We’ve helped craft & polish keynotes from around the world
Now’s your turn to steal the show


Graduate School

Outside of working privately with us for a long time, The Heroic Public Speaking Graduate School is our highest level and most comprehensive training program for speakers


The reason that conservatories for acting programs exist is because performance is intensive.
For MFAs in Acting, you need two to three years to focus exclusively on your craft.

But what about public speaking?

When we looked at the landscape of public speaking training, we noticed that an element of performance was missing. You can listen to Michael’s podcast (and you should). You can come to Heroic Public Speaking LIVE (and you should). You can work with us via Skype sessions (do we need to emphasize that you should a third time?). But there's something about an intensive training over a long period of time that can't be replicated in a weekend event.

We started to wonder:

Could we develop Masters of Public Speaking?

So, we looked back at the key-factors that made our schools so effective and so prestigious:

  • There’s an understanding that the experience is a long-term commitment.
  • Each faculty member has their own unique expertise in their respective disciplines.
  • Cohorts were carefully curated with a less than 05% acceptance rate.
  • The classes formed an unbreakable family-like ensemble, made up of people with diverse personalities and experiences that inspired each other, challenged each other, and supported each other during difficult times.
  • The highest caliber of work along with the best of what students had to offer was a given (and expected by faculty, rather than an exception).
  • A network of current students and alumni made up of professionals working in the highest levels of the industry, so as to give recent graduates connections and insider access. 

So we formed a conservatory training school
to create Masters of Public Speaking.


Our program is nothing short of intensive. Over the course of four months, we have four, four-day sessions. 4, 4, 4. Apparently hard work comes in fours (plus it’s easy to remember). Over the course of those in-person meetings, we'll provide direct coaching and intensive workshops, all of the same subjects and caliber as MFA work.

Listing bullet points of “content” for Grad School feels kinda small because we cover so much...here is a partial list, nonetheless.

  • Keynote and/or workshop content creation using our framework protocols with assistance from our professional scriptwriters. You do the writing. We help you clarify your message, organize your ideas, find your voice, develop your style.
  • Source, write, and craft stories that you can use in any of your performances.
  • Find your “big idea” and clarify the promise you deliver to your audiences (meeting planners need to know what this is).
  • Create easy movement with powerful body language; block your performance so you always know where to go on stage and when to go there.
  • Improvise so you can handle anything that world throws at you—on stage or off.
  • Amplify what makes you unique (don’t shy away from your quirks, accentuate them...well, most of them).
  • Learn on-camera performance for interviews, promotional videos, live streaming, and more.
  • Navigate how and when to use audio, video, slide deck and other multimedia tools.
  • Incorporate props and stage bits into your presentations.
  • Pick the right wardrobe to represent you and your brand.
  • Experience individual coaching sessions with our masters level faculty.
  • Build stage presence and confidence through personal feedback.
  • Dedicate hours and hours of rehearsal time (because, let’s face it, you just don’t rehearse enough on your own).
  • Receive ongoing Skype accountability and rehearsal groups with your classmates in between monthly in-person training sessions (students develop a bond between adult friends that doesn’t usually happen in everyday life).
  • Discover aspects of the business of speaking: setting fees, booking gigs, identifying events that are perfect for you, connecting with meeting planners and association chairs, networking with other professional speakers, speaker bios, session descriptions, speaker websites, and more.
  • Master the craft of taking Q&A (it’s not as simple as it seems).
  • Create powerful openings and commanding closings.
  • Garner audience interaction techniques (this year, we taught 41 audience interaction techniques in 90 minutes).


In addition to the peer accountability and rehearsal groups via Skype, we provide webinars, where we invite our faculty to host online workshops and clinics. We also step in to answer all of your questions. We don’t leave you hanging, and neither will your cohort.


By crafting your performances, you’re developing your own intellectual property. Fine-tuned IP alone can be tweaked to such a degree that you can be ready to move into a new phase of business or authorship.

