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Essential Leadership Tips for Crisis Communication

GUEST: Julien Leys, crisis management specialist

Julien Leys, crisis management specialist, joins HMC director Heather Claycomb and HMC senior account manager Kate Webber on this information-rich episode.

These three senior PR advisors talk through several of the crises they've managed during their careers and provide essential crisis communications tips for any leader who is managing a crisis.

You'll walk away from this episode with a deeper understanding of the difference between a crisis and and issue. We talk through how to prepare for your next crisis and your next issue.

And we give tips for maintaining trust through a crisis and using these tough times as an opportunity to build relationships with staff, stakeholders and your community.

Julien Leys


Julien has over 23 years’ communications experience working in both the private / public sectors as well as a political advisor and communications specialist with the first MMP Government.

Julien is a specialist in crisis and issues management, media relations, and government relations.  He has extensive experience in assisting major clients with complex issues as well as successfully managing crises across the pharmaceutical, transport, public utility, labour hire, technology and food / hospitality sectors.

​Julien established Pendulum Strategies as a specialist communications consultancy with interesting clients from an innovative energy company, a Pacific Island Government, a major transport business, a charitable trust working to empower youth, to leading membership organisations in the building and construction sector.

​One of Julien’s roles is to advocate for the building and construction sector as the CEO of the Building Industry Federation.

Heather Claycomb


Heather Claycomb founded HMC in May 2004 driven by her passion to tell a great story and support Waikato businesses in making a difference.  In 2019, her business evolved into a social enterprise which now donates its profits to her family charity, All Good Ventures.

Passionate about the PR industry, Heather has been involved in the PR Institute of NZ (PRINZ) in a regional leadership and governance capacity since 2013.  She was elected to the position of Board Chair in May 2022.

Heather leads the team to help clients with crisis and issues management and has developed PR strategies and crisis response related to a wide range of subjects.

When she's not at work or volunteering, she's at her bach in the Coromandel, on the tennis court or golf course.  

Kate Webber


Kate joined HMC Communications in June 2019 bringing with her more than 22 years public relations experience.

Kate has worked in both agency and in-house communications roles giving her a breadth of knowledge and experience across sectors such as tertiary education, FMCG, local government, transport, apiary, energy, fashion, aviation, medical research, immigration and agriculture.

Kate’s key strengths include strategic communications planning, copywriting, leadership and team management, internal communications, event management and fundraising, stakeholder relations, and project management.