Helio Fred Garcia

Adjunct Associate Professor of Professional Development and Leadership at Columbia Engineering

Biography

For 40 years Helio Fred Garcia has helped leaders build trust, inspire loyalty, and lead effectively. He is a coach, counselor, teacher, writer, and speaker whose clients include some of the largest and best-known companies and organizations in the world.

He is the author, most recently, of Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It, published by Radius Book Group in 2020. He is also the author The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis, Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership Press, 2017. That book was named one of the Best Crisis Management Books of All Time (#2 of 51) by Book Authority, the leading non-fiction recommendation site. A Chinese language translation was published in 2020 by the Posts & Telecom Press in Beijing. Prior to this, Fred wrote The Power of Communication: Skills to Build Trust, Inspire Loyalty, and Lead Effectively, FT Press, 2012. That book was one of eight Leadership titles on the United States Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List from 2013 to 2017. It was published in Chinese in 2014 by Pearson Education Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong and Publishing House of Electronics Industry in Beijing.

Fred is president of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group and executive director of the Logos Institute for Crisis Management & Executive Leadership. He is based in New York and has worked with clients in dozens of countries on six continents.

Fred has 40 years of experience counseling securities firms, banks, insurance companies, specialized financial and professional service firms, corporations, not-for-profits, and governments. He has particular expertise in crisis, change, and risk management; crisis communication; international security issues; international financial transactions; corporate governance; business ethics; and executive leadership.

Fred has coached more than 400 CEOs of major corporations, plus thousands of other high-profile people in other complex fields, including doctors, scientists, lawyers, financial executives, military officers, and government officials. These executives, on six continents, were in industries as diverse as pharmaceuticals, energy, heavy manufacturing, biotechnology, computer software, financial services, law firms, advertising agencies, religious denominations, universities, and not-for-profit advocacy groups. In the 1980s he worked at leading public relations firms and served as head of public relations for a global investment bank and for a large public accounting firm. Through the 1990s Fred headed the crisis practice of a leading strategic communication consulting firm.

Fred is a highly sought keynote and motivational speaker. He has keynoted major conferences and events in the United States, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Fred speaks about leadership communication, crisis management, business ethics, journalist/source relationships, and ways to maintain trust in difficult situations.

Fred has been on the New York University faculty since 1988. He is an adjunct professor of management in NYU’s Stern School of Business Executive MBA program, where he teaches crisis management, and where he was named Executive MBA Great Professor. He is an adjunct associate professor of management and communication in NYU’s School of Professional Studies, MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication program, where he twice received the Dean’s award for teaching excellence, in 1990 and in 2017. He also received awards for outstanding service and for 30 years service in teaching. In that program he teaches courses in communication strategy; in communication ethics, law, and regulation; and in crisis communication.

Fred is an adjunct associate professor of professional development and leadership at Columbia University, where he teaches ethics, crisis, and leadership in the Professional Development and Leadership program of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. Fred is also a Senior Fellow in the Institute of Corporate Communication at Communication University of China in Beijing. For eight years until 2015 Fred served on the leadership faculty of the Center for Security Studies of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland, where he taught an intensive seminar in the Master’s in Advanced Studies in Crisis Management and Security Policy. He has also served on the adjunct faculty of the Starr King School for the Ministry – Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, where for six years he taught a seminar on religious leadership for social change. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, U.S. Defense Information School, the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College, U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, U.S. Air Force Air War College, the Brookings Institution, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and other universities around the world.

In 2011 Fred was designated an International Distinguished Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, where he gave a series of lectures and workshops on effective crisis response for graduate students and senior government, corporate, and NGO leaders. In 2015 he conducted an extensive teaching and speaking tour of China, teaching in more than a dozen leading universities, including Tsinghua University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Nankai University, Communication University of China, and Nanjing University, plus delivering keynotes at major corporate events.

Fred is the author of The Agony of Decision: Mental Readiness and Leadership in a Crisis, available in both paperback and as an e-book from Kindle here. It is also available as an audiobook at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. A Chinese language translation was published in 2020 by the Posts & Telecom Press in Beijing. He is also the author of The Power of Communication and its two companion videos (Nine Principles of Effective Leadership Communication and The Physicality of Audience Engagement, FT Press, 2012). Fred is co-author (with John Doorley) of Reputation Management: The Key to Successful Public Relations and Corporate Communication, fourth edition July 2020; third edition 2015; second edition 2011; first edition 2007 by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group; Korean language edition 2016 by Alma Books, Seoul, Republic of Korea. His two-volume book Crisis Communications was published by AAAA Publications in 1999.

Fred is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. He is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America, and received the Society’s New York Chapter’s Philip Dorf Award for mentoring.

Fred has an MA in philosophy from Columbia University and two graduate certificates in classical Greek language and literature from the Latin/Greek Institute of the City University of New York Graduate Center. He has a BA with honors in politics and philosophy from New York University, where he was named a University Honors Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Mount Saint Mary College.

Fred’s philanthropic work is focused on multi-faith and social justice causes. From 2011 to 2020 Fred was on the Board of International Trustees of the World Conference of Religions for Peace. He presently serves Religions for Peace as an International Goodwill Ambassador. He is immediate past chair and a member of the board of trustees of the Interfaith Alliance Foundation in Washington, DC. Fred is a former board chair and member of the board of trustees of the Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, CA. For 15 years he served on the board of trustees of the New York-based human rights organization Freedom to Marry. For ten years he served on the board of trustees of Disaster Chaplaincy Services in New York, and for three years on the board of trustees of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Fred is a past chair and a former member of the board of directors of the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art and a former trustee of the Purchase College Foundation. He was named Westchester County (NY) Arts Patron of the Year for 2006 by the Westchester Arts Council.

Fred is also a member of the Advisory Board of The Banyan Project, a group of senior journalists, technologists, researchers, strategists and advocates for a stronger democracy. Banyan aims to strengthen democracy through high-quality, web-based journalism that engages the civic energy of less-than-affluent everyday citizens — people who are the bread and butter of American life but are ill-served by mainstream journalism and too often out of the public spotlight

Experience

  • Columbia Engineering

    • Adjunct Associate Professor of Professional Development and Leadership (Jul 2017 – Present)
  • Communication University of China

    • Senior Fellow, Institute of Corporate Communication (Mar 2015 – Present)
  • Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership

    • Executive Director (2004 – Present)
  • Logos Consulting Group

    • President (2002 – Present)
  • Stern School of Business, New York University

    • Adjunct Professor of Management (2002 – Present)
  • NYU School of Professional Studies

    • Adjunct Associate Professor of Management and Communication (1988 – Present)
  • Swiss Federal institute of Technolgy (ETH Zurich), Center for Security Studies

    • Member of Leadership Faculty, Master's in Advanced Studies in Security Policy and Crisis Management (2007 – 2015)
  • Starr King School for the Ministry

    • Member of the Adjunct Faculty (Jan 2004 – Jan 2011)
  • Page

    • Page, U.S. House of Representative (1974)

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