About New York Speech Coaching & Staff

New York Speech Coaching was established in 2005 by 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 want clients from all walks of life to feel welcome and comfortable working with us. For more information on our diversity and inclusion initiatives, click here.

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

Brendan Houdek Schedule with Brendan

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Brendan Houdek

MA CCC-SLP, Senior Instructor and Head of Corporate Training

Brendan’s deepest satisfaction comes from his work leading group and private sessions across the corporate world, where he enables companies and individuals to transform communication from being a liability to among their greatest assets.

Brendan’s coaching combines an intricate knowledge of anatomy and physiology with a background in philosophy. He is passionate about teaching effective business communication, executive presence, and vocal production, equipping clients with control and flexibility to present themselves professionally and authentically. His training covers not only the technical aspects of speech production, but also presentational performance and perspective work.

In addition to his work as a speech coach, Brendan is a NYS-licensed and ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist, specializing in voice and fluency disorders. He holds a Masters of Arts from Hofstra University and Bachelor’s in Philosophy / Religious studies from St. Joseph’s.

Brendan specializes in corporate training with an emphasis on fundraising, pitch decks, sales calls, presentation delivery, and negotiation & persuasion tactics. His clients come from Google, Disney, Forbes, Nasdaq, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Capital One, MetLife, and Amazon, among others.

Using his voice across multiple mediums, Brendan is also a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and voice impressionist, hosting the show Voice Breakdown on YouTube. While entertaining, his impersonation skills also provide valuable insight into speech and vocal production, fostering both precise and intuitive instruction.

Caleb Shomaker Schedule with Caleb

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Caleb Shomaker

Associate Instructor, Head of Instructor Management Team and Education

With a background in science education, Caleb brings an inductive and analytic perspective to helping students improve their speech and effectively calibrate their mindset. His coaching is characterized by patience and enthusiasm, as he distills complex ideas in straightforward ways for clients of all backgrounds. His teaching methods incorporate business communication strategies, anatomical understanding, and humanistic psychology, which he grounds in practical exercises that allow his clients to understand their relevance and application.

Caleb holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre and Mathematics from New York University and the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, where he studied and later taught vocal performance and textual interpretation. Prior to his work with New York Speech Coaching, Caleb served as the Resident Vocal Director for Shakespeare in the Square for several years, providing vocal and dialect coaching for dozens of performances.

Caleb specializes in confidence in presentations, vocal depth and strength, leadership in speech, and accent acquisition, Caleb has coached professionals from Uber, Google, Unilever, Shearman & Sterling, the Department of Education, and the Swedish-American Chamber of Congress, among others. His clients attest to his infectious enthusiasm and passion for speech, offering a balance of playfulness and rigor during sessions.

With intelligent humor, an eye for detail (Caleb serves as New York Speech Coaching’s resident spreadsheet wizard), and clear directions, Caleb empowers his clients to achieve their goals with assurance and enjoyment.

Tricia Veldman Schedule with Tricia

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Tricia Veldman

MS CCC-SLP, Associate Instructor, and Head of Company Communication

Having been described by others in a former life as “timid” and “soft-spoken,” Tricia is no stranger to the fear of public speaking. After embarking on her personal speech quest, Tricia learned to trust and celebrate her own voice. Amazed by its impact on her daily life, she now combines experiential and scholastic knowledge to empower others to do the same.

Tricia loves using voice, speech, and physical presentation as a means to identify the blindspots that prevent speakers from stepping into their personal power. Having lived abroad and speaking a non-native language (Italian), Tricia understands the frustrations that come with being poorly understood. She believes few things make life more satisfying than witnessing someone embody their fullest expression of self - the ultimate goal for her clients.

Currently residing in Savannah, GA, Tricia is an associate speech coach, able to reach clients virtually all over the world, and Head of Georgia Speech Coaching. She is a certified bilingual speech-language pathologist with a Master of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders (Bilingual Extension in Italian) from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida.

Tricia’s specialties include public speaking, fluency, presentation preparation, bilingual populations, voiceover training, accent modification, and adolescent social skills training. She works with clients from companies including Conde Nast, Reddit, Equinox, the United Nations, Ernst & Young, Equiteq, LinkedIn, Gulfstream, Uber, Disney, and more.

