Cynthia Pike-Fuentes, Lecturer, is the president of Image Makers, Inc. – a marketing and communications consulting company dedicated to helping clients drive business objectives through strategic communications. As a senior-level business communications consultant and writer with more than 20 years of demonstrated achievement in corporate communications and corporate reputation management, Pike-Fuentes serves a blue-chip roster of clients including the Allstate Corporation, Allstate Foundation, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Grainger Corporation, Advocate Health Care, Harris Bank, Rush University Medical Center and the American Red Cross. Her strategic communications offerings include executive speechwriting, media relations, internal and change management communications, integrated marketing communications and business communications strategy.
Prior to establishing her consulting practice, Pike-Fuentes served as the system director of communications for Oak Brook-based Advocate Health Care – one of the five largest integrated healthcare systems in the U.S., and Chicago’s second largest private employer. In this position, she was responsible for managing internal and external communications, including crisis communications and executive communications for the Advocate system, which operates more than 200 sites of care in the Chicago area, including eight hospitals.
Previously, Pike-Fuentes served as a vice president and managing director in the corporate practice of Hill and Knowlton, Chicago, where she managed corporate reputation and positioning for the Allstate Corporation – one of Hill and Knowlton’s 10 largest global clients – including crisis and litigation communications, sports marketing, marketing communications, environmental issues and public affairs. She also served on the agency’s national crisis communications, media relations and internal branding teams and worked with a variety of clients including Motorola, Baxter International, Compaq, Isle of Capri Casinos, Caterpillar, Ford Motor Company and the Stryker Corporation.
Prior to joining Hill and Knowlton, Pike-Fuentes was director of U.S. Strategic Communications for Arthur Andersen, where she served as executive consultant for the U.S. Managing Partner. During that time she developed practice-wide internal and executive communications systems and was a senior member of a strategic positioning team responsible for the company’s inclusion on Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.”
Before joining Andersen, Pike-Fuentes served as issues communications consultant for Chicago-based Unicom/ComEd (now Exelon Corporation) where she managed media relations and crisis communications projects. During this time she served as a spokesperson on a wide variety of high-profile national and local media issues including deregulation of the electric utilities industry in Illinois, crises in system reliability and its effects on business in the City of Chicago, acrimonious labor relations, and merger integration communications. She also led a team that designed communications to educate employees and the media about the effects of deregulation in the electric utilities industry, and served as a communications counselor and speechwriter for several senior executives including the CEO and Vice Chairman.
She also managed media relations for the Home Health Division of Advocate Health Care, where she served as spokesperson on industry trends including the growth of managed care in Illinois and the resulting effects on Medicare reimbursement and outpatient services. She was also a key member of the system’s crisis communications and integrated marketing and business development teams.
Earlier in her career, as principal of Cynthia M. Pike & Associates, she counseled senior executives at Whirlpool Corporation, Advocate Health Care and Budget Rent a Car, and handled corporate communications and marketing communications at McDonald’s Corporation, Landis & Gyr and KitchenAid.
She also worked for seven years as a correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Herald (third largest daily newspaper in Illinois), the Middlesex News (suburban Boston), and the Boston Phoenix, and served as a special projects and public affairs producer at the CBS affiliate in Boston. She began her career at WLS-TV/Chicago, where she assisted reporters and producers in the field.
Pike-Fuentes is a recipient of the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Silver Trumpet Award and received internal recognition for marketing and communications projects at Arthur Andersen and Advocate Health Care. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has completed graduate studies in Communications at Emerson College in Boston. She has contributed pro-bono public relations counseling for the Junior League of Chicago, the American Red Cross and the Heartland Alliance for Human Rights.
Pike-Fuentes is a member of the PRSA and the Internal Communications Roundtable of Chicago. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago.