Relying on 20 years of research, Cara has a deep understanding of how nonverbal communication shapes the perception of leadership presence. She literally wrote the book on projecting credibility and confidence: the critically acclaimed The Credibility Code. In workshops, she’s known for delivering precision feedback with warmth and humor. On stage, she’s an energetic and compelling presenter, having won numerous national awards for public speaking.
As founder and president of SpeechSkills, Cara has provided training to some of the world’s best-known companies, including Allianz, Caterpillar, eBay, Gap Inc., Google, IDEO, and Williams-Sonoma. A guest lecturer at UC Berkeley, Harvard University, Stanford University, and UC Hastings College of Law, Cara has also worked with numerous top-100 law firms, including DLA Piper, Morgan Lewis, O’Melveny & Myers, and White & Case. She is a frequent media resource, appearing in Forbes.com, The Globe and Mail, USA Today, and countless other media outlets.
With a BA in speech communication and an MFA in theatre, Cara’s early career includes professional work as a voice-over artist and commercial actress. However, perhaps her best preparation for a career as a keynote speaker has been her years spent as a camp counselor for the YMCA.
Cara lives with her husband and two children in San Francisco. Her other loves include yoga, dance, and a good game of charades.
Edward T. Alter, Founding Partner and Principal Trainer
Ed’s combined talents as an entrepreneur, communications coach, and improvisational performer give him a unique understanding of how to empower business professionals to perform at their best when the stakes are high.
Along with delivering workshops to SpeechSkills’ top clients, Ed provides speaker training to physicians and researchers at the Massachusetts General Global Health Initiative. While his Business Presentation Skills course is a popular staple at UC Berkeley Extension, he’s also a frequent guest presenter at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Ed’s playful personality and robust laugh complement his ability to provide coaching with insight and impact.
Ed earned a BA in communications studies from San Francisco State University and spent 10 years as a performer and executive director at the critically acclaimed BATS Improv theatre company. Prior to SpeechSkills, Ed founded the technology company Serial Number Applications, Inc. (SNAP!), achieving impressive annual growth before selling the company to Adobe Systems.
Ed lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children. In his off hours, Ed can be found reading tech magazines and neuroscience journals. He also throws a wicked Frisbee.
Kirk Livingston, Businesss Development Administrator
Kirk brings a wealth of experience to his position as Director of SpeechSkills’ daily operations. Prior to joining the SpeechSkills team, Kirk worked in administrative functions for such diverse companies as Adobe Systems, BATS Improv, Creative Advantage, Morrison & Foerster, SNAP! Inc., and UC San Francisco.
In addition to his administrative roles, Kirk has led leadership and team-building workshops for corporations across the United States, including Bank of America, Ernst & Young, Gap Inc., Hewlett-Packard, and Nordstrom.
Kirk received his Bachelor of Theatre Arts, Performance from San Francisco State University, and has worked professionally as an actor his whole life, appearing on both the stage, film and TV, where he’s been seen promoting everything from cars to Coca-Cola.
Kirk lives in the heart of San Francisco with his husband, Jaime, and their all-powerful ninja cat, Bon Bon. (beware the “hangry” kitty)
As the first trainer hired by SpeechSkills, Rebecca initially joined the team in 2002, delivering presentation skills workshops to clients such as Google, Facebook, and UC Berkeley Extension. She has since become our leading one-on-one executive coach, working with top-level executives in the fields of law, finance, technology, and design.
Rebecca is also one of the most sought-after improv teachers in the United States. In addition to working with numerous top universities and theater schools, her corporate clients include Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, and Telltale Games. As a leader in the innovative field of Applied Improv, Rebecca was named an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2005.
A founding member of BATS Improv, Rebecca was the first dean of the BATS School of Improv, celebrating over 30 years of improvisation leadership. With a BFA from the University of Washington’s Professional Actor Training Program, she continues to be an active mainstage performer.
Lisa joined the SpeechSkills team in 2008 with an extensive background in corporate training and improvisation. A high-energy and engaging coach, she delivers the firm’s signature workshops to clients in diverse industries, from high tech to medicine to environmental sustainability.
In addition to her work with SpeechSkills, Lisa is a main-stage company member of BATS Improv, Northern California’s renowned improv performance and training center. With BATS, Lisa has delivered improv-based trainings around presence, communication, teamwork, and creativity for premier clients, such as Facebook, Google, JetBlue, Oracle, and Virgin America.
A Stanford University graduate with a BA in drama and psychology, Lisa recently returned to her alma mater as a guest lecturer.
Sasha brings over a decade of experience in team-building, leadership coaching, and facilitation to her role as a Speechskills trainer, delivering the firm's signature workshops to Bay Area clients in industries from education to high tech. Before coming to SpeechSkills, Sasha designed and facilitated team-building events for corporate clients throughout the USA.
Known for her positive, high-energy style, Sasha performed regularly with the Simps (Stanford Improvisors) and in musical theater productions while completing her BA in Psychology and MA in Education at Stanford University.
Outside of Speechskills, Sasha is the founder and CEO of Trail Mavens, creating outdoor adventures for women. Trail Mavens empowers women to be the fire-starters, the tent-pitchers, and the map-readers, creating opportunities for adventure, leadership, and starry-night campfire conversation in the great outdoors.
In her free time, Sasha actively trains as a long distance runner, with a goal to complete a marathon in all fifty states in Boston-qualifying times. Eleven down, thirty-nine to go!
Megan Timpane brings over 10 years of HR and corporate training experience to SpeechSkills, having previously worked for prominent companies in the fashion industry, such as Michael Kors and Rent the Runway.
Originally from San Francisco, Megan began acting at a young age, studying at The New Conservatory Theater, American Conservatory Theatre, and The British Academy of Dramatic Arts At Oxford, before getting her bachelor’s degree in Theatre Performance at UCLA. While pursuing her acting career in TV and film in Los Angeles, Megan wrote and performed her own one-woman show Lymphomaniac - about her experience battling and surviving cancer - to rave reviews and sold out houses.
In her spare time, Megan takes classes in Stand Up and plays on three (yes, three!) basketball teams.
Katherine has over two decades of experience helping people of all ages and backgrounds articulate their personal stories.
At SpeechSkills, Katherine offers her newly created Embrace Your Story workshop to help our clients convey who they are, what they do, and why they do it, through the art of personal storytelling.
In 2015, she launched her own presentation and story coaching business, Speaking to What Matters, to help others speak with authenticity and depth in life's most important moments - in both business and personal settings - ranging from TED Talks, to toasts, to formal presentations.
Katherine graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in African American Studies. After serving two years with Teach For America, she spent 20 years at Summer Search, a national nonprofit, helping young people transform what they believe is possible for their futures.
Known for her upbeat attitude and easy laugh, she imbues all that she does with warmth and sincerity. While she has traveled extensively, what she enjoys most is walking on Baker Beach, spending time with her family and friends, and creating meaningful moments for herself and others.
Nick serves several key roles at SpeechSkills, his duties range from coordinating client logistics to acting as tech support for the entire office. With six years of administrative experience, he combines a keen and detail oriented eye with a positive and upbeat attitude.
Above all else, his passion lies in writing. He earned a BA in English from UC Davis with emphasis in creative writing. He is currently working on his first novel, with hopes to get it published soon.
In addition, he spent over a decade of his life training in gymnastics and circus acrobatics. He tries to spend a few minutes standing on his hands every day.