With an unmatched ability to help organizations develop creative strategies to win support for controversial projects, Ron Gossling built from scratch many of the step-by-step communication models utilized by The Communication Counsel of America, Inc. (CCA) and formed the organization in 1975.
Mr. Gossling developed the company’s consultants’ issue-oriented culture and established CCA’s insistence on straightforward, no-spin strategies when dealing with tough issues. He led the firm’s evolution from its roots in electric utilities to broadly diversified issue areas, including pharmaceuticals, nuclear power, national labs, government agencies, civil/regulatory law, oil, hazardous waste management, demilitarization, and manufacturing.
Mr. Gossling earned his reputation by always being ready to step into the trenches and become part of the client’s team. This enabled him to listen to their problems and develop specific solutions that fit their unique needs, environment, and reputational challenges. And he built CCA’s reputation on the philosophy that continues to guide all of the firm’s actions and advice to its clients:
Tell the truth, even if it hurts.
Be helpful under fire.
Stand your ground where it matters.
By encouraging clients to do the right thing and always be transparent, he changed how people think about challenging issues, how they communicate under fire, and how they incorporate ethical considerations into their decision-making process. His “teach a person to fish” approach prepared his clients for continued success giving them the tools they need to address current difficulties and prepare for future challenges independently.
Before CCA, Mr. Gossling held issue-driven communication management positions with Southern California Edison Co. and Reddy Communications Consulting. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics with a minor in Chemistry from Brigham Young University.
Mr. Gossling was intellectually curious, compassionate, and uniquely witty. His influence is still palpable, as his unwavering character and dedication to truth and ethics is the legacy left behind after passing away peacefully on December 8, 2020.
As President and CEO of CCA, Nancie Poppema leads an elite team of communication experts that prepare and guide organizations to address high-risk controversy and pursue high-stakes opportunities.
In addition to leading the CCA team, Ms. Poppema is the firm’s chief strategist. In this capacity, she uses her deep knowledge of issues and her industry-specific expertise to effectively prepare executives and technical leaders for high-risk, high-stakes situations, including congressional investigations, media interviews, public meetings, contract “orals,” FDA drug approvals, and all types of civil litigation. She regularly works with corporate and institutional clients in crisis management situations, as well as providing long-term strategic guidance and communication-based leadership coaching.
Ms. Poppema is passionate about lifting clients to a higher plane by turning their approach from stonewalling and damage control to “doing the right thing” in tough times. She gives leaders the power to keep their destiny in their own hands using a simple philosophy: Tell the truth, even if it hurts; be helpful under fire; and stand your ground where it matters. This passion and philosophical approach make a permanent impact on her clients’ continued success in high-risk, high-stakes situations.
Ms. Poppema has worked with some of the world’s largest and most successful multi-national corporations, as well as key U.S. government agencies. She specializes in high-stakes, highly technical industries that face demanding government regulations and approval processes, complex scientific data, formidable legal issues, and potentially devastating credibility or reputation pitfalls. She has an extensive knowledge of pharmaceuticals, energy, oil and gas, pipelines, chemicals, defense, and nuclear power, and is continually extending this expertise into new industries that face similarly daunting challenges.
Prior to joining CCA in 1986, Ms. Poppema worked for 14 years as an executive speech coach, speechwriter, and issues specialist for technology-oriented firms. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Rhetorical Strategy and Debate from Ball State University, and a master’s degree in Oral Communication from Arizona State University.
Lorna Greenlee has been an integral part of the CCA team for more than 30 years building and managing the financial and operational aspects of the company. She guides staff development by identifying needed skills, delegating tasks, and motivating project staff to provide outstanding client service.
As the heart of CCA’s strategic operations and infrastructure, Ms. Greenlee keeps the organization running smoothly, and has implemented numerous process improvements at the firm. She has also compiled an impressive track record of high-integrity relationships and appreciative clients, thanks to a strong instinct for clients’ needs and the ability to continually “think ahead” for them.
Ms. Greenlee has the ability to move quickly into problem-solving mode whenever challenges or concerns arise, using her whatever-it-takes approach – along with an extensive background in administration, project management, and finance – to proactively identify and help solve clients’ needs.
Ms. Greenlee’s day-to-day work with clients also includes
Sandy Duhé began her career as a financial analyst in the oil, gas, and chemical industries before transitioning into public affairs management positions responsible for crisis and risk communication, government and regulatory affairs, and stakeholder interactions.
