PRINCIPALS & ADVISERS
A consultant for more than twenty years, Mr. Buckman has developed and implemented successful communications initiatives for corporate clients in North America, Europe and Australia. He understands how the power of communications helps management achieve strategic goals and has the skills and experience to put that power to work for the client's success.
Mr. Buckman is highly skilled at messaging and positioning. A former journalist, he is a Golden Quill-winning writer and communicator with a diversified portfolio of high-quality work across various media (print, e-marketing, Web management, and more). He also is adept at harnessing the tools of Web 2.0 to foster collaboration, enterprise knowledge sharing and ongoing community building with customers, employees and other stakeholders.
Mr. Buckman has been particularly successful in helping companies leverage both external and internal communications as a platform for organizational change. He has worked with both established and emerging companies in such industries as manufacturing, information technology, content/publishing, life sciences and health, transportation, and financial services. Examples of Mr. Buckman's client work include:
Implemented a social media strategy for an online tutoring company that has created new channels to reach and influence school administrators, teachers and students across the U.S.
Supported a global chemical company's initiative to improve workplace quality and individual zeal. Mr. Buckman produced a magazine-style corporate publication with profiles of the client's employees in a number of different business units and regions. The project involved interaction with senior management worldwide.
With its growth through large acquisitions, a well-known financial services giant faced the challenge of creating a "One Enterprise" corporate culture. Mr. Buckman developed a North American communications program that reached more than 80,000 employees and cultivated a shared vision for the company.
Reporting directly to the CEO, Mr. Buckman helped a pioneering aggregator of online news and research cast an outsized shadow worldwide through innovative marketing and public relations. Mr. Buckman helped bring to market the first online business intelligence service geared toward a mass audience and built strategic alliances including in Australia, China and Europe.
In the fast-changing IT and knowledge-services arenas, a leading online research retrieval provider used in more than 100 countries perceived that its reputation did not accurately reflect the company's innovation and new product development successes. Mr. Buckman managed a worldwide media relations campaign, involving numerous outreach efforts in major domestic and international markets.
Another area of Mr. Buckman's professional strength is crisis communication. For a client that transports hazardous chemicals and waste byproducts, for example, Mr. Buckman was on the team activated, according to the company's crisis management plan, to manage ramifications from an overturned tanker truck and possible leakage of toxic materials. Another client, a manufacturer of medical diagnostic equipment, was the subject of incorrect reporting from a newspaper concerning the safety of one of its products. Because of the viral nature of online news, the company was concerned that the misinformation published by the newspaper would influence customers and regulators, and indeed one competitor did relay the news on to its customer base. Within hours of original publication, Mr. Buckman had prepared a management statement that was distributed online and a CEO letter that was e-mailed to customers one business day later. He also worked with the CEO on direct outreach to key trade press editors and the company's major investors. Mr. Buckman also briefed the offending newspaper's editors, leading to a published retraction.
Prior to becoming a consultant, Mr. Buckman worked in New York City as director of marketing for PR Newswire, a news release distribution service, and as a communications manager for Union Carbide. As a business writer, Mr. Buckman has been published widely, including producing special sections for Fortune, Forbes, Business Week and other publications. For many years, he wrote a column for a British magazine, Investor Relations, about technology and its impact on capital markets and investing.
Mr. Buckman started his career working for Time magazine in Washington D.C., London and Johannesburg and later also reported for South Africa's The Financial Mail. He grew up in Western Pennsylvania, did his undergraduate work at The George Washington University and graduate work at The London School of Economics. Mr. Buckman has been involved in numerous community and professional groups, including board membership at the Software and Information Industry Association. He and his family now live in Pittsburgh.
Dianne L. Chase
An accomplished media, journalism and public relations professional with profound expertise in various communication disciplines, most notably crisis communication, Ms. Chase is also an experienced issue and reputation management consultant, media trainer, presenter, and writer.
