Logos team blog posts

I did not want to write another book about Donald Trump.

In June 2020 my book Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It was published. I had spent 18 months writing it. That book documents Trump’s playbook of forms of language that inspire his followers to commit acts of violence against people whom Trump has dehumanized or demonized.

The book was intended to be a warning flare: helping engaged citizens and civic leaders recognize how certain kinds of speech had predictable dangerous consequences. And also equipping them to call out those who use such speech and to hold those leaders accountable for the consequences of their actions. Four years later we see this phenomenon writ large every day. Just last week the judge in Trump’s New York hush-money payments trial ordered Trump to stop making statements about his family and to not make statements about witnesses, court staff, prosecutors, and their families, as such statements put people’s lives at risk.

I turned in the finished manuscript to my publisher in January 2020, just as COVID-19 arrived in the United States.

As president of a crisis management firm and a professor of crisis management – and, at the time, with 40 years in the business – I was familiar with the public health playbook. I had studied, lived through, counseled clients, and advised students who wrote graduate theses about public health emergencies. I had taught case studies about these emergencies – from the 1918 influenza outbreak, to swine flu, to bird flu, to Zika, to SARS in China, to MERS in South Korea, and to Ebola in the U.S. and West Africa.

There is a process for managing infectious disease outbreaks, and Ebola showed that the U.S. was pretty good at it.

Therefore, I was astonished in the early months of the pandemic that the U.S. was not following the infectious disease management playbook for COVID-19. Rather, it was making all the predictable mistakes that I and my colleagues always warn our clients against.

I began to document what was happening. The consequence of that documentation is my next book, out today: The Trump Contagion: How Incompetence, Dishonesty, and Neglect Led to the Worst-Handled Crisis in American History.


Leadership and Crisis Response

Leaders are judged based on how they deal with their most difficult challenges. Inspired leaders rise to the occasion, igniting and inspiring their people to a common purpose. Ineffective or malign leaders often fail to rise to the challenges before them and almost always make matters worse.

Leaders have it within themselves to determine whether they will rise to the challenge or not.

One of the central themes of the book is this: Crisis management works. But only when leaders follow the principles of how to manage a crisis effectively. There is a rigor to effective crisis management. Leaders who understand and deploy that rigor typically help their organizations get through the crisis far better than those who don’t. Most failed crises are the result of not following that rigor, often with devastating consequences. One of the common patterns of failed crisis response is making decisions based on a leader’s personal preference, or self-protection, or the leader’s inability to self-regulate.

COVID-19 is the largest and most widespread crisis in our lifetimes; one that every institution and individual on the planet experienced in some way. It is a deeply human phenomenon, and also an opportunity to compare how different leaders and different organizations – indeed, how different nations – managed their part of the crisis. And we can compare the consequences and draw lessons.

The book begins with foundational principles of effective crisis response, to set the context for how to evaluate individual leaders’ responses to crises. The book also compares two nations’ approaches to COVID-19. The Republic of Korea followed all crisis management and infectious disease management protocols.  The United States did not. As a consequence, the U.S. death rate for the first full year was 49 times that of Korea’s.

The first confirmed American case of COVID-19 was diagnosed on January 20, 2020. Exactly one year later, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. The time in-between was the single deadliest year in American history to date. In that year alone, 446,000 Americans died of COVID-19. But Trump’s neglect during that catastrophic year also set up conditions that led to continued fatalities in 2021 and to the present day.

By May 2022, more than 1 million Americans had died of the virus, and the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that misinformation about COVID-19 had become the leading cause of death in the United States. The scientific consensus is that more than half of those deaths – some estimates range to more than three quarters – were preventable.

It did not need to be this way.

The suffering, the hardship, and the sacrifice could have been avoided. But the United States, alone in the world, intentionally refused to follow or mandate basic public health steps: no national masking, distancing, testing, and contact tracing policies.

As my book goes to press, 1.2 million Americans have died of COVID-19. That’s one in every 270 Americans who were alive before COVID-19. Most of those fatalities were preventable; by some counts, between 800,000 and 1 million. And the person most responsible for keeping Americans safe failed to do so.


Bearing Witness

The Trump Contagion is my attempt to bear witness to the decision-making that unnecessarily cost so many lives and disrupted life as we knew it. The book demonstrates the American President’s incompetence, dishonesty, and neglect that made the U.S. COVID-19 response the single worst-handled crisis in American history. I believe it is also the single largest failures of leadership in American history.

This book also provides valuable lessons to help leaders avoid similar failures when they manage future crises.

As the pandemic was breaking, my firm began conducting Zoom workshops at public events and for clients – including units of the U.S. armed forces – on how to manage through the COVID-19 uncertainty; how to keep their employees safe; how to anticipate what will come next.

I began to teach the COVID-19 case study, even as it was developing, in my crisis management classes, first at Columbia University and then also at New York University.

