Reviews

Corporate

"Working with Nancy Houfek has had an enormously positive impact on our company. She has the ability to reach a variety of personality ‘types’ on a very personal level. We have been working with her for almost ten years and have found that with her guidance, otherwise reticent employees blossom into compelling communicators and speakers. I would highly recommend her services to anyone who is looking to encourage improved communication skills and personal growth from their workforce.”

     Sean P. Gildea, Principal
     The Dartmouth Company, Boston, MA



“Nancy is amazing! She helped our team get to the next level — she pushed us to bring our inner strengths out into the world and use them to make our facilitation more moving and authentic. With her energy and experience, Nancy guided us to transform our facilitation styles so we are now more effective when at the front of the room.”

     Celeste Villalobos Tahamont
     Leadership Development Specialist
     Google, Mountain View, CA



“I wanted to write to tell you how well-received the executive speeches were at our Peak Performers’ Conference this year. Based on comments I heard, Brad gave the best speech he’d ever given to that audience. Jim hit a grand slam and Knut was equally compelling. Your guidance and feedback has made a real difference in the quality of these presentations.”

     Pete Bernard
     Senior Communications Specialist
     Thrivent Financial, Minneapolis, MN

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Public Policy & Leadership

“Working with Nancy Houfek has convinced me that being a very effective public speaker is not an innate ability, but rather a skill that can be learned. In just a few sessions, she has taught our staff of policy wonks to be strong, clear, effective communicators. Her advice ranges from big picture themes (such as focusing on what the audience is hearing and understanding, rather than on what you are saying), to strategies for organizing presentations so they are compelling to an audience, to very specific advice and guidance on the physical act of speaking that has helped even naturally quiet people on our staff to develop a public speaking voice that reaches, engages, and can move an audience.”

     Noah Berger, President
     Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, Boston, MA



"Nancy understands the power of effective communication on stage and she realizes that as leaders we are often ‘on stage.’ I found her insights exceptionally helpful."

     David W. Moen, MD, President
     Bluestone Solutions, Stillwater, MN



“The keynote went well — judging by the line of people waiting to talk to me afterward. I had fun and can’t wait for the next opportunity to up my game. Thanks a ton for your support!”

     Eric Martin, Senior Leadership Consultant
     Cambridge Leadership Associates, New York, NY



“Seeing Nancy Houfek at work was game changing — she really opened my eyes to the whole performance aspect, so much so that I was busy trying out her advice the next day!”

     Martin Bloxham, PhD, Director
     Barefoot Thinking Company, Ltd.
     Newton Abbott, Devon, England



“Thanks to Nancy’s well-honed facilitation of the storytelling work, I will absolutely be infusing storytelling in the Adaptive Leadership graduate course I’m teaching this fall. And I will most definitely be more purposeful in using my own stories to more evocative ends when I’m in the front of the room. Her story work was a gift, and I intend to use it.”

     Jill Hufnagel, PhD, Associate Director
     Batten Leadership Institute, Roanoke, VA



“One of your participants just visited my office and very dramatically handed me a note card on which someone thanked her (effusively) for a recent presentation she gave. Among other things, he said that her presentations skills were ‘unmatched.’ So, from both of us, thank you for all your help, guidance, and support.”

     Michelle Bazie
     Vice President for Communications
     Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, Washington, D.C.

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Science & Technology

“Working with Nancy was an awesome experience. Her upbeat manner and keen ability to bring out my best voice and partner it with more effective presentation skills was incredible. I’ve been to workshops on presentations skills before, but her insights raised my communication proficiency to a dynamic new level.”

     Laurie K. McCauley, DDS, PhD
     William K. and Mary Anne Najjar Professor
     Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine
     University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI



“I participated in Nancy's workshop, The Act of Teaching, in May 2010. I approached this workshop with an inkling of how effective teaching was somehow related to acting and drama; I left with a clear understanding of the many dramatic roles that exist in a classroom — script, characters, critics, audience, actors, and others. I also had the privilege of practicing the opening of an upcoming conference presentation; Nancy's suggestions were immediately helpful. I used to ‘umm’ a lot during talks and lectures; Nancy helped me overcome this verbal crutch with her advice on pacing and planning of words. I have continued to benefit from her suggestions, both while teaching and while delivering research talks.”