Yes, that’s right: by rooting yourself into the Grad School, you might wind up blooming with book material.

It can change, influence and improve your entire business model (a surprise outcome most don’t expect or even imagine as a possibility).

Between a keynote, a potential new line of business, and a book idea, you can become a triple-threat in the speaking industry.


Michael Port

Michael Port has written six books, including Book Yourself Solid and Steal the Show, the latter which—according to the former President of Starbucks—“might be the most unique and practical book ever written on the topic of public speaking.”

He's been called an “uncommonly honest author" by the Boston Globe, a "marketing guru" by The Wall Street Journal, a “sales guru” by the Financial Times, “a public speaking phenom” by Jonathan Fields and “the best public speaking coach in the world” by Lewis Howes. The founder of MastermindTalks, Jayson Gaignard, declared, "Michael Port is the best speaker I've ever seen."

His books have been on the bestseller lists of the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Publisher's Weekly and have been selected by Amazon and 800-CEO-READ as "best books of the year."

He was once a professional actor, having received his MFA from NYU's Graduate Acting Program, guest starring on shows like Sex & The City and Law & Order, and in films like The Pelican Brief and Down to Earth.

These days, Michael can be seen on MSNBC, CNBC, and PBS as an on air expert in communication and business development and as the host of the most popular podcast on public speaking and performance, Steal the Show with Michael Port.

Michael Port

Amy Port

Amy Port is the Co-Founder and Director of Training of Heroic Public Speaking. As Director of Training, Amy’s work extends from the execution of corporate training packages, to development of CEO keynotes, private master classes and coaching.

After earning her MFA in Acting from The Yale School of Drama, Amy spent years acting professionally in theaters such as Seattle Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare and Yale Rep, and working consistently in commercials. She now applies the skills of performance that only well-trained actors know to the coaching of ‘non-actors’ looking to crush their sales presentations, to make their voices heard in TED Talk style presentations, and to take the big stage keynoting major conferences.

Geoffrey H. Garrett, a senior attorney at Byrd Garrett Wealth Preservation, said
“As a military pilot and B-747 captain over a forty-year career, I received every kind of skill-specific training and encountered every sort of teacher. I consider Amy to be, hands down, the best trainer-coach I have ever met. I cannot recommend her services highly enough.”

Amy Port


The Arden Theater is newly renovated. With classrooms and stages, it’s versatile to intimate group conversations and larger stage rehearsals. It’s a beautiful space to work, be inspired, and expand your craft.

Arden is in Old City, the most historical neighborhood of Philadelphia. The Betsy Ross House is down the place from Arden, and we’ve seen Benjamin Franklin impersonators roam the streets during sessions. With cobble-paved streets, a cornucopia of delicious food, and independent shops, Old City encapsulates a blend of city perks and charm.

What To Expect

We can talk all day about how great the program can be for you on both professional and personal levels. But we don’t have to―this group can tell you how it’s inspired them and provided forward motion.

We are happy to introduce you to our past and current students so you can hear it directly from them and ask them questions you might not feel comfortable asking us. If you’d like that, send us an email
at questions@heroicpublicspeaking.com and we’ll make the intros. We have hundreds of testimonials, and here are a few to give you a sense of our community.

  • “To anyone who has the remotest inkling that they might want to participate in the HPS Graduate School when next offered: All I can say is invest the dollars, free up your schedule and GO FOR IT! The rewards will be a gazillion fold.”

    Ken TrupkeTony Maree Torrey

  • “I had the pleasure of training with Amy Port and Michael Port, and it transformed how I see the world, interact with people, where I live and how I love. In short, it made me a better person. Not only transforming technical speaking skills, but overcoming fears I didn't even know I had, crushing hesitations, awakening a sleeping right brain, and embracing the quirky, sassy bits that corporate America had stuffed into a bottle. Michael pushed, questioned and pushed some more until not only my speaking and writing skills improved but my business trajectory took a GIANT leap forward. More importantly, they created a community that genuinely supports each other and came to love each other. If you are yearning to go to HPS Grad School, I highly recommend it.”

