Boston Marathon Bombing: What have we learned?

Closing Session: Wednesday, 17 June 2015, 10 – 11 am

In April 2013, two explosions rocked the world famous Boston Marathon, in turn rocking the city and the nation. The crisis threw Boston-area communicators into the middle of events in ways they would have found hard to imagine.

What have we learned? What happens when organizations are faced with not only the unexpected, but the unimaginable? How can we prepare to cope with unforeseen events?

Three communicators who were close to this tragedy will be part of IABC’s World Conference closing panel. They’ll help find answers to these questions as they share their perspectives on the crisis and their roles in it. The panel will include a freelance communicator who was in the stands when the first of two bombs exploded directly in front of her; the communication director of one of the six major medical centers that were called upon to treat the hundreds of bombing casualties; and a police officer in the media relations office of the police department most immediately involved in responding to the bombing and the manhunt for the perpetrators.

Attendees at this session will come away from the panel discussion with a greater appreciation for the role communicators can play in helping their own organizations and the public plan for and respond to major crises, learn lessons they can apply to their own organizations, and be inspired by the commendable actions and responses of their fellow communicators when the unimaginable happens.


Larry C. KerpelmanLarry C. Kerpelman, Ph.D. /  Acton, Massachusetts is an award-winning health care writer, editor and communicator whose career has included research, teaching and consulting in human behavior and public policy. For three decades he worked for a major public policy consultancy, Abt Associates, retiring as vice president and director of corporate communications. He founded Kerpelman Communications to help organizations communicate clearly, convincingly and strategically.


Manya ChylinskiManya Chylinski / Boston, Massachusetts is a content marketing consultant and writer helping B2B companies create compelling content and share thought leadership and success stories. Founder of Alley424 Communications, Manya loves telling stories and has worked in a variety of industries, including technology, higher education, financial services, government and business consulting. Manya was in the Boston Marathon finish line stands when the first bomb exploded directly in front of her.


Brooke Tyson HynesBrooke Tyson Hynes / Boston, Massachusetts is a communication professional with 20 years experience in public relations and marketing and crisis communication. She is currently vice president of public affairs and communications at Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children in Boston. When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, Tufts Medical Center cared for many victims. Hynes directed the hospital’s crisis response.

Neva Coakley-GriceNeva Coakley-Grice / Boston, Massachusetts A Boston police officer for 20 years, Neva Coakley-Grice has initiated various collaborative programs involving young people and the community. In the Boston Police Department’s Office of Media Relations, she fosters the department’s mission of community policing through social media and public information sharing. Her youth enrichment and violence prevention efforts were featured in the PBS documentary A Girl’s Life, and she has hosted the cable talk show Call the Cops.


Learn from the people who were there. Register now.