     Noah Daniels, PhD
     Postdoctoral Associate, Computation and Biology Group
     Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
     2013 Award for Outstanding Contributor to Engineering Education
          at Tufts University



“I met Nancy Houfek at her workshop at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics several years ago. I asked Nancy to work with me on improving my speech and accent. Nancy designed many interesting and fun voice exercises for me and showed me how to properly warm up before presentations and meetings. She helped me to prepare for my science presentations, to think about being understood, and to talk to colleagues in the last row by projecting my voice. We usually exercise to have fun and to improve our health but we largely ignore the voice. Nancy has taught me how to train to keep my voice in a good shape. She has changed the way I think about the health and exercise, and helped me to understand the importance of my healthy voice.”

     Aneta Siemiginowska, PhD
     Astrophysicist, Chandra X-ray Center
     Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA
     Author, The Handbook of X-ray Astronomy

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Academia

"For years, Nancy’s workshops for faculty and graduate students at the Bok Center here at Harvard have been met with rave reviews! Our videotapes of these sessions are in high demand; she translates the skills of the theater beautifully into the classroom."

     Terry Aladjem, PhD, Executive Director
     Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning
     Harvard University, Cambridge, MA



“Nancy Houfek has been leading workshops at Harvard School of Public Health on Public Speaking as a Performing Art for seven years now. Every workshop has been a huge hit with our faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and doctoral students. Participants consistently rate her as a highly effective instructor who ‘inspires,’ who teaches skills that ‘everyone should learn,’ and whose positive and supportive style makes ‘everyone willing to try new techniques.’ Her lessons are immediately put to use in our classrooms, to our students’ enormous benefit.”

     Nancy M. Kane, DBA
     Associate Dean for Educational Programs
     Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA



“Nancy Houfek's workshop was a transformative experience. Under her guidance we learned how to use our physical presence, voice, and energy in order to create a more powerful connection with our audience and to communicate our ideas as scholars and educators more effectively. Nancy is an inspiring, generous, and patient teacher who is expert at demonstrating how these skills can be mastered through practice. Our training in academia tends to assume we will all naturally acquire these skills over time, but in fact, the great majority of us at every career stage could truly use Nancy's help.”

     Julie Buckler, PhD
     Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures
     Harvard University, Cambridge, MA



“Nancy brings an innovative and creative approach to presenting solid, useful information. She is equally adept at a formal presentation, working with a class of master’s level students or in a seminar format around a conference table with doctoral students. Nancy brings a vibrant, knowledgeable style based on her expertise and experience with professional communication skills. Students routinely say that they find working with her to be an asset for them professionally and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.”

     Jacquelyn Alexander, PhD
     Professor Emerita, Leadership Studies
     Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, TX

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Women

“Working with Ms. Houfek has had a major impact on my ability to communicate and negotiate effectively, improving my teaching, research, and leadership skills and she did so in an engaging and light way. I have enlisted her help to train young female scientists in the art and science of strategic performance. I highly recommend her and her programs.”

     Cynthia Friend, PhD
     Theodore Williams Richards Professor of Chemistry
          Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
     Professor of Materials Science
          School of Engineering and Applied Science
     Harvard University, Cambridge, MA



“Nancy’s workshops: life-altering. She opened my eyes to a new way of being, one that could be proactive instead of reactive. I walk into a meeting with a goal, strategically positioning myself in a competent, confident pose, taking in the 10,000-foot view, disconnecting myself from the dramas that unfold. I think more about whether I am actually connecting with an audience rather than serving as an information and data provider. And I’m trying to pass it on, teaching my graduate students how to transition from a student mindset to a more professional viewpoint and self-image.”

     Mary Anne Holmes, PhD
     Director, ADVANCE-Nebraska
     Professor of Practice, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department
     University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE



“Nancy Houfek and I met during the National Hispana Leadership Institute Fellows Program at Harvard University, April 2011. Ms. Houfek served as co-facilitator as well as presenter. She is a master in both these roles. Her unique perspectives, accompanied by depth of knowledge, understanding and candor, continue to have an impact on my professional and community engagement. A grand applause to Ms. Houfek for her genuine, insightful and invigorating approach to thoughtfully identified content that refreshes the heart, soul and mind.”

