Category Archives: crisis management

My Brand is CRISIS…

TODAY -- Pictured: Paula Deen appears on NBC News' "Today" show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

Crisis seems to be the word of the moment. Between the huge Number of people using this term to NOW describe their businesses and the new movie Called OUR Brand is Crisis, Seems to be a crisis manager is an “it thing?!”

I am a person who as a legal coach and Fixer wears many hats. A legal coach really is a life coach, which better describes that side of my business and brand. But ALL of my clients have or will be in crisis- hence the proper term for me -CRISIS MANAGER.

I recall when I began prison consulting there was one other guy kind of doing this and all of a sudden I received some press and the world was full of Prison consultants.!  A great concept but a nearly impossible way to earn a living without also providing help with many other things the client needs. From rehab to management, my clients need it all and are waiting for that one person who understands the hole they have dug for themselves and is looking for a way OUT.

They need a person who understands them and crisis. After all, change, which is really what we all need in some way, is hard to effect without many things falling into place. My work is all about change yet true change, real change means first you know that you need to change and that you want to. th

After all, there is usually a catastrophic event that leads to a person realizing they need to change. And I mean change in many if not every way. That may mean making a client relatable and humanizing them, as well as changing the people around them. All of it helps dig out of the crisis and leads to the goal of a happier, more successful life.

So yes, my brand is crises but that means so many things. Yet all with one goal- making one learn humility while loosing the entitlement and grandiosity that probably led them to the crisis they now are stuck in. Grandiose people are impossible to relate to, yet they think they are just like everybody else but often with more money. I assure you, money has noting to do with making a client likeable or humanizing them. It is more likely an ego check that needs to happen and fast.

You see a crisis does not last long nor does fame. A crisis becomes a new way of living just as fame become infamy.Neither is good and both are fixable. So, while my brand is crisis whether it is how the fans perceive a client after a divorce or a prison stint, it can be done. They main thing we all have in common- a need to never forget that everything is relative and humility is a MUST. Forget that and your will be calling me.As a crisis manager my goal is to protect you, not promote you like a publicist. I want you to distrust everybody and then take your power and influence back all while remaining human and kind and the best you can be. A tall task but doable.Just remember. There is a fine line between love and hate, and a fine line between perfection and overdoing it. Keep yourself protected and relatable and you will be surprised how different your work life and image will beCan I make anybody likeable???? I would say almost- Take out the obvious, serial killers and child molesters and the answer is YES. But they need to do the hard work to sustain the likability and make the changes stick. But I can humanize anybody or at least make them more relatable and understandable even if we do not want to relate to them for whatever reason. Just remember- change is possible with HARD work!

 

 

Wendy Feldman is a family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out while making the client relatable and human. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows such as Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment shows The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition. Wendy is featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, New York Post,Page Six, Los Angeles Times, The Wrap and many others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

Follow @Thewendyfeldman

 

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Filed under Brian williams, crisis, crisis management, Prison Consulting

The week of liars…Lance Armstrong and Brian Williams!!! YOU HAD TO BIG SHOTS…

Seems to be the American way- deny, deny, deny. In a week that has seen the scandals of two HUGE names- Lance Armstrong and TV Newsman Brian Williams- one has to wonder what makes people who seem to have it all- LIE.

But what I wonder is why is this a surprise? More interesting to be me as somebody who is a legal coach and crisis manager– why is this all so shocking???

The fact is that most people lie about something, sometime in their life. SO why are these two bringing out such outrage? To me the answer is simple. Something I work with everyday with people from all walks of life. It boils down to two things. The cover up and the MOTIVE.

Really most people do not set out to commit crimes, lie or deceive. This might sound strange, as many people I work with, including myself, have committed white-collar crimes. Shockingly even these are not really about greed usually, but about grandiosity, power orientation and often a small lie that builds. As they say- the cover up is worse than the crime.

Same is true with Lance Armstrong and Brian Williams. Yet I think the motives are very different. But the outcomes will be the same- FAMOUS becoming INFAMOUS. The question is will either see forgiveness and redemption?

I say with Brian Williams if he and NBC get a grip on the scandal fast the answer is YES. And with Lance Armstrong NO CHANCE- the nine lives are over with the lie about his stop for DUI and asking his girlfriend to well- LIE and say she was driving. That is the mark of a true Sociopath. But that is nothing new for Armstrong who seems to be addicted to lies, Scandals and bringing others down. Amazingly he has escaped prosecution up to NOW- unlike Barry Bonds who was convicted in the BALCO steroid scandal in major league Baseball.

In fact, Lance Armstrong is one of those who fits the word INCARCERVENTION– he is in need of one as the years of illegal activity, betrayal and lies are finally catching up with him. As anybody who has watched the documentary about Armstrong knows, he is one cocky and selfish dude. He even seems to have manipulated his work for cancer research to justify his illegal and immoral behavior.

