Leadership Team

Leadership Team

Lee Glickstein, Founder and President

Doreen Downing, PhD, Senior Training Director

Doreen is a Clinical Psychologist and author of The 7 Secrets to Essential Speaking: Find Your Voice, Change Your Life. As Speaking Circles International's original Training Director since 1997, she oversees the design, development, and delivery of Facilitator Training programs.

Doreen once suffered from stage fright, and this fear is what brought her to Speaking Circles®, where she learned to face and transform anxiety. She discovered that being connected to herself and others was the key to confidence. She is now an internationally recognized seminar leader.

Between earning her degree in Sociology and a PhD in Psychology from University of California Berkeley, Doreen's journey took her to Malaysia as a Peace Corps volunteer. She saw that at the core of social problems were communication and relationship issues. Doreen's calling is to facilitate personal and professional transformation and to help people recover their vibrant inner spirit.

Koos Wolcken, Training Co-Director Europe

Koos WolckenKoos works with Jennet Burghard to oversee all European training programs for Speaking Circles International. Together they are responsible for daily operations and Facilitator continuing education in Europe.

Koos discovered Speaking Circles through a workshop by Barbara Whitney and was immediately touched by the power of its ease and simplicity. He teamed up with Walter Berghoef to coproduce Speaking Circle trainings in the Netherlands. Besides his work with Speaking Circles International, Koos is a Trainer and Life & Career Coach, combining Speaking Circles and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) with elements of assertiveness and classical communication training.

Koos has a degree in Human Geography and Education. His career has included work at the University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, as well as in private business, always with an emphasis on practical communications and education projects. In the last decade, he has specialized in effective human communications and applied psychology. Koos's goal, his gift, and his passion are to create learning environments in which people are free to discover what true communication really is, so that they can be seen and heard fully for who they truly are.

Jennet Burghard, Training Co-Director Europe

Jennet BurghardJennet works with Koos Wolcken to oversee all European training programs for Speaking Circles International. Together they are responsible for daily operations and Facilitator continuing education in Europe.

At her first Speaking Circle (in 1999) she discovered the value of being in relationship with the audience in the moment. Lee’s statement “stop performing and start connecting” touched her—that it doesn't have to take years to discover the power of being oneself, because Speaking Circles gives an immediate experience. Since being Certified in 2001, she has worked with Koos Wolcken to apply the principles of Speaking Circles to professional development programs for individuals and teams, including communication and leadership training.

Jennet has a master's degree in Public Administration, and is a Master Practitioner NLP and Certified Destination Coach. Her business experience includes seven years as a program manager and business consultant supporting change in public and private organizations. She has been working as a dedicated coach and trainer since 1998, and it’s her passion to help people deal effectively with deep and lasting change so they can reach their desired destination.

Pam Noda, Training Director Pacific Rim / Asia

Pam oversees all training programs in Asia for Speaking Circles International. She is responsible for daily operations and Facilitator continuing education throughout the Pacific Rim/Asia region.

Pam attended her first Speaking Circle in 2004, where she shed her lifelong self-consciousness at being the center of attention and discovered the exhilaration of being her natural self in front of an audience. She has since devoted herself to supporting others in their journey to personal empowerment through Speaking Circles.

She is a credentialed Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation and an Organization and Relationship Systems Certified Coach from CRR Global. She founded the program Relational Presence for Coaches with Tina Mertel to teach coaches how to expand their capacity for presence in coaching sessions. She is the founder of Hearts at Home Abroad, a coaching consultancy specializing in expatriate transitions and cross-cultural communications. Through her company True Voice Training, Pam trains Japanese business executives and others in the art of Relational Presence.

Lynne Velling, Director of Facilitator Programs & Development

Lynne designs and delivers all programs for Certified Speaking Circles Facilitators including continuing education and community events. She is a communications expert, with experience ranging from being a trained actress, working in Hollywood/Universal City in the film/TV industry, to working in public relations and marketing with a wide variety of clients.

When looking for a guest speaker for a big Toastmaster’s event, Lynne first encountered Lee Glickstein and Speaking Circles.  Working with Lee changed the way she led, spoke, and counseled clients in her presentation coaching business, Velling & Associates Communication Training, and taught adults as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor. Her mission became and continues to be “to help people find their own Voice.”

