About New York Speech Coaching & Staff

New York Speech Coaching was established in 2005 leading vocal technician Justin Stoney, and co-founded by world-renowned and pioneering speech coach John West. Our approach to the physiological and psychological aspects of speaking is centered around helping our clients find authenticity while maintaining comfortable control under pressure.

We serve the corporate community, as well as individuals of all ages from all walks of life at our studio in Midtown Manhattan and through online sessions. We also offer training at your offices across the globe.

We are not here to tell our clients how they should talk, or how to “talk better”… we're here to endow them with tools to come across how they want, when they want, regardless of the circumstances.

John West Co-Founder, New York Speech Coaching

John West

Co-Founder and Head Instructor of New York 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. His diverse list of current clients includes C-suite executives, those from hedge funds, banks, and private equity; news anchors, lawyers, surgeons, politicians, fashion designers, models, authors, coaches, judges, professors, actors, and more.

John is a member of American MENSA, and he 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 recognized for his ability to efficiently and demonstratively guide teams and individuals in high-stakes industries toward healthy, sustainable speaking voices and the ability to communicate comfortably, confidently, and effectively despite duress.

Paul Geiger

Paul Geiger

Senior Instructor

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 has worked with individuals and groups from a wide range of national and international companies: Banco do Brasil, Morgan Stanley, UNICEF, and Deutsche Bank, 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.”

Brendan Houdek

Brendan Houdek

M.A., CCC-SLP, TSSLD / Head of Speech Pathology / Senior Instructor

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.

Joel Rainwater

Joel Rainwater

Lead Instructor

Joel Rainwater comes to New York Speech Coaching after 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. He has coached speakers in utilizing emphasis, inflection, rhetoric, and verbal action as means of communicating more effectively.

Joel specializes in assisting prospective employees as they prepare for job interviews. He has spoken about his proven preparation techniques at university campuses throughout the country.

Joel is a seasoned Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theater performer. He 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. Joel is also a Harlaxton College presidential essayist. Speech clarity and vocal production are his main focuses

I connected with Joel soon after landing a new job that required me to take on a leadership role with clients, internal stakeholders, and junior talent. From our first phone conversation, I was impressed by how well he understood my specific goals and challenges. Joel demonstrated a professional and creative approach to our sessions. Joel engaged a wide variety of tools to help me craft my executive presence including visualization, breathing exercises, physical movements and real life situation simulations. Joel made a significant difference to my professional life. While I still have a long journey ahead of me, I am genuinely excited and happy to continue working on my executive presence with Joel Rainwater.

A.K. Financial Services

Clara Pagone

Clara Pagone

Associate Instructor

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 & 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.

Eric Van Tielen

Eric Van Tielen

Associate Instructor

Eric Van Tielen is an associate speech instructor with over 10 years of experience in professional teaching and private coaching. Eric's teaching combines his background in corporate communication, speech and debate, theatre, and classical singing for a practical and professional approach to public speaking and voice work. He has been a voice coach and professional actor for 20 years and is equally at home with artists and professionals alike.

Eric works with his clients to discover their most free and natural sound. He strives to give his clients a working knowledge of their voice and the ability to control it in any situation - whether a job interview, a presentation, social interactions, or corporate meetings.

Corporate clients such as Bloomberg News, New York 1, Pinterest, and Morgan Stanley count on Eric to be their executive presence specialist. He has consistently empowered his clients to "walk the walk and talk the talk."

Eric has led workshops across the country with universities and theatre companies including Indiana University, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse University, and Berkshire Theatre Group. As an actor, he has been seen on the Broadway stage, in national and international touring productions, and regionally at theaters around the country.

Tricia Veldman

Tricia Veldman

M.S., CCC-SLP, TSSLD / Founder of Georgia Speech Coaching / Instructor

Tricia Veldman is a bilingual speech-language pathologist currently living in Savannah, Georgia. 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 is trained across a variety of speech-language domains. Her more specific experiences include public speaking, voice, fluency, bilingual populations, accent modification, and adolescent social skills training. Tricia focuses on equipping others with the confidence to feel comfortable with public speaking in any situation, conversation, or presentation. She combines her knowledge of psychology and interpersonal communication to guide clients in promoting their own self-expression and personal success.

