing National Incident Management System (NIMS)-compliant crisis communications plans, counseling agencies when crisis strikes (from mass casualty incidents to “crises of confidence”), teaching key message development and delivery, and executive coaching.

Sheri is a former member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles and a former Vice President/Group Manager and Global Account Director for Ketchum Public Relations.

She served as Public Information Officer for the City of Anaheim; is a past president of the California Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, from which she’s accredited; a member of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) and a recipient of their lifetime achievement award; is a founder/past board member of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA); and is a founder/instructor at the California Specialized Training Institute’s (CSTI) crisis communications program.

A graduate of California State University, Fullerton in Communications and Public Relations – and recipient of their alumni professional achievement award — she also graduated from the Public Sector Marketing program from Public Technology, Incorporated (PTI) in Washington, DC.

Kris Concepcion was appointed as the City of Vacaville’s Fire Chief on October 1, 2015. He oversees a department with five stations and a staff of 100. The Vacaville Fire Department serves a population of 100,000 and responds to over 11,000 incidents a year.

Prior to coming to Vacaville, Chief Concepcion spent nearly 25 years with the Orange County Fire Authority – coming up through the ranks beginning as a firefighter in 1991, he held various assignments and was a Division Chief when he left the OCFA for Vacaville.

In addition to his duties as the fire chief, Kris has been filling in as the City of Vacaville’s interim public information officer since May, 2020. He has helped Vacaville with strategic communications with the pandemic and police department issues.

Chief Concepcion earned a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University. He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program.