John West

Head of Speech Coaching

Over the last fifteen years, John West has established himself internationally among the world's most sought-after and versatile speech coaches.

Clients include those from:
The United Nations, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Nasdaq, Citigroup, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Google, Deutsche Bank, Doctors without Borders, Deerfield, Waze, BlackRock, Bridgewater, Accenture, Barclays, MediaCom, and many more who seek John's guidance in effective communication / presentation skills and voice enhancement.

John and New York Speech Coaching have been featured in Business Insider, Vice, the New York Post, Business Advice Service, Career Builder, Fusion, Money*ish, Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Esquire, and NPR among others.

John is a member of American MENSA, and is known for his ebullient style and ability to imitate nearly any accent or voice. This enables him to demonstratively convey to clients the appropriate adjustments to achieve a healthy and effective sound for their professional and personal pursuits.

Paul Geiger Speech Coach

Paul Geiger

Senior Speech Coaching Associate

Paul Geiger’s speech coaching specialties at New York Speech Coaching are: the dynamics of public speaking, accent reduction and the subtleties of business communications. He is the author of Better Business Speech: Techniques, Tricks, and Shortcuts for Public Speaking at Work. Paul has worked with individuals and groups from a wide range of national and international companies: Google, Morgan Stanley, UNICEF, Banco do Brasil, and Waze to name a few.

Paul is also an accomplished actor, voiceover artist, and on camera host, having done work for: Days Of Our Lives, All My Children, Mercedes Benz, Platinum Technologies and Coldwell Banker.

The physical and psychological aspects of speech are addressed in Paul’s singular teaching concept of owning your breath and clear articulation of perspective. In his years at New York Speech Coaching, he has developed a customizable program of action steps that get results.

In Paul’s words, “You gain confidence when you gain control of your speech technique. Knowing there are steps you can take begins the process of empowering each individual to become more expressive and more persuasive in a truthful and authentic way.”

To read Paul’s client testimonials, click here.

Clara Pagone Speech Coach


Speech Coaching Associate

Clara Pagone is an associate speech instructor with over 12 years of experience. Her expertise ranges from the corporate world to the arts, working as a lawyer, public speaker on trustee boards, and in corporate training, international debate tournaments, in vocal health for stage, screen, singing dance and movement, directing, producing, bilingual performances, and dialect coaching.

Clara has Bachelor's Degrees in Law and Biomedical Science from Monash University, and she is an alumnus of Anne Bogart's SITI Company Conservatory NYC.

Clara grew up between Italy and Australia and is fluent in both Italian and English. She discovered a passion for studying Romance languages and was accepted to study in Salisbury, Great Britain. She participated in tournaments with the Debaters' Association and public speaking teams, later adjudicating state debating and state performance competitions. Clara has directed at Melbourne's notable La Mama Theatre, lead directed for Acting Antics devising self-motivated children's performances, and worked as a trainee lawyer for Maurice Blackburn, specializing in Medical Law and Consumer Affairs.

Clara's speech coaching is an integrated approach, focusing on classical text articulation and breathing techniques, principles of meditation, hydration, sight, scientific awareness of the body as a changing entity, corporate sensitivities, and the relationship between ear and voice. Clara is skilled in the ability to equip any person with the tools and confidence to move an audience and to communicate clearly and with conviction.

To read Clara's client testimonials, click here.

Brendan Houdek


Head of Speech Pathology/Speech Coaching Associate

Brendan Houdek is a New York City and Long Island-based speech-language pathologist, musician, voice teacher, and speech coach. Brendan holds a Master of Arts degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Hofstra University as well as Bachelor of Arts degrees in Speech Communications and Philosophy/Religious Studies from St. Joseph’s College.

Brendan’s introduction to the world of speech coaching was through his interest in accent and dialect modification. His passion for this work, in combination with his love of music, guided him throughout his education and career in speech-language pathology, leading him to focus in related areas of the field. His areas of expertise in speech-language pathology include work with articulation, resonance, fluency, and voice disorders, which have enabled him to have a detailed understanding of these components of the speech mechanism. This background has equipped him with a unique perspective when working with clients. Brendan takes pleasure in not only providing therapeutic services through his work in speech-language pathology, but also in assisting others achieve their goals through speech coaching. Brendan firmly believes in the value of attaining the ability to speak in a manner that represents the true self and enables one to communicate more effectively.

Brendan took part in the NYVC Voice Teacher Training under the teaching of Justin Stoney to develop a better understanding of the nuances of the singing voice. In doing so, he has learned valuable information to assist him in his therapeutic and coaching endeavors for both singers and speakers alike. The Voice Teacher Training has been the highlight of his career as a musician, therapist, and coach.

