I'm a professional communication coach with more than 25 years in the work force as a writer, teacher, speech coach and lawyer. I will help you improve your writing and speaking skills in a relatively short period of time. You'll gain confidence in the basic building blocks of written and spoken English--vocabulary, grammar, sentence construction and composition. If you aren't a native speaker and need help with your accent, I've successfully coached actors, helping them to learn various a... [more]
As a professional writer and coach, I've found that vocabulary is one of the easiest things to teach and one of the most enjoyable subjects to learn. I've helped numerous non-native speakers increase their vocabularies by creating tools specifically designed to suit them as individuals. I've also worked with college students who are native to the US, who also have sought to improve upon their vocabulary and usage. After making an assessment of learning style, challenges and motivation, I create a series of sessions to help a student-client meet his or her goals. Additionally, it's important to know a his or her field/ workplace/ profession/ academic discipline because each milieu can have a specific vocabulary that should be mastered. Moreover, usage is very important; so it's necessary to learn words in context and not in isolation. One of the best things about coaching vocabulary acquisition is that it's measurable--unlike grammar and other aspects of linguistic endeavor. Progress can be gauged easily by the coach or tutor and by the student client by using simple tracking methods.
I love working with students and coaching clients on their written English and have a proven track record in business, academic, legal and creative writing. I've enjoyed coaching undergraduates, helping them to improve their essay writing and exam taking skills. I've also worked with non-native professionals who have wanted to kick up their English writing a notch. As a lawyer, I served as a law clerk for a Louisiana Supreme Court Justice and then headed the Appellate Section for the City of New Orleans' City Attorney's office, where I wrote appellate briefs in complex litigation and taught appellate writing in staff workshops. As to my creative writing, my plays have been produced in New Orleans and the Washington, DC area, have been read at the Kennedy Center's Page-to-Stage Festival as well as Georgetown University and performed in New York. I've also contributed to several screenplays. It has been my great joy to help others with their writing---the satisfaction I obtain from teaching writing is as profound as the act of writing itself.
I graduated with honors from Tulane University in English and Theater; and from Loyola University Law School with a special award for my work in Comparative Law. While my practice has mainly consisted of one-to-one coaching, I've also worked with small businesses and federal agencies to improve their staffs' English grammar, syntax punctuation and usage in written and oral communication. As Chief of Appeals for the City of New Orleans' Law Department, I reviewed hundreds of appeals, supervised the writing of new attorneys and prepared them for oral argument. I'm happy to say that I've helped my clients reach their goals---moving to new jobs or promotions; becoming more confident in their writing, conversation and presentations; enjoying a newfound competence in using the English communication tool box.
One of the many hats I've worn in my life is that of a playwright and screenwriter. I trained professionally in New York with the legendary teacher, Sandford Meisner, and graduated from the Neighborhood Playhouse, the theater school he founded. Sandy was a master teacher and his method not only informed my writing but also the writing of playwrights like David Mamet, directors like Sydney Pollack and the acting of theater artists and film stars like JoAnne Woodward, Diane Keaton and Robert Duvall. As an undergraduate at Tulane University, I majored in theater, studied directing and ran an improvisation workshop there using techniques borrowed from Viola Spolen, founder of the Second City company in Chicago. After graduating from Tulane,I headed for NYC and the Playhouse, and at the age of 23 founded my own theater company off-off Broadway. Ultimately, I went to law school at Loyola University where I obtained a law degree and I practiced law for ten years. Yet, when I had the opportunity to do playwriting full time, I took it in a New York second!
Over the years, I've worked with a diverse group of students and clients. Most of my coaching practice consists of non-native speakers: academics, scientists, journalists, engineers, business owners and managers. They've come to the US from India, Latin America, Africa, Russia, China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Most of them seek to improve their professional and social communication. Some students and clients are learning English for the first time and want to get the fundamentals down enough to communicate essentials or to enter a regular ESL class. Early on in my career, I taught ESL in my native New Orleans, and have taught various subjects over the years. Additionally, if accent reduction is a goal, I use my experience as a dialect coach to facilitate learning Standard American pronunciation. While I can't guarantee that each session will be easy, my clients say that they enjoy themselves; and I certainly enjoy our time together.
As Head of the Appellate Division for the City Attorney for the City of New Orleans, Civil Division, I hired and trained all clerks and interns. Thus, I know what employers are looking for in hiring situations. I have successfully coached countless clients on interviewing skills as evidenced by some of the testimonials under my Wyzant profile. I have also been a professional writer for well over 25 years and have helped college graduates improve their resumes and job applications.
With more than twenty-five years' experience as a theater professional, teacher, lawyer and speech coach, I've helped clients to overcome speech phobia, improve delayed speech, eliminate filler words and improve vocal range. I've also helped countless non-natives with accent reduction. While my coaching practice has focused mainly on international adults--- doctors, lawyers, software engineers, scientists, executives and entrepreneurs, I've also had wonderful successes with young adults in high school and college. I took formal speech training as an undergraduate at Tulane University and then studied under the legendary Lyda Virginia Parker at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater, a professional acting school in New York.
Grammar is not always easy to master in most languages, and it's been my great joy to help non-native speakers improve their grasp of English grammar. Depending on a coaching client's or student's level of English fundamentals, learning style, time constraints and motivation, I tailor coaching or tutoring sessions to each student's needs and challenges. I'm happy to say that thus far, most of my students begin to see improvement in a very short period of time. And, although there are no guarantees that it will be easy, most of my students say our sessions are fun (and they're enjoyable for me, too).