we all communicate more.
(…and more…and more.)
How do we communicate better?
We have a few ideas.
MICHAEL CHAD HOEPPNER
Michael Chad Hoeppner is the CEO and founder of GK Training, a firm dedicated to giving individuals, companies, and organizations the communications skills necessary to reach their highest goals in work and life. Michael assists his clients in every aspect of their spoken communication — from public speaking and business development to executive presence and interpersonal agility. His corporate clients include Swiss Re, Xerox, Computer Associates, Pfizer, NYU Stern School of Business, as well as three of the top eight global financial firms, 45 of the Am Law 100 international law firms, and two of the four US professional sports leagues. His personal clients include Fortune 100 C-suite executives, managing partners at international legal and financial firms, and founders of global companies. He has consulted for two US presidential candidates and is currently Senior Communications Strategist for the Andrew Yang 2020 presidential campaign. He teaches his unique approach to communications at Columbia University Business School in the PhD and MBA programs, and coaches the faculty.
Michael comes from a rich and diverse background in communications, training, and teaching. He studied linguistics, theatre, speech, rhetoric, philosophy, and communications at the graduate and undergraduate level. He received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from the prestigious NYU Graduate Acting Program, and worked as an actor in film and television, on Broadway stages, and international theatre for a decade. He also volunteers his time and skills, teaching and mentoring elementary school students in New York City at the 52nd Street Project, and doing pro bono communications consulting for non-profit organizations. Michael attended Dartmouth College and Colorado College, graduating cum laude and phi beta kappa with a B.A. in history and philosophy.
Hilary Kole is the Vice-President of GK Training and Communications and has been a Lead Executive Coach for the past five years, with an expertise and emphasis on vocal production and live performance techniques. She trains executives and directors from major corporations around the world, including New York’s top financial and accounting firms, international law firms, leading health care and pharmaceutical companies, and technology industries in presentation, meeting skills, sales training, and interpersonal business skills. Hilary received her conservatory training at the renowned Manhattan School of Music.
She has performed as a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, and around the world at major festivals and performance halls as a renowned jazz singer and recording artist. She has performed alongside music legends Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Michel LeGrand, Nancy Wilson, and Quincy Jones among others. Hilary uses her years of experience as a professional vocalist to help clients improve their vocal and physical presence, master nerves, and execute with consistency, spontaneity and authenticity.
Shawn has worked in New York City as a creative professional—writing, editing, performing, and teaching—for over fifteen years. As an Executive Coach with GK Training and Communications, he has helped top professionals in finance, law, pharmaceutical sales, accounting, and advertising develop their skills in both written and oral communication. With expertise in individual and group training, Shawn’s coaching practice is personal, tailored, effective, and engaging. As a writer and editor, he has worked in magazines (Departures, Food & Wine, Real Simple) and book publishing (Scholastic, Penguin), as well as developing original material for the theatre (Here, 45 Bleecker, Connelly Theatre, 3LD). An accomplished stage actor, his work has been seen in New York and across the country (sixteen states and counting). Shawn has a degree in English and Theatre from the University of Delaware Honors Program.
Chiara Motley is a lead executive coach with GK Training, and has an extensive background in coaching and entrepreneurial development. She began in the field as a personal coach, and now works with GK, consulting with clients in the fields of law and finance. In her individual coaching, Chiara specializes in professional presence, vocal production, poise, composition, and movement training. She helps her clients determine what they want to present, how to organize the presentation, and how to communicate that content effectively, with poise, confidence, physical grace, and clarity. Chiara holds a Master of Fine Arts from The National Theatre Conservatory in Denver, CO and a BA from Stanford University, where she was awarded the Evelyn M. Draper Prize for Performance and graduated with distinction. She is also a graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. As an undergraduate at Stanford, Chiara studied English, composition, and linguistics, as well as theatre. In addition to her work as a communications consultant, she has a background in ballet and contemporary dance. Her approach to teaching is informed by her own career in the arts. Chiara is a performer and voice over artist. She has appeared in several commercials, voice overs, and performed on stages across the country. Chiara has led workshops for Seattle Shakespeare Company and the Denver Center’s Education Program, and has coached performers, businesspeople, and entrepreneurs. As a consultant, Chiara helped The Chef’s Connection develop their online written and video content to increase business and website traffic. She has coached chefs and restaurateurs, helping them to speak passionately and eloquently about their cuisine, their aesthetic, and their business strategy.
