Testimonials

 

It felt inconceivable to prioritize a one-hour elevator pitch training in the midst of a global pandemic, racial justice uprisings, and a collapse of democratic spaces – but it was 100% worth it, and I’ll bring these skills and feedback forward into all the work I do.
Amanda Kistler, Vice President
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
My grantees loved the training.
Geri Mannion, Program Director
Carnegie Corporation of New York
I wish I could have had the training earlier.
Kyle Kutuchief, Program Director, Akron
Knight Foundation
Miraculous improvements… in one fast-paced hour.
Roz Savage,
First woman to row solo across three oceans, Author, Environmentalist
I know it feels like it’s impossible to prioritize this training in our new reality. But in my humble opinion, it is important now more than ever.
Roshni Melia, Program Consultant
Media Impact Funders
Although I have felt a lot of anxiety in my work and home life during this pandemic, I appreciated the Elevator Speech training I recently had with Marc Fest.
Stanley Thompson, Senior Director Education; Director, Pittsburgh Readiness Institute
The Heinz Endowments
I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the changes due to Coronavirus. But I’m so glad that I didn’t reschedule. The training ended up being one of the high points of my day!
Valerie Newsome Garcia, Assistant Professor
Morehouse School of Medicine
With the coaching, we pivoted to develop a stronger story for our new, virtual house parties that allow us to continue our fund raising.
Sara Sinaiko, Director of Development
Fair Food Program
In the era of Covid 19, fundraising and distinguishing our value add is more important that ever to small nonprofits like NHT. Marc’s charming way of sharing feedback and his experience dramatically changed my approach to pitch after just one session. If only all my one-hour meetings were so productive!
Priya Jayachandran, CEO
National Housing Trust
Even though this is a stressful time, I found the training really energizing, and it helped me think through how to package and communicate my work now and in the future.
Lilly Adams, Independent Consultant
Nuclear Voices
I found it very helpful to practice my elevator pitch with Marc while working from home during COVID-19 social distancing.
Elizabeth Threlkeld, South Asia Program Deputy Director and Fellow
Stimson Center
As I was struggling with stress and lack of concentration amidst the rapidly changing public health situation, the training brought my mental focus back on the purpose of my work.
Sayuri Romei, Public Policy Fellow
Wilson Center
It was important to me to keep my elevator speech training session with Marc during this pandemic, as now more than ever it’s critical to be able to express mine and my organization’s value.
Sabira De Piero, Executive Producer
Media Impact Funders
Despite facing the everyday stress of the Coronavirus pandemic, I found Marc’s elevator pitch training to be incredibly useful.
Jamie Withorne, Research Assistant
James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Even given all of the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, the training helped me focus on how important my work is.
Natalia Slavney, Research Assistant
Stimson Center
I participated in the training in the midst of a plethora of daunting challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and am pleased to report that the training was well worth the time.
Chandra Jackson, Investigator/Epidemiologist
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (JPB EH program)
I’m so glad I did this! Marc helped remind me of the importance of the work I do in the midst of this all-consuming pandemic, and reconnect to my passion and purpose. It was definitely an hour well spent.
Lara Cushing, Assistant Professor
San Francisco State University
In the midst of this pandemic chaos, working with Marc was a breath of fresh air.
Katherine Dickinson, Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health
Communicating is so crucial in these times and you can’t physically interact with your audience. You have to get your message out right and on point. Marc’s training was key to achieving this goal.
Leonie Reinicke, Regional Sales Director
SalesForce Germany
Marc Fest really helped me find my voice, it was already there, but it was lacking structure, emotion, and impact. Marc showed me how to craft my elevator speech to be more impactful with a logical flow, personalizing it more, using examples and facts, and by framing the urgency of the work that my non profit does in the context of the current pandemic.
Rasha Mahmoud, donor relations specialist
MIRA Coalition
I had not prepared as well for the training as I had hoped, due to my chaotic schedule during the pandemic. However, Marc was so prepared and tailored the training so well to me and my work that I got a great deal out of the training and will be able to put it to use immediately.
Tom Fritzsche, Executive Director
Milk with Dignity Standards Council
What makes it valuable is that I am in fundraising and everyday since COVID, we have received a lot of inquiries around the work we do.
Jordan Brown, Donor Relations Manager
National Domestic Workers Alliance
This training was so helpful! Marc was great at giving very specific and actionable feedback. His advice on how to use emotions and examples to effectively connect with our audience is exceptionally valuable — especially now.