    Monica TarrMonica Tarr

  • “I live every day to be a part of something bigger than myself. I succeeded when I joined Heroic Public Speaking LIVE in Florida and continued with the Heroic Public Speaking Grad School. Do yourself and the world a favor by getting the training from Michael Port and Amy Port to share and spread your message with the world. You'll be so happy you did, I promise you that!”

    Jon PormanJon Porman

  • “The aftermath of HPS Grad School is more like an afterglow. Because of all the incredible coaching I've received from Amy & Michael, the support of their spectacular team, and with all the encouragement of my new friends, I feel ready to perform for an audience and demonstrate how to live heroically.”

    Lisa Van AhnLisa Van Ahn

  • “For me, and I think for most of us in the previous Grad School session, it's been life-changing. That's not an exaggeration. Together we reached new levels of courage and vulnerability. The environment Michael Port and Amy Port create gives us the safety to be who we really are, to show up more and the vision to become even more. It's a beautiful unfolding.”

    Lowry OlafsonLowry Olafson

  • “It has been such a joy to be part of Michael and Amy's Heroic Public Speaking Grad School. Michael, I have been blessed to have you as my mentor and inspiration over the last two years. And, doubly, I have learned so much from both of you and Amy over the last few months. Thank you both. I have also met so many incredible people. And I have been part of such a great accountability team.”

    Domenic ChiarellaDomenic Chiarella

  • “Running the race with our awesome mentors, Michael and Amy Port, at our side and our teammates and friends cheering us on from the audience, was a breathtaking experience that left all of us better performers and, yes, better people. I now have many new friends along with mentors that have my back.”

    Jon BestJon Best

  • “Thanks again and again to Michael and Amy Port for not giving up on me and pushing me through to the end. I'm so thankful I pulled through with it. You guys have worked miracles in my life.”

    Amos BorntregerAmos Borntreger

  • “Michael and Amy are so incredibly generous with their time and gifts. And they're amazing role models for how to be. It's wonderful to see and begin to emulate the joy, love, and generosity the two of you have for your students. Thank You.”

    Janet BackesJanet Backes

  • “The training and coaching at the Heroic Public Speaking is top notch and the experience is transforming. Michael and Amy always gave me exactly what I needed right when I needed it so that I could grow. Grad School gave me a whole new world to grow into, and it expanded my confidence and skillset as a speaker in all situations.”

    Andrei Jablokow, PhDAndrei Jablokow, PhD

  • “I use the techniques that I learned observing Amy and Michael to keep the sessions interactive and engaging. I am certain that the experience our participants had, was 100% better because of my HPS work. I was able to deliver the message from the heart and could connect with each person in the group. Michael and Amy - both of you made a big difference in our community through me. Thank you very much.”

    Arjun RayapudiArjun Rayapudi

  • "As the first phase of my public speaking training draws to a close, I wanted to thank you both for your kindness, compassion, caring, instruction, support, and your belief in me. Having the two of you become part of my life has changed it for the better. And I could wish for no better mentor to help me launch my new career. I look forward to continuing to work with you as I strive to become a better, more heroic speaker."

    Bob BakerBob Baker

  • "[At a recent talk], I felt super confident and calm because I knew my material and I knew the basics of how I needed to feel in my body to create the connection, change and impact that I was there to bring them thanks to Amy Port and Michael Port for giving permission to not fret it and just go for it with the skills in my back pocket!"

    Jeanette BroneeJeanette Bronee

  • “Michael Port and Amy Port have transformed my life through the Heroic Public Speaking Grad School. The first time I got on my feet during Grad, I was so frozen with fear that I couldn't recall the first line of my speech even though it was based on a story about my family that I'd told dozens of times. Amy's intervention in that moment changed everything. She, and later Michael, helped me discover and refine my gift for acting and improv, which has become a source of true delight and has noticeably increased my self-confidence as a public speaker and human being. I now feel very much at home on stage. Michael and Amy helped me find my voice (along with a family of colleagues that continue to inspire, teach and support me).”