As a spokesperson, strategist, and trusted advisor in both field and corporate environments, Dr. Duhé’s work spans three multinational corporations. Never one to rest on her laurels, she is an accomplished professor and author in corporate communication and public affairs best known for her ability to apply data analytics and business acumen to communication strategy.
Her extensive experience, broad educational background, and approachable, helpful style, enables Dr. Duhé to grasp the big picture, prioritize stakeholders, and anticipate what challenges could be lurking around the corner for clients. Her approach to teaching and consulting aligns well with CCA’s philosophy of telling the truth, putting the point upfront, and preserving credibility.
Dr. Duhé holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, master’s degrees in communication and applied economics, an MBA, and a Ph.D. in political economy.
Michael Graves is a management and communication expert with experience in board revitalization, strategic planning, and leadership coaching. He specializes in invigorating stagnant organizations.
Mr. Graves leverages ethnographic research and strategic facilitation to guide his clients to take ownership of their own strategic initiatives, ensuring his clients maintain a steady trajectory to achieving their goals.
In addition to his coaching and consulting experience, Mr. Graves has served in management and strategic partner positions for international organizations. His experience navigating complex political environments and developing sustainable relationships through online communications brings a unique perspective to CCA’s work. Moreover, Mr. Graves has helped produce international diversity, equity and inclusion conferences, and continues to facilitate diversity and inclusion workshops for multinational organizations.
Mr. Graves holds a BA in corporate communication and public affairs and a BS in religious studies from Southern Methodist University, as well as a master’s in religious leadership from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
John Torpey has extensive experience in engineering, project management, corporate planning and budgeting, and integrated resource planning.
While employed with a major energy company, Dr. Torpey testified in multiple state jurisdictions and has facilitated resource planning stakeholder meetings and technical workshops for customers, regulators, and advocacy groups. Before joining CCA as a consultant, John participated in CCA’s witness communication programs for over ten years and credits our process and methods for his success as a witness and in his interactions with stakeholders.
Dr. Torpey presently serves as an Adjunct Faculty member for several management and energy-related classes at Franklin University. He designed Energy Management, Managerial Accounting, and Sustainability courses for the university and the American College of Education.
John’s understanding of science and engineering; his experience and insight into how people learn; and his natural curiosity and passion to grow makes him a great addition to clients’ projects. His ethics, professionalism, and intellect allow him to fit right in with the CCA team.
John Torpey received his Doctorate in Business Administration from Franklin University; his MBA from St. John’s University, and a Bachelor of Engineering from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He also participated in Executive Education programs at the University of Virginia (The Darden Graduate School of Business) as well as at The Ohio State University. He is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and a Professional Engineer (PE) registered in the State of Ohio.
Jennifer Sutherland has diverse experience in regulatory industries, health care, project management, Lean Six Sigma, corporate teaching and communication. Her corporate coaching experience brings insights into how people learn and the best ways to help build teams within organizations. This skill makes her a valuable member of the CCA team in all our high-risk communication sessions.
She has worked in management and strategic planning both domestically and internationally. While working in the regulatory industry she managed rate case preparation and filings. She worked with witnesses helping to prepare and review testimony to ensure clarity and strategic positions.
Ms. Sutherland holds an MBA and a BA in Finance from California State University. She has a Black Belt in Six Sigma and a Project Management Professional certification. Her experience in Six Sigma brings value when cross-examining witnesses by utilizing the 5 Why’s strategy to get to the root cause or issue.
Stacy Norwood joined CCA in 2016 and uses her multi-tasking skills in the administrative management of CCA engagements. In her multi-faceted role, Stacy performs a variety of administrative functions related to daily operations, such as preparing CCA communication lab materials and coordinating logistical requirements. In addition, she coordinates travel schedules for our consultant team. Ms. Norwood uses her experience with cross-functional teams to provide excellent support to other staff members and CCA consultants.
Prior to joining CCA, Stacy held positions with Nortel Networks and GTE Communications Corporation. She holds a degree in Business Administration from Texas Christian University.
With decades of experience, CCA’s consultants are an elite team of communication experts, each with extensive knowledge and practical skills in their area of specialization. These experts, who we deploy around the world in highly focused teams to address specific client needs, are supported by CCA’s proprietary, time-tested approach to client discovery and issue management.