Who We Are

DEBORAH GRAYSON RIEGELDeborah Grayson Riegel, MSW, PCC, CEO & Chief Communication Coach, is an internationally recognized expert in presentation and interpersonal communication skills, and has coached and trained teams and professionals from: American Express; Dell; IBM; Monster Worldwide, Nokia, Novartis, NASDAQ, Pfizer, Toyota and the United States Army. Deborah is a visiting Professor of Executive Communications at the Beijing International MBA (BiMBA) Program of Peking University, China, where she trains and coaches international business leaders from multinational corporations in the art and science of presentation skills, business writing, and executive presence for a growing global marketplace. She also teaches Presentation Skills at New York City’s Fordham Graduate School of Business.

Deborah is a member of the exclusive National Speakers Association and the Harvard Business Review Advisory Council. She is a cited expert and contributor for the New York Times, Forbes, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg Business Week, and American Express OPEN Small Business Forum. She is the author of Oy Vey! Isn’t a Strategy: 25 Solutions for Personal and Professional Success. (Behrman House)

Deborah holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, paying for her expensive school habit by performing stand-up and improvisational comedy.

"In less than one hour on a call with Deb, I went from nervous and stressed to feeling completely zen - relaxed, prepared, on fire.  I had never before felt so totally ready for a big talk.  Without a lot of headache and work? No anxiety? This was a new experience for me.  And my presentation went superbly well.  TalkSupport is now on my 'Favorites' list in my phone, because I will be calling before every important presentation." —Nika Stewart, CEO, Ghosttweeting

Laura HoneycuttLaura Honeycutt, Chief Problem Solver, is a seasoned marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience building Fortune 500 brands. Her strategic approach to problem solving has led to bottom-line-boosting programs that have earned many prestigious industry awards. During her career, she also led the worldwide professional development efforts for a large global advertising agency, where she designed custom learning programs that aligned the skills of internal professionals with the agency’s business goals.

Laura holds a BA in Communications from Lipscomb University. She is a two-time marathoner and she and her husband, Chris, are the devoted parents to two fur kids, Preston and Coco Chanel.

"I've worked with Laura in the capacity of both marketer and L&D professional. Her extensive marketing background has given her an uncanny ability to pinpoint a business problem and then creatively deliver the right solution. She's a dynamic presenter who really works to engage the room and deliver impactful presentations, whether speaking before a group or facilitating a workshop." —Eric Bacolas, Chief Talent Officer, 360i

Ellen DowlingEllen Dowling, PhD, Coaching Team, President of Dowling & Associates, Inc., is an internationally recognized expert in communication and presentation skills, and is the author of The Standup Trainer as well as the co-author of Presenting with Style: Advanced Strategies for Superior Presentations.

Dr. Dowling received her PhD (in English Language and Literature) from the University of New Mexico and is a former Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University. She is currently an instructor for the University of New Mexico’s Training and Development in Instructional Technology (TDIT) certificate program, where she teaches Presentation Skills for Trainers. She is also a visiting professor in the Beijing International MBA Program at Peking University, where she teaches “Report Writing and Presentation Skills” to international MBA candidates. Her clients include: Honeywell, Inc.; Intel Corporation; General Mills; Maybelline, Inc. (now L’Oreal); Pfizer; and the State of New Mexico.

"Ellen was thorough and extremely knowledgeable. (She gave me) lots of great, varied techniques and thoughtful pointers!" Engineer, Sandia National Laboratories

Bette AlkazianBette Levy Alkazian, Coaching Team, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Parenting Coach and nationally recognized parenting expert who works with families to ease the challenges and increase the joys of raising children. Bette has worked for many years as a parent educator, speaker, and writer. She is the author of Parenting Backwards and Potty Learning: The Do’s, Don’ts and the Oops of Poops.

Bette was a top 7 finalist (out of 15,000 applicants) in the Good Morning America Advice Guru search and has vast experience helping people with a broad range of issues. Bette has been married to her husband, Jeff, for 29 years, and they are the parents of three amazing daughters.

