April 10, 2020
Community Newsletter
Balancing Hope and Truth: Talking about Remote Tools and Crisis Communications with CAC Board Member Jacqueline Strayer
Rene Bouchard: First, tell me a little bit about your own transitions since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Jacqueline Strayer: Since, like many other people, I am doing my work remotely, mostly through Zoom technology but also through conference calls and other online formats. I was fortunate to have used technology before as I have been in a global job my whole career so the use of technology to communicate and meet is something I have always used. It is now forced on most people. Though I will say teaching remotely is something that I have not done before and while I have taken many classes in my doctoral studies online I have never taught online before.

RB: How did your own experience transitioning from teaching and meeting in person to teaching and meeting remotely inform you about what needs there might be in the larger community about remote communications?

JS: There is a formality with using technology that you don’t have in person. I think we need to find ways to be real in spite of it and use our personalities and capabilities to come through that way. Also, I have found the ability to articulate thoughts and ideas becomes that much more important, because despite the visual/video element, people focus more on what is said. Early on in this pandemic when meetings and teaching became remote, I wrote several articles on my experiences in the hopes it would help other people.

RB: Some of your articles have gone viral. Have you received any feedback that you found surprising?

JS: Ha, well I am not sure they have gone viral, but they did get shared a lot and people found them useful. I think the more we can engage and support each other the better, especially now. I was surprised how helpful my articles were for other faculty members in different parts of the world that helped them engage in a remote teaching/learning environment. It is an opportunity to help others cross-culturally, which has been a gratifying thing to discover.

RB: What’s something new you’ve learned about being effective with remote communications tools?

JS: We use Zoom to teach and meet. I like using the breakout function it offers in my classroom, as I do a lot of breakouts in my in-person classes so students can discuss and engage with each other. I have found some of the best learning comes from breakout sessions. The other day we had a lesson in storytelling and each student had to construct a story. They told each other their stories in a Zoom breakout which automatically breaks them into teams where they can only hear what each other is saying. Then they come back to the larger class, at a defined time, and they share what they learned and discovered from each other. Interestingly, what I have found is, remotely there are some students who may have been less inclined to share in the face-to-face environment that are now sharing. Really wonderful!

RB: A lot of your initial contributions during this time have been about remote communications, but as this situation has escalated, there has been a greater need for crisis communication. As a Board Member for the Cinema Arts Centre, you have helped guide us in our communications during this emergency. In our discussions, you have talked a lot about the idea of balancing hope and truth. Can you talk more about that?

JS: I have spent my career as a PR and marketing professional addressing global crisis. And I have many hard-won lessons as a result. I have been fortunate to work in large complex global organizations and have traveled the world and addressed crisis on nearly every continent. One of the things people need to keep in front of them as they communicate to their organizations and the stakeholders they care about is always telling the truth. And they need to communicate in plain simple language that all can understand. But at the same time they are conveying truth, they need to be giving people a reason to believe in the future and a reason to be hopeful about that future. Leaders have a very important, pivotal role right now. They have to find credible and meaningful ways to connect with their organizational members to show, regardless of the size and complexity of those organizations, that we will emerge, we will get through this and that life will begin again.
RB: What are common things that are overlooked in crisis communication?

JS: Communications is the foundation of crisis response. I teach crisis at the graduate level and give my students the rudiments of what that is. Lanny Davis' book, “Truth to Tell: Tell it Early, Tell it All and Tell it Yourself” are good words to live by in a crisis. But some things that you would think would not occur do, such as misrepresentations or just flat out lying, shooting the messenger, or even avoiding response altogether. The most important element in crisis is to be transparent. And always always always lead with empathy. Sometimes in the zeal to get information out we neglect those who have been most affected.

RB: I understand that you have been invited to be one of the eleven distinguished speakers at the World Communication Forum, Davos Online Communication Summit, Crisis in the Societies, Crisis in the Industry, to be held on Zoom. How did this come about? Who is the intended audience for the summit? And, who else might find this summit to be valuable?

