Eduardo Placer(he, him, his)
Founder of fearless communicators® and Story Doula
As a global facilitator, Eduardo has led workshops and spoken with groups at HBO, Google, Bank of America- Merrill Lynch, Yale, The Juilliard School, and the Wharton School of Business. Private clients include Industry Leaders, CEO’s of start up companies, UN Diplomats and social activists. Prior to focusing all his energy on Fearless Communicators, he was a professional actor for 15 years, working all over the US in over 38 plays and musicals.
When he is not “story doulaing” or spontaneously breaking out into song and dance, he is probably bringing together diverse communities in a celebration of what is positive and possible. This includes leading workshops at the Muslim Jewish Conference, global work on inclusive masculinity, LGBTQIA activism & advocacy and events around a passion project called THE BIG SING ALONG. Other projects include Carnegie Hall’s The Somewhere Project, The Daedalus Project at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Fearless Futures Campaigns for the SCHAP Community School in rural SE Kenya.
Eduardo serves on the Board of THE OUT FOUNDATION and the Cuban American Alliance for Leadership and Education. He is also an avid Cross Fitter, and like most avid Cross Fitters will talk about Crossfit any time he’s asked.
BA English University of Pennsylvania MFA Acting, University of California San Diego
Debra Driscoll (She, her, hers)
LEAD FEARLESS Facilitator and PROGRAM MANAGER
Debra joined the Fearless team in 2016, initially as a client in the pilot program of Fearless Force: Public Speaking for Visionary Women Leaders. She began facilitating and coaching in 2018 and in that same year traveled with Eduardo to Australia to deliver the Fearless Force program in Melbourne, Sydney and her hometown, Brisbane.
At Fearless Communicators, Debra works with Private Clients, Team Workshops and is a Lead Facilitator of our Fearless Fire Program. Since 2021 she has supported female entrepreneurs within the Tory Burch Fellowship, both within the fellowship and as a private coach. In her private 1:1 work, she supports women entrepreneurs and change makers with the development and delivery of keynotes, signature talks, capital funds pitching, and direct to client communications. The focus of her clients’ expertise has ranged from women in cybersecurity, storytelling for change, to financial empowerment for women.
Debra is the founder of Big Life Magic, the business she developed in the same year that she published her first book, A Series of Surrenders: A Memoir of Grief. She has developed the big life loss to big life magic framework that supports the transformation of grief. Additionally her work focuses on elite energetic alignment for women, and mastery teaching in spiritual practice. Debra is the host of You Are The Magic Podcast.
Debra splits her time between the city and the sea. Her home base is on the island of Tobago where she lives with her husband and their growing flock of sheep.
Benjamin Pelteson (he, him, his)
LEAD Fearless Facilitator and Program Manager
Ben Pelteson joined the Fearless Communicators team in 2015 and has supported a global community of executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders across all of Fearless’ programs and 1:1 training.
Recent clients include: Elevate Prize Foundation/CNN Heroes, Alpine Investors, Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF), Get Georgia Reading, Chicago Booth School of Business, Pride ERGs at Fortune 500 companies, as well as thought leaders in Web 3, personal finance, executive presence, racial equity, and body positivity.
A professional actor for over two decades, Ben has appeared on major stages across the US and onscreen (Homeland, The Americans, Unforgettable, Law & Order, The Blacklist, and StartUp, among others.)
Ben is the former National Outreach Director for Broadway Impact, an organization of theater artists and fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. He has one gigantic houseplant, a monsterra named Cathy, who threatens to take over the tri-state area.
BFA in Theatre, Carnegie Mellon University.
Emily Shain (SHE, HER, HERS)
Emily Shain joined the Fearless team in 2018, where she brings warmth, keen listening and a collaborative spirit to all her coaching. She has been honored to support thought leaders, executives and entrepreneurs across all of Fearless’ programs and 1:1 coaching.
Recently her clients have included female entrepreneurs within the Tory Burch Fellowship, Washington Area Community Investment Fund, the East Bay Women’s Conference, as well as seven First Ladies of African Nations during the Global First Lady Academy.
In 1:1 work, she has supported individuals in the real estate, non-profit and financial sectors, amongst others. Past keynotes include thought leadership centered on workplace culture, Latinx historic conservation, and female empowerment.
Emily has taught Public Speaking and Acting at Adelphi University, University of California San Diego, New Mexico State University Las Cruces and New York University. She has a special interest in Voice and Speech techniques and delivery, and has supported many non-native English speakers to speak clearly and confidently. As an actor, she has been on stages across the US as well as on the small screen.