And I began publishing alarm-sounding essays, including a column in Forbes in October 2021, titled “Crisis Management Lessons from the Pandemic: Take Risks Seriously.”

But even then, I didn’t think I’d write a book about it.

However, as the magnitude of the nation’s failure became clearer over the months and years, I recognized that we were in unprecedented times. And that the torrent of misinformation, our fractured political climate, all the controversies involving criminal and civil litigation against Donald Trump, combined to distract from both the magnitude of what happened and the likelihood of a recurrence in future crisis, either by Trump or others.

As with my prior book, I felt called to sound the alarm, but this time with even greater urgency. In particular, I felt called to help leaders learn from the nation’s failures and to help them avoid making the same mistakes.

I did not want to write another book about Trump. But I did.

Because crisis management works. But only when we take crises and risks seriously and understand how to respond to crises effectively. And because we can learn from the failures of the past to prevent another tragedy in the future.


The Trump Contagion is available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions on Amazon.com.

Helio Fred Garcia is President of the crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group. He teaches ethics, crisis, leadership, and communication at Columbia University and New York University.

On April 11 – 12, 2024, the Logos team led a two-day, immersive Master Class in Strategic Communication for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) in Chicago, Illinois.

This two-day Master Class brought together more than 30 professionals from across the country. The Master Class was designed to elevate communication professionals’ capacity by applying principles of strategy to the processes of communication. It focused on how to think clearly; how to influence people; and how to use language with impact.

Logos president Helio Fred Garcia and Logos Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff Katie Garcia served as faculty for this program. Logos has previously led five Master Classes in Crisis Communication for PRSA – in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2023. This was the first year Logos led a Master Class on strategic communication for PRSA.

On the first day we began by centering participants around foundational elements of strategy. Strategy is a system of ordered thinking that helps an individual or organization mobilize resources to accomplish clearly defined goals. The first rule of strategy is to think clearly:

  • to understand the situation that presents a challenge or opportunity;
  • to understand the desired outcome; and
  • to deeply understand an audience and what it will take to change what that audience thinks and feels and how it behaves.

We then turned to how communication professionals can prevent or overcome the marginalization of the communication function and earn a seat at the table as important decisions are being made. We explored how communication professionals can use their craft in the service of goals that matter to management, in ways that deliver value to an enterprise, and in ways that transcend specific functional areas.

We began the second day by taking a deep dive into framing and the management of meaning. Specifically, we looked at how to create context that leads audiences to a desired conclusion. We then explored how we could use elements of effective storytelling to structure content in ways that inspire audiences to support an idea more quickly, change a behavior, or say yes to a request.

We then transitioned to how to convey executive presence when speaking. We explored how incremental changes in posture, body movement, facial expression, and gestures have a disproportionate effect on voice intonation and on audience attention and engagement. We also explored specific techniques on how to effectively engage audiences through a screen.

The Master Class featured robust discussion, learning, reflection, and network building between the participants in the program.

Some feedback we received from program participants included:

  • “This photo [of the Master Class] represents one of the best classes I have attending in my over 30-year career… Together we learned how to bring valid strategy, compelling storytelling, and thoughtful outcomes to any communication we develop.”
  • “I recently had the privilege of attending one of the most impactful classes in my career… This session, with over 30 communication strategy professionals, emphasized the critical role of being trusted advisors within our organizations… The experience was enriching and will undoubtably shape my approach to communication strategy moving forward.”
  • “Thank you for equipping us with a new set of tools and making complex concepts easily accessible and understandable.”
  • “If presented with the opportunity to learn from Helio Fred Garcia and Katie Garcia, I implore you to run, not walk to sign up. Thankful to Fred and Katie for not only sharing their wisdom, but creating an environment where we could also be authentic and vulnerable in sharing our experiences and insights to learn from one another.”

We are always grateful to have the opportunity to teach, learn from, and be in relationship with participants in PRSA programs.

In March and April 2024, Logos Institute Senior Fellow Katie Garcia launched two new electives for graduate students at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, also known as Columbia Engineering.

The first elective, Communicating Up: How Get Buy-in and Win the Trust of Your Boss, is focused on how to communicate effectively up-the-chain of command at work.

Effective communication can build a person’s competitive advantage in the workplace, particularly when it comes to communicating with the boss. When we communicate effectively with the boss, we can not only get our big ideas considered, but also earn the boss’s trust. However, when we fail to communicate effectively with the boss, not only will our big ideas never be considered, but we can harm our standing and reputation at work.

In Communicating Up, students learned about the power of communication in the workplace, core principles of effective communication, how to recognize what matters to the boss, and a method for effectively giving advice or presenting an opportunity effectively to the boss.

The second elective, Difficult Conversations in the Workplace, is focused on how to effectively navigate difficult conversations at work.