Evy Pena, Communications and Development Director
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM)
Given these uncertain times, organizational pivots and shifts are often necessary to stay relevant, open, and news worthy. Marc’s framework is a great guide to help leaders communicate effectively so their message is clear, effective, and evokes the right action. Well done Marc.
Roshell Rinkins, Director/Grants Administration
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Because we’ve been significantly affected by the pandemic, we’re less physically connected than ever before. It’s even more important to find ways not just to communicate, but to make a human connection. I’m really excited to use the skills I’ve learned from Elevator Speech to bring a greater effectiveness to what I communicate (especially in zoom meetings), as well as a greater openness and sense of engagement.
Dominic Caruso, Communications Director
Downtown Akron Partnership
Marc Fest’s Elevator Speech training is what we all need – especially during this time of transition – to hone a pitch.
Zerline Hughes Spruill, Managing Director of Communications
Advancement Project National Office
It was a great training that provided me with concrete things on how improve my elevator speech. Watching myself, debriefing after to identify areas of improvement was incredibly helpful.Thank you Marc, truly appreciated your patience and support.
Julieta Garibay, Director and Cofounder
United we Dream
The training gave me some really great tips on making a strong presentation of my organization!
Ralph Williamson, President
Faith Organizing Alliance (FOA)
This training provided excellent tools and involved real time practice and feedback which are invaluable!
Marielena Hincapie, Executive Director
National Immigration Law Center
The training allowed me to understand an area of growth for myself to integrate stories into my pitch to clarify who we serve, how, and why. The modeling of examples of stories was so helpful for me to see how simple but effective these stories are. The clarification questions to help me find the flourishes in our own stories was also helpful. I appreciated how the coach also challenged me to immediately try another pitch after receiving feedback and seeing the story element modeled by the coach. While I don’t have all the stories we need now, I am excited to have concrete next steps to generate those stories with my team, and to apply the framework in so many different scenarios – from meeting with funders, to advocacy with policy makers, and pitching to media.
Quyen Dinh, Executive Director
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
This training experience was great! Marc really did his homework and the session was incredibly valuable. I am a big fan of training and professional development, but find that it is often poorly executed and leaves me wanting. But, Marc blew me away and I can’t wait to recommend him to my colleagues.
Cecili Thompson Williams, Executive Director
Beyond the Bomb
This training is super helpful — in just an hour I left with concrete ways I can be more effective in connecting with folks who may be interested in our work.
Rachel Micah-Jones, Executive Director
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc.
The training was really excellent – well-paced and fun, and even more critical now given the greater need to be effective at making a pitch on a very tight timeline.
Sirine Shebaya, Executive Director
National Immigration Project
Marc listened carefully and provided specific feedback, which I found to be extremely helpful.
Diane Samuels, Vice President of Talent and Human Resources
Ford Foundation
It’s a brief but extremely useful session that will help you craft or improve your message. Very professional and friendly.
Pavel Podvig, Senior Researcher, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Other Strategic Weapons
United Nations
Anyone could benefit from this ‘elevator speech’ training opportunity. It helps one to stay relevant to the opportunities that present themselves through daily connections.
Bob McFalls, Executive Director
Florida Philanthropic Network
Marc Fest is an excellent coach. His elevator pitch training provides a very efficient and effective way to get leaders to practice their key messages and turn them into compelling pitches for joining their cause.
Carol Goglia, Senior Director of Marketing & Communications
Communities Foundation of Texas
The training also felt relaxed –I didn’t feel pressure to get it right — it allowed me to get right to it and not spend much time ‘getting comfortable.’ I felt I had some say over how we used the time so I could get what I needed out of the experience, and perhaps, most importantly, it felt like a judgement free zone.
Kamilah Duggins, Senior Manager, Talent & Human Resources
Ford Foundation
This was a quick, simple training. If you are a community organizer, this is a great exercise to learn to advocate for our projects!
Xiomara Corpeno, Transborder Migrant Justice Fellow
Groundswell Fund
I actually had a meeting with a potential partner the same day of the training and it helped me to prepare. The meeting with the corporation went really well!
Lindolfo Carballo, Director of Workforce Development
CASA de Maryland
Telling the personal story—the “why I care about this” story—is so valuable and I appreciate Marc’s assistance with this.
Vaughnetta J. Barton, Program Officer – External Affairs
Rasmuson Foundation
The Elevator Speech training helped me to meld elements of multiple conversations I have about myself into a brief, coherent introductory narrative.