James Seol is a Lead Executive Coach with GK who has extensive professional experience in the United States and abroad. He has worked with many of the world’s leading IT firms, law firms, and financial institutions. With a particular emphasis on practicable, experiential learning in group and one-on-one settings, he guides clients at all levels of management towards more facile, specific and dynamic communication. As a coach, his areas of specialty include sales training, presentation strategy and execution, influencing skills across diverse populations and cultured, effective and efficient interviewing and transformational feedback delivery.
Ben Graney is a lead executive coach with GK Training. As a teacher, Ben has taught personal storytelling workshops at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, MT. His storytelling workshops enable people to dig into their experiences and share stories from their lives with honesty, commitment, and presence. Ben also teaches for the Artists Financial Support Group (AFSG), a non-profit that he co founded. Ben has taught the AFSG’s signature workshop, the Student Loan & Budgeting Workshop, around the country at places such as NYU, Yale, and Ithaca College. Ben is also an accomplished performer and writer, having been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theaters around the United States, and on TV (CBS, NBC, Showtime). Ben received a B.A. from California State University, Long Beach and an M.F.A. from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
John has been a speech and communications coach for the last 15 years, working with a wide variety of ages, backgrounds, and professions. He has consulted for competitive public speaking and theatrical performance with high schoolers across the US, for effective sales strategies and public speaking with students at Columbia Business School, and to help cultivate stronger executive presence and one-on-one communication for leading legal and financial professionals. John earned a BFA from The Juilliard School and an MFA from Brooklyn College, where he’s also taught writing and literature. His approaches to training stem from our connection to breath, in order to optimally use the vocal instrument, be present in the moment and able to improvise, listen, and cultivate genuine interactions and relationships. In addition to this John has also worked as a teaching artist with top regional theaters and local non-profits, serving underprivileged and refugee youth by developing inter-disciplinary arts-based curriculum to help break the cycles of poverty and foster a smoother cultural adjustment, while encouraging personal growth.
Matt has been teaching writing skills and written expression for nearly twenty years. As an undergraduate at Stanford, he studied both linguistics and literature. Throughout his time in Palo Alto, Matt tutored extensively; following graduation he taught writing and the humanities in Bay Area private schools, then made his first forays into corporate communications coaching. Upon his arrival in New York, Matt founded Intelligentsia, Inc., an enterprise dedicated to providing exceptional individualized education for all intellectual levels, from elementary to executive.
Inspired to assist companies in creating integrated linguistic identities, Matt has spearheaded Intelligentsia’s joint corporate training approach with GK Training. Matt oversees the linguistic component of a comprehensive program for corporate communications. His work guides companies through the process of articulating corporate vision, establishing voice and vocabulary, and training employees and executives to write with clarity and confidence.
Adam Koplan, an Atlanta-based executive coach, trains Fortune 500 executives, attorneys, physicians, academics, and non-profit leaders on “persuasive moments” – from keynotes to pitch meetings to Powerpoint decks. Beyond longer-form speeches and presentations, Adam also draws on years of live radio experience to help others improve their on-air interview skills, making their delivery natural, authentic, and on-message. His coaching career exists alongside a busy career as writer/director for stage and screen. Across fields, Adam promotes a good story, well told—and in his integrated approach to communication training, he coaches both what you say and how you say it. As a director and playwright, his work has been performed internationally and across the country, at venues including The Atlantic Theater, Lincoln Center, and Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts, and Theatrical Outfit. He makes monthly appearances on the radio, most notably as guest contributor on arts and culture on WABE 90.1, Atlanta’s NPR affiliate. As a screenwriter, Adam is a proud member of the Writer’s Guild of America and is currently under contract with Twentieth Century Fox Animation.
Dan Shadwell is a media expert who coaches companies and executives with their on-camera skills—including messaging and strategies and tactics for on-camera interviews. Dan’s expertise is based in a prolific career across media platforms, including more than 15 years as a news anchor and reporter at various CBS, NBC, and FOX affiliates across the country, including those in San Diego and Indianapolis. He has created, produced, and hosted a wide variety of interviews and news segments that have taken him all over the world and put him face-to- face with world class musicians, writers, directors, actors, politicians, scientists, and entrepreneurs. In 2011, Dan co-founded a direct-to-consumer multimedia company that anticipated the convergence of TV and internet programming and viewer interactivity. Dan also created, developed, and produced television ad campaigns, including one of the longest-running series of commercials in Denver. He now draws on those varied experiences to help others improve their on-camera skills making their delivery more natural and compelling.