A multi-instrumentalist, Brendan performs regularly in the Long Island area at various venues as well as local churches. He is grateful that he has the opportunity to do so in multiple genres and on a variety of instruments. His musical proficiencies include the voice, guitar, bass, drums, tuba, piano, ukulele, mandolin, and various forms of hand percussion.

Brendan combines the science of speech-language pathology with the knowledge gained through vocal artistry to provide clients with the most comprehensive and balanced understanding of the speaking voice. It brings him great joy in assisting others on their path to enhancing themselves as speakers and individuals.

To read Brendan's client testimonials, click here.

Tricia Veldman Speech Coach


Speech Pathology Associate / Speech Coaching Associate

Tricia Veldman is a bilingual speech-language pathologist. She holds a Master of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders, Bilingual Extension in Italian, from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida.

Tricia’s knack for languages and accents sparked her interest in providing accent reduction. After spending time in a small Italian village to learn the language, she recognizes the advantages of mastering a clear accent in one’s non-native language. This cultural awareness and first-hand experience allows her to identify with clients as they work towards achieving their speech goals.

Tricia also has a passion for the speaking voice, and interned at the Voice and Swallowing Institute of New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Here she conducted evaluations and provided voice therapy to a range of patients. She had the pleasure of working under Senior Speech Pathologist Vera Leyko, M.S. CCC-SLP and Singing Voice Specialist Amy Cooper, M.S. CCC-SLP, and observed cutting edge surgeries performed by Dr. Michael Pitman, MD.

Recognizing that learning styles vary on an individual basis, Tricia utilizes client-specific interests and talents to render therapy and coaching most effective. Participation in the New York Speech Coaching Speech Teacher Training program under head instructor, John West, has also influenced her dynamic teaching style.

With a range of clinical experience from preschoolers to older adults, Tricia is trained across a variety of speech-language domains. Her more specific interests include voice, fluency, bilingual populations, accent modification, and adolescent social skills training.

The combination of Tricia’s strong academic foundation, diverse cultural experiences, and empathetic nature has shaped her unique, integrated approach to therapy and coaching. Her passion lies in helping individuals develop the art of communication to promote their own self-expression and personal success.

Tricia offre tutti i servizi anche in Italiano

To read Tricia's client testimonials, click here.

Eric Van Tielen


Speech Coaching Associate

Eric Van Tielen is an associate speech instructor with over 10 years of experience in professional teaching and private coaching. He has been a professional actor for nearly 20 years. Eric's teaching combines his knowledge of classical singing and acting with a practical and professional approach to speech. He is equally at home with artists and professionals alike.

Eric believes in creating a safe space for speech work. Utilizing theatre-based vocal exercises, Eric infuses his work with a sense of exploration and play applicable to actors and non-actors alike. His belief is that when we let down our guard, true expansion of our vocal capability emerges. Whether it be a job interview, a presentation, social interactions, or corporate meetings, finding your true voice is essential. Eric strives to facilitate an environment where his client's best work can take place and their potential can be fulfilled. Because there are many outside factors that influence our speech, Eric will also reference a wide range of topics--dance, literature, human psychology--in order to unlock the client's purest, most confident voice.

Eric has led workshops across the country with various universities and theatre companies including Indiana University, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Lyric Repertory, Syracuse University, Berkshire Theatre Group, and with L.A. Acting. As an actor, he has been seen on the Broadway stage, in national and international touring productions and regionally at theatres around the country. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in classical acting from Indiana University. His love of language and innate compassion enable him to communicate with a wide range of clients.

Joel Rainwater


Speech Coaching Associate

Joel Rainwater is an associate speech instructor, previously working with The Promentum Group as a speech coach, delivery consultant, and speech content creator for former professional athletes, CEOs, and keynote speakers.

Joel believes that a healthy balance of technique and authenticity are the key ingredients for compelling public speech, and he employs a diverse array of breathing and vocal exercises in order to help clients achieve their goals.

As an actor, he has performed nationally and internationally with the Broadway Tour of Disney’s The Lion King, as well as with the long running tour of C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce. Joel’s many Off-Broadway and regional credits include productions at The Pearl Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, American Conservatory Theater, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, 45 Bleecker, The Metropolitan Playhouse, The Lake Dillon Theatre Company, 78th Street Theatre Lab, Tolstoy’s Lounge, California Shakespeare Theatre, and Aurora Theatre Company. Joel was honored to perform in the world premiere of former Kennedy speechwriter Richard Goodwin’s play, Two Men of Florence, at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company. Joel received his BFA in theatre performance from the University of Evansville in Indiana, and his MFA in acting from American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, and a Harlaxton College presidential essayist.