Mark Harris, Program Officer, Poverty
The JPB Foundation
I felt comfortable, and supported. Marc’s suggestions were spot on, fun, and I could tell he really cared to make my experience personal to me, not canned or scripted.
Carly Maready, Special Assistant to the President
The JPB Foundation
A unique moment to focus on critical skills to further my work.
Valerie Zukin, Lead Attorney Coordinator
Justice & Diversity Center of The Bar Association of San Francisco
Marc was able to identify specific areas where I could improve and shared concrete examples/tactics for addressing the points I was stumbling on.
Alycia Cheng, Program Manager
AAPI Civic Engagement Fund
I like how after each iteration of my speech, we went over pluses and deltas and worked to improve my speech. It was a very focused activity that helped me think about not only how to structure my speech, but also to include elements of viscerality and urgency, so listeners are moved to support our work.
Anni Leming, Co-President
Asian American Association of New Mexico
Marc is a great coach! I learned a lot and definitely walked away with a more impactful elevator speech.
Nadia Tonova, Director
Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services
The training provided by Marc was exceptional in the way that it not only focuses on the technical aspects of speech but also the human element of how to impact and make the audience feel.
Luis Aguilar, Virginia State Director
CASA
At first I cringed at the idea of watching a recording of myself giving my elevator speech! But it turned out so helpful to watch and discuss with my trainer who gave me individualized, valuable feedback and tools for improvement.
Moira Duvernay, Deputy Director
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
I would recommend Marc’s training to anyone who deals with the public. He has an ability to put you at ease and open up about the subject at hand. More importantly, he is able to guide you to sift through the information you are trying to convey and synthesize it in a meaningful and impactful way.
Steve Love, Director of Development
Center for Gender & Refugee Studies
The experience has been life changing, to be honest.
Michelle Andonian, Artist, Detroit
Knight Arts winner
This training has made me much more confident about talking to people about my work in a way that is compelling, natural, and people-centered. It gave me skills that I will be able to apply to any situation, as well as tools to improve how I practice future pitches on my own.
Noelle Pourrat, Program Analyst
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Whether a frequent public speaker or occasional one, elevator speech training is an effective tool for anyone who wants to hone their skill-set for reaching their audience.
Lora Saalman, Associate Senior Fellow
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
The framework that Marc provided was very helpful.Marc did a phenomenal job in helping me refine my pitch, and gave me multiple opportunities to test it out. Recording the sessions, watching it back together, and listening to the feedback from each section was also invaluable.
Sara Kutchesfahani, Senior Policy Analyst
NSquare
I appreciated Marc’s research before the session that made the training very personalized, and his ability to be flexible. I walked away with a strong sense of where I can improve and how to do so.
Michelle Dover, Director of Programs
Ploughshares
Marc was extremely easy to communicate with: warm, encouraging, and specific in his advice and feedback. I found the training to build my confidence and give me a lot of useful ideas moving forward. I recommend his services to people in any field.
Elsie Kagan, Artist
This is a valuable opportunity to test messages and to get some supportive and objective real-time coaching on impactful communications.
Todd Shenk, Senior Program Officer
Rasmuson Foundation
Marc’s approach to communications training is as sophisticated as it is supportive. He helped me to understand the audience’s mind, and he worked closely with me to reframe key messages for maximum impact.
Wally Patawaran, Program Officer, Poverty Program
The JPB Foundation
I have been struggling on trying to come up with succinct way to deliver a message about my books to the public and without this session I would never have succeeded.
Patricia Mull, Author
Miami
My session with Marc helped me to better understand my current process of conveying information to a live audience. I left feeling inspired to improve my speech writing and other professional communications skills.
Joseph Jung, Program Assistant
Carnegie Corporation of New York
The ability to articulate your work and its value has to be worked on. You can’t be sure on your own that you are actually using the strongest arguments or raising the best examples. This type of interactive training one on one rapidly orients you to what is an ongoing process of honing your messages.
Whit Faulconer, Program Officer, Environment
JPB Foundation
The session with Marc was transformational. It can be hard to talk about the work we do all day, every day, because we are so close to it. Marc showed me how to home in on what matters and share it in a way that resonates. He had concrete and spot-on ideas about how to describe what is most important. I appreciated the generosity and warm humor he brought to the coaching, as well as his earnest commitment to helping me improve. It was incredibly helpful!
Melissa Rodgers, Director of Programs
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
It really helped me elevate my pitch to a more personal and strategic level.
