An opportunity to learn, connect and grow – SEC Newgate at the PRWeek UK Crisis Communications Summit

July 6, 2023

About the Authors

Alessio Costa

Senior Account


Nicolas Delaval

Senior Consultant


Jarek Oleszczynski

Senior Communications Consultant


Simon Pioldi


On 27 June, SEC Newgate Group sponsored a crisis simulation panel at PRWeek UK’s Crisis Communications Summit in London. This also served as an opportunity for colleagues working in crisis practices across our European agencies to meet at SEC Newgate UK’s headquarters in London.

During PRWeek UK’s Crisis Communication Summit in London, SEC Newgate Group hosted a crisis simulation panel challenging participants to tackle a fast-paced international crisis scenario, triggered by the latest generative AI (GAI) technology. The session was coordinated and moderated by an expert team: Alistair Kellie, Dafydd Rees, Tom Flynn (SEC Newgate UK), and Sebastian Hejnowski (SEC Newgate CEE).

The event itself was an opportunity for some of our colleagues from the European agencies of the group to meet at SEC Newgate UK’s London office and exchange their countries’ best practices on crisis and reputation management and the latest trends. We asked them to share their thoughts:

Alessio Costa, Senior Account Executive at SEC Newgate Italy reported on the initiatives: “This past trip in the UK was an incredible opportunity that provided valuable insights and networking opportunities. Each part of it offered unique experiences and opportunities for learning.

We spent the first day at SEC Newgate UK’s office in London. Stepping into the vibrant workspace, I was immediately struck by the collaborative atmosphere and the dedication of the local team.I had the privilege of engaging in meaningful conversations not only with colleagues from various departments in the UK, but also from other European offices such as Belgium, Germany, France and Poland.

Our focus was on fine-tuning the AI simulation platform and exploring innovative approaches to simulate crisis situations and test the platform’s effectiveness by leveraging on our own expertise and insights.

We also shared case studies from across our agencies and had the opportunity to exchange ideas on crisis communication and perspectives on our ongoing projects (and share best practices too), promoting our ability to work cohesively as a global team across multiple industries and geographies. It has been an amazing chance to appreciate the collaborative spirit and dedication that permeates throughout SEC Newgate. The day was filled with productive discussions, fostering a sense of camaraderie and collective growth within our team. The synergy and teamwork I have felt reinforced my pride in being part of such a dynamic and forward-thinking company.

The second day was dedicated to the PRWeek Crisis Communications Summit. The day began with a hands-on session where we showcased the AI simulation platform for crisis communications and simulated a crisis scenario, moderated by colleagues from SEC Newgate UK and SEC Newgate CEE. The session provided a practical demonstration of our capabilities and sparked engaging conversations with fellow professionals

Jarek Oleszczynskis (Senior Communications Consultant, SEC Newgate EU) comments gave a glimpse as to why AI was at the core of our crisis simulation session:

“Crisis communication in the time of AI is becoming more complex. As much as AI can serve as a powerful tool, it can also play a part in damaging the reputation of companies, organisations, and individuals. Thanks to the AI-induced communication crisis simulation workshop I had the opportunity to understand how to tackle AI-induced communication crises and what to prepare for. Beware of deepfakes as they are getting harder to spot!”

Alessio Costa continues: “The rest of the summit further enriched my understanding of crisis communications and provided a platform for networking with industry leaders and professionals. The event featured insightful panel discussions and engaging presentations.

One particular session that left a lasting impression was a talk by Alexandra Govorukha, who shared her experience of managing crisis communications during the outbreak of war in Ukraine. It was inspiring to learn how her company navigated the challenges and strived to provide informative and constructive communication, even amidst bombings. Their ability to launch a hackathon and make a significant social impact in such circumstances was truly impressive.

Another impactful session was led by Rajan Lakhani, focusing on “building a health mindset across the team to support a resilient response during a crisis”. He provided valuable insight into recognising the signs of stress and burnout during a crisis as a professional. His practical tips and guidance underscored the importance of prioritising self-care and fostering a supportive environment while navigating challenging circumstances, in order to maintain resilience and composure. Something we often tend to underestimate, and which is essential to keep in mind when things go south.”

Simon Pioldi, Advisor at SEC Newgate Germany agrees on the importance of this learning experience: “The PR Week Crisis Communication Summit in London was for me, a valuable experience to learn about the latest trends in crisis and reputation management from experts in the field. As a recent newcomer to SEC Newgate, I was able to fully immerse myself in this topic, ever-growing in importance, and learned a great deal.

During the course of event, SEC Newgate Group ran a crisis simulation for the numerous experts that were in the attendance The simulation involved a deep-fake video that triggered a crisis on social media. This was a relevant and realistic scenario, given the increasing use of AI technology to manipulate videos. I was impressed by how the participants handled the situation and tried to contain the damage.

Apart from giving me an insightful glimpse into the world of crisis management, the summit was a perfect opportunity to meet colleagues from the UK and other European offices. Although the time together was short, I believe that it laid the foundations for a closer and stronger collaboration between SEC Newgate Offices from across Europe and the world.

One of the key takeaways from the event was that crises can also be opportunities, and that we need to use all available sources of information to effectively manage them. Data analysis is a crucial tool for responding quickly and appropriately to a crisis.”

A thought shared by Nicolas Delaval, Senior Consultant at CLAI SEC Newgate France:
“The development of video conferencing since the Covid pandemic had almost made me forget that nothing beats a good old-fashioned in-person meeting!  New ideas often arise from a clash of perspectives, the sharing of each person’s experiences, as well as observing what is being done elsewhere. In this regard, I was particularly well-served during these two days.

The discussions with my colleagues from other agencies within the group, whose expertise I now know better, as well as the numerous roundtable discussions I had the opportunity to attend, were very enriching and gave me numerous ideas that I intend to bring back to France. I would like to express my special thanks to our colleagues for organising this event and for arranging a captivating and lifelike crisis simulation, which led to stimulating exchanges with the audience that attended the Crisis Communication Summit.”

Alessio Costa agrees as well: “I am delighted to have represented Italy (fun-fact, and also to “bear the honour” of explaining the roots of the name SEC). This journey was an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience. It deepened my understanding of Crisis Communications and allowed me to connect with industry leaders. From collaborating with colleagues to fine-tuning our AI simulation platform and participating in the PRWeek event, that allowed us to engage with attendees directly, gather feedback and generate leads. The connections made with so many people from various backgrounds and the exposure received will undoubtedly contribute to the growth and success of SEC Newgate(plus, the positive response we received so far confirmed the importance of our work and has motivated us to continue pushing boundaries). I am sure that every aspect of this quick but intense journey contributed to my professional growth and I am grateful to have been part of such a dynamic and inspiring gathering. I look forward to leveraging these experiences to contribute to the continued success of our Group.”