Great journeys require great guides. When you journey to become a great communicator, you need to explore with someone who understands the commitment, knows the course, and sees the possibilities. You need to work with someone who will lead you where you want to go and inspire you to go even further. That’s the kind of guide you’ll find at Speakeasy.
As full-time members of our staff, our instructors and consultants are dedicated to teaching, learning, and doing. You'll benefit from their expertise and personal coaching. And you'll benefit from the insight they've gained as they continually advance through new thresholds on their own communication journeys. Get to know the people who can help you become a more powerful communicator.
Alexis Holman, M.A.,CCC-SLP
Alexis Holman discovered Speakeasy by reading the sign on our Atlanta office building. Wondering what kind of company this was, did some Internet sleuthing, and found her next job. A fully qualified speech-language pathologist, she says, “I love facilitating getting people from point A to point B – knowing that I’ve helped someone and seeing the impact of that.” She also loves meeting new people all the time. She says, “I thrive on that and never get bored.”
It’s easy to believe there’s no room for boredom in the way she lives. She’s captain of a women’s recreational league basketball team in Atlanta and works out regularly. With all that exercise she can afford her favorite indulgence – Haagen-Dazs ice cream – coffee flavor, please. But Alexis’ life is more than sports and ice cream! She loves to read works of wisdom and personal philosophy and cites books by C.S. Lewis and the memoir Tuesdays with Morrie. She fulfills her philanthropic passion for youth through service work with her sorority.
Alexis is well traveled. She enjoyed a trip through Europe with her high school French club. She’s also had some wonderful vacations in St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Barthélemy, Hawaii, Toronto, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Now shedreams of visiting Greece – especially Santorini because it looks so beautiful on Pinterest.
Alexis holds a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from the University of Georgia and a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from the University of Memphis. In ten years of experience, she has worked in private practice with pediatric and geriatric populations in homes and day cares in Charlotte, N.C., and in schools, clinics and assisted living facilities in Atlanta, GA. She’s a licensed speechlanguage pathologist in Georgia, clinically certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is also certified in Compton’s accent modification. At Speakeasy she coaches clients on speaking style and voice.
Bill Mackinnon, M.Ed., Ed.S.
Bill would make an ideal dinner companion. He’s a lively and knowledgeable conversationalist. He’s interested in a wide variety of subjects. Most of all, he’s interested in you. Perhaps these are skills he learned through his education in counseling and psychological services, or through his extensive work conducting instructional seminars in business, university and agency settings. Or maybe they come naturally and he’s devoted his career to enhancing them.
Speakeasy believes in connection in communication, and Bill is a great example of connection in action. You’ll quickly feel that he’s tuned in to you, to your needs and your goals. And this connection energizes you toward positive change. He brings another skill that helps you move forward. A colleague describes it as an ability “to express his thoughts in verbal images that you can quickly relate to.” With Bill’s help, you see your goal more clearly — and move toward it more quickly.
As a Senior Faculty member Bill delivers all of our programs and has been with Speakeasy for over 20 years. He holds Masters and Ed.S. degrees in Counseling and Psychological Services and is a member of the Association for Talent Development and the American Counseling Association, and chairs Speakeasy’s New Curriculum Committee.
There isn’t a halfhearted, sleepy, or disinterested bone in Collins body. He is both highly professional and deeply in earnest. He’s the sort of listener who surprises you with how much he remembers and how quickly he’s able to size up the special challenges of your particular circumstances. Collin asks probing questions and specializes in the art of coaching clients to give substantive answers.
Collin knows the world of television journalism inside and out. He’s collected some twenty-five awards for his writing, producing and on-air talent. These include the Columbia University-DuPont Award, a dozen regional Emmy awards and a National Daytime Emmy as well as awards from the American Film Festival, the Scott Newman Foundation, the National Education Association and the International Film Producers Association. He founded Dystar Television, Inc., producing documentary programs for domestic and worldwide syndication. Collin spent five years as head of the Documentary Unit for Gannett Broadcasting, producing news specials for all of the Gannett stations in the nation. Before that he was an on-air reporter for WXIA-TV, a reporter at the Hearst station in Milwaukee and reporter/anchor at the ABC affiliate in Green Bay, Wisconsin. For ten years Collin was Senior Vice-President of Production for the CWK Network, Inc, a multi-media company producing news stories, documentaries and web-based resources for more than fifty stations in the U.S.
Collin is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University. He began working as a consultant for Speakeasy in 1988 and is currently delivers private coaching as well as leading a number of our content and style programs.