Eneide Geiyer, International Director for Human Resources
Ford Foundation
This elevator speech training was the best speech training I have ever had! Every leader of a non-profit should take this training as it will dramatically improve their ability to talk about their organization.
Eric Cohen, Executive Director
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Great way for a non-profit board member to structure and refine their convictions and thoughts about their cause to help others quickly understand why a cause is worth supporting. Direct and to the point and worth the time and effort.
Roger Wu, Board Member
Immigrant Legal Resource Center
Marc’s ability to personalize the training and to provide feedback was quite helpful.
Vaughnetta Barton, Program Officer – External Affairs
Rasmuson Foundation
This session was so valuable. Marc’s feedback was specific, actionable, and easy to apply to future pitches. I really appreciated the opportunity to refine the pitch together, and do take after take until I walked away with an elevator speech I can implement today. Thanks for a great session!
Dorry Levine, Director of Communications
ReThink Media
I came out of the session incredibly motivated and inspired and even more connected to my story.
Katja Esson, Filmmaker
RLS Films, LLC
As an artist, Elevator Speech Training was a great way to practice communication strategies for my work and to prepare me for fundraising my project.
Lauren Shapiro, Artist
Bakehouse Art Complex
The training helped us identify our weaknesses and gave us clear and specific tools to overcome them.
Roxana Barba, Artist
Barba-Marcotulli
I feel empowered and confident to share my project with a greater focus.
Portia Dunkley, Founder
Teeny Violini
The one to one training session was great to start building up my confidence. Thanks for making me feel comfortable throughout the session.
Regina Moore, Director of Planning and Development
Miami Light Project, Inc.
Watching a critiqued playback of my own message and style is an extraordinarily effective way for me to rapidly process feedback and act on it.
Christopher Thompson, Director
Knight Foundation
The Elevator Speech training helped me hone my message and understand the value of a strong closing.
Shelly Prichard, President & CEO
Wichita Community Foundation
We worked on the storytelling and the power of the message. Marc helped me to identify great examples of success to share with large audiences or in a one on one conversations. I walked away with ideas and a confidence I can use right away.
Karen Rundlet, Journalism Director
Knight Foundation
This was a really good way to massage all the raw material I had (concepts about my project) into a digestible pitch for potential patrons to consider. Marc worked deftly on and off script to help me shape my message.
Barron Sherer, Principal Artist
Moving Image Alliance
Elevator Speech training is a powerful tool. It gives you a strong framework to organize and present your key points in a compelling and highly relatable way. The video recordings and real-time coaching provide terrific insights that you can incorporate immediately and with great effect.
Meredith Hector, HR Director
Knight Foundation
Marc expertly identified my strengths and weaknesses in communications and provided concrete ways to improve my pitch. I was amazed at how quickly and visibly I had improved by the second recording. Marc had clearly done his homework and knew the nature of my work even before we began the training, which allowed him to give professionally-relevant advice. I especially appreciated his positive attitude that made the experience enjoyable rather than stressful. Thank you!
Jessica Lee, Senior Research Fellow, East Asia
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
This really helped me clarify what things to include in my elevator speech and how to best hit the highlights.
Tara Drozdenko, Managing Director
Outrider Foundation
You forced me to continue thinking an dig deep to find the right examples to describe our work which really allowed me to grow into the space. Honest feedback is critical and I definitely got that! Thank you!
Lindsay Harper, Executive Director
Georgia WAND
This framework clearly and effectively helps you identify why the work you do matters—and why other people should care.
Nina Sachdev, Communications Director
Media Impact Funders
Marc helped me to more clearly and concisely convey the most vital aspects of my current professional goal, and how to most effectively solicit support. In an hour, I went from having a rambling discussion of my goals to a compelling 3 minute pitch.
Annelle Sheline, Research Fellow
Quincy Institute
Marc provided a supportive space in which I could express my insecurities and offered concrete guidance on how to address them. He gave me clear, concise feedback on my pitch that made me feel MUCH more confident about my ability to be a spokesperson. Thank you!
Kathleen Richards, Communications Director
Women Cross DMZ
Marc’s Elevator Speech training masterfully assists you with developing succinct and effective delivery of why the work you care about so deeply should be of great importance to others.
Tony Reames, Assistant Professor
University of Michigan
This training helps one really think about their work, research or even his/her life’s objective and be able to clearly communicate it. It is a great exercise for someone who may need to transition careers or who may want to rethink their purpose in life.
