Leadership Team

Lee Glickstein, Founder and President

Doreen Downing PhD, Senior Training Director

Doreen is a Clinical Psychologist and author of Essential Speaking: The 7-Step Guide to Finding Your Real Voice. 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 Ph.D. 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 masters 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 discovered the exhilaration of being her natural self in front of an audience. At that training, Pam shed her lifelong self-consciousness at being the center of attention and found the joy of truly being seen for who she is. 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 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 and Luminous Listening.

Lynne Velling, Facilitator Programs Director

Lynne Velling 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, counseled clients in her presentation coaching business, Velling & Associates Communication Training, and taught adults as an English as a Second Language 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 (RP). 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.

John Dawson, Trainer

John DawsonJohn has been the senior Speaking Circle Facilitator in the UK since 2000 and now helps individuals prepare for Facilitator Training.

His real passion is to help people find their voice and live life to the fullest. John feels that Speaking Circles help us to take our place in life so we can really shine.

John is very keen to look for ways of deepening our understanding of the work and exploring where we can take Speaking Circles in the future. This includes setting up a social networking site for Speaking Circle Facilitators around the world as well as helping to develop new models of leadership and professional practice for Facilitators in Europe. 

He's passionate about working with Appreciative Inquiry - a strengths based approach to organisational and personal change - and is part of the Speaking Circles International Appreciative Inquiry project core group.

From 1993-2007 John founded and edited The Spark Magazine, the UK's biggest free alternative magazine. He holds a Diploma in Group Facilitation, an Honours degree and a bus conductor’s certificate!


The SCI Advisory Team

Audrey Seymour, MA MCC

Audrey SeymourFormer Vice President of Speaking Circles International, Audrey now consults on Facilitator programs and website development.

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 by the International Coach Federation. She also serves on the leadership and teaching teams at the True Purpose® Institute.

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

Tina Mertel, PCC

Tina Mertel has been within the field of Performance Development for over 20 years providing training, consulting, and executive coaching to improve relationships and build leadership and influence skills in the workplace. 

She sought out Speaking Circles® for her own development and after 10+ years of using this methodology became a certified facilitator to share the value of this work with others. 

She is credentialed as a Professional Certified Coach from the International Coach Federation (ICF), and is founder of Meaningful Coaching, a practice dedicated to improving relationships - with one’s self and with others. 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 using the ICF core coaching competencies with discovering your values.

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 has 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 25+ 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.