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Deborah Hileman, SCMP

Deborah Hileman, SCMP is President and CEO of the Institute for Crisis Management (ICM), a consulting firm specializing in crisis management and communications planning, training and consulting services.  Founded in 1990, ICM provides expertise and support to public and private companies, non-profit organizations, education and religious institutions and other organizational clients in North America and across the globe.


 A globally-certified strategic communication management professional (SCMP®), business leader, coach and consultant with 35 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, reputation and crisis management, change management, employee engagement, media relations 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 the midst of chaos and crisis, Ms. Hileman has earned a reputation as a trusted communication 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, bankruptcies, closures and layoffs, natural disasters, labor strikes, controversial development plans, criminal prosecutions and federal civil investigations, workplace violence, executive malfeasance, investor litigation, wrongful death, harassment and abuse investigations, social media attacks and cybercrime, among others.


A regular writer and speaker on business communication topics, she is the author of “Attorneys as Allies:  Balancing Stakeholder Needs with Legal Concerns During a Crisis”, published in the Writer’s Guidebook, Vol.2, PR News Press; "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 "In a Snap: 15 Tips for Faster, More Effective Employee Communications in a Crisis", published in The Book of Crisis Management Strategies and Tactics, Vol. 8, PR News Press.


Ms. Hileman lives and works in the South Bend, Indiana area. An avid proponent of lifelong learning, she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Purdue University and a post-graduate certificate in public administration at Indiana University. She has completed executive education programs at the University of Denver, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Stanford University and the University of Virginia. 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 is a member of the International Executive Board. She is the Past Chair of the Global Communication Certification Council.