Difficult conversations are inevitable in our personal and professional lives. However, how we navigate these difficult conversations at work can have a significant impact on our growth and success in our career, as well as on our teams and our workplace overall. Therefore, we need to take these conversations seriously.

In this class, students learned why difficult conversations are so challenging and strategies for overcoming that difficulty. Students also learned what it takes to provoke a change of behavior within people, how structure feedback effectively, and how to effectively prepare for, initiate, and navigate through a difficult conversation.

Both electives were offered to students enrolled in Columbia Engineering’s Professional Development & Leadership (PDL) program. The PDL program’s goal is to enhance the Columbia Engineering education by providing enrichment and development opportunities to undergraduate, MS, and PhD engineering students.

More than 40 graduate engineering students enrolled in the electives Katie taught this semester. Some have already begun apply the lessons learned in these courses and to think through how they could continue to apply these lessons as they build their careers.

On November 29, 2023, Logos president Helio Fred Garcia participated in the second annual Global Brand Convergence, a free online experience for higher education students, faculty, and professionals around the world in public relations and marketing.

Conceived by Jacqueline Strayer, the second annual Global Brand Convergence boasted registrants from more than 35 countries. This year’s event focused on the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and other topics around social impact and leadership.

Garcia spoke at the event on how artificial intelligence is the next disruptor in crisis management. He described how emergent technologies are always disruptive when it comes to crises and crisis response. However, he also noted that there are clear patterns and dynamics when emergent technologies are introduced into society that we can be mindful of as generative AI becomes a more widely used and understood technology.

Watch his full address here:


Garcia also introduced David Epstein, Professor of Practice and Executive Director of the Susilo Institute for Ethics at Boston University, for Epstein’s address on the ethical considerations around AI. Watch that discussion here:


To learn more about the Global Brand Convergence, visit https://www.globalbrandconvergence.com/.


To our clients, colleagues, and friends,

This month Logos Consulting Group begins our 22nd year in operation.

As we complete our 21st year, we want to take a moment to thank all of you for your support and confidence over the years.

We are blessed to have the opportunity to pursue our mission – to equip people to become leaders who ignite and inspire change in the world for the good – with hundreds of clients and thousands of people across the United States and the world.

As of this month, Logos has worked with 450 clients. Some have been our clients for decades, including before Logos was around. Some were clients only for a single project. Some are industry leaders, such as some of the largest money center banks, insurance companies, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, industrial and manufacturing companies, and hospitality companies. Some are younger, smaller, and more entrepreneurial organizations. We’ve also worked with non-profits, cultural organizations, educational institutions, and religious and multi-religious institutions. And we’ve been honored to work with various branches and joint commands of the U.S. armed forces throughout this time.

We’ve also worked with clients where they are. In our 21 years (more precisely, the 19 ½ years because of COVID travel restrictions), we have worked on the ground in 45 U.S. states and in 43 countries on six continents.

In our time we have been able to build out our three primary areas of practice: Crisis ManagementCrisis Communication, and Executive Leadership Development. Over our 21 years, Logos team members, past and present, have authored or co-authored eight books (thirteen, if you include revised editions and translations). And through our publishing arm, we have published two books by non-Logos authors, with more on the way. And Logos team members served on graduate professional faculties, have been contract lecturers, and have been guest speakers in dozens of universities around the world.

I especially want to thank all those who worked at Logos in various capacities over the years: As staff, as interns, as consultants and business partners, as service providers. And to thank their families, who made their service possible.

We enter our 22nd year with deep gratitude, with humility, and with enthusiasm. Here’s to the next 22 years….

On Tuesday, June 6, 2023, Logos President Helio Fred Garcia delivered a keynote address on “The Dangers of Disinformation: How Professional Communicators can Preserve and Promote Civic Order” at the 2023 International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) World Conference in Toronto, Canada.

The IABC is a global association that serves professionals in the field of business communication, bringing together the profession’s collective disciplines. The 2023 IABC World Conference brought together more than 950 communication professionals from 34 countries for four days of collective learning, professional development, and networking.

Garcia’s keynote address focused on the challenges professional communicators face in an environment of increasing mistrust and political turmoil.

“The profession of professional communicators is at a turning point,” he explained. “The stakes have never been higher. We will define whether professional communicators remain respected or become a discredited profession. Whether our employers and clients will remain respected or discredited.”

Garcia examined the ways in which disinformation and misinformation can – and have – put human life and democracy at risk. He then outlined a disinformation playbook that, once known, can be used to stop the spread of disinformation.

“Once disinformation takes root it is very difficult to neutralize its negative effects. But…confronting disinformation early can keep it from taking root,” Garcia shared. “Now that you know what to look for, you can begin to recognize it in smaller situations everywhere in the world, especially before disinformation has taken root.”