    Susan SandlerSusan Sandler

  • “A friend invited me to a local Toastmasters meeting a couple of days ago. I was asked to do one of the table topics, where you are given a question and you have 1-2 minutes to provide an impromptu answer. At the end of the meeting one of the members asked me "Are you an actor?" "No," I said. "I'm an HPS graduate!"  

    Theo Tsaousides, Ph.D.Theo Tsaousides, Ph.D.

  • “When I recently got on stage, I was able to perform despite my fear because I've just kept rehearsing, learning, and striving. Knowing that Michael, Amy, and my fellow Grad students had my back made all the difference. Thank you for giving me the support and a safe place to pursue this dream.”

    Nicole FendeNicole Fende

  • “I want to express my gratitude for being part of this remarkable group of people. Because I've gotten to feel your passion as your speeches emerge from you. Because the stories you tell reveal some of the most intimate aspects of your life. Because you have given so generously of your thoughts and experiences and advice and feedback as I work through my own speech. Because you have kindly solicited my advice and thoughts. Because no matter what your backgrounds, cultures, politics, you've coalesced into a group of friends and mutual supporters. Because a warm love suffuses the group. And, of course, I must acknowledge that all of this grows from and is nurtured by the genuine love and caring of Michael Port and Amy Port, our mentors, guides, friends, confidants, advisors, directors, supporters. You have my eternal gratitude.”

    Bob Baker, M.D.Bob Baker, M.D.

  • “These are never really classes, are they? They are experiences that last a lifetime with people we will know, like and trust for a lifetime—as we all continuously take these gifts and pay it forward to our audiences, clients, friends and more. Go get em.”

    Dennis-GiannettiDennis Giannetti

  • “It’s simple. Michael and Amy have your back and want nothing more than to watch you shine. Bask in their light and you will, more brightly than you ever imagined possible.”

    Rick_PetryRick Petry

  • “With the support of my fellow heroes and Michael and Amy, I see a doorway ahead to ease, playfulness and creative self-expression. I can shed some self-centered fear, some unrelenting self-criticism, some worry about not being good enough or performing well enough. What a gift! And I also reflected on how wonderful it was to start from zero without a topic and to play with ideas for a keynote, to change topics entirely two weeks ago, and to work hard and create a wonderful piece that serves me and my current clients very well. I GOT THIS!”

    ChristineChristine Stebbins Dahl

  • “While my goals may be different from others in our class, I could not be more grateful for making the choice to join the HPS Master’s Program. The investment I made in the Master’s Program is quite small in comparison to what I would have paid a marketing or PR firm to develop “their” version of what I already knew, but couldn’t articulate. This has been the biggest focus group I could have imagined, and I’m now ready to develop a plan and roll out the new concepts and messaging.”

    ShellyShelly St John

  • “The lesson I'm getting is just doing things, trying things, seeing what works, seeing how it feels differently in my body, listening, pushing through the unknowns to create something new. I watched so many of the Grad students do that and I'm so impressed with how everyone is growing and finding their voices in new ways. Thank you Michael and Amy and the other awesome teachers. You all show up with so much generosity.”

    Amy JoAmy Jo Goddard

  • "Having given forty paid speeches last year, I was astounded at the value I found, and the strategies to uplevel my speaking business."

    Jon VromanJon Vroman

  • “Thank you, Michael and Amy, from the bottom of my heart for all the time, energy and love you invested in us. Grad school was really a very remarkable experience! I began to mellow out over time, in large part due to your kind guidance. I’ve grown to finally accept the fact that the creative process is messy, it’s never done and never going to be perfect. Your team has remarkable individuals, and everyone was so helpful and willing to go the extra mile to keep us informed and on track: a testament to your leadership and ability to find quality people to support you.”

