“Speaking Circles® transform the way you communicate by focusing on the essential first step in masterful public speaking — true attunement between speaker and listeners.”

-Lee Glickstein

About Speaking Circles International

Speaking Circles International (SCI) is an educational and training company that serves individuals and organizations in the art and skill of masterful public speaking. SCI was founded in 1989 by Lee Glickstein when a lifetime of stage fright motivated him to develop a radical approach to authentic and effective public speaking. This process of discovery led him to a deep understanding of the principles of natural communication through Relational Presence.

Author of Be Heard Now! Tap into Your Inner Speaker and Communicate with Ease (Broadway Books and Sounds True Audiotapes), Lee is committed to facilitating ease, power and effectiveness for anyone who needs or wants to address groups.

SCI teaches its programs internationally and has trained Facilitators from multiple countries including: The Netherlands, England, France, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and New Zealand.

The Speaking Circles International Team

Lee Glickstein

Founder and President

Lee Glickstein founded Speaking Circles International in 1989. He is an authority on authentic magnetism and presence in public speaking. He offers virtual classes and one-on-one coaching via Zoom and in-person with a unique combination of inspiration and step-by-step innovation. He works with clients ranging from professional communicators to “non-speakers” with severe stage fright, and is committed to facilitating ease, power and effectiveness for anyone who needs to or wants to address groups.

Lee is author of Be Heard Now! Tap Into Your Inner Speaker and Communicate with Ease (Broadway Books), Be Heard Now! How to Speak Naturally and Powerfully in Front of Any Audience (Sounds True Audiotapes), and the Ebook: Speakers’ Guide to Authentic Connection: The Alchemy of Influence through Relational Presence.

More About Lee

Lee Glickstein, founder of Speaking Circles International, is an authority on authentic power and presence in public speaking. He delivers keynotes, seminars and private coaching with a unique combination of inspiration and step-by-step innovation. Offering speaking coaching to clients ranging from top professional communicators to “non-speakers” with severe stage fright, he is committed to facilitating ease, power and effectiveness for anyone who needs or wants to address groups.

In 1989, Lee developed Speaking Circles as a way to make his innovative approach available to others. Since that time he has facilitated thousands of Speaking Circles, workshops, seminars and retreats around the world. The organization he founded, Speaking Circles International, has trained over 1000 Speaking Circle facilitators worldwide.

Lee has presented his unique programs at annual conventions, regional workshops, and at over 30 local chapters of the National Speakers Association.

He is author of Be Heard Now! Tap Into Your Inner Speaker and Communicate with Ease (Broadway Books) , Be Heard Now! How to Speak Naturally and Powerfully in Front of Any Audience (Sounds True Audiotapes), and the Ebook: Speakers’ Guide to Authentic Connection: The Alchemy of Influence through Relational Presence.

Lee graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in Sociology in 1966. He was a social worker in New York City for eight years before moving to California to “follow his bliss.”

He performed stand-up comedy in San Francisco before becoming an innovator in the field of “humor as healing,” eventually serving as Director of the Humor in Medicine Program at the California Pacific Medical Center in the early 1990’s. In 1996, Lee was awarded the Athena Award for Excellence in Coaching and Mentoring.

A lifetime of stage fright motivated him to develop his simple but elegant approach to break through the epidemic fear of being fully oneself in front of groups. This process of discovery led him to a thorough understanding of the principles of authentic leadership communication through the practice of Relational Presence.

Lee lives in Marin County, California, and his hobby is constructing crossword puzzles for the New York Times.

What professional speakers are saying about Lee

“Lee Glickstein is a genius. There’s no one in the world better at what he does. He is doing life-changing, breakthrough work which is shaping the speaking industry and propelling it forward.”
Randy Gage, National Speakers Association, Florida

“YES. YES. YES. YES. Lee Glickstein has managed to put into words the mystical experience of really connecting, not just speaking. I am better for it.”
Rosita Perez, National Speakers Association, Florida, CPAE (Council of Peers Award for Excellence)

“FABULOUS WORK! Lee Glickstein has innovated an effective way to empower speakers to connect with and identify their inner story, and to develop and deliver it authentically.”
Grady Jim Robinson, NSA St. Louis, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE

“REVOLUTIONARY STUFF! The cutting edge of where genuine leadership and speaking is going.”
Glenna Salsbury, NSA Arizona, CSP, CPAE, Arizona, Former NSA President

What clients are saying about Lee’s programs

“I found myself in a safe space among peers, which allowed me to be authentic. Not only that, no small accomplishment, I came away with tools and insights to enable me to take that authenticity into daily life.”
Michael Toms, founder, New Dimensions Radio

“With all my speaking experience, I never believed I could speak extemporaneously. To be able to eloquently flow in the moment has opened a whole new territory to me.”
Ann Weiser Cornell, President, Association for Humanistic Psychology

“Your two seminars with our trainers transformed the way we do our programs here. What you provide and support is an approach to being real that allows people to be honest, open, and effective in leadership communication.”
Doug Krug, Enlightened Leadership, International, Denver, Colorado

“Lee had a powerful impact on a client of mine, Banner Radio, a leading national rep company. He showed their top executives, in a few short hours, how to make a major difference in their presentation, listening, and communication skills.”
Juanell Teague, People Plus, Inc., Dallas, Texas

“You brought out the best in me and the other CEO’s in my Executive Committee support group, both in training and downstream results.” John Caple, Executive Consultant, Author: The Ultimate Interview

“Thanks to you I was able to make a fundamental change in my ability to be present with and communicate to groups.”
Marilyn King, Beyond Sports, Olympic Pentathelete

“I truly owe my success to you for giving me direction and the confidence to believe in my own style.”
Steve Lind, National Account Executive,TDI

“Thank you for what many of our members will in the future refer to as one of the most valuable programs ever held at Ohio Speakers Forum.”
Richard Vail, Vail Training

“What a relief to find that I could be more effective by speaking in my natural style, rather than according to the teachings of traditional public speaking classes.”
Herman Maynard, author: The Fourth Wave: Business in the 21st Century programs

Partial Client List

Chevron Corporation

Pacific Bell

Kaiser Permanente

Stanford University

US Department of Education

Radio Advertising Bureau, Inc.

California Pacific Medical Center

Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Bechtel Corporation

Boise-Cascade, Inc.

Sun Microsystems


Selected Media:


“Lifestyle Magazine” on Fox-TV
“Good News” on PAX Cable
“AM Northwest” on KATU-TV, Portland, OR
“Miracle Network” with Corinne Edwards, Chicago


“The Ronn Owens Show” KGO-AM810, San Francisco
New Dimensions Radio with Michael Toms
“Living Successfully” with Bob Keeton on WRVA-AM 1140 Radio


The College Club
Wisdom Channel with Michael Toms
KVIE Radio with Laura Lee

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 Senior Training Director of Speaking Circles International, she oversees the design, development, and delivery of the public classes and 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 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 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 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 and 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, 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.

The SCI Advisory Team

Audrey Seymour


Former 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, aligning mission-based leaders and organizations with their purpose, to maximize their impact in the world.

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 Speaking Circles International, the Center for Appreciative Inquiry, the Barrett Values Center, the Coaches Training Institute, the True Purpose Institute, and is credentialed by the International Coach Federation. She is also a trainer 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, plus a black belt in Shotokan Karate.

Eric Atwood

Eric 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 Neuro-linguistic 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


Tina has been within the field of Performance Development for over 20 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 10+ 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


Sara 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.

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