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

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.

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Brendan Houdek

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

Brendan Houdek (M.A., CCC-SLP) is a senior instructor at New York Speech Coaching. He specializes in effective business communication, executive presence, and vocal production. His teaching emphasizes control over one’s speaking abilities to be utilized as they see fit in any speaking situation. His training covers not only the physiological aspects of speech production, but also presentational performance and psychological perspective work.

Brendan’s clientele consists of individuals and groups from Google, Disney, Forbes, Nasdaq, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Capital One, MetLife, and McGraw-Hill. Brendan’s private clients include C-suite executives, politicians, doctors, dentists, accountants, lawyers, journalists, law enforcement officials, architects, TV executives, actors, musicians, art curators, literary agents, engineers, psychologists, software developers, and more.

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 is the head of New York Speech Pathology. His in-depth understanding of vocal anatomy and physiology assists his coaching by enabling him to provide speakers with healthy and efficient vocal technique.

Brendan also is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and voice impressionist, hosting the show Voice Breakdown on YouTube. These skills further enable him to have deep insights into the voice and performance.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Caleb Shomaker

Head of Education / Associate Instructor

Caleb Shomaker is an associate speech instructor specializing in accent modification, presentation skills, and vocal clarity. After working with students of all ages in general education for 8 years, he now assumes the role of Head of Education at New York Speech Coaching, where he supervises the internship and work-study programs. Caleb also established the volunteer arm of the company, connecting speech coaches with those struggling with housing instability or joblessness.

Caleb’s clients include individuals from Uber, Unilever, Shearman & Stirling, Grand Street Settlement, the Department of Education, ACE, and the Swedish-American Chamber of Congress, among others. His students attest to his infectious enthusiasm and passion for speech, offering a balance of playfulness and rigor within the classroom.

Caleb's coaching methods incorporate business communication strategies, anatomical understanding, and humanistic psychology. He grounds each of these in practical exercises that allow his clients to understand their relevance and near-immediate application. He excels at translating complex ideas into language accessible to students of all backgrounds.

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 apprenticed with world-renowned voice and speech faculty. He also participated in the New York Speech Coaching Teacher Training Program under the instruction of Brendan Houdek and John West. 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 voice and dialect coaching for numerous performances.

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.