Meet the Crisis Experts 

We’re crisis experts and experienced professionals with decades of experience and deep expertise in strategic communications, print, journalism, risk management, marketing, social media, website development, media relations and public affairs, cyber security, branding, investor communications, change management, crisis and reputation management, training and coaching.  ICM experts are available at a moment’s notice to provide support for virtually any issue.

Over the years, ICM and its team of crisis experts have provided communication planning, training and consulting services across scores of industries and virtually every kind of crisis.  Our work spans much of North America and several overseas locations.

Crisis Experts at the National and International Levels

ICM has forged a strategic partnership with the Unified Strategies Public Relations international network to supplement our consulting staff. As a charter member of USPR, ICM’s strategic partnership enables us to deliver additional on-site consulting support and expertise across virtually every major market in the US and several international locations.

ICM Senior Consultants are crisis management experts in their industries, each with more than 20 years’ executive experience. 

Deborah HilemanSCMP

President and CEO

A crisis expert and globally certified strategic communication management professional (SCMP), business leader, coach and consultant with more than 30 years’ experience in public and private companies and non-profit organizations, Ms. Hileman has led high-performing communications and marketing teams in health care, manufacturing, insurance and financial services, nonprofits and higher education. Her most significant areas of expertise include strategic communications planning and reputation/crisis management, media relations, change management, employee engagement and communication training.  She is a FEMA-trained NIMS incident commander with experience as a national EMS public information officer during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), Dean (2007), Ike and Gustav (2008).

Known as a voice of calm in chaos and crisis, Ms. Hileman has earned a reputation as a trusted strategist and advisor to board members and C-suite executives, operations leaders and other organizational stakeholders.  She has developed and implemented successful communication strategies for numerous business issues, including mergers and acquisitions, controversial development projects, bankruptcies, natural disasters, labor strikes, criminal prosecutions and federal civil investigations, workplace violence, executive malfeasance, investor litigation, wrongful deaths, harassment and abuse investigations, among others.

A regular writer and blogger on business communication topics, she is the author of “Building Resiliency Through Employee Crisis Communications Strategies,”published in The Book of Crisis Management, Vol. 10, PRNews Press, May 2020;  “Building a Crisis Early Warning System by Empowering Employees to Speak Up”, published in The Book of Employee Communications Strategies & Tactics, vol. 5, PR News Press; and “Attorneys as Allies: Balancing Stakeholder Needs with Legal Concerns During a Crisis”, published in The Writer’s Guidebook, Vol. 2, PR News Press. Additionally, she writes a regular column, “The Crisis Hot Zone” for PRNews’ Crisis Insider.

Ms. Hileman lives and works in South Bend, Indiana. An avid proponent of lifelong learning, she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Purdue University, and has completed post-graduate studies in public administration at Indiana University and executive business education programs at the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Virginia and the University of Denver.

Ms. Hileman is involved with several community and professional organizations, including the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators, where she serves on the Executive Board. She was the 2017-18 chair of the Global Communication Certification Council, an international accrediting body for communications professionals.

Sean Clancy

ICM Vice President, Business Development/ Senior Consultant

Industry Specialty: Manufacturing

Concurrent with Sean being an ICM senior consultant, he is president and managing director of Evolving World Communications, a Charlotte, NC-based communications agency.  ICM clients benefit from Sean’s 20+ years as a chief communications strategist and advisor to the President/CEO and senior leadership teams of global FORTUNE 500 companies.  His knowledge and tactical proficiency stems from guiding the C-suite through such public policy, major crises and change management issues as:

  • Multi-billion dollar merger integrations;
  • The lingering aftermath of the Bhopal, India chemical accident;
  • Asbestos litigation;
  • Global tobacco industry litigation and settlement;
  • Security & Exchange Commission and Internal Revenue Service investigations stemming from Sarbanes-Oxley compliance issues;
  • National Labor Relations Board investigations and hearings;
  • Class-Action Shareholder litigation;
  • Child cancer cluster related to Illegal chemical dumping;
  • Environmental releases during chemical plant operations;
  • Chemical plant explosions; and,
  • Workplace fatalities.

Applying knowledge as a former state and federal lobbyist, he created and executed a consolidated media relations, government affairs & community relations strategy that netted a chemical manufacturer three federal permits to incinerate liquid hazardous waste, including the first such permit granted in U.S. EPA history.