Garcia ended his remarks with a call to action to professional communicators: to resist becoming misinformation mercenaries and to help their clients and employers communicate honestly and in ways that build trust, rather than erode trust. He also called on professional communication organizations to recommit to the core value of truth and accuracy and to equip members of those organizations to become disinformation detectors. He further called on institutions of higher education, specifically for schools or departments that specialize in some form of communication, to embed the power of truth and accuracy into their curricula and equip their students to be effective disinformation detectors. And he called on media companies to not engage in disinformation or misinformation, to create structures to detect disinformation effectively, and to prevent those who spread disinformation or misinformation from using their platforms.

“Communication has power. Communicators have power. You have this power,” he concluded. “And with power comes responsibility. How will you exercise your power, your responsibility? This may be the most important question you face in your career. Please choose wisely.”

Read Garcia’s full IABC keynote address here.

You have likely heard many arguments about the value that diversity can bring to a workplace. Over the past several decades, businesses have invested meaningfully in implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) programs that focus on diversity in their organizations. In fact, almost 98% of U.S. companies had some sort of DE&I program as of 2019.

However, if you ask those “diverse hires” about their company’s DE&I programs, only about a quarter of that diverse talent feels tangible benefits from those programs. Moreover, research suggests that most DE&I programs that focus on diversity do not meaningfully increase diversity in the long-term.

Why is that? Why do so many DE&I programs fall short or outright fail in achieving their stated objectives?

In pondering this question, I found myself recalling a dinner conversation with a group of software engineer friends a few years ago.

The night was brimming with good food and laughter, until I – the only non-engineer at the table – joked about my regret in moving away from my undergrad major (which was related to computer science) and therefore from a lucrative career path. One of them responded enthusiastically, “It’s not too late! You’ve learned coding, and it’s gonna be a lot easier for you to get hired by (his tech giant employer) – you know, “woman” check, “Asian” check.”

I quickly lost my appetite.

I don’t blame my friend. What he said was neither malicious nor, unfortunately, false. But his comment made me realize some of the ways organizations’ diversity-focused DE&I programs have fallen short. These programs can, unintentionally, reinforce some of the very biases and prejudices they are designed to reduce. These programs can deepen silos and divisions rather than build bridges and foster greater understanding. And these programs can fail in enabling organizations to tap into the real potential of diversity in the workplace.

This incident, and the years of research that followed, also revealed to me the root of these DE&I program pitfalls – leaders and organizations of these failed programs engaged in their DE&I initiatives with either a flawed mindset or a flawed approach.

The Flawed Mindset: DE&I as A Problem to Be Solved

Modern DE&I in the United States originated as a response to the civil rights movement in 1960s. Following the enactment of several laws on the local, state, and federal levels to protect the rights of historically marginalized groups, organizations began to invest in diversity programs to ensure compliance and to reduce or prevent discrimination lawsuits.

In the decades that followed, civil rights movements have advanced and societal expectations have shifted. However, the motivation for organizations to engage in DE&I work has not evolved with the times. Many businesses remain primarily motivated by public pressure or legal risk when it comes to their DE&I work. As a result, many leaders and organizations still regard DE&I as a problem to be solved, rather than an advantage to be gained.

This mindset rooted in preventing legal liability has tangible consequences on the success of DE&I initiatives. Behavioral science experiments have revealed that when behaviors are driven purely by extrinsic motives, such as legal compliance, that behavior will not last long nor produce the best results. Moreover, when leaders and organizations seem reluctant about or not fully committed to their DE&I efforts, employees and other stakeholders recognize and react to that reluctance. A seeming hesitancy or lack of commitment to DE&I can discourage employees from taking any of their organization’s DE&I efforts seriously.

At its core, DE&I work seeks to create a change in employees, specifically a change in employee behavior. An individual’s behavior is influenced by how the goal of the behavior change is framed or worded. Research has found that when we want to provoke a change in behavior, presenting the goal of that behavior change in a positive frame (i.e., If you do X, you will gain something positive and/or will avoid suffering some negative harm) is more effective than when presented in a negative frame (i.e., If you don’t do X, you will fail to attain a possible gain and/or will possibly suffer some negative harm).

In the case of DE&I work, narratives that center the goal of DE&I work within negative frames, (e.g., If we don’t engage in DE&I work, we could face litigation, criticism, and reputational harm) can be ineffective when it comes to engaging employees in DE&I. Moreover, DE&I work narratives couched in negative frames can actually produce resistance, resentment, and/or blame among stakeholders.

In many ways what has been lacking in the flawed mindset around organizational DE&I is a narrative with a positive frame about why DE&I efforts are worth engaging in at all.

The Remedy: DE&I as an Opportunity to Build Competitive Advantage

What is a narrative about organizational DE&I with a positive frame that fosters a more effective mindset?

The answer: Engaging in DE&I work is an opportunity to build competitive advantage for your organization.