Jennifer Roberts, Assistant Professor
JPB/Harvard Fellowship
I have always had a knack for public speaking, but this training got me out of my comfort zone and reinvigorated my creativity for storytelling in a new way that will now be woven into the thread of every communication opportunity I have going forward.
Melissa Hernandez, Community Liaison
Anchorage Coalition to End Homelessness
The training helped me take the very wonky, technical work that we do and package it in a way that was urgent and motivating. He helped me feel in charge of my talking points which only improves the delivery. Thank you very much for the incredible help.
Shayna Horwitz, Development & Communications Director
The Human Trafficking Legal Center
I am always seeking to sharpen my skill set to be the most effective when advocating, presenting or paneling as possible. This training has given me great tools to use to maximize my spiel.
Tamika Spellman, Policy and Advocacy Associate
HIPS
Marc provides a very easygoing space to tackle a rather nerve-wracking aspect of public speaking, which allows the experience to breathe and feel positive. I came out with far more confidence going in — a feat!
Sabira De Piero, Executive Producer
Media Impact Funders
Marc helped me present about my self and my organization in a more confident and organized way.
Bruna Bouhid, Communications Director
United We Dream
The training is a great exercise in distilling the core messages of your organization and identifying how to make those resonate with a variety of audiences, so that you can better represent your organization.
Sarah Bessell, Deputy Director
Human Trafficking Legal Center
In working with Mark, I found a new perspective on my work, and the way I present myself, while finding pride in the areas I excel. Together with Mark we were able to find feeling in our messaging and pull out the importance of the mission of the organization.
Amber Genet, Vice President and COO
Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition
In these uncertain times, particularly for those in the nonprofit sector, it is easy to spend time focused on the urgency of the moment and the tasks at hand to ensure the immediate wellbeing of our organizations and the people we serve. This was a well-used hour to step back and make sure that our most basic communication reflects the current needs and connects them to not only our long term mission and but with the shared values of our current and future partners.
Andrea Ponsor, CEO
Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Futrure
Marc gave suggestions that dramatically increased the effectiveness of my pitch – in just one hour. I am so excited to test and hone these strategies in our evergrowing virtual world. And, it was very conversational and fun!
Kyra Shields, Bright Cities Program Director
Healthy Babies Bright Futures
This one hour session (actually even the first 30 min!) was more impactful for me than the hours, days, weeks that I have spent in other communications trainings
Dan Nissenbaum, CEO
LIIF
Marc was extremely engaging and helpful in tangible ways. He led me to my own narrative, which is the purpose here. Thank you!
Kate Seifert, Development Director
The Redford Center
Got some great, practical feedback on upping the emotional impact when I talk about my organization’s mission. So helpful!
Sarah Milligan-Toffler, Executive Director
Children & Nature Network
I have attended elevator training speeches in the past. This was different and the best one so far. The opportunity to practice your elevator speech at the beginning of the session, get feedback and coaching was invaluable. The bonus was actually getting to practice the elevator speech a second time, following the feedback, and receive additional coaching and feedback. Watching the two recorded videos of my presentations after the session has helped me improve on my tone and pauses. Would highly recommend this training.
Jojo Annobil, Executive Director
Immigrant Justice Corps
This training was fun, informative, and very helpful to clarify how we get our message across in a clear and compelling way.
Julia Appel, Researcher
Tufts University
Marc comes prepared to be an engaging guide and active listener who was able immediately to dive into helping us make a stronger case for our unique program.
Erik Meyers, Vice President, Climate and Water Sustainability
The Conservation Fund
I found myself digging into my own well of inspiration, a journey that Marc helped me navigate. In the times that we are living today, I often feel drained or void of that hope and inspiration. Working with Marc to refine my passion and express that was tremendously beneficial and grateful for this time to re-energize and make the vision for a better world clear through Marc’s help.
Juan Martinez, Director
Fresh Tracks
Marc gave insightful and thoughtful feedback to help put together an engaging short narrative to use with our membership. I had no idea so much could be done in just one hour, total game-changing work!
Heather Ferguson, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
COMMON CAUSE NEW MEXICO
I loved this training session. It was inspiring and energizing beyond my expectations. Marc is great at this and creates a safe and comfortable space for the participants to open up. Great listener.
Bari Samad, Communications Director
Environmental Health Coalition
“Loved Marc’s approach, the direct and efficient real-time feedback, and the confidence-boosting energy for something a lot of leaders really struggle with: landing the right words, message arc, and invitation for people to join our mission.”
Sarah Shanley Hope, Executive Director
The Solutions Project