JS: I am a strong advocate for building relationships and networks and this is an example of that. Early on in my teaching career, I met with a contingent of scholars from around the world when they were in NYC. One of the individuals was a consultant in India and we have been in touch ever since. He came to me a couple of weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in participating. He has read my articles over the years and thought my insights would be helpful to others. This forum is open to anyone who is interested in crisis response. These are PR leaders and practitioners from around the world. It is an honor to be among such a distinguished group of professionals from throughout the world.

RB: What are you doing to prepare for the summit?

JS: Drawing on what I know. Teaching has really helped me organize how I talk about key points on any subject, especially this one. And I have my stories that perhaps are what I can really offer that provide much more than just concepts. I use that in the classroom with my students, I use that in my writing, with clients and with this. It is what gives someone credibility and character. But also importantly, with this crisis in particular I have become much more reflective and philosophical regarding what is important and what matters and how I can use what I have learned to help others.

RB: What do you hope people will take away from the summit?

JS: I hope they will come away with a more global view of how this pandemic is affecting different parts of the world and also realize we are all in this together – and that the fundamentals of good communication are the same wherever you are in the world. And that we always have to treat people with respect in how we communicate and address their concerns, with compassion and humility.

RB: The world looks very different right now than it did a few weeks ago, and it is going to look different still in the weeks and months to come. What opportunities do you think are inherent in a crisis like this? What can we do to help make sure we come out stronger?

JS: I wish I had a crystal ball and could make some prediction. I have read many from people much smarter than I am on this very subject. We will be different. I believe this is a generation-defining moment, different from anything we have been through. I am hopeful the divisiveness we have seen in politics will dissolve. It serves no one and has become a deterrent to crisis response right now. If this kind of divisiveness can be decreased or hopefully eliminated, that will help with our ultimate healing. The Chinese character for crisis has two sides. One is danger and the other is opportunity. We know about danger and we are feeling and living it right now…but the opportunity is what we need to focus on. Crisis is a time when leaders are built or destroyed, brands, companies, and so forth. It is in how they respond and the humility with how that response is shared. This is not a time to be doing things that are seen as self-serving, they need to be seen as humanitarian. And each of us has an obligation to help one another as global citizens. Everyone can do something to help one another. It doesn't have to be big. In fact, small kindnesses are more important than ever.

RB: Lastly, I want to talk about something very fun that launched this week. In addition to providing guidance to the Cinema in crisis planning and communications, you are also making a programmatic contribution with fellow Board Member Martin Butera. Tell us a little about how Forks & Films came about.

JS: Well, in the early part of this pandemic I was sitting on my couch in my family room and I texted Martin, whom I have deep respect for, and I suggested we do something like this and we went back and forth in a collaborative way remotely and we ultimately came up with the series. Given the CAC is running on such a small staff right now, I suggested that my NYU grad marketing and PR students might be interested in helping. To that end, I sent out a note to a couple of my classes and the response was immediate. We have a team of seven NYU grad students who have developed the communications, marketing, social media, and are editing the episodes. And they even named it! “Forks & Films”. It is a simple concept to engage our community and beyond to watch a family-friendly film they can download or stream, and each of our corresponding episodes Martin teaches them how to make something in the film, nothing complicated or fancy but something they can have fun doing. And I talk about the film, have fun facts and info and also share and highlight their social media posts and we will have giveaways to keep everyone amused. It is free to everyone. It has been a positive distraction for all of us! I am happy to be able contribute, and as mentioned in our opening episode (Sunny with a chance of meatballs), we are not professional television personalities (as you will see!!!), we don’t have a studio, fancy equipment or professional hair or makeup artists. But what we do have is a love of film, family, food and our community, which we hope to share!