Over the past two decades, numerous studies have illustrated the ways DE&I can create a competitive advantage for organizations. For example, organizations that achieve diverse and inclusive workplaces have been found to have stronger:

  • Financial returns,
  • Employee engagement,
  • Talent acquisition and retention, and
  • Brand differentiation.

When DE&I is recognized as an opportunity to build competitive advantage, it becomes much easier to get buy-in across the organization. Moreover, when DE&I is understood within a competitive advantage mindset, it naturally changes how organizations approach DE&I work – moving away from passively preventing legal liability to engaging in the work of achieving the meaningful benefits of DE&I.

Therefore, shifting from a mindset of DE&I as a problem to be solved to a mindset of DE&I as an opportunity to build competitive advantage is the necessary first step to create and execute effective DE&I initiatives.

However, mindset alone is not enough for DE&I initiatives to succeed.

The Flawed Approach: Hire for Diversity and Manage for Assimilation

Another major pitfall for DE&I programs that focus on diversity happens when these programs are designed to achieve primarily numerical workforce goals. When organizations set goals such as “hiring x% of underrepresented groups,” DE&I work ends at the surface level – increased representation and a workforce that looks more diverse.

However, as those organizational hiring targets are met, these new employees’ daily experience in the workplace has just begun.

In the absence of a culture where everyone feels encouraged to speak up and show up authentically as they are, and when managers are not trained in the skills to navigate diverse workforces, employees will be pressured to assimilate to the higher-status or dominant group – in most cases, white, straight, able-bodied, cisgender male.

And the cost of assimilation in the workplace is high.

Assimilation corrodes one’s psychological safety and contributes to employee strain and burnout. As a result, employees who feel pressured to assimilate exhibit lower engagement, lower productivity, and are more likely to leave the company. Additionally, at the organizational level, assimilation naturally leads teams to group think, depriving the organization of the real value that a diversity of thought could bring – innovative ideas, solutions, and strategies that can advance the organization.

Beyond the cost of assimilation, numerical workforce goals that are designed to benefit historically marginalized groups can also end up causing more harm than good. If people have reason to believe that someone was hired or promoted because of some aspect of their identity, people tend to assume that the person must not have been hired or promoted because of their competence. Think back to my dinner table conversation – “woman” check, “Asian” check. This dynamic erodes trust, negatively impacts employee relationships, and could end up becoming a vicious self-fulfilling prophecy.

However, there is a different approach to DE&I that more reliably leads to true diversity in the workplace. And the key to this approach is to not focus on diversity.

The Remedy: Aim to Create an Inclusive Culture

Diversity can never realize its potential in a vacuum. When we talk about the ways diversity can enhance employee engagement, innovation, and problem-solving, we often leave out the foundation necessary to realize those benefits of diversity. And that is an inclusive culture – a culture that attracts and retains diverse talent, where everyone feels valued, like they belong, and set up for success.

Without this important foundation, establishing diversity in the workplace can create more harm than good. Simply bringing people of different identities to the table often creates more tension and conflict. However, within an inclusive culture, differences and tension can become opportunities to encourage learning, foster understanding, and strengthen team dynamics. Moreover, an inclusive culture enables organizations to realize the benefits of diversity, and thereby build competitive advantage.

Therefore, the starting place of any DE&I work should be creating an inclusive culture. And that means shifting the focus away from achieving numerical workforce targets to doing the work of eliminating barriers for historically marginalized groups and creating an inclusive environment at work.


With the right mindset and the right approach, organizations can create far more effective DE&I initiatives.

Logos Consulting Group’s mission is to build a better world by equipping people to become leaders who ignite and inspire change for the good. We do this in many ways, including in the work we do with clients.

Many of our clients are leaders in their industries – in banking, insurance, finance, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer products, hospitality, professional services, and the U.S. armed forces. And we’re very proud of the work we have done with them over the past two decades.

But when we were founded 20 years ago, we made a deliberate decision to commit meaningful time – sometimes as much as 30 percent of our time – to causes we care about without regard to compensation. Since then, we have maintained a robust pro bono publico practice. Some pro bono clients pay us nothing. Some pay a nominal fee, often a single-digit percentage of our usual rates. And for some, we make financial contributions in addition to the work we do with them.

Pro Bono Publico – Literally, For the Public Good

Our pro bono practice has included meaningful work in human rights; civil rights; arts and culture; education; religious and multi-religious organizations; and youth education, development, and sports; among many sectors.

And our philosophy of pro bono service is clear: pro bono clients get the same level of service, attention, and commitment as our commercial clients. If we have a scheduled commitment with a pro bono client and then a commercial client asks for the same time, we keep the original appointment and seek to find another time for the commercial client.

In this 20th Anniversary Reflection, I focus on just two of the areas of our pro bono practice: multi-religious advocacy and youth education, development, and sports.

