Hear from our clients and see their work…
Ami VitalePhotographer / Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic magazine photographer
Kate took my scattered thoughts and tirelessly worked to help me find my story. She has this unique ability to help us find our voice...to see what makes each person special.
Andrew BlockDirector of the Department of Juvenile Justice / Commonwealth of Virginia
I loved working with Kate. She coaxed, she nudged, she questioned, she provoked. She was centered and challenging all at one time. My talk would not have happened in the way it did - neither the content nor the presentation - without her. Most importantly, perhaps, we had fun throughout the process. I have never worked with a speech coach before, but I am quite confident that working with Kate has ruined me for working with anyone else!
Kat ImhoffPresident and CEO of The Montpelier Foundation / James Madison's Montpelier
Working with Kate in creating a TEDx presentation was an incredible experience. Not only did her adept coaching help me reposition my institution and my own work but maybe more importantly - and uniquely - she helped me find my voice. And finding that voice, the place you stand in the world, is a rare and unusual gift.
Andrew D. KaufmanInternationally recognized Tolstoy scholar and subject of the upcoming film, Seats at the Table. / Andrew D. Kaufman
Over the years I’ve worked with speaking coaches and have studied acting professionally, and can say that nobody has had quite the same impact on me as Kate Bennis. She’s the full package: extremely intuitive, creative, gentle, tough, and analytical all at the same time. From inviting me to think hard about the nuts and bolts of talk structure, to encouraging me to take creative risks and reveal my authentic self on stage, Kate has quite simply helped take my speaking to a whole new level. Ever since I started working with Kate I feel more alive and authentic in front of an audience and I’m having a lot more fun, too! People who have seen me speak for years have noticed the difference. Now whenever I have to give a talk that matters—and every talk matters!—the first person I call is Kate Bennis.
Nikki Hastings, PhDChief Operating Officer, Biotech / Contraline
As someone with a lifelong fear of public speaking, I had tried all sorts of tricks and strategies to overcome my anxieties. Kate opened her arms to me and guided me through a solid framework of approach, rooted in her theatrical background. She broke down the preparation and parts of a speech that made it more palatable and less scary! She gave me the space and opportunity to test, fumble with and improve my skills. Ultimately, she provided frank feedback with a gentleness and kindness that allowed me to grow beyond my fears. Her tools and tricks have stayed with me and I’ve gained more confidence with each new opportunity to speak knowing that she is in the background cheering me on! Kate is the kind of person you meet, and immediately you want to be her friend. I’ve been honored to get to know her and work with her.
Chic ThompsonBrainstorm and Creative Idea Guru (my words!) / What a Great Idea!
Kate Bennis is the coach, the teacher, the cheerleader that I've wanted all of my life. She helps you speak with intent and have fun in front of your audience.
Rachel BagbyKeynote Speaker / Women’s Leadership Muse
Kate’s mastery as a speaking coach is rooted in her golden ears, generous, intelligent heart and actor’s ethic of rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing. I work out with Kate in order to clarify–then confidently ditch–my keynote scripts and improvise my storysinging in a way that ignites audiences’ creativity.
Dr. James CoanAssociate Professor / UVA School of Psychology
Kate saw right through my ‘professional speaker’ self and worked with me to bring my personal self more confidently to the stage. She helped me see the benefits of leaving my slides and props behind, and empowered me to just tell my story as if it mattered to me, which of course it does. Colleagues have remarked on how impressed they were to see me talking more or less extemporaneously in front of such a large audience, but the truth is, I actually enjoyed myself immensely. In the end, it felt much less like work than giving talks usually does. I have Kate to thank for that.
Dawn AverittFounder and Emeritus Board Member / The Well Project
“I backed up a dump truck of expertise, statistics, metaphors and experience — and rather than cherry-picking vignettes, Kate methodically, compassionately, and decisively dove into the pile and helped me find my voice, my passion, and the talk I needed to give. After more than 20 years of standing on stages in front of audiences and delivering talks, Kate helped me greet and connect with 1200 people individually in a whole new way. For me, Kate was a magical mix of audience, director, coach, and guide. My work with her has been inspiring and transformative.
Kenneth BloomChairman / Martha Graham Dance Company and School
If you are trying to change the world through the spoken word, then you hire Kate to help you do this. I called Kate to help me develop an inspirational speech for an arts organization for which I am a the chairman of the board. She quickly found the ‘angle’ that would hit the mark. She found this by researching the organization—the history, the mission, and the current situation--and by knowing what moves people to open their wallets. Then, using her impressive literary skills, she crafted a ‘high level’ speech that captured the moment. The outcomes were impressive and long-lasting: we broke our prior fund-raising record, we sold half our seats for an upcoming trip to Cuba, and the organization was invited to perform in Paris, at a leading venue, in 2017. Kate can move people to action!
Laura Mulligan ThomasConductor / Charlottesville High School
Working with Kate was a tremendous experience, both professionally and personally. Her spot-on advice, enthusiasm, and encouragement helped me get from a place of insecurity to one of confidence and enjoyment.
Yael MelamedeFilmmaker / Salty Features
Kate brings to her work an extraordinary blend of intelligence, curiosity, patience, creativity and enthusiasm. Her background as an actor, communicator, and storyteller, makes her empathetic and insightful. I felt extremely lucky to be able to work with her on my TEDX presentation and would work with her again in a heartbeat.
John D'EarthJazz Trumpeter and Educator
Working with you was a great new experience for me. I usually shoot from the hip with mixed results. You took me through a process (you had to drag me at the beginning!) that showed me what I really wanted to convey and what I DIDN”T want to convey. You encouraged me to be myself and say my piece without artifice but you revealed perils and booby traps that I did not know were there and you taught me a lot about avoiding them. I am endlessly grateful to you for that!
Mark WingfieldPastor, Author and Speaker / Wilshire Baptist Church and Baptist News
Kate Bennis knows her stuff. And she knows how to communicate it clearly to those she coaches. Being able to do and being able to coach often don’t go hand in hand. Kate has them both and demonstrates a graceful manner of nurture and development that encourages and gets results.
A Few Talks Kate has Coached
Kat Imhoff, President and CEO of James Madison’s Montpelier, “I, You, and We: Seeing Race in American One Person at a Time”
Andrew Block, Director, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, “Outside the Fence”
Mark Wingfield, Associate Pastor Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, “The Baptist Pastor and His Transgender Friends”
Ami Vitale, National Geographic Photographer and Nikon Ambassador, “One Village, Nine Elephants, and the Moon”
Chic Thompson, Author and Fellow at Darden School of Business, UVA, “Life is a Brainstorm”
Lauren Foster, Director at CFA Institute, “Bridging the Workplace Gender Gap”
Greg Thompson, Pastor, Clayborn Temple, The Burning Church
Sarah Bloom Raskin, Former Deputy Director of Treasury, Former Governor Federal Reserve Bank, “And Yet, It Moves: Challenging Our Assumptions”