Doris Bucher, M.Ed., M.P.S., CCC-SLP
Nearly 30 years experience with Speakeasy clients. A widely respected voice coach, who has worked with a boxing champion and a top CNN foreign correspondent. Holder of two masters degrees. That’s Doris. If you just looked at her experience and expertise, you might be a little intimidated. This is a real pro. But once in her presence, any intimidation you might have felt melts away. Learning becomes fun. At her direction you’re not even afraid to do things that seem a little silly at first.
Perhaps the most important element in Doris’ biography is her love of the theater. As an accomplished actress and director, she has a great love and respect for “play,” and she understands how some very serious purposes can be accomplished through it. In Doris’ skillful hands, you recover some of that love of learning you had long ago. You stretch a little further. You try a little harder. You have fun. And you succeed.
She holds a Masters in Speech Pathology from Emory University and a Masters degree in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola University in New Orleans. As a Distinguished Faculty member, Doris delivers all of Speakeasy’s Style-Impact Programs and private coaching. She has been an instructor with Speakeasy for 37 years, and she is a clinically certified member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association, a member of the Georgia Speech and Hearing Association, and of Zeta Phi Eta, a national honorary society for outstanding women in speech.
Doug’s title is Speakeasy’s Senior Vice President of Positioning Strategy. That means he insures that our communication and physical environment accurately reflect our corporate image and values. He also provides instruction, private coaching, and design and consulting services to Speakeasy’s clients on presentation content and visual support issues, and heads all design efforts delivered through our Visual Communication Group. He brings to this multi-faceted role a background in graphic, advertising, architectural and interior design, and the processes he uses in working with Speakeasy’s clients are derived from over thirty years of experience in developing communication through all of these mediums.
To his colleagues Doug has another title: adventurer – curious about cultures and creatures, especially marine creatures. (Check out the skull of the 350-pound Loggerhead turtle in his office.) This curiosity feeds his creativity. You can depend on Doug for that unique solution, that combination of colors, textures, shapes and images that will make your concept “real.”
But Doug also knows that any visual communication must serve a clear message. So this adventurer doesn’t set off to explore the visual possibilities until he’s clear on what they need to accomplish. What’s exciting is that he takes you along, whether in workshops or private sessions, teaching you how the process works. With Doug as your guide, you feel equipped for your own exploration.
Doug received a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a Bachelor of Architecture from Auburn University. He heads our Visual Communication Group, and as a Senior Faculty member, heads our Content-Impact curriculum. He serves as Chair for our Core Curriculum Committee and has been working with Speakeasy on communication and content planning issues for almost 30 years.
Hannah Baker Hitzhusen
Hannah has an amazingly multifaceted personal history. For instance, languages… English is her mother tongue, but she speaks fluent French having lived close to Paris for three non-consecutive years as a child. To that solid language base she’s added what she describes as “halting Dutch.” Take her pursuit of a goal. When she studied art history at Rice University in Houston, she won a paid internship at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC – working with the curators of the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit.
She spent 17 years in marketing research exploring consumer insights, and her first mentor in that field remains her model for effective facilitation. As a result, Hannah doesn’t think of herself as a teacher as much as a person who helps others make discoveries. She is fascinated with people’s behavior and motivations, and is driven to help people achieve personal mastery.
Her kids are her biggest passion. She will tell you she’s “rearing grownups.” Her family loves to bake together; ask her about challah, mango cake, or banana bread with chocolate chips. She also enjoys reading, writing, and talking on the phone—especially landlines.
Hannah anchors the faculty in Speakeasy’s Amsterdam office, teaches ‘Talk So People Listen,’ ‘Develop Your Speaking Style,’ ‘Take the First Step’ and all of our Content Impact Programs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Rice University, Houston, and before returning to Europe was a long standing member of the American Marketing Association and of the Qualitative Research Consultants Association.
Joanne Meyer, Ph.D.
Joanne is that very fit woman playing tennis, skiing, and hiking who always has stories cooking in her head… she writes fiction for fun. You might also catch her taking her Tibetan terrier for a walk. Although she took time off from Speakeasy to finish a Ph.D. and to establish a practice in psychology, she has been an instructor with us for a total of almost 25 years.
You can expect to learn a lot with Joanne as instructor. Her style is never pushy; she’s gentle, supportive – and tremendously effective. She has extensive experience with the workings of non-profit organizations, but much of her business savvy comes from having created and sold her own practice in speech pathology.
