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Speaker Spotlight – Rolando Bonilla

General Session: So Your District is in Crisis: Now What

Thursday, September 26

3:15 - 4:10 PM

Promenade Ballroom

Speaker - Rolando Bonilla

Serving as Voler Strategic Advisors’ Chief Strategy Officer, Rolando A. Bonilla brings to the organization over 20 years of experience working as a communications strategist. Bonilla has been frequently quoted in publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Mercury News. Additionally, he provides commentary for television both locally and nationally, offering expert opinion on political and communications issues.

Having begun his career in the rough and tumble of San Francisco politics beginning his service as a Public Service Aide for the Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Bonilla was appointed by then San Francisco Supervisor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. to serve on several city commissions, including serving as the Chairman of the Finance Committee of the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Commission where he oversaw a $30+ million budget. Additionally, during his time serving in the City and County of San Francisco, Bonilla was elected as a California Democratic Convention delegate.

After serving in San Francisco, Bonilla moved to the Silicon Valley where he advised San Jose Council member Nora Campos as her Communications Director. During his time at San Jose City Hall, Bonilla was responsible for developing the Council member’s public safety agenda, which became one of the most high-profile political agendas coming out of San Jose City Hall.

In 2010, after having served in government, Bonilla entered the private sector and founded a public relations firm that developed clientele in various industry sectors. From crisis communications to political strategy for publicly traded companies, Bonilla established his reputation as an expert that organizations turn to when dealing with crisis, and is the organization’s lead strategist for crisis communications.

In 2019, Rolando returned to public service having been appointed to the San Jose Planning Commission by the San Jose City Council. In 2021, he was elected unanimously as the Commission Chair. Long considered the most important commission in the City of San Jose, the Planning Commission is a quasi-judicial legislative body responsible for adopting and amending San Jose’s General Plan and adopting the City’s land-use regulations. The Planning Commission also acts as an appellate body on Planning Director decisions, and certifies Environmental Impact Reports.

Bonilla serves on the board of the San José Evergreen Community College District Foundation, and enjoys mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs and civic leaders. As a survivor of COVID-19, he founded the East San José COVID Relief Fund providing financial relief to local businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Bonilla has a BA in Politics from the University of San Francisco, and a JD from San Francisco Law School.

Healthcare districts face many potential crises, from financial to reputation management issues. This dynamic session equips you with a proactive toolkit for preventing and navigating these crises. We will examine critical do's and don'ts of strategic public relations, providing actionable strategies for effective media relations, government affairs, and community engagement.

Key objectives:

  • Master Crisis Prevention: Learn how to anticipate potential challenges, develop crisis communication plans, and implement proactive measures to safeguard your district's reputation.
  • Navigate Media Relations: Understand how to communicate effectively with the media during a crisis, smooth the narrative, and protect your district's image.
  • Engage Government Officials: Discover strategies for building relationships with policymakers, advocating for your district's interests, and leveraging government support during a crisis.
  • Foster Community Support: Learn how to engage with stakeholders, build trust, and mobilize community support to weather the storm.
  • Optimize Resources: Gain insights into efficient resource allocation during a crisis, avoiding costly mistakes and maximizing the impact of your response.
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