Speaking Out team

Laura North, Director

I founded Speaking Out in 2009 after many years of successfully avoiding most forms of public speaking.

In 2008, I went to Social Innovation Camp and was part of the team that co-founded AccessCity. But when it came to presenting the business in front of a crowd, I quickly shrank into the background. It struck me then: How many opportunities am I missing because I avoid public speaking? Pitching ideas, speaking in big meetings, presenting my work at events. The list is long. And the truth is: if you speak, then you get noticed.

But it was the fact that there were lots of other people in the same position that made me want to do something about it. Other women at Social Innovation Camp (who were definitely in the minority) also said they didn’t feel comfortable presenting an idea to a crowd.

So I organised the very first Speaking Out event in February 2010. It’s grown from there really. We were commissioned to run an event and workshops at City Hall, and we’ve delivered many events since in collaboration with organisations such as the Girl Geeks, Sense Worldwide, the University of the Arts London and FutureMap. We also won a Future100 Award and an UnLtd Award.

The plan is for Speaking Out to help me and other people get more comfortable and confident speaking in public, so we can make the best of all the opportunities that are coming our way.

Christine Lang, Operations Manager

Christine LangChristine manages the operational side of Speaking Out, working with Laura to ensure the strategic aims of Speaking Out are met through making funding applications, developing new resources and setting up events.

Christine has a background in Fine Art and her proudest public speaking moment was when the head of Canary Wharf said that her presentation for a public art bid was the best presentation by an artist he’d ever seen! She still finds speaking in public hard but always tries to remember those words before giving a talk.

Katie Streten, Head of Training

Katie is the Head of Training for Speaking Out, part of her never-ending quest to see more women represented at conferences and events. She is also Head of Digital Planning at global creative communications agency Imagination.

She has spoken at several Speaking Out events and delivered training at City Hall and the University of the Arts London, where she also created a series of video top tips to help with public speaking. Her approach is informal, practical and user-centred.

Katie’s role at Imagination includes responsibility for developing insight,  constructing narratives for/with brands, and making them happen in a digital environment – online or offline.

She has 12 years experience of managing sites and communities online, including working for companies such as Thomson International, The Science Museum in London and most recently at Channel 4. She was Managing Editor of 4Learning, managing the provision of creative educational projects, and responsible for all of the channel’s factual output on the web from News and Sport to Culture, History and Science.

Rich Cousins, Designer

Richard created the graphic identity for Speaking Out. He graduated from the London College of Communication with a First.

He worked on the idea that public speaking can be about conversation, not performance, and so designed a logo that uses two speech bubbles, styled on iPhone text messaging. He’s designed everything from templates for presentations to a very big research report.

He has worked for the Financial Times in London, and two design studios in Italy. He works at one of the UK’s leading communications agencies, Bullet, as a Junior Art Director, with a variety of clients including Häagen Dazs, Kia, Wonderbra, The Foreign Commonwealth Office, BAA and AMF Bowling.

See his portfolio at www.richcousins.co.uk