We've been at this a long time.
Since 2006, we’ve helped thousands to claim their voice.
We have a passion for helping you become a more powerful, authentic and enlivened presence in the world. We’ve been doing this for decades, with exceptional and consistent results.
While being known for our public speaking services, we’re known for being highly trained theater performance professionals who combine our love for performance training with deep inner growth work and authenticity.
About Our Founder: Jonathan Bender, MS, MFA
Jonathan has held a lifelong dedication to helping growing, self-aware individuals to step into more of who they truly are. To claim their voice. To find their power. To awaken into their true selves, and to shine in the world. He’s spent his whole life devoted to shedding off false layers of self, to help others (and himself!) increasingly become the embodiment of their true selves.
In more worldly terms, you’d call this finding confidence, leadership presence, embodiment, and expert communication skills.
Internationally recognized as a top expert, Jonathan has coached public speaking and performance since 1996. He regularly works with executives, entrepreneurs and other professionals who want to use their voice to create greater influence and impact, and grow their work in the world. Clients have spoken at TED, SXSW, Wisdom 2.0, countless conferences, and find true expertise speaking both live and virtually.
However, it may be useful to know that Jonathan by no means always had confidence and a voice.
In his youth, he was shy, introverted and disempowered, with little self-esteem – in fact, bullied regularly for over 10 years, and couldn’t stand up for himself. In high school at the age of 14, two powerful things happened. First, he began a abiding dedication to personal and spiritual growth, looking at what it meant to transcend old personal habits and to step into his true self.
Second, Jonathan stumbled upon the Speech and Debate team, and was compelled to compete in public speaking and acting events… and actually did alright! It was a safe way to express himself; soon he began doing theater as well, and directed his first play at the age of 18. He went on to the University of California at Berkeley, where he got his BA in theater and anthropology, and also was a lead competitor on their speech team. Despite receiving little expert coaching in high school and college, he persevered, slowly getting better… until he was one of the top competitive speakers in California by his senior year.
Upon graduating, he pursued acting, directing and writing… and kept being asked to coach high school and college speech teams. Despite first saying no for some time, he eventually relented. His students quickly became state champions and national finalists.
After years of success, he sought to create more impact in the world, and earned two graduate degrees in a row: a Master of Science in Performance Studies and Speech Communication, followed by a Master of Fine Art in Theater: Contemporary Performance. He trained with luminaries such as Moisés Kaufman, Meredith Monk and the SITI Company, and nationally toured a one-man show among other projects.
In 2006, Jonathan founded WholeSpeak, LLC – also known as The Performance of Your Life. He trains and coaches individuals and groups, both in person as well as online. He has also developed bodies of work around connection and presence, both for professional uses as well as for personal and societal transformation.
These days, Jonathan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his beloved wife Vladi and their sweet toddler Matthias. He still does theatre on occasion as his schedule allows, and travels to work with clients nationally and internationally.