Co-Founder & President
A dynamic and energetic speaker, Graeme Blackman believes that verbal communication, whether in a conversational setting or in front of a large audience, is a critical skill for educational, professional, and social development. He argues that verbal communication has taken a back seat to text messaging and digital discourse and, as a result, robbed today’s teens of the chance to develop one of life’s most valuable skills.
After graduating from Franklin and Marshall College with a B.A. in Business, Graeme worked as a public relations professional at one of the country’s leading communication firms. Today, Graeme is an entrepreneur who has launched Lumos in an effort to couple his passion for public speaking with the enjoyment he receives from working with kids.
In addition, Graeme has been quoted and published in a number of newspapers and magazines, among them Forbes and The Huffington Post. He also serves as a monthly contributor to The Huffington Post.
Graeme coaches youth soccer, bagpipes with one of the world’s top pipe bands, and lives in Natick, Massachusetts.
Co-Founder & Program Director
Allison Kornet has over two decades of experience helping young women and men become leaders. She has been a demanding and highly in-demand teacher at some of the best-performing and most-recognized independent schools in the country, among them The Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, CA; St. Albans School in Washington, D.C.; St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH; and Phillips Academy in Andover, MA. In Cambridge at the Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, where Allison has spent the last decade, her most popular elective is Speechwriting and Public Speaking, a senior course that she researched, designed, and brought online independently. She has also taught a range of communications classes to college freshmen at all of her alma maters— Dartmouth College (B.A.), Georgetown University (M.A.), and Boston University’s College of Communication (M.S.).
Beyond the classroom, Allison has conducted innovative leadership development programs for Fortune 500 clients as part of Team Concepts, Inc., and designed rigorous workshops as curriculum director for the distinguished Young Scholars Program of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Her writing has appeared in a broad range of publications, among them Psychology Today, SAIL Magazine, The Boston Herald, The Women’s Health Anthology, and the online journal of ATD, the world’s largest talent development agency. She is most proud, however, of what her former students have gone on to do.
A veteran oarswoman who has competed in both the British and Canadian Henley, Allison loves to scull on the Charles River. She and her husband live with their three kids in Winchester, Massachusetts.
Dr. Nick Morgan is one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches. A passionate teacher, he is committed to helping people find clarity in their thinking and ideas – and then delivering them with panache. He has been commissioned by Fortune 50 companies to write for many CEOs and presidents. He has coached people to give Congressional testimony, to appear on the Today Show, and to deliver an unforgettable TED talk. He has worked widely with political and educational leaders. And he has himself spoken, led conferences, and moderated panels at venues around the world.
Nick’s methods, which are well-known for challenging conventional thinking, have been published worldwide. His acclaimed book on public speaking, Working the Room: How to Move People to Action through Audience-Centered Speaking, was published by Harvard in 2003 and reprinted in paperback in 2005 as Give Your Speech, Change the World: How to Move Your Audience to Action. His book on authentic communications, Trust Me, was published by Jossey-Bass in January 2009. His new book on communications and brain science, Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact, was just published by Harvard in May 2014.
Nick served as editor of the Harvard Management Communication Letter from 1998–2003. He has written hundreds of articles for local and national publications, and he appears frequently on radio and TV. Nick is a former Fellow at the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
After earning his Ph.D. in literature and rhetoric, Nick spent a number of years teaching Shakespeare and Public Speaking at the University of Virginia, Lehigh University, and Princeton University. He first started writing speeches for Virginia Governor Charles S. Robb and went on to found his own communications consulting organization, Public Words, in 1997.
Nick attributes his success to his honest and direct approach that challenges even the most confident orators to rethink how they communicate.
Juan A. Ruiz-Hau
Juan Antonio Ruiz is an independent consultant, co-founder of Big Little Innovations, and senior consultant at Interaction Associates. A seasoned and animated speaker and facilitator, Juan has been designing, delivering, and facilitating all manner of workshops, presentations, and high-stakes meetings since 1996. His clients include Facebook, eBay, VivaKi, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Citizens Bank, Monster Worldwide, HBO, Fidelity, PepsiCo, Genzyme, Biogen Idec, DELL, Gartner, Cadbury Adams, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
Juan has collaborated with authors like leadership giant Warren Bennis, personal productivity guru David Allen, Harvard luminary Clayton Christensen, and change-management expert William Bridges to create dynamic, saleable presentations based on their work. He spent five years at DigitasLBi —a digital marketing and advertising agency leader that serves some of the world’s most recognized brands— where as VP of Learning & Development he helped shape the learning agenda for nearly 3,000 employees. Recently, Juan helped Alcatel-Lucent realize its aggressive turnaround strategy by designing its premier management-development offering for 6,000 managers in over 50 countries. Juan also co-authored “Swinging the Pendulum: The Art of Shifting From Presenter to Facilitator,” an article featured on ATD.
A native Spanish speaker, Juan has a B.A. in Psychology from Boston University and an M.B.A. in Operations and Strategic Management from Boston College. He is also a competitive rower, having represented Puerto Rico in the 1998 Central American Games
Philip W. Sawyer
Philip W. Sawyer is a communications consultant and the president of PW Sawyer Consulting. Previously, he was a senior vice president and director of the Starch Advertising Research division of GfK Custom Research North America, the international advertising, marketing, and public opinion research firm. He was also editor of Starch Tested Copy, a newsletter on print-advertising effectiveness published by Starch and GfK.
Mr. Sawyer has delivered his presentation, The Ten Principles of Effective Advertising, throughout the United States and in Europe and Asia. He has been a featured speaker in conferences sponsored by the Association of National Advertisers, the American Marketing Association, the Ad Club of New York, the Magazine Publishers of America, the Advertising Research Foundation, the Institute for International Research, the Market Research Council, and Media Networks Incorporated.
Because of his experience and reputation as a public speaker, he was selected by the international market-research firm NOP to create and carry out its in-house training program for public speaking in the United States. Surveyed participants gave his courses the highest ratings of the company’s array of training programs.
He has also worked with publishers and major advertisers in symposia designed to elevate staff awareness of the principles of effective advertising. In 2005, he carried out the first research project focusing on the creative issues attending digital advertising for the online publisher, CNET, and the report on that study was followed by further explorations of the effectiveness of online advertising for the digital editions of The New York Times and The Washington Post.
He has been cited in numerous articles that have appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, Adweek, Advertising Age, and Brandweek. The book, When Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes, is based on his research and report on print advertising for not-for-profit organizations.
He currently lives in Natick, Massachusetts.
Mark Bauerlein is a Professor of English at Emory University. From 2003-05 he served as Director, Office of Research and Analysis, National Endowment for the Arts.
His books include Whitman and the American Idiom (1992), Literary Criticism: An Autopsy (1997), and The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future; Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30 (2008).
His essays have appeared in Partisan Review, Commentary, TLS, PMLA, Philosophy and Literature, Wilson Quarterly, and Yale Review. His commentaries and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Weekly Standard, First Things, and many other national periodicals.