Joanne is a Principal Faculty member at Speakeasy and delivers almost all of our programs. She’s an ASHA certified speech pathologist, and is licensed both as a speech pathologist and as a clinical psychologist. SheŒs a member of the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association and of the California Speech and Hearing Association. She earned a BA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas in speech pathology and audiology, a Masters degree in speech pathology from the University of Denver, and both a Masters in psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from San Francisco’s School of Professional Psychology.
Jorge Barria, M.B.A.
Jorge loves to travel especially internationally. He’s a founding member of the Bellarmine University International Student Association and spent time in Germany studying International Business. Originally from Panama, he has lived all over the U.S. from Miami to Atlanta, from Little Rock, Arkansas to San Diego and Palm Springs, California. Working out and hiking balance his delight in eating out. Eclectic in his tastes, he expresses a fondness for pork, lamb, gummy bears and chocolate.
Speakeasy is a natural home for Jorge who is a firm believer in ongoing personal and professional development. With Jorge you know you’ve found someone with your best interests at heart. He so much enjoys helping other people improve, he says their progress makes him happy even if they become better than he is! Your gain is his gain, since he believes the best way to create success in your own life is to help other people become successful.
Jorge teaches our core three-day style program “Talk So People Listen” and holds an M.B.A. from Bellarmine University and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Louisville. He is a Fulbright scholar, a member of the American International Relations Club and was awarded the certificate of “Kentucky Ambassador of Good Will” for promoting multicultural understanding.
Victoria Squier, M.A., CCC-SLP
Victoria’s fascination with what makes good speakers “tick” has driven her long career in helping others develop their speaking skills and voice. Underneath Victoria’s upbeat demeanor is a passion for personal growth. This passion and her boundless patience provide her clients nurturing support for their own growth journey.
Before joining Speakeasy, she had a 30-year speech pathology practice focused on voice. She also taught at Ohio State University, University of California-Davis, as well as various medical facilities and public schools.
Victoria resides in Pleasanton, California with her husband, an otolaryngologist, and their two children. Yoga, meditating and hiking with her dogs help maintain her balance and mindfulness.
Victoria teaches “Talk So People Listen”, and all of our customized Style-Impact programs. She is a licensed Speech Pathologist, certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Victoria holds a bachelors and masters in Communicative Disorders, both from the University of the Pacific, and serves as Chair of Speakeasy’s Classroom Collateral Committee.
You learn a lot about great communication just by watching Mary listen to others. When someone is that present with you, it’s life changing. People are able to make change, because as she so clearly sees the potential in them, they begin to see it in themselves. She’s constantly seeking ways to explore and integrate different approaches to improve voice, movement and communication.
Mary believes that most of us tend to put our dreams on a pedestal or somewhere out of reach when they are often in front of our faces and come from deep within us. When you look at her life, you see the results of that philosophy. Since Mary loves music, she sings in a choir and regularly studies classical voice and piano. Her love for theatre led her to improvisation at the Upright Citizens Brigade and she continues to perform sketch comedy, most recently Off-Broadway. She meditates every day and practices yoga around the world – Central America, England, across the United States and is planning her first venture to India as we speak. Just when you think you have Mary pegged, you discover something unexpected. For instance, she also brews beer.
Mary delivers our core Style Impact programs, and holds a Master’s of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology from MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Syracuse University. She is a member of VASTA – the Voice and Speech Teacher’s Association. She’s a clinically certified speech pathologist with the American Speech and Hearing Association, is a registered yoga instructor, and delivers all of our core style impact programs.
Nicole Lowenbraun, M.S., CCC-SLP
Nicole has a great zest for life. She was skiing by age four and grew up to enjoy spin classes, weight lifting and running. She didn’t think she’d care for camping, but, typically, she tried it anyway and now she says, “I crave camping and the outdoors!” She’s traveled to Thailand, Russia and all over Europe. Although she looks forward to cities she hasn’t seen yet, she will tell you, “I especially love Paris because it has Old World charm and New York energy.” She checks out menus to be sure she doesn’t miss what might be her only opportunity to eat an unusual food. She says, “The weirder the better!” She’s eaten coxcomb, alligator, bone marrow and a peanut butter and jelly burger. But she draws the line at eating bugs.
Nicole’s first career was in pharmaceutical sales. With her natural exuberance about new experiences, pharmaceuticals deepened her interest in science. So what could she do about that? She could – and did – earn an M.S. in Speech Pathology from Hunter College and while she was at it she interned with NYU Medical Center where she worked with adults with acquired neurogenic disorders. Nicole began her second career working in schools – Pre-K through 5th in North Carolina at the Oxford Elementary School and at the middle school/high school at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science. One of the things that made Speakeasy especially attractive to her was that it allowed her to bridge her two careers – working again in the corporate world and using her special communication skills from her work in speech pathology.