A former award-winning print journalist and credible, articulate corporate spokesperson, Sean coached senior executives for high profile interviews on 60 MINUTES, DATELINE, FRONTLINE and scores of other significant print & electronic placements.  During his tenure with the National Safety Council, Sean designed and led grassroots campaigns that culminated in 50 states passing legislation mandating automobile front-seat safety belt usage and later, rear-seat child safety seats for infants and developing children.

A U.S. Air Force veteran, Sean earned a B.S. in Public Relations from Northern Illinois University and has completed the Program on Negotiation at MIT-Harvard University Law School and coursework in Content Strategy for Professionals from Northwestern University.

Mary Ann Freeman, Ed.D., APR

ICM Senior Consultant

Dr. Mary Ann Freeman’s professional experience includes working for the Departments of Energy, Defense, State, Justice, Interior, and Agriculture, as well as the Science Applications International Corporation.  Her background in negotiations, communications, change management, and international relations provides critical expertise to successfully advise management and employees through a myriad of complex situations. As a valued member of our team of crisis experts, she has a background in communications management for defense, environmental, and scientific research issues.

She is a former U.S. diplomat Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. State Department with experience in Latin America and a former U.S. Air Force Officer with experience in Europe, Asia, and North America.  She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

Dr. Freeman is an experienced Communications Advisor and former spokesperson for Secretary of Energy regarding energy policy and emerging energy technologies. She tracked and analyzed media and legislation issues nationwide to provide preventative and contingency communications planning for the Department of Energy (DOE).  While at the DOE, she hosted international press conferences, developed trade media contacts, conducted press interviews with print, television, radio, and internet coverage, trained executives in preparation for media interviews and Congressional hearings, and facilitated stakeholder outreach.

Dr. Freeman holds a D.Ed. from Pepperdine University, an M.A. from Redlands University, and a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America.

Christopher Garland 

ICM Senior Consultant

Industry Specialties:  Medical Device, Biotech, Pharmaceuticals
Christopher leads ICM’s Medical Products sector group following his experience leading Medtronic’s $11bn Cardiac and Vascular Group. Prior to that, Garland led communications for Wyeth’s biopharma business unit where he spearheaded the historic Fen-Phen recall. He also worked with Merck to develop a comprehensive communication announcing the settlement of the Vioxx litigation and led communications for Medtronic’s largest recall and subsequent litigation following the Sprint Fidelis defibrillation lead recall.

Ray Hutchins

Senior Cyber Security Advisor

 

Over the span of a wide-ranging career, Ray Hutchins has acquired extensive experience in a variety of businesses and industries and has bootstrapped and successfully sold several companies – including the sale of a chain of primary care medical centers to HCA. All of his previous businesses were built around an IT core, and in order to make those businesses succeed, Ray had to master the IT side of things.

Today he leads two cyber security companies – CyberCecurity (CC) and Data1Qbit (D1QB).

CC provides comprehensive cyber security solutions to medium-sized companies and their boards of directors. D1QB is a nationally significant cyber security start-up focused on intelligence gathering related to cyber security companies and products.

Ray Hutchins is a rare commodity in our digital economy. He is an experienced, CISSP-trained IT and business executive who seamlessly straddles both the corporate and cyber security worlds. He guides the technical and business teams as they fight the front-line cyber security battles that are part and parcel of today’s corporate landscape.

Erin Dullaghan Jones

ICM Senior Consultant

In addition to her role as Senior Consultant and trainer with ICM, Erin Jones is the Founder and CEO of in.Mode Marketing LLC, a Louisville-based communications firm where her 20+ years’ experience and in-depth knowledge of the ever-evolving world of modern-day marketing is distinguished.  Her expertise in crisis communications, PR, marketing, social media strategy and event marketing has attained outstanding awareness of, and proven results for, her diverse client base which encompasses a myriad of fields that include the Kentucky horse industry, consumer goods, public utilities, as well as a number of philanthropic organizations.

Erin’s corporate experience includes Broadcast Coordinator and Press Officer of the ESPN X Games at ESPN, Inc.; Kentucky Derby Festival, Inc. where she served as the Director of Publicity and Communications Manager; Whole Foods Market IP. L.P. as Louisville Regional Marketing Specialist; and Director of Sales at Metromojo, LLC. Her firm’s business partners include the American Saddlebred Horse Association; Donate Life: Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates; Education Associates, Inc.; Facilities Management Services pbc; the Louisville Water Company and Louisville Water Tower Park; Maryhurst; Poplar Ventures; SKYPAC Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center; and Thorntons LLC, among others.