Ms. Chase’s broadcast journalism career includes positions throughout the Carolinas as news director, anchor, and reporter at the top news radio stations. She is the winner of numerous local, state, regional, and national broadcast news awards and past Executive Editor of ‘North Carolina Police Officer’, the official publication of the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police.
A graduate of the University of Tennessee, the Asheville, NC native was the founding partner of two media relations consulting firms. Ms. Chase has broad experience in helping companies of all sizes deal with the informational needs of the media and other important stakeholders. Her work for C4CS, LLC has included immediate on-the-scene response to crisis incidents as well as ongoing strategic communications advice and media and crisis communication training for senior managers.
Ms. Chase is currently serving as Global Vice Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (iabc.com) and past Chair of IABC’s Southern Region (iabcsouthern.com), which is the largest region within IABC. Chase also currently serves on the board of the Charlotte Chapter of IABC and is three-time past president of IABC Charlotte in North Carolina. In addition, she is a long standing member of the board of the Radio-Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas (formerly the Radio-Television News Directors Association of the Carolinas) and was the first woman elected President, serving two terms as head of the news professionals’ organization.
Awards and honors include: 50 Influential Women (Mecklenburg Times); 2000 Notable American Women; National Associated Press Broadcasters Enterprise Award; Bishop Fulton J. Sheen Award; IABC Charlotte Volunteer of the Year; South Carolina Associated Press Best Newscast.
Ms. Chase has served as adjunct professor at UNC-Charlotte, Winthrop University, the University of Bucharest, Romania, and Knoxville Business College.
Gideon For-mukwai, CEM
Gideon For-mukwai is an award-winning speaker and the author of the best-selling book, “The Science of Story Selling, How to Win Hearts and Minds for Profit and Purpose.” His book has been featured in the Boston Globe, Wall Street Select, and several other media outlets in Asia and North America.
As a consultant, speaker, and workshop facilitator, Mr. For-mukwai has conducted programs for public and private companies in about 20 countries in Europe, Africa, North America, and Asia. His current flagship training program is “Engage Before You Persuade: The Power of Transformative Storytelling in Crisis Readiness.”
Earlier in his career, Mr. For-mukwai served in leadership positions within the Singapore Civil Defense Force. In his last position, he was a senior instructor charged with training hundreds of officers from the police, fire service, narcotics, and navy from Singapore and 17 other countries from across Asia and Central America.
Mr. For-mukwai was the first person to earn the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) designation outside of North America. He founded the Asia Council of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), served as the President of the International Council, and was a member of the Certified Emergency Managers Commission for both the U.S. and the Asia/ Oceania Councils. His core strength is his ability to simplify complex subjects with the use of narratives by leveraging latest research from psychology, neuroscience and social science to engage and persuade disenfranchised and alienated stakeholders that pose a serious threat to emergency readiness.
A graduate of the Interactive Media Master’s Program at the Reynolds School of Journalism (RSJ), University of Nevada, Reno, Mr. For-mukwai is an expert in digital communication with an emphasis on social media communication and crisis management. He helped develop an e-Learning course on “Harnessing the Power of Social Media in Crisis Management” which C4CS® conducts in collaboration with The International Consortium for Organizational Resilience (ICOR).
Mr. For-mukwai has written peer reviewed articles that appeared in academic and professional publications including Continuity Insights and Disaster Recovery Journal. He is fluent in four international languages.
R. Freitag, APR, Fellow PRSA
Dr. Freitag is a professor with the Communication
Studies Department, College of Arts and Sciences,
the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He
teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in public
relations, and has held this position since August
1998. He also advises the university's chapter of
the Public Relations Student Society of America.
UNC-Charlotte is one of 16 campuses of the
University of North Carolina system, and has a
student population of 20,000. The Department boasts
nearly 1,300 majors and minors.