Caleb Shomaker


Speech Coaching Associate

Caleb Shomaker is an associate speech instructor, voice and text coach, and educator. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre and Mathematics from New York University and is an alumnus of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

Caleb developed a passion for speech, voice, and language while studying classical acting and performing with Shakespeare in the Square, a young company dedicated to "performing Shakespeare to the hilt." His work with the company, as both an actor and voice coach for numerous productions, earned him the title of Resident Vocal Director. His style of coaching combines his training as a performer with his experiences as a teacher and instructor. Caleb strives to utilize his diverse array of interests - including psychology, philosophy, physics, and literature - to aid his clients as they explore their communicative potential.

Caleb participated in the New York Speech Coaching Teacher Training Program under instructors, Brendan Houdek and John West. This program further honed his appreciation for the art of public speaking as well as his desire to assist others in learning this art. Caleb helps his clients develop an understanding of their own vocal instruments while practicing the skills necessary for honest, expressive, and effective communication.

To read Caleb's client testimonials, click here.

Keri Safran


Associate Dialect Coach

Keri Safran specializes in dialect coaching and accent reduction training, as well as audition coaching for professional actors. An actress herself who was blessed with the gift of mimicry, she performs her impressions all over the country. Most recently she assisted SNL's Dana Carvey in the developmental process of his new TV show First Impressions. This ability to replicate sounds so specifically helps both her dialect and accent modification clients to clearly understand the subtleties of their desired sounds. For accent reduction, or, “American Accent Training,” Keri works with corporate and medical professionals, as well as actors from overseas who need to be able to turn on that American Accent at a moment's notice in order to take advantage of casting opportunities here in the States. As for dialects, Keri does cast coaching for professional and youth productions, as well as individual coaching for projects on stage, television, film, audio books, the web, and more. Keri particularly enjoys and values crafting a dialectical sound that is specific to your character, their social status, background, and the world of the play/musical/film. Keri also primarily performs in comedies and guarantees that the hard work of making strange sounds under her guidance will be fun.

Keri's clients have appeared on stage in numerous productions such as Peter & the Starcatcher at Orlando Shakespeare Theater; the national tour of SaturdayNight Fever, Take Me Out, Ensemble Theatre Company; King John & All's Well…, Shakespeare By the Sea; Bound, Hollywood Fringe Festival; Comedy of Errors, Hartford Stage; and onscreen in Grey's Anatomy, Bones, Getting On, Bosch, Garfunkel & Oates, 2 Broke Girls, NCIS, American Horror Story, Castle, Edgar Allen Poe's Mystery Dinner Party, and many others. Keri was also very proud to serve this past summer as the dialect coach for a youth production of Grand Hotel at Golden Performing Arts Center in CA.

Justin Stoney

Founder and President of New York Vocal Coaching and affiliates

Justin Stoney founded New York Vocal Coaching and affiliates including New York Speech Coaching, and is currently available as NYVC's head instructor for those interested in singing lessons. He is an internationally recognized Voice Teacher and Vocal/Speech Coach. As one of the leading Voice Teachers in today’s music industry, he has appeared on the NBC Today Show, CBS, Fox News, Fox 5 New York, The Insider, and is a frequent guest on Huffington Post Live’s interviews of celebrity singers. His teaching has been featured in publications such as Esquire Magazine, Newsweek/The Daily Beast, NME, Fox News Magazine, Discovery News, Medical Daily, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, UK’s Daily Mail, Vice Magazine, Marie Claire, and Backstage Magazine. Backstage readers also voted Mr. Stoney as one of New York City’s best Voice Teachers and Vocal Coaches. For more on Justin and New York Vocal Coaching, please click here.

Alaina Fragoso


New York Speech Administrative Assistant

Alaina Fragoso is New York Speech Coaching’s Administrative Assistant. Growing up in a suburb of Boston, Alaina has always had a passion for acting and singing. She graduated from Emerson College after studying performing arts, and eventually, she moved to New York City.

While helping clients achieve their speech goals, Alaina continues to pursue her dreams by auditioning, taking various classes around the city, and performing whenever she can! She’s been featured in social media ads for major beer brands, the International Fringe Festival, and staged readings for Broadway composers, among many other productions in and around New York and New England.