A nationally recognized author and speech coach, Chris Jahnke is a leading voice on how women can be powerful communicators.
The author of The Well-Spoken Woman Speaks Out: How to Use Your Voice to Drive Change, Chris has advised Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, and has coached more women candidates and elected officials than any other trainer.
Chris founded her training firm Positive Communications to provide skill-building guidance to visionary leaders and works with Amnesty International, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Economic Policy Institute, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, and Women’s Media Center.
The New York Times, NPR, Glamour Magazine, Politico, Vice News and other media have featured her insights on gender dynamics in campaigns and the workplace. Chris is a popular keynote speaker and regularly provides training workshops for activists and senior executives.
“Chris is a gifted teacher who helps activists be effective in media.”
— Julie Burton, Women’s Media Center
“I’ve taken Chris’ advice everywhere from MSNBC interviews to street protests.”
— Charlene Carruthers, author and activist
“Women everywhere are in good hands with Chris.”
— Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island
The course of my life was changed by a woman who courageously came forward to speak truth to power. Too few believed Professor Anita Hill when she delivered meticulous testimony with incredible poise about being sexually harassed. Watching the all-male, all-white Senate judiciary committee grill her as if she had committed a crime made my blood boil.
“It would have been more comfortable to remain silent.”
— Anita F. Hill, opening statement to Senate Judiciary Committee.
It was 1991 and startling to see how few women served in Congress. So I joined the effort to elect more by coaching candidates on speech and debate techniques. As former Senator Barbara Mikulski used to say, we need to kick the doors open so other women can walk through.
Like many people, public speaking wasn’t always my thing. As a shy teen, a gym teacher told me I would eventually grow out of my six-foot awkwardness. Any hope of becoming a TV news correspondent was dashed in my first on-air job as a local “weather girl.” A three minute forecast left me gasping for air.
Since those days, I’ve come to learn that nearly every woman has something about her speaking style she would like to improve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a student, executive, entrepreneur, activist, volunteer, or candidate. Now when my clients step up to the microphone I’m rooting for them.
Today, a new generation is insisting on change.
As we move forward let’s celebrate success. Cheers to the band of sisters who inspired millions in the Women’s March. Cheers to the silence breakers who ignited a revolution. Cheers to the students who raise awareness. Cheers to the candidates who are the new face of leadership.
I’m grateful for the well-spoken women who are speaking out for what they believe in. Well-spoken women are driving change.