Jane Praeger, founder and CEO
Jane began her career as a documentary filmmaker for public television. Since founding Ovid, named after the great Roman poet and storyteller, in 1992, she has coached hundreds of executives on how to communicate in a way that engages audiences and drives results. She is also a founding faculty member of Columbia University's Masters Degree Program in Strategic Communication, where she has spent over fifteen years teaching writing, presenting, communications strategy and strategic storytelling to graduate students.
Heather Thomas has crafted and delivered hundreds of persuasive presentations in her career, helping to win tens of millions of dollars as the head of business development for the Omnicom company Critical Mass. After co-teaching classes in Strategic Storytelling at Columbia University with Jane Praeger for three years, Heather joined Ovid in 2011 with a particular focus on helping people present to win business. Heather is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University.
Terrence O’Brien teaches Ovid’s improv workshops. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and was its artistic leader for 27 years. Under his leadership, the company brought in an annual audience of 35,000, garnered critical acclaim from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the New Yorker, and established O’Brien as one of the country’s leading directors of Shakespeare. O’Brien is also the founder and director of the New World Shakespeare Lab in New York City, a group which uses the improv techniques of Keith Johnstone to evolve a more spontaneous style of acting Shakespeare.
Lena Gilbert has been working as a communications coach and videographer for Ovid since 2005. She has an especially astute antenna for industry jargon, and once she spots it, knows how to replace it with language that everyone can understand. As a trained dancer and experienced instructor, she is able to translate her movement skills to help clients communicate with ease and clarity in their bodies. In addition to her work with Ovid, Lena is a performer, choreographer and blogger.