I’m Jen Oleniczak Brown, the Founder of The Engaging Educator. In 2012, I was wrapping up a degree in art history at City College, and I realized that I strangely missed doing improv.
It had been part of my life since I was 15, and I missed the quick on the spot decisions, the heightened reality and the practice! I was working in museums with non-actors and my bosses kept telling me how good I was at pivoting and rolling with the audience, as well as how great my public speaking skills were. A quick whim got me to list a few public classes online, and turns out, a lot of people struggled with flexibility, quick thinking, responding in a thoughtful manner, active listening and more – cue The Engaging Educator.
Over the next few years, I saw more and more connections to improv and communication skills – specifically active listening and responding, as well as public speaking, improv and interpersonal skills – specifically empathy and connection. All of these new connections went into class development, which is actually one of my favorite things to do. You see, one of the founding principles of EE is the idea and importance of continuing education, and that isn’t just for you, it’s for us! Our curriculum and guiding ideas are always changing. Over the past few years, we’ve taken our public classes and workshops and leveled them up to online programming with Skillshare, learning materials through the Center for Creative Leadership’s Improvisational Insights Card Deck and a book, Think on Your Feet: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills, with McGraw Hill Education, released November 8, 2019.
EE doesn’t stop with our classes and materials – we’ve grown the idea to a women’s collaborative collective in Winston Salem, NC called Fearless Winston Salem, last year I coached 100 Women for 100 Hours and am currently working on projects to help moms, encourage women to take their space, and a nationwide women-owned business directory that is free to use and be part of, leveling the playing field for all women.