For Brian Williams the lies about being shot down while covering wars, Katrina and more have escalated to a remarkable level. Why did he lie in the first place? Probably good stories that he never expected to repeat and once he did since it was a lie, the story changed! SURPRISE!!!! That is what happens with lies. For Williams the real issue is his apology. I must say the apology was a glimpse into the world I work in. A person with such an ego, so out of touch and so manipulative that he felt saying he had made “mistakes” was enough. AND Williams did this while on his TV throne during the nightly news. Hardly the place to apologize and lie

Why not go on the tonight show or Today and explain, say WOW I am sorry and move on? Again simple. Williams does not get it. He needs a humility check and fast. NBC is now in a tight spot. This is a crisis manager’s dream. But did NBC learn from Sony? Looks like it with the leave of absence Williams is now on.

Celebrities and Networks need to understand that social media and the audience is now part of the process. Information is readily available and people want and deserve answers. Just look at how Brian Williams is #TRENDING. So is Armstrong. This is 2015- WE are all running the studios and networks.

Like all the work I do, I try to look for the lesson and take away in order to help build awareness, educate and help people. Here it really is a lesson in humility and walking the walk. Do that and people will forgive you, move on and even let you DWTS!

NBC seems to understand this and I believe Brian Williams will as well. As for Lance Armstrong- he needs to do a lot of work and THERAPY- I would not bet on that and his days as a hero and more are over. Now he should focus on his children and try to save some part of his legacy. But that would mean putting others first- nah- doubt that will happen.

The moral of the story or this blog is look at Martha Stewart and others who have lived through scandals and even myself. Stand up, speak out and never forget you are lucky to have a second chance.

Wendy Feldman is a  family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also well known as a media manager and helps clients get their stories out. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment show The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, New York Post, The Wrap and various radio shows around the world. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under Barry Bonds, Brian williams, crisis management, forgiveness, incarcervention, Lance Armstrong

Teresa Giudice- The Countdown…

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Well, here we are days away from the surrender to Federal Prison of Teresa Giudice. I always told Teresa, as I tell many of my clients. The day of surrender will be a relief. An actual light at the end of the tunnel. A count down instead of an endless count and a road to nowhere. Yet that is a hard concept to grasp. She will wish she was on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here.” Who knows, she may even think that?!

There is much speculation about me, Teresa and the entire mess. Oh and of course the amazing interest in what prison is like and what awaits her and then Joe. First things first. I do not intend to discuss the details of our arrangement, but to those who think I have violated confidentiality I suggest looking at what I have actually discussed. All is my opinion or facts that are my own. The actual crimes are never something I discuss with any of my clients. The reason is my job is to guide people through situations, not judge or defend them.

I work with people from all walks of life and on matters of criminal, custody and civil issues. I also handle media for many people and myself. Yet Teresa and Joe presented a unique situation. A husband wife both charged in FEDERAL COURT with many different crimes and still on a hit television show. A bizarre mix of crime, punishment and pop culture. Or a perfect  storm. A chance to draw attention to our broken criminal justice system and how it really works. I think if anything that has happened. I tell my clients- commit a financial crime and you have relationship for life with the Feds. This is true. Yet we have Martha Stewart, Wolf of Wall Street, Steve Madden and myself who have all come out and better than before. BUT with very hard work and as open books.

The case was also a test of social media and the court of public opinion. The amount of misinformation that was out and is still out is astounding. Almost impossible to navigate. Take all of this and add in all of my other clients and it was as I say in my upcoming book “A Year That was Bananas”- oddly the year ended with a client of mine known as the Banana Queen. Perfect.

Our society is fixated on crime and punishment, but we forget the rehabilitation component. Prison is easy. Re Entry is difficult. You can’t just waltz out of prison and think all is well unless you are a sociopath and you walk in that way. I am asked daily if that is the situation with Teresa. The answer is I have no idea. I do not think so. But I do know that a lot went into the sentencing and the hearing. The speech she read that every observer in court saw me sitting next to her all day madly rewriting. That speech was in process for weeks. It was a “collaboration”. The words however needed to be felt and then lived up to. For example, “I will make this right… Only time will tell.

I do know that it is well documented why I left the matter yet a major piece I have yet to share and will not at this time. I will say it is NOT a violation of privacy to voice my opinion and there is of course no NDA that I signed. Things should have turned out differently. There should have been no letter to Judge Salas as designations happen naturally everyday and the request for halfway house and community service now looks like what I said it was- FOOLISH-

WHY? Because there has been no effort, not even a tiny one to do anything good for anybody. No community service. No acceptance of any responsibility, no I am sorry, no I will make “this” right. There has been nothing. Well, some photo opps and a lawsuit blaming a former lawyer where discovery alone will open a new can of worms. But nothing. This was a golden opportunity for Teresa to own her actions whatever they were and show people that you can comeback. You can rehabilitate and you can change you life.

