MICHAEL CHAD HOEPPNER
PRESIDENT & CEO
“One of the great blessings of my life is that I get to watch people — practically every day – discover that the lifelong habit they thought doomed them to repeat the past forever, can be changed, and changed far faster than they think. People believe there’s something wrong with them because they… talk fast, for example. There’s nothing wrong with them. They just haven’t learned the how.”
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.
Michael assists clients in every aspect of their communication: public speaking, business development, executive presence, interpersonal agility, Q&A, speech writing, email skills, 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, founders of asset management firms with $100B+ under management, 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 a consecutive 5-year period, and senior board members of the Special Olympics. Michael advised US democratic presidential candidates in the 2016 and 2020 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 NYU’s graduate acting program, studying with many of the preeminent vocal and performance teachers in the country. After NYU, Michael enjoyed a prolific first career as a professional actor: playing on Broadway twice, including working with stage legends like Nathan Lane; touring to 30+ US states; performing internationally, including at the 2009 European Capital of Culture; guest starring in prime-time network television; and originating 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, an approach that utilizes kinesthetic learning to unlock rapid and lasting behavioral change. In that work he has created a suite of over 40 proprietary kinesthetic drills to address stubborn communication challenges like excessive filler language, lack of eye contact, slouching, talking too fast, and more with innovative tools that activate embodied cognition and circumvent thought suppression. Now entering its second decade, GK Training has clients in 43 industries across five continents.
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 the PhD program’s capstone communication course focused on entering the job market, as well as Executive Presence programs for the Law school. One of the GK online courses he designed is integrated into the Advanced Management Program summer curricula. His proprietary kinesthetic learning drills are featured in the curriculum of communication courses in the Management Division. He has coached over 15 members of the business school faculty. And in a bit of foreshadowing, one of his first jobs after college was copy editing for the Columbia National Arts Journalism program.
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. 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, aimed at teaching social fluency to autistic and neurologically atypical teens and tweens.
Michael’s accomplishments in written communication — though not as far-reaching as his work in the spoken word — is equally varied. It includes: stump speeches and debate openers for Presidential candidates; op-eds for celebrities and public figures (placed in publications like the Washington Post and Time Magazine); plenary sessions at NGO conferences; investor pitch decks for start-ups; and nuts-and-bolts editorial work like copy editing and proof reading for over 25 NYC-based publications when he first moved to NYC in 2000.
Beyond his primary role as founder and head of GK Training, Michael dedicates time to mission-driven organizations focused on sustainability and non-partisan approaches to solving humanity’s most dire environmental challenges, including work with WWF, the Trust for Public Land, and climate-focused accelerators like SOSV’s IndieBio and the NYU Urban Future Lab.
As a thought leader, Michael is one among the growing chorus of voices identifying the link between the physical aspects of spoken communication and broader issues of 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.