He earned an associate in applied science degree in
television production and direction from the
Milwaukee Area Technical College (1971); a bachelor
of science degree in radio, television and film from
the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh (1973); a master
of arts degree in business administration and public
administration from Webster University, St. Louis,
Missouri (1977); and a Ph.D. in mass communication,
specializing in public relations, from Ohio
University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Freitag retired in 1995 as
a lieutenant colonel after 22 1/2 years of service.
During that time, he spent nearly 10 years in Europe
and two years in Hawaii. He began his career as a
navigator aboard C-130 Hercules aircraft, then
entered the public affairs career field. He served
in advertising and publicity for Air Force
recruiting, on the operations staff of the American
Forces Network - Europe, as director of public
affairs for a U.S. air base in England, with Air
Force legislative liaison in Washington, D.C., as
director of media relations for the Strategic
Defense Initiative Organization at the Pentagon, as
director of media relations and press aide to the
Supreme Allied Commander for NATO's military arm
headquartered in Belgium, and as assistant director
of public affairs for the Air Force's Pacific
His military duties included direct public affairs
involvement in the return of the U.S. hostages from
Iran in 1980, the raid on Libyan terrorist
facilities in 1986, and the invasion of Panama in
1989. During three critical years with NATO,
Freitag was closely involved with Alliance media
activities surrounding the reunification of Germany,
the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw
Pact, the restructuring of NATO's military, the
opening of NATO to Eastern Europe, the Russian coup,
the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, and NATO's
involvement in the Gulf War.
Civilian experience includes production and
direction work in public and commercial television
prior to his Air Force service, and teaching courses
in journalism and public relations during his
three-year doctoral program at Ohio University, as
well as serving as faculty adviser to the school's
Public Relations Student Society of America chapter.
He is a member and officer of the Association for
Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, for
whose national conventions he has presented several
research papers. He is also a member of the Public
Relations Society of America and serves as faculty
adviser to UNC-Charlotte's student chapter. He also
holds memberships with the SHAPE Officers
Association (NATO), the Air Force Association, the
Armed Forces Broadcasters Association, and the
Retired Officers Association.
His work has been published in Journalism and
Mass Communication Quarterly, Journal of
Public Relations Research, Journal of
Communication Management, Public Relations
Quarterly, Newspaper Research Journal,
Airman, and Asia-Pacific Defense Forum.
Professional military courses completed include Air
War College, Air Command and Staff College, Squadron
Officers' School, the NATO Officers' Course, the
Senior Public Affairs Officers' Course, the
Broadcast Managers' course, the Public Information
Officers' Course, and the Air Force Communications
Dr. Stefan Lütgens
Dr. Stefan Lütgens looks back upon a career of more than 20 years in professional communications, with leadership positions in media and public relations, corporate communications, corporate and public affairs. Since the mid 1990s his primary focus has been on issues management, crisis management, and crisis communication.
Dr. Lütgens has gained broad expertise in leading cross-functional and cross-cultural teams. He is experienced in project management, in particular in developing and implementing change initiatives that rely upon new communication tools, processes and systems.
Dr. Lütgens earned both a master's degree and a doctorate in Communication Science from the University of Salzburg in Austria. He began his professional career as a public relations consultant with Ketchum in Munich and subsequently worked in the global public relations strategy department at BMW world headquarters before moving on to the post of Head of Corporate Communications of Brose Group, a global automotive supplier, based in Coburg, Germany.
In 2000, Dr. Lütgens joined the German business of Kraft Foods in Bremen where he established Issues Management within Corporate Affairs, re-launched the consumer relations department and served as media spokesperson on the German crisis management team. He then was promoted to Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs with Kraft Foods
International (KFI) in London. This role included responsibility for the KFI issues & crisis management system, re-launching the international crisis management manual, leading trainings for country crisis teams and coordinating crisis communications across Europe. Additionally, Dr. Lütgens developed and headed the media training program for KFI spokespersons in Europe, Asia, Africa and Central/South America.