Cassandra is a performing artist, teacher, and consultant who works in diverse worlds: acting in Hollywood, volunteering in Africa and the US, and teaching and facilitating for corporations and universities. In her work as a consultant, Cassandra teaches communications skills, team building, collaboration, diversity training, sales training, and more. She is a popular speaker and is frequently a moderator of panels. As a facilitator and trainer, she helps individuals and organizations transform how they communicate by channeling their own strengths and creativity.
Cassandra is the founder of the Kassandra Arts Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to empower disadvantaged children by helping them to unlock their creativity. KAP’s most recent programs focus on working with young people in Rwanda.
In addition to her work in the business and non-profit sectors, Cassandra is also an established actress with credits in Hollywood and New York. On the big screen, she had major roles in Chris Rock’s I Think I Love My Wife and Spike Lee’s Inside Man, where she starred alongside Denzel Washington. She has also appeared on television on The Good Wife, Numb3rs, and Queen Latifah’s Single Ladies. She is an alumnus of Florida Sate University, received her Masters of Fine Arts from New York University, and currently teaches at Fordham University at Lincoln Center.
Drew is a teacher and coach specializing in linguistic precision, spoken delivery, and text analysis. He works as a consultant with GK Training while maintaining a full-time position as Head of Grade for the Class of 2019 and a founding faculty member at Avenues: The World School. As a consultant, some of Drew’s most recent assignments include helping teams at Silicon Alley start-ups Vindigo, Zingy, and Rave Wireless improve their customer relations, and assessing soft-skills for new hires at PwC. He brings deep experience in teaching, coaching, and performing to the GK team. He spent ten years on faculty for the Vassar College/New York Stage & Film Powerhouse Training program, having designed and implemented their text analysis curriculum, in addition to directing productions of As You Like It, Julius Caesar, and an all-female Romeo & Juliet. Prior to joining Avenues, Drew spent three years helming the Greek Festival for the Dalton School, guest lectured on Shakespeare in practice at the Pingry School, and was a teaching artist for the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice in Brooklyn, where he directed an adaptation of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Drew co-lead a Classics seminar in Greek Theatre at Wesleyan University, and he’s led workshops throughout the country at both the graduate and undergraduate level, including the American Conservatory Theatre’s MFA program, the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA program, and the University of Denver’s BA program. As a performer, Drew has been seen at theaters around the country, and he can be heard alongside Sir Derek Jacobi, Orson Welles, David Tennant, and Adrian Lester on the Sourcebooks Shakespeare editions of Julius Caesar, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as on the Folger Theatre’s recording of Richard III as the titular monarch. Drew holds an MFA in Acting from the NYU, and a dual degree in Public Policy Studies and Drama at Duke University.
Bianna Golodryga is anchor for Yahoo News and Finance. Prior to joining Yahoo in August of 2014, she served as the co-anchor of “Good Morning America’s” weekend edition. She was named co-anchor in April 2010, and under her leadership, GMA Weekend moved into the #1 rated Saturday morning network news show. Golodryga has interviewed President Clinton, chief executive officers, former Secretaries of State and Treasury, financial titans including Warren Buffett, box office and music celebrities, and was the first U.S. journalist to interview Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – the father of the Boston bombers – in his native Russian tongue.
Golodryga joined ABC News in July 2007, initially covering the economy and business beat before being promoted to GMA Weekend anchor. She reported extensively on the automobile, housing and credit crises, and the financial crisis. She was also responsible for the network’s digital media and social networking coverage during the 2008 Presidential election.
Rebecca Brooksher has extensive experience working with individuals to enhance and hone their leadership skills. As a coach, her areas of specialty include sales training, executive presence and core communication skills. Her techniques as a coach are built on the tools of artistic collaboration – active listening, empathy, moment-to-moment awareness, and improvisation – to dramatically improve her clients’ ability to navigate 1-on-1 interactions with power, poise, and grace under pressure. To help them shine in larger settings, she coaches clients in the art of adaptation and listening, thereby enabling them to increase their intuitive skills and boost the power of their presence. A New Orleans native, she has traveled across Louisiana teaching professionals and young adults the skills required for creativity and compassion in leadership. She teaches life skills and works as a mentor at The ICC home for children.
In addition to her work as a communications and leadership consultant, Rebecca – a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard school – has a busy career as a performer. She has acted on stages all over North America—including Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center—in films and television shows such as The Good Wife, Canterbury’s Law and Ugly Betty.