     Lourdes Tinajero
     Program Manager and Analyst
     U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC
     National Hispana Leadership Institute 2011 Fellow



“I have been a dean for many years now, but cannot recall another occasion after which so many of my faculty and staff colleagues have sent warm notes of thanks following a sponsored event. You hit a home run here and they told me they would have been happy to spend 2- 3 days in your workshop. When I asked what they learned that made it so special, a number of them commented – ‘Nancy was the special ingredient: she was exceptional.’”

     Catherine Gilliss, PhD, RN, FAAN
     Dean, School of Nursing & Vice Chancellor for Nursing Affairs
     Duke University, Durham, NC

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The Arts & Media

“Nancy is an inspirational teacher of voice and speech — one of the very best, if not the very best, in the country. She brings an unsurpassed depth of knowledge, a deep wisdom, a warm and generous personality, and a great passion for communication to all her interactions. She is a special individual with great gifts to offer whatever institution is lucky enough to engage her.”

     Robert Brustein
     Senior Research Fellow, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
     Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Suffolk University, Boston, MA
     Founder, American Repertory Theater at Harvard University



“Nancy Houfek is not only one of the finest voice and speech teachers I have ever hired, she is masterful at taking any group of people (from all walks of life) and guiding them to discover their authentic voice… and true communication.”

     Daniel Renner
     Director of Education, Theater Development Fund, New York, NY
     Former Dean, National Theater Conservatory, Denver, CO



“Nancy's work with our 400 volunteers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has transformed our teaching and presenting culture. Because of Nancy’s own dynamic presentation style, she is able to inspire her audience and create an environment in which people feel comfortable taking risks, trying new strategies, and self-evaluating to improve their presentations. Her work at the Met has facilitated lasting gains in the quality and interactivity of our teaching.”

     Peggy Fogelman
     Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education
     The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY



“Every time we meet, Nancy impresses me by arriving with copious, detailed notes from having listened closely to recent audio of my work — she is exceptionally skilled at identifying specific areas that need improvement and explaining precisely how to make those improvements. And somehow she does this in a way that leaves me feeling encouraged rather than discouraged! I've also come to think of Nancy as an informal career counselor who is genuinely invested in my professional growth, and enjoy her company immensely in our periodic get-togethers.”

     Sacha Pfeiffer
     Senior Reporter and Boston host of NPR’s All Things Considered



"Besides providing me with the level of speech and dialect coaching I needed to be a working actor, I've never known anybody that has understood alignment and physical freedom so masterfully that they know where one is restricting themselves by simply listening to the sound, expression, and quality of their voice. Nancy Houfek has this rare gift of kinesthetic response, and has given me the confidence and the physical tools needed to unlock tension so I may have access to a full, rich vocal sound. Whether singing or speaking, I still surprise myself unexpectedly at an audition when I make an impulsive, yet dynamic vocal choice that used to be way out of my comfort zone — and I think, ‘Ha, thanks, Nancy!’”

     Dustyn Gullege, Harvard 2012
     Actor, Lucky Guy, with Tom Hanks on Broadway



“I am currently playing the lead, Constance, in The Constant Wife at Meadow Brook Theatre, which is a large regional theatre in Michigan. I use every ounce of my training with Nancy to get through this show. I speak a lot, in dialect, to a large house with absolutely no amplification. I get to the theatre at least an hour and a half early to warm up, and I spend most of it finding breath, support, and placement that gets me to the back of the 600 seat house. I could NEVER have done this without all the tools Nancy gave me. I cannot express how much I use the work we did in every single performance.”

     Cheryl Turski, Harvard 2007
     Actor, The Constant Wife, Meadow Brook Theater, Rochester, MI
     Assistant Professor, Department of Theater and Dance
     Wayne State University, Detroit, MI



“Nancy's voice work with WBUR's on-air hosts has been invaluable. She's able to break down habits and tendencies, enabling each of them to understand how they sound and why. She then coaches them to consciously sound more comfortable — to be themselves — getting the most out of the voices she works with. Our hosts love working with Nancy!”

     Sam Fleming
     Director of News and Programming
     WBUR, Boston, MA  TOP 

© 2013-2014 Nancy Houfek