Lynne became particularly aware during her studies for a second master’s degree that teachers can considerably benefit from the practice of Relational Presence. As a presenter at Adult ESL conferences, Lynne has spoken about the need for teachers to model good communication skills to learners and to use a “relational” capacity to bring out the best in their students’ learning experience. She looks forward to contributing to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Vocational and Adult Education in the area of Promoting Teacher Effectiveness.

Lynne was Certified as a Speaking Circles Facilitator in 1999; she has a degree in Theatre from Denver University, a Master’s in TESOL and a master’s in progress in Theatre from Cal State U, Los Angeles, a bachelor’s in Natural Theology in Sacred Healing and a Certificate of Ordination in Healing from the non-denominational Healing Light Center Church.


Advisory Team

Audrey Seymour, MA MCC

Audrey SeymourFormer Vice President of Speaking Circles International, Audrey now consults on the Advisory Team.

Audrey felt an immediate resonance with Speaking Circles when she discovered them in 2002, becoming a Certified Facilitator and joining the team. She is now founder and principal of the Clear Change Group, guiding mission-based organizations and leaders internationally to greater clarity, alignment, and impact.

Previously she spent over twenty years as a software development manager and lead engineer building 3D graphics and biotech applications at Autodesk, Sega, and GeneLogic among others. Audrey has been certified by the Coaches Training Institute, the True Purpose® Institute, and is credentialed as a Master Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation. She also serves on the leadership and teaching teams at the True Purpose Institute.

Audrey holds degrees in Mathematics with a minor in Physics at the California Institute of Technology and University of California at Berkeley.

Eric Atwood

Eric AtwoodEric is the CEO of The Speakers Studio, offering speech and presentation coaching, executive coaching, communications skills training and consulting, and Speaking Circles facilitation.  He is a member of multiple Speaking Circles International teams, helping build awareness of this work and supporting the worldwide Facilitator community.

He attended his first Speaking Circles workshop in 2007 while living in New Zealand, and immediately resonated with the work.  In that workshop, for the first time he felt fully seen, heard, and appreciated by others while speaking to them.  He quickly lost his fear of public speaking and soon felt moved to open up to people in conversations and group settings.  He became a certified Speaking Circles Facilitator in 2011.

Eric’s greatest passion is helping people overcome social anxiety and public speaking fear so they can express themselves confidently, powerfully, and authentically in any setting.  Having lived in seven countries and traveled worldwide, he brings a deep knowledge of and interest in language, cultures, and people to his work and his life.

In addition to being a certified Speaking Circles Facilitator and Relational Presence Facilitator, Eric is certified as a Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner.  He also holds a Marketing Communications certificate from San Jose State University, an Advertising Copywriting certificate from Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Riverside.

Tina Mertel, MA MCC

Tina has been within the field of Performance Development for over twenty years providing training, consulting, and executive coaching to individuals who want to improve their relationships, leadership capabilities, and influence skills in the workplace.

She sought out Speaking Circles for her own development and after more than ten years of using this methodology became a certified facilitator in 2015 to share the value of this work with others.

She is credentialed as a Master Certified Coach from the International Coach Federation (ICF). She founded Relational Presence for Coaches with Pam Noda, a program dedicated to helping coaches use Relational Presence in their coaching practice. You can find her articles within publications such as Chief Learning Officer and The Journal of Industrial and Commercial Training and read her book, Meaningful Coaching, which highlights the ICF core coaching competencies.

Sara Glickstein, PhD

Sara GlicksteinSara is a neuroscientist and science writer who rediscovered Speaking Circles when she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012. As Lee's niece and honorary sister, she has been witness to Speaking Circles since the very beginning.

The parallels between Relational Presence and those processes that allow for the communication of affect between mother and infant have been most compelling for Sara, whose neuroscience interests include the impact of early developmental processes and experience on our emotional capacity as adults.

Sara has published more than twenty-five peer-reviewed academic papers and completed her PhD at Cornell University. She held research faculty positions at Columbia University and Cornell University before moving west in 2008 and starting anew as a science writer.