Emphasizing empathy and pulling from first-hand experience, Tricia provides an encouraging environment for clients to develop the bravest versions of themselves while providing practical and individualized strategies.

Find Tricia on The Lost Art of Communication podcast.

Daniel Reece Schedule with Daniel

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Daniel Reece

Associate Instructor

Daniel Reece is a speech instructor with over ten years of experience in education. With a background in performance, Daniel fosters authenticity in his approach to voice and speech. He works with clients to explore their instrument with curiosity and guides them toward a visceral, full-body consciousness of their range and power. Daniel aims to share his understanding gleaned from over fifteen years on stage and screen of what the body experiences when one is speaking in public. He gives his clients agency to trust in their ability to harness that energy and speak with clarity, confidence, and ease.

After receiving his MFA from the Yale School of Drama, Daniel has been working in New York City as a speech coach, voiceover artist, and professional actor. Additionally, Daniel works as a drama-based learning facilitator, helping businesses around the globe develop behavioral skills in the workplace through customized role-play scenarios and independent communication coaching. He has worked with organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Visa, and Goldman Sachs, among others.

Prior to his coaching work in New York, Daniel was the theatre department head and public speaking instructor at a private school in Connecticut. He has worked across the country at theaters including The Public Theatre, The Prototype Festival, Yale Repertory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, and The Old Globe. On screen, Daniel has appeared on television shows including Modern Love, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Elementary, Public Morals, and Bluff City Law.

Joel Rainwater Schedule with Joel

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Joel Rainwater

Associate 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.

Clients at New York Speech Coaching include those from Amazon, Nasdaq, Deutsche Bank, Google, Pinterest, Spotify, Spiegelworld, Morgan Stanley, and E*TRADE, as well as in fields ranging from private equity, technology, advertising, medicine, law, media, publishing, education, research, entertainment, clergy, journalism, and funeral directing.

Joel coaches speakers in proven physical and practical public speaking techniques which improve composure, articulation, and vocal projection. He also guides his clients toward significantly reducing the compulsive verbal and physical habits that compromise effective communication. This approach gives his clients confidence in themselves and credibility with the listener, whether it's a single interviewer or an audience of hundreds.

Joel is a seasoned Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional theater performer. He received his BFA in theater performance from the University of Evansville in Indiana, and his MFA in acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Joel is also a Harlaxton College presidential essayist. He specializes in executive presence, speech clarity, vocal production, presentation skills, interview technique, audition preparation, and accent reduction.

Carson Davis Schedule with Carson

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Carson Davis

Associate Instructor

Carson Davis is an Associate Instructor at New York Speech Coaching who specializes in Public Speaking, Voice Enhancement, and Accent Modification. Carson has a Bachelor’s Degree from New York University in Voice and has performed advanced study in application of voice for both speaking and singing. Additionally, Carson's experience in a corporate setting provides him a uniquely holistic perspective for clients aiming for practical application of speech.

Carson previously served as Head of the Internship Program at New York Speech Coaching, where he provided guidance in speech education. His client base consists of those in fields ranging from healthcare to finance. Carson’s philosophy as a coach is to always respond to a client’s evolving needs and wishes for their own voice. The path to the speaking voice that each client hopes for is varied and carries specific obstacles, and Carson’s number one priority as a coach is to remain attuned to the nuances of each individual in order to help all clients reach their personal speaking goals and potential.

Instructors-In-Training

Price: $125/hr.

As we are committed to accessible training, New York Speech Coaching offers a discounted rate of $125 with an instructor-in-training. Please note the following stipulations apply:

Consultations are not available with an instructor-in-training, and the instructor with whom you are working may change at any time. While our desire is to offer consistency, and we will do so when possible, several instructors may be going through the process.

The cancellation fee still applies to both client and instructor.

Clients working with instructors-in-training also agree that their lessons may be observed (but not recorded) at any point by our staff or interns. While not all sessions will be observed, we ask that you only pursue the instructor-in-training tier if you are comfortable with observed sessions. If not, we recommend scheduling with an associate instructor.

As these sessions provide an opportunity for the instructor-in-training to sharpen their skills as a teacher, clients working with an instructor-in-training complete brief, periodic surveys regarding their satisfaction. This information is for internal use only and will not be shared with the instructor.

