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SpeakWell is a public speaking and leadership program that builds more effective communicators. Founded in 2019, SpeakWell has grown from nine to nearly 1,000 students across the country.

Our mission is to reach and teach 10,000 learners through schools (grades 6-12), higher education institutions, and companies.

The SpeakWell model teaches communication skills required to succeed, includes mentors from acclaimed career paths who inspire students, and offers unique, real-world opportunities to demonstrate leadership and speaking skills.  
College Friends
SpeakWell is a leadership and public speaking program that combines social-emotional, leadership, and communication skills training to build stronger students and measurably more effective communicators. The program also offers unique opportunities that help students thrive in school, work, and life.

Curriculum/Program Overview

SpeakWell is a structured curriculum that was developed by international speaker and entrepreneur Patty Kennedy, and in consultation with educators, coaches, psychologists, and business leaders to help students become confident, effective communicators whether speaking to two or two thousand.


More than simply delivering a speech, the program focuses on building a leadership mindset, focus, resilience, breathing, verbal and non-verbal communication techniques. The program also offers incredible opportunities to demonstrate leadership and speaking skills. Past opportunities have included TEDx talks, opportunities to speak at international companies and publish national articles, as well as the opportunity to engage with SpeakWell mentors that include business leaders, professional athletes, actors, coaches, journalists, and entrepreneurs.


The flexible 8-10 week program is adapted by level and offered to:


  • Middle and high schools as an after-school program or layered into the core curriculum

  • Universities as an elective weekly workshop or part of the core curriculum

  • Companies as a professional development course

Contact for more information, a customized program, and rates.


See our article in Forbes “What SpeakWell Can Teach Business Leaders”.

Drama Students


  •  SpeakWell 7th-grade students became the first in the country from a K-8 school to each deliver TEDx talks

  • SpeakWell 7th-grade students far exceeded 12th-grade speaking and listening standards

  • SpeakWell students became the first students – ever – to speak on discussion panels with senior executives, CEOs, and peers at international companies including UBS, BT and Meta

  • SpeakWell students became the first from a K-8 school to write and publish national articles

  • SpeakWell graduates have received full or partial scholarships to top NYC schoools


  • Opportunity to build stronger, more emotionally resilient students, effective communicators, and leaders

  • Opportunity to build understanding and better communication within the community and across the community.

  • Opportunity to learn from high-profile leaders and guest speakers from acclaimed career paths, including notable business leaders, professional athletes, actors, and entrepreneurs 

  • Opportunity to become a TEDx speaker and participate in corporate speaking events at international companies

  • Opportunity to write and publish national articles

  • Opportunity to participate in elite basketball and acting skills camp taught by professional athletes and actors

Technology Class

“It changed my life.”

– Zena, SpeakWell Student

How it Started and How it’s Going

Building more effective communicators and stronger leaders

In 2019, Patty Kennedy, a professional speaker and communication advisor to C-level executives, was between work contracts. With a little extra time on her hands, she volunteered to help teach a public speaking after-school program at her sons’ school. Her older son — an athlete and a strong student — had stage fright. She was not overly concerned about stage fright – many executives she advised hated to speak in public but knew they had to do it. The plan was to provide students with guidance. Until she sat down, spoke to the nine original students, and found out they had a lot more they wanted to learn. 

“We’ve all heard the adage, ‘People would rather die than speak in public.’ But the truth is: People aren’t afraid to speak – they’re afraid of being judged, which starts when we're young. SpeakWell helps all students develop strong mindsets, build confidence, and communicate effectively. But like anything, you need to practice the process."– Patty Kennedy

Leveraging her professional experience and a leadership model she had previously used to train companies, and in collaboration with the school community and business leaders, the SpeakWell MethodTM and curriculum were developed. The goal was to help students become more effective communicators and each leverage their own strengths. She recruited successful mentors, business leaders, and guest speakers who underscored skills taught in the program – mindset, leadership, resilience, work ethic, focus, confidence, overcoming fear, communication, authenticity, and team – as key to their own success. She also worked with international companies to develop speaking opportunities for students.  

The original 7th-grade students became the first in the country from a K-8 school to deliver TEDx talks. While no grades were given, end-of-the-program metrics showed that every student far exceeded 12th-grade speaking and listening standards. Today, 28 students in the country (all SpeakWell) have spoken on panels at international companies, including UBS, BT, and Meta.

News of SpeakWell grew, with schools across the country requesting the program. In addition to after-school programs, the curriculum was integrated into SpeakWell basketball camps led by mentor and retired NBA player John Wallace and SpeakWell Acting Camps led by mentor and ‘Homeland’ actress, Amy Hargreaves. SpeakWell quickly grew from the original nine students to serving nearly 1,000 across the country through its programs and camps. Today, the curriculum is offered to schools (grades 6-12) and higher education institutions and taught as a professional development course for companies.

Our mission remains steadfast and helps solve a critical need in education, the workforce, and the world: to build more effective communicators and stronger, more self-assured human beings. Our goal is to reach and teach 10,000 youth, young adults, and adult learners and create a better world, one voice at a time.  

And yes, Patty’s son – and many others – got over his stage fright. You can see his TEDx talk “The power of finding our voice from a kid who had stage fright” here.

Contact for more information and rates.

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