We all communicate more.
(…and more…and more...and more.)
How do we communicate better?
We have a few ideas.
MICHAEL CHAD HOEPPNER
FOUNDER & CEO
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, and two of the four major 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. Michael has consulted for two presidential candidates, most recently as Senior Communications Strategist for Andrew Yang's 2020 campaign. He teaches his unique approach to communications at Columbia University Business School in the PhD and MBA programs, and coaches the faculty. Michael also volunteers his time and skills, mentoring elementary school students in New York City at the 52nd Street Project, and doing pro bono communications consulting for nonprofits.
Michael has a diverse background in communications, training, and teaching, studying linguistics, theatre, speech, rhetoric, philosophy, and communications at the graduate and undergraduate level. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the prestigious NYU Tisch School, and worked as an actor in film and television, on Broadway, and in international theatre for a decade. 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 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.
A renowned jazz singer and recording artist, Hilary has performed as a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, and around the world at major festivals and performance halls. She has performed alongside music legends Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Michel LeGrand, Nancy Wilson, and Quincy Jones, among others. Hilary received her conservatory training at the renowned Manhattan School of Music.
SENIOR EXECUTIVE COACH/ GK CONTENT DIRECTOR
Shawn has worked in New York City as a creative professional—writing, editing, performing, and teaching—for over twenty years. As a Senior Executive Coach with GK Training, he has helped top professionals in finance, law, pharmaceuticals, accounting, and advertising develop their skills in both written and oral communication. He also coaches PhD candidates at Columbia Business School, helping prepare them to enter the job market. With expertise in individual and group training, Shawn’s coaching practice is personal, tailored, effective, and engaging.
Shawn also serves as the company's Content Director, helping to build customized training programs and deliverables for a wide range of clients, as well as overseeing GK's online footprint.
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 (twenty-three states and counting). Shawn has a degree in English and Theatre from the University of Delaware Honors Program, and is currently enrolled in the Quantic School's Executive MBA program.
LEAD EXECUTIVE COACH
Ben Graney is a Senior Executive Coach with GK Training. Ben has coached a diverse range of clients, from college kids to startup entrepreneurs to lawyers to pharmaceutical professionals. His areas of focus have included teaching artists across the country financial literacy through the non-profit he co-founded, coaching students and professionals across industries on storytelling, content creation, and pitching skills, and coaching Columbia Business School students on their physical and vocal presence. Ben leverages his extensive artistic background to help non-performers excel in vital communication opportunities and high-stakes events.
During his own training at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he studied and learned vocal production, speech techniques, physical presence, and script and story analysis. His artistic training has also enhanced his natural empathy and warmth, which allows his clients to get out of their comfort zones safely, break old habits that aren’t helpful anymore, and create new muscle memory to bring their communication skills to the next level.
As a performer, Ben has been seen on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in regional theaters across the United States, on TV (CBS, NBC, Amazon Prime, Showtime, Paramount+), and in films (Netflix).
LEAD EXECUTIVE COACH
Chiara Motley is a Lead Executive Coach with GK Training, and has an extensive background in coaching and entrepreneurial development. Chiara specializes in professional presence, vocal production, poise, composition, and movement training. She helps her clients determine what they want to present, organize the presentation, and communicate that content effectively, with poise, confidence, physical grace, and clarity. In addition to clients in law and finance, she has coached chefs and restaurateurs, helping them to speak passionately and eloquently about their cuisine, their aesthetic, and their business strategy. As a consultant, Chiara helped The Chef’s Connection develop their online content (video and text) to increase business and website traffic. She continues to work as a performer and voice over artist.
Chiara holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from The National Theatre Conservatory in Denver, CO, and a BA from Stanford University. She is also a graduate of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
LEAD EXECUTIVE COACH
James Seol is a Lead Executive Coach with GK Training. With 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 career levels 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 cultures; effective and efficient interviewing; and transformational feedback delivery.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, James’ acting work includes leading roles for Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theatres, as well as television shows for the USA Network and Netflix. He holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia.
LEAD EXECUTIVE COACH
Cassandra Freeman is a senior executive coach at GK Training, a performing artist, and a teacher. She helps clients improve their communication, team dynamics, collaboration, diversity training, and sales techniques. She taught at Fordham University for close to a decade and spoke as a guest lecturer at prestigious institutions such as Vassar College, New York Film Academy, and Rutgers University. She was the founder of the Kassandra Arts Project (KAP), an organization empowering underprivileged children. Cassandra is an established Hollywood actress and a founding member of Creatricity, revolutionizing the media and entertainment industry. Cassandra earned her Master of Fine Arts from NYU and her BA from Florida State University.