Jacqueline Strayer is a communication and marketing thought leader, consultant, and member of the Cinema Arts Centre’s Board of Directors. She served as an elected officer of three global publicly traded Fortune 500 companies overseeing marketing and communications. She is a faculty member in graduate and executive programs at New York University and Columbia University.
Join Our TIGERTAIL Watch Party
Tune in and join the CAC in a group live-stream of TIGERTAIL using Netflix Party. Details below! Please note that this requires a Netflix subscription.

The directorial debut of Alan Yang, the co-creator of Master of None, Little America, and former writer on Parks and Rec, TIGERTAIL channels the lush nostalgia of Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love , with the sincere heart of Lulu Wang’s The Farewell . Also staring Tzi Ma (The Farewell, Arrival, Rush Hour), Christine Ko (Hawaii Five-0, Dave), and the emotive Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Twin Peaks).

In this poignant multi-generational drama, Pin-Jui is a free-spirited yet impoverished young Taiwanese factory worker, who makes the difficult decision to leave his homeland – and the woman he loves – behind in order to seek better opportunities in America. But years of monotonous work and an arranged marriage devoid of love or compassion leave an older Pin-Jui (Tzi Ma) a shadow of his former self. Unable to sympathize with his daughter Angela and at risk of living out his retirement in solitude, Pin-Jui must reconnect with his past in order to finally build the life he once dreamed of having.

In an unprecedented time for Asians and Asian Americans where COVID-19 is misnomered “Chinese Virus,” amid an uptick in xenophobia and hate crime, Asian and Asian-American stories need to be told, and their voices heard.

– Download and install Google Chrome browser at  Google.com/Chrome
– Download and install Netflix Party chrome extension at  NetflixParty.com
– Log on to  Netflix.com  and bookmark Tigertail
– Then join the party on Saturday, at 6pm to watch and discuss the film at this link: https://www.netflix.com/watch/80202958?npSessionId=623ed481902da2ba&npServerId=s140
(Click the NP extension after clicking the link.)
**If there is irreconcilable technical difficulty with Netflix Party, please proceed to stream it independently at 6 PM, and check our Facebook at 7:30 PM for a Facebook Live post-film conversation!
Making Memories with Music is Back
Making Memories With Music is back! Now with fully digital performances - FREE of charge! Watch Steve Cassano perform a special virtual concert just or us! Making Memories Through The Arts is a special program designed to engage people living with dementia and their care partners with cultural arts in the community. Native New Yorker Steve Cassano has been bringing audiences to their feet for over 40 years. His repertoire includes everything from the 40s to the 80s, as well as classic rock, today’s top hits and dance music.
Our friends over at Vauxhall have been doing their part to help feed the staff over at Huntington Hospital in this chaotic and frightening time for medical professionals. Vauxhall has been making food donations to help keep the hospital staff going strong. Seeing local businesses step up to help our community is an uplifting sight, and one we love to celebrate!

It’s not a surprise to see the folks at Vauxhall being good neighbors, though – they’ve been great supporters of the Cinema in the past, donating food to help our fundraising events. It’s great to have such generous friends in our local businesses. If you’re looking to support local businesses by ordering food, please consider Vauxhall – they’ve got great craft burgers available, and are offering curbside pickup for your safety.

And if you’re looking for a full list of restaurants that support the Cinema, check out our list of Cinema Star Restaurants! These dining establishments have helped make Cinema Arts Centre programs possible, and we would love it if you would show your appreciation by giving them your business.
COVID-19 Resources
 The Cinema Arts Centre is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. The mission of the Cinema Arts Centre is to bring the best in cinematic artistry to Long Island, and use the power of film to expand the awareness and consciousness of our community.
Special Thanks to Our Community Newsletter Sponsor:
Thanks to Our April Program Sponsors:
Thanks to Stuart and Ginger Polisner for their ongoing support of our Real-to-Reel and Creativity Series.

Thanks to Lynn & Jonah Kaufman for their ongoing support of our Making Memories Programs.

When you visit a business that supports the cinema, please let them know how much it means to you.
Major Grant Support
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