Courtney Armstrong Schedule with Courtney

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Courtney Armstrong

Instructor In Training

Courtney Armstrong (MS, CCC-SLP) is a speech-language pathologist with extensive experience in accent modification training and public speaking. Her technical degree and research background combine with her love of interpersonal connection to provide holistic client-centered therapy. She believes empowering others with efficient communication is fundamental to living an authentic life.

Currently in the Washington D.C. area, she completed her Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology, as well as two minors in Spanish and Cross-Cultural Communications at Duquesne University. Courtney completed a master’s thesis focused on accent work, which earned her the opportunity to present nationally at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Convention in 2018 and be published internationally in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine in 2020.

Courtney’s clients include those working as international liaisons, au pairs, doctors, teachers, and in the hospitality business. She’s also spent time collaborating closely with organizations that provide English language training to marginalized populations because she is passionate about making sure all individuals have the skills needed to reach their fullest potential.

As a former Miss America Organization titleholder, Courtney knows first hand what it means to present with poise and conviction, no matter the stakes. Her experience doing so enables her to empathize with clients as they develop their own speaking style and confidence.

Joti Patel Schedule with Joti

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Joti Patel

Instructor in Training

Joti Patel is an Executive Coach with a multifaceted career in business and the arts with communication as the common thread. Her unique skill set has served as an ideal foundation for providing high-value communication for global organizations across legal, finance, retail, tech, health, and service sectors.

Joti has played a pivotal role within Leadership Management programs for clients such as Bloomberg, Microsoft, PwC, HSBC, DLA Piper, Osborne Clarke, Baker McKenzie, Deloitte, Standard Chartered, UBS, Norton Rose, Sky Media, Nestle, Allen & Overy, IMI, British Gas, Novartis, Hogan Lovell, Korn Ferry, BDO, Dentons, Howard Kennedy, IHG, Equinox, and others.

As a British post-graduate in psychology, Joti has recently moved to New York to continue to pursue her creative endeavors as a trained actress, presenter, and voice artist. Her clients benefit from her own direct experience in front of the camera. Joti has hosted live events and corporate videos, worked as a guest presenter on live TV, and acted in TV, film, and theatre projects. She also works as a professional Matchmaker for a high-end dating agency where she offers “date coaching” to aid clients wanting to develop social skills and the art of conversation.

Through personalized coaching, content, and care, clients can expect an experience aligned to a high-performance culture and business strategy. Joti’s mission is to contribute to the transformational growth of her clients in their businesses, careers, and lives.

Xavier Clark Schedule with Xavier

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Xavier Clark

Instructor In Training

Xavier Clark (he/him/his) is a bilingual speech teacher, accent/dialect coach, and public speaking coach currently living in Los Angeles, CA. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California San Diego, where he taught Public Speaking to STEM students and specialized in Edith Skinner Speech Technique, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he currently is on faculty through the Stella Adler Studio of Acting as a Voice and Speech instructor.

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.

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.

Diversity Statement

Our client base consists of individuals from various walks of life who seek to love their voice and speech style. Differences in age, race, gender identity, nationality, sexual orientation, physical ability, thinking style, and background provide the rich gift of diversity. We welcome and encourage clients from all backgrounds to participate in our training.

As we continue to evaluate our language in definition and in practice, we recognize instances on our website that include generalities. In the context of sessions, we aim to adapt our curriculum and language to each client's individual circumstances and preferences, and we strive to create an inclusive environment for often sensitive concerns surrounding manifestations of personality and identity.

Further, we unhesitatingly acknowledge that our staff and organization are not yet where we want to be with respect to reflecting the diversity of the world and the clients who may be pursuing our services. As a result, we understand there are steps that we need to take in order to improve as an organization. Such steps that we have begun include: utilizing services to help us engage with and hire instructors of color, developing a volunteer program to provide training to a wider array of students, and beginning collaborations with organizations focused on helping companies like ours address these issues in both our coaching and our culture.

We celebrate our organization as a place of expression, and we are cognizant of the degree to which self-expression takes place in various forms. By continuously implementing initiatives that work towards diversity and inclusion into our platform, we hope to create an environment which embraces all people, and it is enormously important to us that you feel welcome in the process.