The roots of the Leadership Speaking School were founded in 2010 by Dr. Laura Penn. This is our story:
“I was brought into the wide and wonderful world of public speaking through a surprising chain of events. My three loves are dance, theatre, and conservation. While enjoying the first two performing arts as hobbies and favorite pastimes for a lifetime, I gave my heart to the field of conservation biology, specializing in the communication of conservation messages in order to help protect wildlife and wild places. This was my career until 2009, when I relocated from a life of globe-trotting to Switzerland.
Not finding the work opportunities I had hoped for, I reinvented myself. The light-bulb moment happened when I was sitting-in on a conference of conservation colleagues, watching them deliver HORRIBLE presentations. They were ticking every box for what-not-to-do when speaking in public…reading from their slides, mumbling, speaking too fast, and on and on and on! A thought came into my head: “Conservation is a crisis discipline. Wildlife and wild places can’t afford to have the people protecting them FAIL at public speaking…something has to be done about this and fast because conservation can’t wait.“
Fuelled by this urgency and motivation, I started a club called “Communicating Environment”, basing it in a major conservation organization in Switzerland. Using my background in both the performing arts and conservation, I taught my colleagues how to “promote conservation through effective public speaking”. An unbelievable success! I ventured on and earned more credentials in public speaking, including winning high-level awards, authoring a book called “How to Enhance the Performance of Public Speaking: A Pocket Coach” and delivering three TEDx talks. This broadened my reach and soon, I changed the name of my business to TheProfessionalSpeakerCoach.com. Yes, I agree, the name feels like marbles in your mouth, so shortly after this second name change, I changed it once again, to The Public Speaking School.
The vision of The Public Speaking School was to empower people from all walks of life, in fields far and wide, with the speaking skills they needed to make their messages matter. With time, more and more global leaders began to appear as students in the School. From leaders from organizations like the World Economic Forum, the International Red Cross and the International Olympic Committee, to leaders from companies like Ebay, Roche and Nestle, to leaders from academic institutions like EPFL and the IMD business school, it became apparent that The Public Speaking School’s students had a global reach and influence. This exciting evolution and partnering with Co-Founder Fredrik Hedlund, ushered in the birth of a new type of school, designed for the specific needs of leaders: The Leadership Speaking School, where personal transformation leads to global impact.