​She is a charter member of USPR (Unified Strategies Public Relation), an international network of public relations and marketing communications professionals, in which she represents the Commonwealth of Kentucky. An accomplished speaker, Erin also has an impressive resume of public speaking engagements at keynote marketing-related events throughout the U.S.

Dan Larson

ICM Senior Consultant

Industry Specialty: Energy/ Oil & Gas

Dan is a communications professional with three decades experience in corporate public affairs and independent journalism. His early career as a reporter and editor developed journalistic skills that serve him well today. His “inside the tent” experience at multinational energy companies provides insight into the dynamics of large organizations, the key roles and qualities of leadership.

Dan has led Joint Information Center operations and worn the Public Information Officer vest, or parka as the response required. He has provided crisis response media and stakeholder training for executives, operations managers and field techs.

A regular correspondent for industry trade publications, Dan’s articles appear in American Oil & Gas Reporter, Shale Play Water Management and Bakken Oil Report magazines. He has been invited to speak at industry events, community forums and tribal conventions.

Dan chaired the communications committee at state and regional trade groups, testified before legislative panels and developed briefing materials for industry lobbying efforts. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, the Denver Press Club and Denver Petroleum Club. In 2013, Dan was awarded an Outstanding Career Achievement in Public Affairs Award from the Western Energy Alliance.

Maxine McBride

ICM Senior Consultant

Industry Specialties: Real Estate and Development, Transportation, Oil and Gas

In addition to her role as an ICM Senior Consultant, Maxine is founder and president of Clockwork Marketing Services in Jacksonville, Fla.  She has been providing effective public relations, media relations and community campaign services for leading companies for 25 years. Her dedication and visionary contributions set her apart as one of the most respected marketing and public relations CEOs in the region.

Maxine is known for her skillful and instinctive advice in challenging situations. She calmly implements and executes strategic plans to provide crucial messaging, both internally and externally. She has tremendous expertise in media relations, including close working relationships with journalistic and industry publications.

Maxine is a sought-after industry expert and has served as a keynote speaker for local, regional, state and national programs.  She has received numerous honors including being named as a Woman of Influence, a First Lady in Florida Housing and People to Know in Florida. She is involved in the community as an active leader including Leadership Jacksonville, JAXUSA Partnership Business Development Committee, JAX Chamber Trustee and former Board Member, founding member of the Urban Land Institute North Florida, the Monique Burr Foundation for Children and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Jon Pushkin

ICM Senior Consultant

Industry Specialty: Health Care

Jon is president of Pushkin Public Relations and a senior consultant with ICM. His candid, proactive approach to public relations has made him one of Denver’s most widely respected PR practitioners. Jon is a past chair of the Independent Practitioner’s Alliance of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and a past president of the Colorado Chapter of PRSA.  He is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by PRSA and his work has been recognized with awards from PRSA, Colorado Healthcare Communicators and the American Marketing Association.

Jon has deep experience in health care public relations and crisis communication.  He has designed and implemented dozens of successful integrated strategic communications programs including: Mission Driven Careers, a primary care workforce recruitment campaign for Colorado Community Health Centers; Checkoff Colorado, a groundbreaking, collaborative, statewide public awareness campaign for the charitable funds on Colorado’s tax checkoff program; Be Stroke Smart, a national public awareness campaign for the National Stroke Association; Beat the Bug, a flu shot awareness program for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; Suspect Sepsis, a public education campaign about a leading cause of hospital deaths; and GettingUSCovered, a new Colorado health plan for uninsured people with pre-existing conditions.

Larry Smith

Crisis Expert & ICM President Emeritus 

Larry is a master communicator when it comes to managing crisis. He has 50 years’ experience in the news and public relations business—as a former television news director, press secretary to a Senator, and newspaper editor, and works with executives of organizations seeking to minimize the negative public reaction to a business crisis.

Larry also helps organizations be prepared for a crisis by developing proactive crisis communications plans, and leads many of ICM’s workshops and custom leadership training programs, including the ICM Crisis Certification course.  His expertise and history with ICM has been instrumental in identifying trends and contributing to the ICM Annual Crisis Report.  Larry joined ICM in the mid-90s as a Senior Consultant and was president of the company from 1999-2012.

Are you a crisis management professional with senior level experience?

Consider joining the ICM team.  Contact us to learn more about our firm and consulting opportunities. 

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