LEAD EXECUTIVE COACH
Sarah Kinsey is a lead Executive Coach with GK Training. She helps top professionals in the pharmaceutical, legal, financial, insurance and advertising industries develop their skills in executive presence and communication, both live and virtual. She brings over fifteen years of experience as a creative professional—singing, performing, teaching, producing, and writing—to her coaching approach and methods.
Before leveraging her skills as a performer and teacher to help professionals in all walks of life communicate more effectively, Sarah spent 10 years teaching Acting for Film, Audition Technique, and Scene Study at New York Film Academy. Her deep background in film and on-camera technique helps her clients navigate the challenges and potential of video communication in our modern, hybrid work environment. She is also an accomplished and classically trained singer, which informs her work with clients on highly behavioral topics such as poise, vocal production, phrasing, composure, navigating mistakes, diction, vocal variety, and more.
Sarah earned her undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance Summa cum Laude at University of Colorado-Boulder, where she was awarded Most Outstanding Graduate of the College of Music. Sarah also holds a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Case Western Reserve University where she graduated with highest honors.
LEAD EXECUTIVE COACH
Rebecca Brooksher is a Lead Executive Coach with GK Training. Her areas of specialty include sales training, executive presence, and core communication skills. Rebecca’s coaching techniques are built on the tools of artistic collaboration: active listening, empathy, moment-to-moment awareness, and improvisation. She helps her clients 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. A New Orleans native, she has traveled across Louisiana teaching professionals and young adults the skills required for creativity and compassion in leadership. She also teaches life skills and works as a mentor at The ICC home for children.
A graduate of the Juilliard School, Rebecca also has a busy career as a performer. She has acted on and off-Broadway, on stages all over North America—including Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center—and on TV (ABC, CBS, NBC, USA, Showtime). She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Arkansas.
LEAD EXECUTIVE COACH
Ahmad Maksoud is a lead Executive Coach with GK Training. He specializes in empowering his clients to achieve authentic delivery and audience engagement through all aspects of spoken and written communication. His extensive background in public speaking, writing, vocal pedagogy, and a decade-long career in performance enriches his communication teaching and coaching capabilities.
He works with varied audiences across a wide range of communication challenges: from examining stage presence, vocal production and breathing technique while leading Broadway workshops for students, to coaching teams of doctors and nurses through the implementation of communication protocols and healthcare workflows at Epic Systems, the nation's leading healthcare software company. Ahmad strives to practice what he preaches, demonstrating his own executive and stage presence moderating panels for the WeAre Foundation, and developing a dynamic narrative in his own sold out solo cabaret performance of Nasty Little Sweet Tooth at Green Room 42.
On stage, Ahmad performed as an original cast member in the 10-time Tony winning Broadway musical The Band's Visit and received a Lucille Lortel nomination for "Outstanding Lead Actor" for his performance in The Public's The Visitor. He has been seen on television and at regional theaters across the country. He continues to produce his own solo theatre and independent film work.
He graduated from Northeastern University and holds an M.F.A. in Acting from the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.
SENIOR ON-CAMERA SKILLS COACH
Dan Shadwell is a media expert who helps companies and executives navigate on-camera communcation—including messaging, strategies, and tactics for on-camera interviews. Dan’s expertise is founded on 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.
CONSULTANT: PROGRAMS & PEDAGOGY
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 a founding faculty member at Avenues: The World School. In addition to his consulting work with GK, Drew has recently helped startups Vindigo, Zingy, and Rave Wireless improve their customer relations, and assessed new hire soft skills at PwC. He spent ten years on the faculty of the Vassar College/New York Stage & Film Powerhouse Training program, and has led workshops throughout the country at both the graduate and undergraduate level, including at the American Conservatory Theatre, the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater, and the University of Denver.
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. Drew holds his MFA in Acting from New York University, and a dual degree in Public Policy Studies and Drama from Duke University.
Matt Seidman was a long-time GK friend and collaborator. He was essential in developing GK’s methodology for writing training, and his intellect and sensibility pervade much of what we do. As an undergraduate at Stanford, Matt studied marine ecology, linguistics, and sociobiology at Stanford University. 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. After receiving a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Washington, Matt made his way East.
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. Intelligentsia continues that mission today.
Matt Seidman lost his life in September of 2018, at the age of 45, and he is greatly missed.