    Buck AdamsBuck Adams

  • "Thank you for the incredible contribution you both have made to my life and work at Live, Grad School, DFY, Book Retreat, and BYS. It all ties together to help me see what I have to contribute to the world and how to express it effectively. More than anything, I have been able to overcome persistent negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk about my gift to the people I’m meant to serve."

    Toshi ShibanoToshi Shibano


We handpick people who are masters not only artistically, but are also master teachers and coaches.
They’re top-notch passionate thinkers and doers, excited to teach and coach non-actors.
You'll meet some of these teachers, as well as some other teachers.

D’Arcy Webb

D’Arcy Webb, a.k.a. the Speech Diva, is a member of the voice and speech faculty of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she recently received the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching.

In the course of her career as an actress, she has played a large number of roles, ranging from soigné society dames to deranged housewives and toothless old crones, all with passion, humanity and panache. She has narrated A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra with the Pittsburgh Symphony, and has voiced motivational and training videos as well as commercials for clients like Best Western Hotels, Fila and Gore. The creator of the whimsical online web series “Tuesday Morning Two-Minute Tune-ups for your Tongue,” D’Arcy specializes in speech production and accent reduction, and offers private coaching to actors and professional speakers.

D'Arcy Webb

Mike Ganino

Mike Ganino helps leaders and organizations hit their mark in their communications and strategies so they can build the kind of ensembles—ahem, company cultures & teams that drive results. He leads workshops and private sessions on presentation skills, public speaking, and communication.

Mike’s a Heroic Public Speaking alumna and keynote speaker who uses his experience in the hospitality industry and as an improv actor to help brands communicate with intention. He trained and performed the art of making things up (AKA improv) at Second City Chicago, Improv Olympics, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Neo-Futurists. He was worked with category leading brands like Uber, ChowNow, US Foods, PeopleMatter, and Yum! Brands. His Grandma thinks he’s pretty great too.

Fay Simpson

Fay Simpson has been the Artistic Director and co-founder of Impact Theatre since its creation in 1990. Informed by her work in the rehearsal room, the teaching studio and onstage over the last 20 years, she has developed a unique physical training method for the actor called The Lucid Body.

Fay has taught at The Yale School of Drama, the New School’s Eugene Lang, Michael Howard Studios, The Studio/NY, Marymount Manhattan College, and at the Actor’s Center. She runs private classes and workshops at her own studio The Lucid Body House in midtown Manhattan, as well as in Berlin and London.

She coaches for film and TV as well as stage (Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave and in the Broadway play Eclipsed; Annaleigh Ashford in Sylvia with Matthew Broderick currently on Broadway; Amanda Warren The Leftovers on HBO in 2014.)

Fay wrote The Lucid Body; A Guide for the Physical Actor, published in 2008 by Allworth Press. She oversees a cadre of experts who now teach the Lucid Body in Texas, New York, London, Berlin and Moscow.

Scott Miller

In over 30 years as an artist, Scott Miller has acted in, written for and produced film and theatre. He is a co-founding member of the studio Miller Voice Method and the founder of its methodology; there, he trains and mentors teachers in developing a new integrative model of Voice and Presence. mVm has been received in corporations, theatres and workshops around the world from New York to Helsinki both in collaborative and one on one scenarios.

As a full time Associate Arts Professor in the Graduate Acting Department of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and acting Head of Voice and Speech, he directs courses in Voice and the Art of Integration. He also serves as Chair of Tisch’s Committee on Faculty Welfare and Governance. Additionally, he heads the Integration/Voice Pedagogy at the Michael Chekhov Acting Studio in NYC.

Now more in an advisory role, Scott is owner of Treefa World Inc. Treefa World produces and develops content for film internationally across an array of arenas including narrative, educational and experimental.

Scott Miller


Do you enjoy the Heroic Public Speaking newsletters, site pages, and occasional Facebook comments? Many of them were written by Laura Bernstein, Director of Communications for Heroic Public Speaking.