Nicole’s style as an instructor is both honest and warm. It’s important to her that people experience the personal development they come for, but, ìAt the same time,î she says, ìI want it to be fun.î As she continues her personal learning, she is acquiring Spanish as a second language, but she will tell you that so far she feels more comfortable listening to Spanish than in speaking it. But for Nicole, tomorrow is another day and the likeliest prediction is that she will be acquiring new strengths, new skills, and new interests for the rest of her life.
Nicole earned a B.S. in Communication from Boston University and an M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Hunter College in New York. She is clinically certified by ASHA in Speech and Language.
Pat Wahoske, M.A., CCC-SLP
Pat knows your voice. As a Speakeasy instructor, Pat brings 30 years of clinical experience evaluating and treating adults with communication disorders. Her clinical practice specialized in voice. She brings a sensitivity to Speakeasy that she developed as a clinician. It gives her insight into how a person can best change a behavior. And it highlights her commitment to creating a safe and comfortable environment for personal growth and experimentation.
Pat also held management roles for the past 25 years, making her intimately familiar with the demands executives face. Prior to joining Speakeasy, she served as Manager of Clinical Development and Process Improvement for the Rehabilitation Services Division at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. Her coaching is all about understanding the uniqueness of each individual client. Pat says, “every person has potential inside of them they have not yet tapped.” Pat brings a gift for drawing out a person’s distinct communication strengths to help them build their own individual style.
Pat serves as Speakeasy’s SVP of Faculty and Dean of Curriculum, and teaches all of our Style-Impact programs. She delivers customized programs and private coaching to C-Suite executives from major Fortune 100 companies and serves as lead faculty on our most senior open-enrollment programs. Pat holds B.S. and Master’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology, both from the University of Minnesota, and is a licensed speech-language pathologist, certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She was a charter Board Recognized Specialist in Swallowing, has held numerous elected offices in professional associations, is a Past-President of the Minnesota Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She has served on the Executive Board of the Georgia Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is a current member of the Voice Special Interest Division, the Association for Talent Development and the National Association of Female Executives. Pat has been with Speakeasy since 2005. Prior to joining Speakeasy, she held positions as Director of Rehabilitation Division, and Manager of Clinical Development and Process Improvement in large healthcare systems. Her career has included P&L responsibility and multi-facility management.
Paula Hamilton, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Paula takes a very active approach to life. When something interests her, she finds a way to try it. This means it’s hard to predict what she might be doing on her free time. She might be horseback riding or learning how to referee football or working as a volunteer for the Georgia Radio Service – recording magazines and book excerpts for the visually impaired. She’s quick to tell you that long walks and trying new recipes delight her as much as those yoga and spin classes, too. If you tell her about an interesting trip or hobby, watch out! She may soon be following in your footsteps. When Paula guides you, you know you have her full attention. She is on your side one hundred percent and her patience is unlimited. Her background has given her special expertise in speech and voice – she is a clinically certified speech pathologist – and has a special appreciation for the demands of the business world. She has had extensive experience in banking, telecommunications and IT.
Paula earned a Master in Communication Disorders from North Carolina Central University and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. She spent five years as a speech pathologist in the public school system working with the secondary student population. She is a clinically certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and of the Georgia Speech and Hearing Association. She has licensure as a speech pathologist in two states – California and Georgia. She currently delivers our Style-Impact programs and heads Speakeasy’s Classroom Technology Committee.
Sandra Menes-Ashe, M.S., M.Ed.
While Sandra has been with Speakeasy for almost 27 years, the special qualities she brings to our clients were already evident at the beginning of her career. After completing her graduate program at Columbia, she worked as an educator with students in Harlem. She thrived on challenge. She still does.
Sandra really thrives on the challenge of helping Speakeasy clients meet their communication goals. She listens carefully to what you want to accomplish, and she remembers. So just when your energy flags, or your commitment waivers, she steps right in — reminding you, encouraging you, or suggesting an alternate route. That’s the kind of support you’ll get from Sandra. Her Speakeasy colleagues also experience it. As one observes, “She’s consistent and determined. She shoots straight, working hard to be sure I accomplish what I’ve told her I want to do. She stays with me until I get where I need to go.”
