Melissa Agnes

New York City, New York

Melissa Agnes is a crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection expert. She is best known as the creator of the Crisis Ready Model, a comprehensive method for analyzing and improving crisis preparedness broken down into five distinct phases. Melissa Agnes also authored the book Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, which outlines the principles at play in the model. Following the success of the book, she founded the Crisis Ready Institute, a crisis consultancy think tank, where she serves as the chief executive.

Early life

Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Melissa Agnes attended John Rennie High School in the nearby suburb of Pointe-Claire. Upon graduating, she enrolled in Vanier College in Montreal where she studied economics from 2003 to 2005.



After concluding her post-secondary education, Melissa Agnes began developing an idea for the systematic application of proactive preparation, strategic planning, and effective communication to addressing crises. As time passed, she broke down the processes of crisis preparedness and management into five major phases, labelling them ‘audit’, ‘understand’, ‘identify’, ‘design’, and ‘implement’, which she depicted graphically as a pyramid. Agnes eventually titled her creation the Crisis Ready Model. At its essence, the model is meant to help organizations anticipate, prevent, mitigate, and recover from crisis situations, while simultaneously maintaining the public’s trust and preserving their reputation and credibility.

Agnes was asked to organize, moderate, and contribute to a special panel discussion at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conference in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014. The topic of the discussion was ‘Innovative Communications in a Crisis’.

In 2018, Melissa Agnes decided to translate the Crisis Ready Model into book form, resulting in Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World. Well-reviewed at the time of its publication, it received a significant bump when Forbes named it one of the top ten business books of 2018. The book has since gone on to achieve widespread acclaim in academia, and is now taught in many universities across the world, including Harvard.

As international regard for both the Crisis Ready Model and Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World continued to grow, Agnes leveraged her increasing status to found the Crisis Ready Institute in 2020. The institute, which is a public benefit corporate and crisis consultancy think tank, has a stated mandate of “creating a crisis ready, crisis-resilient world by elevating industry standards”, as well as “providing training and certification programs to professionals that better protect people, brands, the environment, and the economy in times of crisis.” Clients of the institute include healthcare organizations, big tech companies, energy and utility companies, financial firms, government agencies, cities and municipalities, and international nonprofits, among others. Melissa Agnes serves as its CEO.

Peripheral to her work at the Crisis Ready Institute, she is also the editor of the Crisis Ready Blog, as well as the host of the Crisis Ready Podcast, both of which she uses as forums for sharing her ever-evolving insights into crisis preparedness and management.

When not working at the Crisis Ready Institute, Melissa Agnes tours the world giving keynote speeches at professional conferences, nonprofit symposia, and corporate events. She also routinely accepts invitations to guest lecture on crisis management at universities such as NYU, Columbia, and McGill. 

Over the years, Agnes has also made appearances on media outlets like CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business, CNN, CTV News, and Global News as an expert source on crisis management and reputation protection. She has also contributed articles to Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, and been featured in The New York Times.

Since 2021, Melissa Agnes has dedicated a portion of her time to serving on the board of directors of ZeroNow, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. whose mission is to encourage safety in schools. During that same span of time, she has also maintained a seat on the board of trustees of D’Youville College, a private post-secondary institution located in Buffalo, New York. 


Net Worth



Developing the Crisis Ready Model, which has since been adopted by many of the world’s leading corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions.
Being asked to organize and moderate a panel discussion on crisis management and communications at a special NATO conference in 2014.
Writing and publishing Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World in 2018, which was subsequently named one of the top ten business books released that year by Forbes.
Founding the Crisis Ready Institute in 2020.