In the bustling heart of New York City, a trailblazer in the world of corporate communications and crisis management has emerged as a beacon of excellence. Meet Carol J. Perlman, the dynamic founder and chief executive officer of Aegis Crisis Management, whose journey is a story of determination, innovation, and influence.
Ms. Perlman’s career is full of notable achievements. Among them, she considers working with chief executives of major international companies to successfully manage crises to be a major highlight. Another highlight has been the evolution of her crisis management business where she works with clients to navigate uncertainty through her four-step branded “AEGIS Approach to Anticipating, Preparing for, and Managing Crisis.” The four steps of her process are “Early Detection = Early Warning,” “Crisis Management & Communications Plan,” “Crisis Preparedness & Responsiveness Test/Exercise,” and “Real Time Assistance.” Ms. Perlman is known for creating elaborate realistic mock scenarios for clients to help prepare staff to make decisions under pressure. After inquiring about worst-case outcomes, she works to unpack and resolve each example, as she is committed to helping businesses, including startups, build resiliency and overcome obstacles.
Ms. Perlman’s expertise isn’t just deep—it’s wide. Her global experience spans the pharmaceutical, chemical, and consumer products sectors, with a skill set encompassing marketing, public relations, and crisis preparedness. As a visionary in her field, she has been instrumental in guiding companies through crises, while safeguarding their reputations and market value. Ms. Perlman’s clients know that she, having spent many years reporting to CEOs, has indeed walked in their shoes. This experience gives them great confidence that her approach to crisis has been tested many times and at the highest level. Says Ms. Perlman, “I want my clients to learn from my successes as well as my mistakes!”
From her early days, Ms. Perlman’s passion for communication and problem-solving has set her apart. A proud alumna of American University, she holds a Bachelor of Science in political science and sociology, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Kogod School of Business. Her journey started at Sterling Winthrop Inc., where she quickly ascended to vice president of global communications, reporting to the CEO. During her tenure, Ms. Perlman raised the visibility of the company through membership in PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America) and was a founding member of HINJ (Healthcare Institute of New Jersey). Her leadership continued to shine brightly as she led the communications effort through the 1994 successful global launch of Sanofi Winthrop, the new corporate identity for Sterling’s alliance with the French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi S.A. At the time, this alliance was regarded as a merger of equals, effectively doubling the research and development effort, providing critical mass, and catapulting the combined business into the top tier of the industry.
Ms. Perlman’s story continued following the divestiture of Sterling Winthrop, Inc. by Eastman Kodak, with pivotal roles in Pharmaceutical and Diagnostic Imaging companies like Nycomed Imaging, Inc., and Amersham PLC, culminating in her position as the United States corporate communications lead during GE’s acquisition of Amersham Health in 2004. Her desire to expand her experience and perspective led her to work at MSL in 2006, a global public relations firm, and later to Continuum Solutions, Ltd., from 2011 to 2016, enhancing her reputation as a crisis management maestro. When Continuum Solutions was acquired in March 2016 by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., one of the world’s largest insurance brokerage, risk management, and consulting firms, Ms. Perlman was asked to serve as an independent consultant to Gallagher on crisis and risk management, crisis communications and preparedness training. She continues to collaborate with Gallagher to address client needs in this area.
In 2020, amidst a world grappling with COVID-19, Ms. Perlman decided to follow her entrepreneurial calling and founded Aegis Crisis Management. Here, she crafts sophisticated strategies for risk assessment and crisis management, emphasizing the importance of training at all levels in a company to ensure agile responses. Her work during the pandemic has been nothing short of revolutionary, helping to establish new standards in crisis protocols.
Ms. Perlman’s contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. Her shelf sparkles with accolades. In 1982, she was recognized among the Outstanding Young Women of America. Following this, she obtained a Gold Effie Award in 1988. Effie Awards are globally recognized honors for effectiveness in marketing. She also received recognition as Marketing Manager of the Year, the first time the company had granted this award to an individual outside of the sales force.
Beyond her corporate achievements, Ms. Perlman is a mentor and advocate for women about to enter the workplace as well as those who are seeking advice on advancement in their careers. She was involved at the board level in organizations like Parkinson’s Unity Walk, the largest grassroots organization in the U.S. that raises funds for the development of new treatments for Parkinson’s Disease. She is also an advisor to the Parkinson Alliance board of directors. The Unity Walk is now part of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Ms. Perlman also spent time as a board member with NYC PIA (Parents in Action), a non-profit organization committed to providing education, information, and a communication network to inform parents about social and developmental issues.
In the future, Ms. Perlman looks forward to continuing her work and building her expertise in crisis management to help clients navigate their companies in an increasingly unstable world with integrity and transparency. Her story isn’t just about success; it’s about shaping a resilient, communicative world, one crisis at a time. According to Ms. Perlman, “It’s always about following your moral compass, regardless of what the task might be!” Ms. Perlman is married to Robert A Perlman. She loves playing tennis and spending time with her son, daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters. As she often remarks, her granddaughters are “truly the next generation of incredible women!”