Sandra is a Principal faculty member, delivers all of Speakeasy’s programs and has been conducting seminars and making presentations for the company since 1989. Before joining Speakeasy, Sandra served as Executive Regional Director for an international youth organization and a Project Director for the Centers for Disease Control. She received her Masters of Education in Supervision and Administration from Columbia University.
Christine Creighton, M.A., CCC-SLP
Exchange a few words with Christine and you soon know you’ve found a woman with joie de vivre. She describes herself as an avid, adventurous traveler who loves cultural immersion, particularly in the areas of linguistics, cuisine, music, literature, and art. Some of her favorite destinations are: Jamaica, Thailand, and Capetown, South Africa. She’s an ambitious foodie,with an affinity for Ethipoian, Caribean and Thai cuisine. One of her favorite dishes from her own kitchen is a barbeque jerk shrimp merged with sesame glass noodles.
Christine also has a sincere hunger for humanitarian efforts – with a special interest in the educational and artistic aspirations of youth in Jamaica, West Indies, and volunteers with local foundations and charities. A self-taught artist, Christine now favors painting portraits and landscapes in acrylics. She loves the ocean, finds yoga relaxing, and is a hiking and nature walk enthusiast.
Christine is a speech-language pathologist who worked for eleven years in pediatric settings in Pennsylvania, and Connecticut – in outpatient facilities and private clinics, as well as public and private higher education institutions. Those endeavors require great creativity and a spirit that keeps learning interesting. She brings those talents to her work at Speakeasy where she teaches our style programs. Christine has a gentle yet direct way of effectively communicating with others in order to help them improve their communication.
Christine graduated from Temple University as a triple major. She holds a B.S. in Secondary English Education, a B.A. in Liberal Arts, and an M.A. in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences. She is a clinically certified, licensed speech pathologist in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York and a member of ASHA – The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association – and NBASLH – The National Black Association for Speech-Language-Hearing.
Victoria Exnicios, M.Ed.
When Victoria says she loves polo, she isn’t talking about taking a place in the stands; she’s talking about taking her place on a horse and playing the game. She says, “I like adrenaline-driven sports and the competition and I like the beauty and athleticism of the horses.” She also likes yoga and golf, a sport she’s taken up recently. She loves Laverne, a Bassett hound rescue she describes as an unflappable dog.
Clients find this high achiever a thoroughly empathetic and encouraging instructor. Before joining Speakeasy, Victoria was a consultant for the military in a psychological outreach program. For twenty years she coached lawyers in high stakes litigations, sometimes rehearsing them for as long as two years for a big trial. What drew her to Speakeasy was this observation: “Speakeasy gives people the opportunity to open doors for themselves.” She also likes helping people overcome their fear of public speaking and believes that the Speakeasy experience “can enrich their lives and open up different dimensions of their personalities – professionally and personally.”
Victoria moved to New York from New Orleans. She finds New York a vibrant epicenter and a very stimulating environment – and she also loves the Hamptons where she plays polo during the summer.
She is a graduate of Florida State University in Social Science Education and holds a Masters in Counselor Education and Mental Health Counseling from the University of New Orleans. She is based in Speakeasy’s New York City office and delivers private coaching services as well as all of Speakeasy’s Core Style-Impact Programs.
Diane Lowry, M.A., CCC-SLP
Diane Lowry says, “I love to travel.” Oklahoma born, she lived and worked in Ireland for two and a half years and recently enjoyed a two-week vacation in South Africa. Now she’s moving from Denver – where she became an outdoor enthusiast – to Amsterdam to work in Speakeasy’s first permanent European office. When Diane says, “I love to move,” she’s referring to hiking, biking, skating, skiing and Zumba. In fact, she’s packing a pair of ice skates to take to Amsterdam where commuters beat the traffic by skating to work when the canal freezes. Her young adult son and daughter have invitations to visit.
Diane has an extraordinarily wide range of experience as a speech pathologist. At Metropolitan State University of Denver she taught ‘Introduction to Language Acquisition,’ ‘Voice Science,’ ‘Clinical Methods of Diagnostics,’ and developed an on-line course in language acquisition for speech-language pathologists. She co-taught a course called ‘The Speaking Voice in Performance’ through the theater department at Metro University. Diane worked with children and young adults with Down syndrome in Cork, Ireland. One of the major reasons Speakeasy appealed to her was that she was interested in returning to adult education.
Diane holds a B.A. from the University of Tulsa in Speech Pathology and an M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She’s a clinically certified speech-language pathologist and member of ASHA – The American Speech-Hearing-Language Association. She’s a licensed speech pathologist in Colorado and holds certificates in the Hanen language development programs for early intervention.