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Jennifer Abrams  

International Communications Consultant

Jennifer Abrams is an international educational and communications consultant for public and independent schools, hospitals, universities and non-profits. Jennifer trains and coaches teachers, administrators, nurses, hospital personnel, and others on new employee support, supervision, being generationally savvy, adult development, having hard conversations and collaboration skills.

In Palo Alto USD (Palo Alto, CA), Jennifer led professional development sessions on topics from equity and elements of effective instruction to teacher leadership and peer coaching and provided new teacher and administrator trainings at both the elementary and secondary level. From 2000- 2011, Jennifer was lead coach for a five-district Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment Program.

In her educational consulting work, Jennifer has presented nationally at annual conferences with Learning Forward, ASCD, NASSP, NAESP, AMLE, ISACS and the New Teacher Center Annual Symposium, as well as working internationally at the leadership conferences for EARCOS, NESA, ECIS, AISA and Tri-Association of American Schools, and at schools across South America, Asia and Europe. She is a former Principals Training Center for International School Leadership facilitator of the ‘Instructional Supervision’ course and the designer of the Teacher Training Center course, ‘The Heart of Teaching.’ Jennifer’s communications consulting in the health care sector includes training and coaching work at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula and Stanford Hospital.

Jennifer’s publications include "Having Hard Conversations," "The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicating, Collaborating & Creating Community" and "Hard Conversations Unpacked – the Whos, the Whens and the What Ifs." Her latest book is "Swimming in the Deep End: Four Foundational Skills for Leading Successful School Initiatives." Other publications include her chapter, “Habits of Mind for the School Savvy Leader” in Art Costa’s and Bena Kallick’s book, "Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind: 16 Essential Characteristics for Success," and her contribution to the book, "Mentors in the Making: Developing New Leaders for New Teachers" published by Teachers College Press. Jennifer also writes a monthly newsletter, "Voice Lessons," available for reading at and subscribing to on her website,

Jennifer has been recognized as one of “21 Women All K-12 Educators Need to Know” by Education Week’s ‘Finding Common Ground’ blog, and as entrepreneur of the year for the International Academy of Educational Entrepreneurship. She has been a featured interviewee on the topic of professionalism for ASCD’s video series, Master Class, hosted by National Public Radio’s Claudio Sanchez, and in the lead article, “Finding Your Voice in Facilitating Productive Conversations” for Learning Forward's The Leading Teacher; as a generational expert for "Tune in to What the New Generation of Teachers Can Do," published in Phi Delta Kappan, and by the Ontario Ministry of Education for their Leadership Matters: Supporting Open-to-Learning Conversations video series.

Jennifer considers herself a “voice coach,” helping others learn how to best use their voices - be it collaborating on a team, presenting in front of an audience, coaching a colleague, supervising an employee and in her role as an advisor for Reach Capital, an early stage educational technology fund. Jennifer holds a Master’s degree in Education from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Tufts University. She lives in Palo Alto, California

Speech Topics

Influence and Persuasion

Gone are the days when a leader’s positional power was sufficient to advance an agenda. Today’s successful leaders must gain commitment to ambitious goals not only from people who work for them, but also from peers and a diverse group of stakeholders who are beyond their command. See how the ability to influence and persuade others is now a critical differentiator of leaders who move people to support their goals from those who can’t.

Building Capacity in Aspiring Leaders

With Boomer administrators retiring in greater numbers over the next decade, supporting new leaders in our organizations is essential to successful succession planning. Experienced leaders need to articulate what legacy they wish to leave behind as well as well as learn and coach toward the skills and capacities aspiring leaders need to build and foster. Using work on generational savvy and leadership development, this session will provide rubrics and recommendations for supporting the growth of aspiring leaders.

Being Generationally Savvy: Working Effectively With All Generations

Have you noticed your newer employees feel and look and act differently than novice colleagues you remember? Are you hearing of communication challenges between colleagues of different ages? Are you becoming aware more employees want a life-work balance vs. a work-life balance? Generational factors might be coming into play. Who are these four generations in our workplaces? What are their strengths and needs? What structures and communication protocols should we design to work well with them all? And, what knowledge do we need to help every group thrive? Using Jennifer’s book, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate and Create Community, this workshop will provide tools, resources on this increasingly intriguing topic.

Having Hard Conversations

As administrators, coaches or colleagues, we often come up against situations where difficult topics must be addressed. What do we know about the best strategies for those moments? What questions should we be asking ourselves before we speak, and what environments are best for when we do speak? Based on Jennifer’s book, Having Hard Conversations, and her work with conflict and interpersonal communication, this session will provide participants with action plans and scripting tools for having those necessary hard conversations.

Swimming in the Deep End - What Does It Take?

No matter where what role we play in a school or district, we all want to make a difference. However, things move fast in education these days, and often in our communications we are left confused, overwhelmed and not as successful as we could be. We need to build up a skill set of effective decision making capabilities, ‘resistance management’ communication strategies and for the sake of our health, our ‘stress tolerance.’ This workshop will provide support, a laugh, and some cognitive, social and psychological resources to help you communicate more effectively, confidently and collaboratively, no matter your role.

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