Katie Hammond - Creative Director/Facilitator

Katie Hammond is a certified Human Resources Generalist, who specializes in People Operations. She values the interpersonal relationships above all and focuses her training on encouraging active listening and hands on interaction.  She believes that culture, communication and community are the paramount building blocks for a successful working environment.

She utilizes her background as a professional improviser to adapt and creatively shape the dynamic of her training groups. She is the acting director of Musical Improv at The People’s Improv Theatre in Manhattan, and strives to infuse humor into her sessions to keep participants focused and engaged. A Michigan native, Katie earned a BA in Theatre from The College of Wooster in Ohio. She moved to Chicago to study and perform improv at The Second City, iO and The Playground Theatre. She relocated to Florida to improvise full-time at Disney World, and was an ensemble member of SAK Comedy Lab in downtown Orlando. Currently she tours the country with two professional Musical Improv companies, Broadway’s Next Hit Musical and This Is Your Life; The Musical, is on two house teams at The People’s Improv Theatre and is a company member of The Story Pirates.

Katie has delivered trainings for a wide variety of clients, including; National Grid, WorldQuant, Cleary Gottlieb, Goldman Sachs, Millennium Capital Management, BlackRock, MOO, Lonely Leap, IntraLinks, Microsoft, AstraZeneca, HP and Walt Disney World Resort.

Key Skills: Human Resource solutions, performance management, recruitment/retention, senior team facilitation, conflict resolution, public speaking/presentation, improvisation and executive presence.

www.katiehammond.com

Rachel Bouton - Program Manager/Facilitator

While working as a professional improviser in New York City Rachel discovered that the tools she was using on stage were the same tools she used in life to build relationships, communicate effectively, and create an attitude of collaboration at work. After working for several years as a corporate communications and leadership trainer, Rachel decided to apply her skills as an improviser to address the unique challenges challenges of the modern workplace.

Rachel has facilitated training sessions for companies such as Astra Zeneca, Microsoft, The Direct Marketing Women's Network, MENG, and HP. She is also an active performer, appearing with the touring musical improv company Broadway's Next Hit Musical and the musical improv team Vern (People's Improv Theatre). 

Rachel has studied improv at The Second City (Chicago), Upright Citizen’s Brigade (NYC), Manhattan Comedy School (NYC), Magnet Theatre (NYC), Annoyance Theatre and The People’s Improv Theatre (NYC) and has completed graduate work towards a MA in Intercultural Communication at the University of Denver. 

When she isn't facilitating workshops across the country, Rachel produces live events for the public radio show Science Friday.

Tessa Hersh - Facilitator

Tessa Hersh received her B.A in psychology from Carleton College and M.A in counseling psychology from Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. She has over 15 years of professional education and facilitation experience working in a variety of settings. Tessa has facilitated workshops in Large Corporations, Advertising Companies, NGOs,  pregnant teen programs, juvenile hall, orphanages in Ethiopia, and teachers, parents and children all over New York.  She has consulted with the Theater Development Fund on Autism friendly performances of Broadway Shows and on inclusion programming with various arts based programs in NYC and Los Angeles. She is a professional actor and comedian  in New York City and can be seen performing regularly at Upright Citizens Brigade and was in the critically acclaimed  off-Broadway show BLANK, the improvised musical.  She leads workshops on improv and creative writing to children and adults all over the east coast. 

Lauren Ashley Smith - Facilitator

Lauren Ashley Smith is a veteran improviser and TV writer. She performs regularly at the Magnet Theater, for whom she has led corporate workshops. TV credits include "Best Week Ever" on VH1, Bravo's "Fashion Queens," and many more series and specials for Bravo, Lifetime, and VH1.