MICHAEL CHAD HOEPPNER
Michael Chad Hoeppner is the Founder and CEO of GK Training, a firm dedicated to giving individuals, companies, and organizations the communication skills to reach their highest goals in work and life.
WORKING WITH MICHAEL
Michael Chad Hoeppner is the Founder and CEO of GK Training, a firm dedicated to giving individuals, companies, and organizations the communication skills to reach their highest goals in work and life. Michael has worked with some of the world’s most influential companies and leaders, across a wide range of industries, universities, and professional sectors. His corporate clients include: three of the top eight financial firms in the world, 45 of the AmLaw 100, and multinational tech, pharma, and food and beverage companies. He teaches his unique approach to communication at Columbia Business School, in both the MBA and PhD programs.
As an individual coach, Michael assists clients in every aspect of their communication: public speaking, business development, executive presence, interpersonal agility, handling Q&A, speech writing, email etiquette, and more. His individual coaching clients include varied professionals at the peak of their industries: US Presidential candidates, deans of Ivy League business schools, three of the managing partners of the 25 largest global law firms, 13 of 32 senior equity partners at one of the oldest private banks in America, founders of asset management firms with $60B+ under management, CEOs of SASS companies with multi-billion dollar valuations, heads of international arbitration organizations, founders of technology start-ups from inception to exit, field officers of international peace keeping organizations, and visionaries in various fields, including the innovator who coined the term cloud computing, the most successful venture capitalist in the US for one 5 consecutive year period, and senior board members of the Special Olympics.
Michael advised presidential candidates in the 2016 and 2020 US President races, including his role as senior communications strategist and debate coach for the Andrew Yang 2020 Presidential campaign. He also works with political aspirants at the beginning of their careers, including pro bono work for Vote Mama, an org that supports mothers with young children seeking first-time public office.
His background in communication, training, and teaching is diverse and rich, having studied linguistics, theatre, speech, rhetoric, philosophy, and communications at the graduate and undergraduate level. His work in professional communications started two decades ago with achieving his Master of Fine Arts degree from the perennial top-three MFA acting program in the US, NYU’s graduate acting program -- where he studied with the preeminent vocal and performance teachers in the country. After NYU, Michael enjoyed a prolific first career: playing on Broadway twice, including working with stage legends like Nathan Lane; touring nationally to 30+ US states and Bermuda; performing internationally, including at the 2009 European Capital of Culture; guest star spots on prime-time network television; and roles in independent film. His passion then evolved, shifting to launching his first and still primary entrepreneurial venture, GK Training. As head of GK, Michael developed his unique, proprietary approach to communications training over a decade plus, which utilizes kinesthetic learning and embodied cognition to unlock rapid and lasting behavioral change.
Beyond his primary role as founder and head of GK Training, Michael dedicates time to mission-driven orgs focused on sustainability and a pro-business approach to solving humanity’s most dire environmental challenges, including work with WWF, TPL, and climate focused accelerators like SOSV’s Climate Tech 100 and the NYU Urban Future Lab. He is a founding member of the start-up accreditation org Climatewise, a non-partisan organization focusing on driving consumer engagement on climate issues.
Michael’s written communication teaching, coaching, and production -- though not as far reaching as his work in spoken communications -- is equally varied. This includes: stump speeches and debate openers for Presidential candidates; keynote addresses for venture capitalists, op-eds for celebrities and public figures (with pieces placed in publications like the Washington Post and Time magazine); investor pitch decks for start-ups; and nuts and bolts writing work like copy editing and proof reading for over 25 NYC-based publications in his just off-the-boat early side hustle when he first moved to NYC in 2000. building the TED-talk style keynote for the world’s largest environmental NGO;
Michael’s work in academia at Columbia University spans disciplines. In addition to teaching in the MBA and PhD programs at the business school, he designed the curriculum for Columbia business school’s PhD dissertation defense spoken communication course and training programs for the law school; one of the GK online courses he designed is integrated into the Executive MBA summer curricula; his proprietary kinesthetic learning drills are featured in the curriculum of communication courses in the Management Division; and he has coached over 25 members of the business school faculty. In a bit of foreshadowing, one of his first jobs after college was copy editing for the Columbia National Arts Journalism program.
As a builder and designer, Michael has created a suite of over 40 proprietary kinesthetic drills to address stubborn communication challenges like excessive filler language, lack of eye contact, slouching, and talking too fast with innovative tools that activate embodied cognition and avoid the thought suppression trap.
He is the primary architect and visionary of GK Training’s: online training academy, which features 40+ total hours of asynchronous online courses; interactive practice app Question Roulette (iOS and android); and Virtual Reality training tool, Genuine Dojo. The technology tools he designed are currently used by diverse clients ranging from US state insurance rating boards, cybersecurity software firms, global pharmaceutical brands, and asset management firms with $140B AUM. Hoeppner is currently working on a book that distills his approach and methods for a broad, global audience, as well as a v2 of the Question Roulette app, which is a tool for teaching social fluency to autistic and neurologically atypical teens and tweens.
As a thought leader, Michael is one among the growing chorus of voices identifying the link between the physical aspects of spoken communication and health and wellness.
Michael attended Dartmouth College and Colorado College, and graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in History and Philosophy. Michael received his MFA from NYU.