Emily was born on the summer solstice and has a one-eyed cat named Earl.
BFA – University of Minnesota/ Guthrie Theater Actors Training Program
MFA – University of California San Diego
Johann George (he, hIm, his)
Johann George joined the Fearless Communicators team in 2021 and has supported a global community of executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders across all of Fearless’ programs and 1:1 training.
Recent engagements include: Menlo Coaching, St. David’s Foundation, Tory Burch Foundation Fellows, gBETA Social Impact Accelerator, and private coaching with thought leaders in data analytics, strategy & transformation, and people operations.
A professional actor for over a decade, Johann has appeared on major stages across the US (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatre Under The Stars, Fifth Avenue Theatre, Marriott Theatre).
Johann is a learning designer and facilitator for Hats & Ladders, an educational technology company supporting NYC’s Department of Education and Department of Youth and Community Development. He resides in Harlem with his partner and two dogs, Tanner & Sebastian.
BA in Theatre, Northwestern University
ACC, International Coaching Federation (in progress)
Certified Professional Co-Active Coach
Johanna de ruyter (SHE, HER, HERS)
Johanna has professionally performed, presented, and facilitated on national and international stages. She is an accomplished theater practitioner, working for over 25years as a performer and collaborator on various award – winning theater projects both nationally and internationally. Johanna is a performing artist with a speciality in translating this influential skillset to support people in learning to communicate dynamically with their audiences. As a trained Remedial Masseuse, Martial Artist and Improvisor/Performer Johanna is both passionate and fascinated with the complementary relationship of the body within the dynamics of communication. She created her company, Moving Communication to reposition the body as a dynamic element to move communication either internally (self – talk) or externally (group). She designs and delivers training and coaching programs to meet distinct learning outcomes for companies such as Vodafone, National Australia Bank, Qantas, AMP, Coca Cola, GlaxoSmithKline, Medibank Private and University of Technology Sydney. In addition, she has facilitated Leadership Presence training programs including Storytelling for business communication throughout the Asia Pacific region. She completed the Fearless Force program Circle 8 – you can see her presentation here.
Kate Hurster (SHE, HER, HERS)
Kate joined the Fearless Communicators team in 2021 and has the honor of supporting an ever-expanding community of entrepreneurs, executives, and thought leaders through one-on-one work and group programming at Fearless.
Recent clients include: Tory Burch, Get Georgia Reading, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, as well as many leaders in personal finance, economics, consulting, and medicine.
Kate has worked in cell pathology and psychiatric research, as a professional stage actor, and most relentlessly as mother of two children, Zaza and Gus. She works long hours at their service in Ashland OR, where she and her husband are also company members at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
BA Swarthmore College
MFA in Acting National Theatre Conservatory (Denver, Co)
Keiana RicharD (She, her, hers)
Keiana Richárd is a native of Nashville, TN. Her theatre credits include, New York: Lincoln Center’s Tony-nominated Broadway production of Dividing the Estate, The Pearl Theatre Company’s Ghosts, The McCarter Theatre’s Eclipsed, and The Public/Sundance Lab’s reading of Forgotten World, Los Angeles: Rogue Arts Ensemble’s Wood Boy Dog Fish, The Hudson Theatre’s Good People, and Center Theatre Groups The Trip To Bountiful. Film/T.V. include projects such as Mid-City Blue, Adult Swim’s Delocated, and NBC’s The Player. She has taught Public Speaking, Voice & Speech, Movement, and Acting at UCSD and New York Film Academy. Keiana has also worked as a teaching artist with the Unusual Suspects Theatre Company and East LA Classic Theatre, outreach groups that use the arts to serve underserved communities. She loves how the arts can empower and give a voice to people from all walks of life! Keiana lives in Los Angeles, California. MFA in Acting, University of California San Diego
Luis Carrasquillo (He, Him, His)
Luis Carrasquillo (aka Vega) is an actor, writer, and educator. His theater credits include: The national tour of the Tony Award-winning production of The Humans, Where Storms are Born at Williamstown Theater Festival, Tell Hector I Miss Him at Atlantic Theater Company, Seize the King at La Jolla Playhouse, and The Underpants at The Old Globe. On screen, Luis has appeared on Madam Secretary and in Fox Searchlight’s Another Earth. The Last Barnstorm, a play he wrote, has been workshopped at both the Skirball Cultural Arts Center in LA and the Austin Latino New Play Festival. Luis has taught at UCSD and The New York Film Academy. He holds a BA in English from Columbia University and an MFA in Acting from UCSD.