In 2005, Dr. Lütgens became Senior Manager of Global Public Affairs / Issues Management at Kraft Foods´ European Union Public Affairs office in Brussels. Reporting to senior management at Kraft Foods world headquarters in Chicago, he had a key role in developing Kraft´s global issues management process and led its implementation across Europe. He monitored emerging issues in the EU, developed corporate positions and set up a global online resource for issues communications. Through coordinating Kraft representatives in industry associations across Europe and serving as representative on several EU working groups, Dr. Lütgens also gained valuable insights into the complexity of trade association work in Europe.
Following his eight-year career with Kraft, Dr. Lütgens returned to Germany to become Director of Corporate Affairs & Communications for Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in Cologne.
In 2008, Dr. Lütgens moved to Hamburg to start his own consulting business, leveraging his expertise in advising clients, both domestic and international, on strategic communications, issues management, and crisis management. Since early 2009, Dr. Lütgens has partnered with C4CS, LLC to exchange professional expertise and to create synergies in consulting and training services around the globe.
Dr. Lütgens has been a guest lecturer at universities in Germany and Austria as well as a presenter and author. In 2001, his doctoral thesis on issues management received the “Scientific Award” from the Public Relations Society of Austria (PRVA). His book “Issues Management” was recognized as one of the first specialized books on this topic in Germany. Dr. Lütgens is co-founder of an issues management working group of leading European companies that is today known as the German Issues Management Society (IMAGE). He is also a member of the Working Group on Crisis Communication and Issues Management within the German Public Relations Society (DPRG), a member of the Issue Management Council (IMC), and a member of the Federation of German Spokespersons (BdP), the Hamburg Press Club and the Public Relations Club Hamburg.
Born and raised in Austria, Dr. Lütgens has lived in several European countries and gained work experience in more than 30 countries across Europe, North America, the Middle East, and Africa. He is a strong believer in the value of cultural diversity and speaks German and English fluently. In his spare time he enjoys travelling, reading and spending time with family and friends. While his golf handicap is still lousy, he is, however, a passionate skier preferably exploring black runs in the Austrian Alps and the Rocky Mountains.
Joey C. Popp
A professional broadcast journalist with over 20
years in television and radio news, Joey Popp uses
realistic interview techniques to help build media
and spokesperson skills for our corporate, not for
profit and government client partners.
Mr. Popp’s career includes both journalism and
public relations. In the early 1980s, he left a
stint with an Atlanta network affiliate to undertake
a new and exciting adventure. As Director of
Communication for the 1982 World’s Fair, Mr. Popp
was interviewed by hundreds of newspaper, radio and
television reporters from around the globe. In this
role, he added to his talent for covering the news
the ability to effectively work with the news media
as a PR professional.
Following the conclusion of the World’s Fair, Mr.
Popp returned to broadcast journalism in Charlotte,
NC. As an investigative and medical producer with
WBTV, the CBS affiliate, he quickly gained
recognition for his award-winning work. A member of
the NC Radio Television and Directors Association,
Mr. Popp conducted numerous memorable interviews and
wrote and edited many groundbreaking investigative
pieces. In addition, he produced “Doctor-On-Call”,
one the first local television news segments devoted
to medical research, which quickly became a
respected feature on WBTV news.
Mr. Popp then moved on to WLOS, the ABC affiliate in
Asheville, NC, where he worked as a general
assignment reporter, reporting “live” about many
breaking stories and providing in-depth coverage of
the area’s judicial system. He also filled in as
co-anchor of the station’s highly rated Morning News
before joining the NBC affiliate, WCNC, in
Charlotte. For WCNC he reported “live” from many
crisis spots and prepared breaking news stories from
the station’s mobile newsroom. Always stable and
unflappable before the intensity of the cameras,
Popp was a highly recognized and popular member of
the News6 team.