Multi-Religious Advocacy

One of my personal pro bono priorities is helping to equip multi-religious organizations to be better able to fulfill their missions. Over the past 20 years I’ve advised, taught, or led more than a dozen multi-religious organizations, including serving on five of their boards and chairing two of them. Over the years, many Logos team members participated in our multi-religious advocacy work.

Religions for Peace

Logos’ second client, one month after our founding, was Religions for Peace, the largest multi-religious organization in the world. Religions for Peace helps leaders of religious communities around the world harness the moral authority of their faith traditions to prevent violence, transform conflict, protect the earth, and promote peaceful, just, and inclusive society. In my prior job, I had attempted to secure pro bono client status for Religions for Peace, but my employer was unwilling to invest in pro bono activities. So, all my work at the time was personal and off-the-clock. Upon founding Logos, Religions for Peace became an important client in the life of our young firm.

Both I and the Logos team have deployed around the world for Religions for Peace.

Twenty years ago, I and a Logos colleague deployed to Amman, Jordan just weeks after the U.S. declared Mission Accomplished in Iraq. We were advisors to our client as it negotiated with Iraqi religious leaders – Arab and Kurd, Sunni and Shia Muslim and Christian – to create the Iraq Inter-Religious Council for Peace. It was the first time that Iraqi Sunni and Shia leaders had been in the same room together since before Saddam Hussein’s reign, and it was the first time they had been in the same room with Christian leaders in their lifetimes. Also present were dozens of religious leaders of many faith traditions and civil society leaders from around the world. They were there as observers, to bear witness to the proceedings and to testify to the effectiveness of inter-religious cooperation.

We also arranged for the international press to cover the announcement of the creation of the Council.

L: The announcement of the creation of the Iraq Inter-Religious Council for Peace, Amman, Jordan, May 2003
R: Religious leaders celebrate the creation of the Middle East North Africa Inter-Religious Council for Peace, Marrakesh, Morocco, November 2011

In 2011, after the Arab Spring, I deployed to Marrakesh, Morocco to advise our client as it negotiated with religious leaders of all faiths from all nations in North Africa and the Middle East to create the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Inter-Religious Council for Peace.

World Assemblies of Religions for Peace

Every six or seven years, Religions for Peace convenes the World Assembly of Religions for Peace, bringing together thousands of leaders of the world’s faith traditions for work on conflict transformation, sustainable development, and protection of the earth.

At the eighth World Assembly in Kyoto, Japan in 2006, six Logos team members deployed to advise our client and manage communication. I served as spokesperson for the Assembly and moderated the press conferences with religious and civil society leaders.

At the ninth World Assembly of Religions for Peace in Vienna, Austria in 2013, five Logos team members deployed to advise our client, create our client’s first social media channels, and manage the newsroom and Assembly communications.

L: Moderating a press conference of Iraqi religious leaders at the VIII World Assembly of Religions for Peace, Kyoto, Japan, August 2006
R: The Logos team at the IX World Assembly of Religions for Peace, Vienna, Austria, November 2013.

In 2014, as a complement to the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, we deployed in our home city for the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change sponsored by Religions for Peace and the World Council of Churches. Logos advised our client and helped its staff manage communication on a multi-religious commitment to use the moral authority of faith traditions to call for action to protect the earth.

In 2019, I deployed to be the English-language spokesman for the tenth World Assembly of Religions for Peace in Lindau, Germany.

Board of International Trustees

From 2011 to 2020, I had the privilege of serving on Religions for Peace’s Board of International Trustees.

Meeting His Holiness, Pope Francis, the Vatican, November 2017

One highlight of that service was our 2017 Board meeting in the American Academy in Rome. The meeting began with a private Board audience at the Vatican with His Holiness, Pope Francis.

Pope Francis addressed the board, which includes one of his representatives, and noted:

“You provide a valuable service to both religion and peace, for the religions are bound by their very nature to promote peace through justice, fraternity, disarmament and care for creation. There is a need for a common and cooperative effort on the part of the religions in promoting an integral ecology. The Bible helps us in this regard by reminding us of the Creator, who “saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1:31). The religions have the wherewithal to further a moral covenant that can promote respect for the dignity of the human person and care for creation.”

Although I have not been a Roman Catholic for 50 years, and have often been skeptical of prior Popes, I have always had a great appreciation for Pope Francis. I was honored that both I and my wife, Laurel Colvin, were able to meet His Holiness and spend precious moments in private conversation.

In 2020, I stepped down from the Religions for Peace board after 10 years. I remain an International Goodwill Ambassador.

Interfaith Alliance

In the United States, much of Logos’ pro bono multi-religious work has been with Interfaith Alliance, based in Washington DC. Interfaith Alliance protects and promotes America’s religious pluralism and helps to protect at-risk religious communities that are often targets of extremism. Logos has actively supported Interfaith Alliance for 20 years. From 2007 to 2020, I served as a member of the Board of Trustees, and as board chair from 2014 to 2017.