Mark Bedard (HE, Him, His)
Mark Bedard is a theatrical storyteller with years of experience navigating and/or poking the public eye. As a coach his work has ranged from interview prep to camera work to monologue coaching. Teaching has included countless workshops, prologues, and school-visit programs. Mark wrote and performed in his own adaptation of The Marx Brothers musical The Cocoanuts, and also the Daedalus AIDS Benefit as well as multiple School-Visit Program presentations. As a professional actor he has appeared on stages across the country and more recently onscreen (Evil, Madam Secretary, The Good Fight, Instinct, The Knick.) He is based out of Brooklyn NY and is quite pleasantly surprised to be working with Fearless Communicators, since his relentless torturing onstage of founder, Eduardo Placer, was legendary. BA from University of California Irvine.
Molly Mermelstein (she, her, hers)
Molly is an arts administrator and events specialist based in NYC. Originally from the Bay Area, she studied Theater and Psychology at Occidental College in Los Angeles. She has worked for over a decade in all aspects of theater, from acting and voice over, to directing and stage management. She has also worked extensively as an arts teacher with Palo Alto Children’s Theatre, Projects in Education Story Theater, and Broadway Classroom. At the same time, she was member of the Theater Management and Events teams at New World Stages, a multi-use performance space in NYC, housing 7 concurrent theatrical productions and events ranging from movie premiers to multi-track corporate conferences. She wore many operational and managerial hats there, her favorite of which being the Associate Producer of the Glam Award winning So You Think You Can Drag?, a large-scale weekly drag competition. She is thrilled to be bringing her experience in operations and program management to the Fearless team!
Rebecca S’manga FRank (She, Her, Hers)
Rebecca S’manga Frank is an actor, writer, director, and passionate developer of new work in the Theatre Arts. She’s worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Red Bull Theatre, Sundance Theatre Lab in Morocco, New York Theatre Workshop, California Shakespeare Company, and many off Broadway and regional theaters. TV credits include: Elementary (CBS), Prodigal Son (FOX), and an upcoming release on Apple TV. She’s a member of Society Theatre Co. based in New York. Rebecca holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Mills College and an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Acting program at the Tisch School of the Arts. This summer Rebecca was commissioned by Hillel International to pen “A Psalm for Racial Justice” for the Days of Awe. She is a 2021 New Jewish Culture Fellow and LABA New York Fellow. Rebecca proudly creates work from a deep love of her Swazi, Jewish, American roots, and is committed to using her work as a force to advocate for the dignity of Black lives.
Yonatan Gebeyehu (He, Him, HIs)
Yonatan Gebeyehu has been a facilitator with Fearless Communicators since 2020. Yonatan has worked with Fearless clients across our 1:1 programs, in corporate facilitations, and in small group intensives. He is passionate about empowering people of color with the tools they need to show up with authenticity, efficiency, and power in their speaking!
Past clients include managing partners at Venture Capital Funds, UX Designers, CEO’s, authors, and entrepreneurs. In the corporate space, he has worked with Washington Area Community Investment Fund, female entrepreneurs from the Tory Burch Fellowship, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and HLW International.
As an actor, he has performed on stages across New York City. He has recently been seen on screen on the TV shows Madam Secretary, Elementary, Prodigal Son, and more. He has taught acting and public speaking at the University of California San Diego, NYU, and The Shakespeare Theatre Company.
He’s a Taurus and proud of it!
BA in English Literature from Columbia University
MFA in Acting from the University of California San Diego
Caroline Siewert (She,her,hers)
Caroline has been empowering individuals as a member of the Fearless Communicators team since 2021. Although Caroline has experience working with all humans, she is most passionate about working with women and non-binary entrepreneurs and small-business owners. With Fearless, she has also worked with organizations dedicated to voter rights, reproductive healthcare equity and MBA Interview Preparation. She also taught Public Speaking and Acting at the University of California, San Diego while pursuing her MFA.
Currently training to become a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Caroline is merging this invaluable knowledge with her coaching. She aims to empower speakers and thought leaders to find their authentic voice, fostering courage, confidence, and joy in their communication.
Outside of this work, Caroline finds great joy and purpose in connecting with herself and others through her study of the tarot. She also very much enjoys the company of children and animals–none more so than her non-biological twin nephews, Augie and Finn, and her cat, Smokey Ray.
BFA, NYU/Tisch School of the Arts
MFA, Acting University of California, San Diego