C4CS® - Leaders in Strategic Communication and Crisis Management

C4CS® Principals & Advisers


A native of Berlin, Germany, Mr. Schmidt has more than 25 years of consulting, training, and executive coaching experience in the areas of strategic communication, crisis management, and organizational leadership. He speaks multiple languages and has lived and worked in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Mr. Schmidt routinely advises business leaders including CEOs and members of the board of directors 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 and change communication, issues and stakeholder management, and reputation and crisis management.

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.


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® has included immediate on-the-scene response to a variety of crisis incidents as well as ongoing strategic communications advice and media and crisis communication training for senior managers.


Anne Linaberger is a results-driven communicator with more than 30 years of professional experience in journalism and strategic communication, as well as volunteer experience in non-profit marketing, community relations, and public relations.

A successful manager and leader with a proven track record of identifying target audiences, devising and implementing effective communication strategies, and leading teams, Anne's outstanding communication skills and client focus enable her to produce excellent results.

Anne has spent more than 20 years at KDKA/WPCW-TV, the top-rated CBS owned and operated television stations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, including eight years as News Director, managing a staff of more than 100 professionals and multi-million dollar operating and capital budgets. Over the course of her career, Anne has served in other management and on-air roles at various television and radio stations, including as a reporter, anchor, and executive producer. Her wealth of knowledge and deep journalistic experience is put to good use as Anne works with clients across industries and geographies providing high level consulting, training, and executive coaching services. 


A distinguished senior executive with more than 30 years of experience as a CEO, president, and COO in the media and communications industry, Mr. Pepe is highly skilled in change management, crisis management, issues management, media relations, employee communication, and crisis communication. He is also very experienced in operations, restructuring, strategic goal setting, marketing, and sales. Mr. Pepe has been very successful in helping companies create and implement strategic plans as well as develop and execute effective internal and external communications. In addition, he has deep expertise in devising and implementing strategies and tactics to increase revenue generation, improve operation efficiencies, and optimize internal processes.

Another area of Mr. Pepe's professional strength is executive coaching and mentoring. One-on-one executive coaching sessions include helping senior managers improve their interpersonal communication and media skills, broaden their perspective on all aspects of company operations, evolve into ever-increasing cross-functional roles, and most importantly, improve overall P&L performance while driving a competitive advantage.

Prior to joining C4CS, Mr. Pepe served as COO for Civitas Media in Davidson, North Carolina, and as President of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before that. His media and communications career also includes senior leadership positions with Scripps Howard, Pulitzer, Howard Publications, and Gannett Co, Inc.


John Buckman is an accomplished international marketing and communications consultant, having worked with clients in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. He now serves as a Senior Consultant for C4CS®.

His clients, both emerging and large established companies, have been drawn from the information and publishing industries, life sciences and healthcare technology, financial services, manufacturing, and environmental remediation, among others.

Buckman offers a demonstrated expertise in crafting initiatives that help clients achieve strategic marketing and communications goals. His work has included managing PR/external and internal communications programs, developing campaigns for corporate realignments and product launches, and much more. He also works with clients to develop content for online and social media outreach and supports senior executives with speech writing and investor and employee communications.


As a seasoned business, marketing and strategic communication professional, Cynthia Cavendish-Carey has developed a specialty in reputation management and crisis preparedness planning throughout her career. She has a proven track record of building highly differentiated brands for global, national and regional clients, helping them to effectively navigate and manage business challenges and positively impact the bottom line. Cynthia possesses broad experience with developing unified crisis management plans, tools and scenario-based crisis readiness tests including tabletop exercises and war games, as well as developing communications for brand protection and reputation management purposes.

Cynthia's background includes senior strategic communication and marketing positions with large financial services companies such as BNY Mellon/Standish Asset Management, FHL Bank Pittsburgh, Federated Investors, and U.S. Bank. Additionally, Cynthia has worked with a variety of corporations across other sectors, including sports management marketing ranging from local sports teams to the university levels. Further, she has provided strategic marketing as well as communications for the Eco Product Group, All-Clad, Snyder’s Snack Company, Disruptive Robotics, Blue Belt Technologies, and many more. Her experience has also been brought to bear for non-profit organizations such as the Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre, the Women and Girls Foundation, and Strong Women, Strong Girls.

Throughout her career, Cynthia has built dynamic business, marketing and strategic communication plans, implementing them successfully to add profitable scale for organic growth. She possesses a keen understanding of the mergers and acquisitions arena and managing organizational change, having led or participated on teams that integrated over $24 billion in assets under management. Her expertise also includes deep experience in analyzing her clients’ competitive landscapes and using this information and research to craft differentiated positions for their markets and businesses.


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.


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 (1999).

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 command.


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. Schmidt counsels management teams in the areas of 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 senior managers in conflict resolution and leadership.

Since 2006, Mr. Schmidt has been teaching at several universities and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Berlin, Germany. He regularly makes presentations to professional groups and has published several academic and professional articles.

Mr. Schmidt studied in Berlin, Germany; Salamanca, Spain; and Pittsburgh, USA and holds a Master’s degree in Business Communications Management. Prior to starting at C4CS®, Mr. Schmidt spent several years working in finance and real estate management in Berlin.