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 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, Moneyish, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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, 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

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

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

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.

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

Josephine Barton

Associate Instructor

Josephine is a voice, speech, and accent coach. She has a Master of Arts degree in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London, and studied acting in Sydney.

She has extensive experience coaching public speaking, presentation skills, and accent modification for clients in the US, Australia, and the UK. She has coached voice in drama schools and universities, including the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Drama Studio London, City Academy, University of Notre Dame, Sydney, and London Metropolitan University.

Josephine understands that each client is unique, and all sessions are tailored specifically to her clients' needs. Using techniques drawn from acting training, scientific research, and business communication skills, Josephine works with the client to achieve vocal health, stamina, audibility, clarity, expression, and confidence.

Nick Mills

Associate Instructor

Originally from Bloomington, IN, Nick received his MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting Program and his BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Evansville.

As a performer, he has appeared on Broadway in 1984 and The Humans, which won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2016. His Off-Broadway credits include Medea at BAM, The Humans and The Unavoidable Disappearance of Tom Durnin, both at Roundabout Theatre Company, as well as Macbeth with the Mobile Shakespeare Unit at The Public Theater. Regionally, he has performed at The Ahmanson Theatre, Cleveland Play House, The Old Globe, and the Denver Center. On television, Nick has been seen on Succession, The Blacklist, Mr. Robot, The Good Fight, Law and Order: SVU, Person of Interest, and Show Me a Hero.

As a teacher, Nick has worked with Rosie’s Theater Kids, PPAS / Waterwell Drama Program, and was a substitute teacher in the New York Public School System. He has done extensive volunteer work with The 52nd Street Project, as well as Rehabilitation Through the Arts.

He lives on the Upper West Side with his wife, Ashley, and their two children, Ava & Marlowe.

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.