"I have worked many years with Bette and each session or class is life-changing for myself and my family. When I hear the answers to my questions my first reaction is 'duh, that is so simple', but I realize I need to continually have the reminders and learning as part of my everyday life." Coaching client

Tad Mayer

Tad Mayer, Coaching Team, is an experienced mediator, facilitator and trainer. He is an adjunct professor of negotiation for the D’Amore McKim School of Business at Northeastern University and is a member of the Mediation Works Incorporated (MWI) trainer panel.  In addition, he has worked with: General Motors, Coca-Cola, BMW of North America, Tufts University; The Fletcher School; Harvard Law School, Program on Negotiation at HLS; Sloan School of Management, MIT, Boston College Law School, New England Law Boston and WilmerHale.  He also serves as a Mentor to new mediators in MWI’s Mentor Program.  As a mediator, Tad is a member of the EEOC panel and mediates a variety of cases including employment, business, residential and organizational disputes.

Tad has an MBA from Tuck at Dartmouth College, a BS in Communication from Northwestern University, and completed courses in Negotiation, Dispute Resolution, and Mediation at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.  Tad is a member of the New England Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution (NE-ACR) and has co-chaired NE-ACR's Regional ADR Conference.

"I loved Tad's ability to crystallize the essence of something into the most simple (and powerful) questions."  Mentor Program Mentee

Susan Tabor-KleimanSusan Tabor-Kleiman, Coaching Team, J.D., is owner of Your Professional Writer™, and an expert in persuasive communication. A lecturer at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania, she teaches Management Communication and Advanced Persuasive Speaking to MBA students. Her company provides communication support to executives, entrepreneurs, and job seekers around the world, training them in how to elevate their personal brand and accomplish business objectives, and crafting writings such as bios and LinkedIn profiles. Before forming her business, Susan was an Assistant District Attorney and civil trial lawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A frequent and lively workshop presenter, including the 2014 Pennsylvania Conference for Women, media appearances include MSNBC’s Your Business with JJ Ramberg, Good Day Philadelphia, and Clear Channel Radio.

"Working with Susan was like hitting the jackpot! She painstakingly worked me through the resistance I had around telling people about myself and my business. I knew nothing about how to communicate my strengths and what sets me apart from others. After two short, and dare I say, FUN, conversations, I felt confident in speaking to others about what I offer." Coaching client

Wendy ShankerWendy Shanker, Coaching Team, is a celebrity speechwriter, speaker, author and television personality who spent the first part of her television career working at MTV and VH1 in production, series and specials including the VMAs and “TRL (Total Request Live).” After a stint writing and developing women’s programming at Lifetime and Oxygen, she became the head writer for major live events like Glamour’s Woman of the Year Awards, The National Magazine Awards, and the GLAAD Media Awards, and has put words in the mouths of everyone from mega-celebs to presidents. Wendy’s byline has appeared in Glamour, Self, Shape, Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue, The Guardian UK and Us Weekly (The Fashion Police). Her acclaimed essay about Jewish women and body image, “Big Mouth,” appeared in The Modern Jewish Girl’s Guide to Guilt; in the recent anthology Madonna & Me, she tries to set Madonna up on J-Date (seriously).

Wendy is also the author of two books: a humorous, hopeful memoir about women and body image, The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life (Bloomsbury USA); and more recently, Are You My Guru?: How Medicine, Meditation & Madonna Saved My Life (Penguin/NAL). In addition to touring nationally in support of her work and appearing on CNN, “The View” and “CBS Sunday Morning,” she is an in-demand speaker at conferences, panels, and social gatherings. Her goal in working with clients on their public speaking needs is to help them zero in on a specific and genuine voice, and use that foundation to create unforgettable live moments for the audience.

"Working with Wendy was terrific! She listened carefully to ensure she understood my needs and worked quickly and efficiently to fulfill them. Wendy offered me not only specific and appropriate suggestions to weave humor into the talk I was preparing to give but also principles I can apply to other talks in the future — she made me funny!" Carol Frohlinger, speaker, author and co-founder of Negotiating Women, Inc.