Whether it’s writing, speaking, or developing and executing campaigns, Chris works to communicate in a manner that’s different, fresh and unexpected--one that evokes emotion and connects with key audiences. For more than 25 years, he has worked with clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to professional sports teams, managed more than 300 issues and crises, and contributed to several books before writing his own. He also has delivered hundreds of speeches to audiences around the United States and abroad.
Chris is best known for his work as the family publicist during Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping and rescue, the trial and sentencing of her abductor and in helping position Elizabeth as one of the leading child advocates in the United States. Each year, he continues to consult with several families in high-profile crises.
Chris is president of Intrepid, a boutique communications consultancy. He helped grow Intrepid from a small start-up in 2001 to one of the most successful in Utah today. Under Chris’s guidance, Intrepid has gained a national reputation for its crisis and issues management work. The firm also provides public relations and marketing services to clients in a diversity of industries.
During his first year at Intrepid, Chris found himself working on one of the highest profile cases in the world, the Kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. Over the nine-and-a-half months she was missing, he fielded more than 10,000 calls from journalists, helped lobby for passage of the national Amber Alert, and managed the crush of media after Elizabeth was rescued. Later, he planned and executed Elizabeth’s surprise wedding in Hawaii and helped with the announcements surrounding the birth of her children and divorce of her parents. He still closely advises Elizabeth today. The experience working with the Smart family led to many other opportunities in crisis and issues management.
Writing is one of Chris’s strong suits and is something that he’s always been passionate about. He is the author of the recently released book, Unexpected: The Backstory of Finding Elizabeth Smart and Growing up in the Culture of an American Religion, published by Post Hill Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster. He also has contributed to three other books, Strategic Communications Planning for Public Relations and Marketing, The Crisis Management Guidebook, and Behind the Drive: 99 Inspiring Stories from the Life of an American Entrepreneur.
Chris has experience speaking to hundreds of audiences around the country and in Puerto Rico, Hong Kong and Brussels. Following Elizabeth’s rescue, Chris went on an eight-city speaking tour. Since that time, he has spoken to groups of CEOs, attorneys, engineers, business and communication executives as well as to students. He also has taught master’s level classes in crisis communication at his alma mater, Westminster College.
Chris has received several awards and honors including being named one of the nation’s top crisis communicators by PBI Media, awarded seven Silver Anvils, the most prestigious PR industry honor, recognized as Utah’s Professional Communicator of the Year, and is a recipient of the National Guard’s Minute Man Award. Under his leadership, Intrepid has been named Utah’s best public relations firm 16 times, including the past 13 years straight.
Chris has many strengths and skills that have afforded him numerous unique experiences. Communications is a lifelong learner's paradise which has allowed Chris to meet many fascinating people throughout his journey. He learned at a young age the value of service and the notion that “working for Cokes” was enough when valuable learning opportunities presented themselves. Fortunately for Chris, he had enough experience and a good foundation to help navigate the Smart family through the biggest challenge of their lives. Books have been written about people in the communications field who have, suddenly, found themselves in a role that is bigger than communications. And that’s where Chris found himself in the Elizabeth Smart case and in other life-changing experiences. He feels fortunate to be able to share his experiences through his talents and expertise.
Outside of communications, Chris and his wife Laura enjoy spending time together with their four children. They enjoy traveling, skiing, reading and attending concerts, arts and sporting events.