Before joining the Heroic Public Speaking family, Laura earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University and a M.S. in Student Affairs from Miami University. She taught Creative Writing and Composition college courses, coordinated student events, and interviewed students across the country about their development on college campuses. Laura's poetry and essays are featured in international anthologies and magazines alike.

Michael Port, author of Steal the Show, once said via email, "I love Laura more than I love my boat."

Laura Bernstein, author of this bio, said, "Michael, that's not really true, but I'm framing that email."

And so, a framed quote sits on Laura's desk.

(Yes, this bio was, in fact, written by Laura Bernstein.)


AJ Harper is a developmental editor and publishing strategist. She has helped hundreds of authors—from newbies to New York Times bestselling authors with millions of books sold—write and publish game-changing books, develop significant and loyal followings, and build their brand.

For ten years, AJ wrote exclusively for personal and professional development authors. As executive editor for collaborative books, AJ worked with thought leaders and bestselling authors, among them Lisa Nichols, Les Brown, Barbara De Angelis, Mark Victor Hansen, Dr. George Fraser, DC Cordova, Barbara Marx Hubbard, T. Harv Eker, Brendan Burchard, Marcia Wieder, Lisa Sasevich, Hyrum W. Smith, Fabienne Fredrickson, Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolan, and Adam Markel.

AJ is the writing partner for business author, Mike Michalowicz, author of several books, including The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, The Pumpkin Plan, Profit First and Surge. For several years, AJ served as publishing strategist and managing editor for eWomen Publishing Network, a division of eWomen Network, the largest women’s business network in North America. In 2015, AJ retired from ghostwriting so that she could give her full attention to mentoring authors. She accepts a limited number of book development projects each year.


Brenda Barbosa

Brenda Barbosa uses the timeless art of storytelling to help business owners find and craft unforgettable business stories that turn lookers into buyers and buyers into loyal fans
– in less time and with less hassle.

As an award-winning writer and journalist with a career spanning nearly two decades, Brenda knows a thing or two about weaving words together in ways that are interesting, informative, relevant and real.

Known as the Storytelling Slickster™ in some parts, Brenda will do almost anything for a good story. She's interviewed drug dealers in cemeteries and jumped out of an airplane to document an 80-year-old's lifelong dream of skydiving
– all that despite a crippling fear of heights and dead people.

 Branda Barbosa

Neen James

Neen James is often described by event planners as the ‘energizer powerhouse’ for their events.

She is a sales and leadership expert focused in the areas of performance and productivity. A little Aussie with a lot of sass; Neen is obsessed with helping people increase sales, strengthen leadership and deliver exceptional customer service.

Neen's fun, high energy, unique Aussie-ness makes her a sought after keynote speaker that meeting planners adore.

Audiences love her practical strategies they can apply at work and home. Neen is a Certified Speaking Professional—a valuable accreditation earned by less than 10% of speakers worldwide.

With a strong corporate background in development and managing large teams throughout several industries, Neen is the perfect fit for organizations who want implementable strategies to increase profitability; increase productivity and accelerate team engagement.

She also provides one-on-one leadership coaching and mentoring on a variety of business topics and her clients will tell you they love working with her 90-day accountability plans.
Clients including Comcast, Cisco, Virgin, Pfizer, FBI, Johnson & Johnson, and BMW describe Neen as fun, real, energetic and wicked smart.

Neen often appears in the media sharing her expertise and is a published author of eight books, including Folding TimeTM and Secrets of Super-Productivity and her new book Attention! is being released in 2016.

Neen James


You won’t be a remarkable public speaker after the first session. But, if you think Michael and Amy along with the HPS Faculty are the right teachers for you, then, yes, public speaking is in your future. No, more than that. It is your future. We want to support you along this important professional journey of yours.


Yes, I want to learn more about Heroic Public Speaking Grad School!

I'd like a prospectus to learn more about the Heroic Public Speaking Graduate School.