There is forgiveness but only if you admit there have been actions that need to be forgiven. It is not easy. It is not fun. It is why I worked with Teresa. I pick and choose my clients very carefully and many are pro bono. I have received almost 600 emails about Teresa. Few positive about her. Yet on social media I am the one bashed daily. That is OK as the message is more important than the messenger.

The fact is that as a mother that first night in prison is like none other. Teresa will lie on the top bunk of a metal bed and it will start to sink in. Day one you pee in a cup in front of an officer, are strip searched and must cough and squat to make sure you have no contraband. Prison is the ultimate equalizer. You are known by your registration number and last name. The lights never turn off and you wear a uniform with steel toe boots. It is not a bad place and the people are more interesting than those on the outside, but close your eyes and if you have a SOLE you realize this is America- Land of The Free- and your choices have led to your incarceration- how pathetic. Land of the free! Not for 15 months…

So, back to daily life in prison, what mental state Teresa is in and when she will surrender (probably not January 5 at 2 pm)…That’s for another day. For now all I know is as I always say change is possible but it takes hard work and honesty.

 

Wendy Feldman is a  family legal coach, crisis manager and a well known expert on alternative sentencing. She is available for private consultation on how to navigate the many aspects of our legal system. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from Today, CBS Early Show, Nightline, Fox News ABC News, She is a regular on the CBS entertainment show The Insider and Entertainment Tonight and featured in the hit series on E! Secret Societies of Hollywood. She is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Slate, BBC, NPR, People, US, New York Post, The Wrap and various radio shows around the world. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com.

www.custodialcoaching.com

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Filed under Bravo, community service, crisis management, Federal Prison, Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teresa Giudice, Wendy Feldman

Are some people beyond help? AKA CONRAD MURRAY

 

Conrad Murray is getting lots of press lately. I am not sure why as the media is just fueling the fire of a very ill man who can not be rehabilitated. This should not come as news to people who know my work, as I very publicly spoke about FIRING  Murray on Geraldo two years ago. He is one of the few who is so mentally ill that there is no chance of rehabilitation. NONE.

I meet all kinds of people in my work and most can and are rehabilitated in some way. Yes, even Lindsay Lohan and Chris Brown. But Murray is a sociopath who has his own agenda. What is amazing is how certain people in media keep giving Connie another 15 minutes and many even still call him a doctor. That’s is insane.

As a legal coach and alternative sentencing expert, I try to make a difference. But, the sad truth is that some people are beyond and are untreatable and unchangeable. Murray is one of these people.

It may be shocking, but even people who have done violent crimes can change. They may not be able to leave prison, but they can change and even make a difference while behind bars. Murray did not learn anything inside except how to order commissary.

I prefer to focus on those who need me, appreciate learning from past choices and make a positive difference in the world. There are more than enough of these people to make the world a better place, and to make working in criminal justice worthwhile. Yes, thank you Perez Hilton for calling me the “queen of the criminal justice system.” That may not be true all the time, but more often than not when people get real and get honest it works!

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is the leading expert on Alternative Sentencing. She is also director of the Alternative Sentencing Program at Cliffside Malibu. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared in the media on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, BBC, CNN, NPR Slate, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Network and others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Conrad Murray, crisis management, Lindsay Lohan, prepare for jail

CHRIS BROWN- did he do it again???? NOPE

Once again Chris Brown has been arrested. Last year he was accused of stealing a woman’s cell phone, and this time he is accused and was CHARGED with felony assault for hitting a man in Washington DC. But did he?

Now late in the day, after a weekend in jail, the charge has already been reduced to a misdemeanor and the DC judge refused to order a standard drug test for Brown. The truth is celebrities like Brown have a target on their back.

Yes, Brown should no better to go anywhere near an area where a fight is likely to break out. The same is true for Lindsay Lohan who should stay far away from drugs and alcohol especially in public. As with all celebs, much of the problem is the people who are around them after the experts like myself leave.

Many celebrities I have worked with retain me or a sober coach to work with them long after their court case has been handled. These are the people who do the work and thus have a better chance of staying out of trouble and actually making positive changes.

There is no doubt that many celebs including Chris Brown and Lindsay Lohan have received amazing alternative sentences. Last week on an E! Network special, Secret Societies of Hollywood, I was called the person who helps KEEP clients out of jail long after their lawyer is gone. While I do my best and many treatment centers do as well, in the end it is up to the person to make proper choices. Sometimes people are just not ready to give up the press even if it is negative.

As for Brown, the truth is he will have another day in court, and the truth will come out about this latest incident, but for now imagine life with a target and how YOU would handle it. Clearly Brown needs a little more help staying on the right track no matter what. Many people do, but as I always say, change is possible if you work hard.

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is the leading expert on Alternative Sentencing. She is also director of the Alternative Sentencing Program at Cliffside Malibu. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared in the media on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, BBC, CNN, NPR Slate, Wall Street Journal, Discovery Network and others.  She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Chris Brown, community service, crisis management, incarcervention, prison consultant