In 1996, Mr. Popp left full-time journalism to
pursue an independent career. In his role as Senior
Partner and lead media trainer at
he has since worked with hundreds of individuals who
routinely praise him as an outstanding mentor and
Together with his wife Catherine, Mr. Popp also
produces television and radio segments and places
advertising with various broadcasting media. In
addition, he continues to work as a TV journalist
with WTVI, hosting the popular weekly one-hour
call-in program “Healthwise”.
An avid sports fan, in his free time Mr. Popp can be
found at Bank of America Stadium cheering the
Carolina Panthers, pulling for the Charlotte
Bobcats, or broadcasting from various high school
football games where he occasionally provides both
play-by-play and color commentary.
A native of Berlin, Germany, Mr. Schmidt has more than 20 years of consulting, training and coaching experience in the areas of strategic communication, crisis management, and organizational leadership under his belt. He speaks several languages and has lived and worked in North America, Europe and Asia.
Due to his international background, Mr. Schmidt possesses a rare sense for cultural differences and their role in multinational corporations. He is capable of both quickly assessing complex business issues and guiding a comprehensive response while providing culturally diverse client partners with a depth of understanding and competence.
Mr. Schmidt routinely advises business leaders including the CEOs of large corporations regarding high stakes business problems. On the consulting end his focus is on working with domestic and international client partners in the areas of crisis and risk communication, employee communication, litigation communication, media relations, social media, issues management, and reputation and crisis management.
In confidential executive coaching sessions Mr. Schmidt helps senior managers improve their interpersonal communication and public speaking skills as well as achieve greater intercultural knowledge and reach a better understanding of what it takes to be a successful leader. This holistic approach is not only geared toward enhancing verbal and physical delivery, but also at learning how to win over audiences and becoming a more confident and effective leader.
Mr. Schmidt is frequently invited to make presentations and conduct management trainings. He has addressed professional audiences in several dozen countries on topics ranging from crisis and risk communication to issues management, business continuity planning, and leadership coaching. While he often speaks at conferences that focus on corporate communication, Mr. Schmidt has also been invited multiple times to speak at the World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM). His most recent WCDM workshops were on Effective Use of Social Media in Times of Crisis and Effective Risk Communication in Times of Crisis.
A global affiliate of the Center for Global Public Relations (CGPR) at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Mr. Schmidt has been active in a number of professional organizations including the Association of Contingency Planners (ACP), the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), and the German Public Relations Society (DPRG). He is currently serving as a member of the Global Affairs Committee within the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).
Mr. Schmidt possesses a Master's degree in Communication Science and Business Administration and has been a guest lecturer at universities in several countries. A Friedrich Naumann scholar, Japanese Foreign Ministry fellow and recipient of a Fulbright Grant, Mr. Schmidt has been interviewed by various industry and mainstream media and contributed to trade and peer reviewed publications including The Business Communicator, Communication World, Continuity Insights, Disaster Resource Guide, and PR Week.
In his free time Mr. Schmidt enjoys biking, swimming and soccer with his wife and his children. His interest in learning about and exploring foreign cultures has turned him into a fan of travel literature. An avid fly fisherman, Mr. Schmidt can be found wading the streams feeding Lake Erie, preferably going after steelhead.
Philipp Schmidt has a Master’s degree in Business Communications
Management and studied in Berlin, Germany; Salamanca, Spain; and
Pittsburgh, USA. After graduation, Mr. Schmidt took a position as
Corporate Communications Officer involving close collaboration
with marketing and organizational development, and he also gained
insight into human resources and nonprofit management. Prior to
his studies, Mr. Schmidt worked in finance and real estate
management in Berlin, Germany.
Mr. Schmidt counsels small and medium-sized businesses on
organizational development, process and structure management,
brand process management, digital leadership, change management, human resources, and corporate communication.
He also provides media training and coaches managers in areas
such as conflict resolution or leadership.
Since 2006, Mr. Schmidt has also been teaching at several
universities and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Berlin,
Germany. His subjects include organizational development and
human resources. He makes presentations to professional groups
and has published several academic and professional articles.