One of my favorite Interfaith Alliance initiatives is the Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award.

In addition to being a respected journalist and one of the most trusted men in America, Walter Cronkite served as the honorary chair of Interfaith Alliance from 1997 until his death in 2009. He joined the organization, he said, because “nothing less is at stake in the work of the Interfaith Alliance than the existence of democracy as we know it.”

The Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award recognizes those whose courageous actions embody the values of civility, tolerance, and cooperation in the advancement of public dialogue and public policy on traditionally controversial issues.

L: With Walter Cronkite at an Interfaith Alliance Cronkite Award Gala, 2007
R: With Khizr Khan displaying my copy of the U.S. Constitution, 2017.

Cronkite Award recipients include George Clooney, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, CNN’s Larry King, PBS’s Jim Lehrer and Bill & Judith Moyers, and immigrant American and Gold Star Parent Khizr Khan.

Youth Education, Development, and Sports

Over the years many Logos teammates have done meaningful service with organizations that educate, inspire, and mentor youth. This includes leading youth groups in religious communities; helping prepare teenagers for the process of applying to college; and helping teens develop confidence, leadership ability, and the tools for success as they grow into adulthood.

The Dorill Initiative

One such organization is The Dorill Initiative, a nonprofit arts education organization based on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Dorill Initiative was founded in 2018 by Tareake Dorill to provide a platform for future generations in underserved, overlooked, and often forgotten communities to harness their expressive energies for social justice through the arts.

The Dorill Initiative’s founding principle is Love Through Art. The organization helps its students share their stories and transform communities through artistic and creative expression, academic enrichment, and civic and community engagement.

The organization strives to cultivate the whole citizen artist and help young people become DoERs – people who show up, put word to action, and work to create meaningful change in community. Dorill reinforces young citizen artists’ limitless potential and ensures their families and the larger community are part of their growth artistically, academically, and personally.

Logos Chief of Staff and Advisor Katie Garcia, who is an accomplished competitive dancer, joined the Dorill Initiative’s DoER Board in 2020. She has served as the organization’s Board Chair since 2021.

“As someone who has been profoundly transformed and healed by the arts, I am passionate about ensuring all young people have access to holistic and transformative arts education,” Katie explained. “What is special about Dorill is the way this program meets our young citizen artists where they are – seeing our youth as whole people and equipping them to share their authentic truth in a safe, supportive, and loving way. Every child deserves that kind of transformative arts education.”

“Three years after joining the Dorill board, I continue to be inspired every time I have an opportunity to watch our young citizen artists perform, speak with a DoER parent, and engage with members of our DoER community,” Katie reflects. “I am excited to see Dorill’s programs grow in the coming years – engaging more communities and transforming more young people – and am immensely proud to be a small part of that work.”

Youth Volleyball to Build Confidence, Teamwork, and Leadership

Logos’ commitment to developing youth is also manifest in work Logos teammate Maida Kalic Zheng did with young people in Virginia in Alexandria, Virginia.

Maida joined Logos in 2019 after 7 years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. She is an Advisor at Logos.

Maida played Division 1 Volleyball at the U.S. Naval Academy as a middle blocker.

“I was not a good volleyball player before making the team at the Naval Academy,” jokes Maida. “But the head coach believed I was coachable and explained to me that he wanted to give me a shot. Him taking a chance on me and giving me an opportunity had an incredible impact on me.”

Maida came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1999 following the Bosnian War. She spent years moving from country to country before settling down in Utica, New York.

“I didn’t really speak English when we moved to the U.S., so school was hard. Sports became my passion, my outlet when life was hard,” said Maida. “I delighted in the idea that I was able to work with a team that did amazing work but also gave back. So, when the opportunity for me to coach and make an impact in my local community arose, it was a no-brainer.”

Maida coached volleyball in Alexandria, Virginia for Monument Volleyball Club where she implemented a leadership and resiliency program.

Logos’ Ongoing Commitment

Whether at the global level, the national level, or the community level, Logos will continue to work to build a better world by equipping people to be leaders who inspire and ignite change for the good. Literally, pro bono publico, for the public good.


This reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organizations navigating through the challenges we see today.

This week marks the two-year anniversary of the launch of my book, “The Power of Genuine Leadership: How Authentic Leaders Earn Trust.

The journey to create “The Power of Genuine Leadership” began long ago. The inspiration for this book first came at an early age when hearing the descriptive phrase of ‘being comfortable in one’s own skin.’  What did ‘being comfortable in one’s own skin’ mean? It was not until I became familiar with the connected concepts of ‘trust’ and ‘authenticity’ through my doctoral studies that I was able to truly begin to unpack this seemingly simple phrase to describe a powerful trait for leaders. And thus, the journey to create this book officially began.

