"This morning's conference was great!  It was a wide range of participants on the panels and that was a great way to hear a wide view of options and ideas from the panelists!  Kevin Hancock gets my vote for most open, honest and helpful answers to questions. He was outstanding and his thoughts today were very heartfelt and honest.  Take away the layers of "facade" and discuss the truth of what it's like and how you face the issuers."
- Janet Cole Cross, Career Coach, Cole Cross Connections, LLC

How To's for Family Business: Part 1 of 3 - Crisis Communication- The Wolak Group Dunkin Case Study

  • March 19, 2019
  • 8:00 AM - 10:30 AM
  • Husson University, Southern Campus, 340 County Road, Westbrook, ME 04092 (Attend in person or remote in)


  • Must have hi-speed Internet access and a camera on your computer to connect and dial-in to the forum remotely.
  • Register one or more future members with guests.
  • Must have hi-speed Internet access and a camera on your computer to connect and dial-in to forum remotely.
  • Register one or more members for the event.

Registration is closed
How To’s for Family Business: Part 1 of 3 – Crisis Communication – The Wolak Group Dunkin Case Study
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. - Continental Breakfast & Registration
8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. - Program

You wake up, it feels like a normal morning. You get your coffee, walk over to your favorite spot by the window and take in a moment of peace before you start your day. You notice your phone buzzing on the table where you left it the night before, 53 notifications fill your screen, coming in as early as 2:30 a.m. Your moment of peace is now filled with panic and worry as you quickly scan the emails, texts, and voicemail messages. Your business has been involved in a crisis. How will you respond?

Seem frightening? It should. A crisis can happen to anyone and at any moment. Do you currently have the tools to put a plan in place to deal with crisis communication? How you react to a crisis will make all the difference in the outcome and will greatly affect your business going forward, good or bad. 

As the first installment in a three-part series on how to's for family business, this workshop will kick off the 2019 season with a program that will address how to handle a crisis. This will involve installing critical communication steps to ensure that all employees, and company representatives, are cohesively proactive in resolving an issue that arises unexpectantly. 

During this event, we will dive into a real-life example from The Wolak Group Dunkin Case Study, giving insight into a public relations nightmare and how The Wolak Group handled the issue to prove that one unfortunate event does not define the heart of an organization. Kim Wolak, Chief Operating Officer & Franchise Owner, of The Wolak Grouplived this nightmare for weeks as this became her reality after one of her employees dumped a pitcher of water on a homeless person who had fallen asleep at one of her Dunkin locations in Syracuse, New York. This exchange was recorded and posted on social media, receiving over 1 billion online impressions and gained attention nationally as local activist took a stance to protest against and boycott this Dunkin location. 

Attendees will first dive into the case study by reviewing the footage and material, working together to create the first steps towards reacting, responding, and relating to the issue in order to control the brand image going forward. They will then hear from a panel consisting of Linda Varrell, President of Broadreach Public Relations, who will give her perspective on best practices, power phrases, and the correct approach when it comes to your words and actions during a crisis; Peter Lowe, Partner at the law firm Brann & Isaacson,  who will touch on key legal points to consider; and Kim Wolak who will be there to further examine and give input on her own crisis experience. 

Join the program and learn how-to put together a crisis communication plan for your business. Go to sleep at night knowing that if a crisis comes your way, you, your business, and your employees will be prepared. 

Our panelists include the following:

Kim Wolak – Chief Operating Officer & Franchise Owner, The Wolak Group
As Ed Wolak's daughter, Kim grew up in the Dunkin' Donuts business and became a franchise owner in 2000. She specializes in brand development, operations management, and direct-to-consumer marketing and sales. Prior to rejoining The Wolak Group in 2010, Ms. Wolak managed specialty optic filter sales and rentals in the film industry in Los Angeles before honing her skills in brand development and direct sales management in the wine industry in Napa and Malibu, CA. Kim reports directly to the CEO of The Wolak Group. She serves as a board member for the Institute for Family-Owned Business and Vice Chair for the Maine Franchise Owner District Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Maine DMA (Designated Marketing Area) Ad Committee, and is an elected member of the Dunkin’ Brands People Systems Subcommittee. 

Linda Varrell– President, Broadreach Public Relations
Nationally accredited in public relations, Linda Varrell founded Broadreach Public Relations in 2006 as a way to help businesses and organizations raise their profiles. A 25-year veteran of the financial services industry, Linda has a track record of initiating and leading high-impact growth and improvement strategies for diverse organizations and has demonstrated her expertise in strategic planning, brand development, media relations, community and employee relations, crisis communication and project management. Linda holds a master’s of science in organizational leadership and often speaks at c-level events. She is active in the community and serves as the Chair of USM Corporate Partners and President of the Maine Public Relations Council and is on the board of the Maine Press Association. She recently started a new company, WordLab, a nationally-recognized apprenticeship program providing communication and PR services to small businesses and nonprofits.  

Peter Lowe – Partner, Brann & Isaacson
Peter Lowe is a partner at Brann & Isaacson, where for over 25 years he has represented employers.  Peter advises big employers such as L.L.Bean, as well as a host of mid-size and small businesses, towns, school departments and nonprofits.  Much of Peter’s practice focuses on counselling clients when they face a tricky personnel decision. He also conducts independent investigations of high-profile matters such as harassment cases.  Peter edits the Maine Employment Law letter, frequently presents on Employment law topics, and trains HR professionals. Since 2013 he has been recognized by Best Lawyers for representing employers.

For more information contact: catherine@fambusiness.org 

Remote access is available to dial in.  You must have hi-speed Internet access and a camera on your computer to connect and dial-in to the forum remotely. If you are dialing in to the workshop you must pre-register so we can send you the remote instructions.

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