As a passion project, Tricia co-hosts The Lost Art of Communication podcast. Each episode analyzes the evolution of communication in a digital age and includes actionable steps for listeners to implement in their day-to-day conversations.

Recognizing that learning styles vary on an individual basis, Tricia utilizes client-specific therapy and coaching to achieve the most impactful and long-lasting results. Her business clients include lawyers, consultants, entrepreneurs, health coaches, graphic designers, engineers, teachers, and employees of companies such as: Conde Nast, Reddit, Equinox, the United Nations, and Disney.

Tricia offre tutti i servizi anche in Italiano.

Caleb Shomaker

Caleb Shomaker

Associate Instructor

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 honed his appreciation for the art of public speaking while participating in the New York Speech Coaching Teacher Training Program under the instruction of Brendan Houdek and John West. His style of coaching incorporates his experiences as both a performer and acting coach with his passions for anatomy, psychology, and philosophy.

Caleb is currently the Resident Vocal Director at Shakespeare in the Square. He uses the same skill set to help his clients enhance their vocal instruments by practicing the techniques necessary for honest, expressive, and effective communication.

I came to NYSC with the goal of improving my pronunciation. After just the first session with Caleb, I started to become aware of how the tongue muscle should be used to produce different sounds. A few months later, with Caleb’s patient, persistent and scientific instructions and targeted exercises, I now speak “more clearly” (to quote a colleague giving me feedback). This makes me more confident in my job where I frequently need to moderate meetings and occasionally need to do presentations, as well as casual conversations with friends and coworkers.

M. Project Manager Financial Services

Jordan Smith

Speech Writing Associate

Jordan Smith is a former speechwriter for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer. He was also a speechwriter for the American Public Transportation Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group. He has penned keynote addresses, short talking points and everything in between for elected officials, CEOs, and nonprofit leaders. He is the author of the best-selling Kindle Single, Humanity. His writing has appeared in more than 50 national publications, including the New York Times, The Atlantic, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Beth Sherman

Speech Writing Associate

Beth Sherman… is not very good writing about herself in the third person.

Hello and nice to meet you. I'm a multiple Emmy-winning comedy writer with comedy credits that include, Ellen, Letterman and the Tonight Show, and award show credits that include MTV’s Video Music Awards and the Oscars.

Over the past few years, I’ve expanded my professional work to include speechwriting. As it turns out, it’s a natural extension of my existing skill set -- being funny in someone else’s voice. Now, instead of being funny in Jay, Dave or Ellen’s voice, I’m funny in yours.

On the personal side, I've written well over a hundred best man speeches, grooms’ speeches, father of the bride speeches, toasts for the rehearsal dinner, speeches for friends and family acting as officiants and on a few occasions, I've even ghostwritten the vows themselves. I’ve also written birthday toasts, anniversary speeches and quite a few eulogies. Yes, eulogies. Is there anything better than a genuine, universal laugh to break the tension at a terrible moment?

On the professional side, I’ve written and punched up TED talks, retirement speeches, acceptance speeches and commencement remarks. My client list includes professors, physicians, tech entrepreneurs, an Air Force major and a Coast Guard admiral.

Even though my focus is comedy, I understand that jokes aren’t appropriate for every situation. Sometimes all you need is a light dusting of funny to brighten the tone and loosen up the room. I know how to bring out the organic humor in your piece, and more importantly, how to do it in a way that sounds like you, not me. My goal is you, but better.

I can write your project from scratch or I can spend a few hours improving what you've written yourself. If you're not sure how (or if) you'd like to proceed, I'm happy to jump on a call and talk it through.

All of my speeches are collaborative. I’ll start by putting together a list of questions about you and the event. The questions are meant to generate material, give me context and get you thinking. I'll also happily take any notes you've put together already. Once I have enough to go on, I’ll put together a first draft, and then we’ll go back and forth fine-tuning the piece until you think it's ready.

Additional information and client reviews available on www.BethSherman.com

Alaina Fragoso

Alaina Fragoso

New York Speech Coaching 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 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.


Justin Stoney

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 sessions. 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.