The words ‘trust’ and ‘authenticity’ have become extremely popular, particularly over the last few years. But what do these words really mean? How are they connected? More importantly, how can leaders navigate the connection and dependencies of these two concepts? These questions were central to my doctoral research and thereby to “The Power of Genuine Leadership.”

The Power of Genuine Leadership” illustrates through story essential elements to become an authentic, trustworthy leader. There are several important insights contained within the book, derived from my doctoral research, real-life stories, and experiences from helping to develop leaders at every level for two Fortune 150 global corporations. Some of these insights include:

  • Authenticity without guidelines is irresponsible;
  • Authenticity without empathy is careless; and
  • Humility is much more than a willingness to be vulnerable.

However, perhaps the most significant insight within ‘The Power of Genuine Leadership’ is the power of behavioral consistency to create more effective leaders, and how empathy and respect are essential yet historically under-appreciated drivers of trust. This is a new contribution and emphasis to our understanding of leadership.

As I wrote “The Power of Genuine Leadership,” I wanted the book to be full of easily digestible, valuable insights with practical application for readers. Within the book, I detail my Authenticity Trust Model (ATM), which explores three critical components of becoming an authentic trusted leader: communication, coaching, and respect. Each of these critical components have enablers that – through real life scenarios and stories – come to life and encourage leaders to examine the consistency of their approach. Moreover, readers are also able to assess their own leadership strengths and development areas using the Authenticity Trust Assessment (ATA) included in the book. By reading and thinking through the core ideas within this book, leaders tend to reflect on their leadership style and apply action immediately within their leadership journeys.

Leadership is a discipline that can carry meaningful, life-changing experiences for both leaders and followers. My hope when writing this book – and now – is that the practical insights within “The Power of Genuine Leadership” can reframe what to prioritize as a leader and minimize distractions to focus on the critical few.

With that in mind, as I reflect on this two-year anniversary of the launch of “The Power of Genuine Leadership,” three thoughts come to mind: gratefulness, appreciation, and concern.

First, I am grateful for the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership for their support, encouragement, and friendship through the process of creating this book. I could not have asked for a better partner, editor, and publisher. And I want to congratulate Logos on their 20th anniversary. I am equally grateful for the book endorsement and acknowledgment from several of my well-respected colleagues, especially Dr. Ken Blanchard, who continues to be a valued mentor.

Second, I am appreciative and struck by a steady stream of reinforcing comments from readers of the book. Descriptive words like “practical,” “digestible,” “thoughtful,” and “insightful,” continue to appear in reviews and conversations regarding the book. These comments reinforce my initial purpose, which was to provide a simple and focused framework for leaders to reference in their quest to build strong, trusting relationships and to be the kind of leader others want to follow. We must first be curious learners to become better leaders. It is a continuous journey to improvement.

Third, my concern is that we, as leadership development professionals, do not over complicate leadership and coaching tools. Albert Einstein was once said, “If you can’t explain it simply…. you don’t understand it well enough.” Einstein’s words provide important guidance for all of us. Moreover, there is no lack of advice, models, and self-proclaimed experts saturating social media with seemingly obvious guidance. This constant influx of information can be overwhelming. In contrast, I suggest that leadership development professionals lead with questions that encourage deep reflection and thought for leaders to ponder. This will encourage leaders to consider a simple framework that is easy to reference and that encompasses their most important leadership values; maintain consistency in their approach; and strive to stay curious and improve their personal journey every day.

Stay authentic and curious.

Patrick Donahue


“The Power of Genuine Leadership: How Authentic Leaders Earn Trust” by Patrick Donahue PhD is the third title in the Logos Institute Best Practices Series published by the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership Press. Learn more about “The Power of Genuine Leadership” and get your copy here.

This reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organizations navigating through the challenges we see today.

On Friday, November 4, Logos president Helio Fred Garcia spoke on a panel about incendiary language during a two-day conference, titled Extremism: Confronting Hate Without Fear. The conference brought together some of the country’s leading experts on extremism to examine the growing threat of radicalization in America and around the world. The event, hosted at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY, included a selection of award-winning films, with their filmmakers, along with authors, journalists, experts, and academics on dimensions of the topic of extremism.

Garcia spoke on a panel titled “Next Generation Now: Growing Influencers in the Alt Right and the Language They Use.” The panel followed a screening of the documentary film, “White Noise,” which tracks the rise of far-right nationalism. The film, directed by Daniel Lombroso, captures the inside story of the alt right movement and serves as a warning about the power of extremism. The panel discussion that followed also featured Lombroso and was moderated by New York University faculty member Jacqueline Strayer.

During the panel discussion, Garcia spoke about the pattern of incendiary language provoking violence, which he documents in his most recent book, Words on Fire: Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. He described some of the core insights from Words on Fire, shared how civic leaders and engaged citizens can hold leaders who use incendiary language accountable, and answered audience questions.

Watch an amalgamation of clips from that panel discussion here: