Startup Life: CEO’s & Founders with Foreign Accents

Posted on February 19, 2014 by karen

I recently went to a networking event where someone had compared my Accent Reduction or English Pronunciation Training with the article in Inc. Paul Graham on Building Companies for Fast Growth” by Issie Lapowsky. The part of the interview we chatted about was when Graham noted seeing a correlation with CEO’s of Startups with strong foreign accents being a bad indication of their future success. This apparently ruffled some feathers in the Startup community because it prompted him to write this response.

Many of my clients and future clients fall into this category:  Brilliant, ambitious, Startup centered, and foreign accented. The majority of clients come to me because they want to be more successful, be better leaders, sound more professional, improve their communication and many to gain more confidence.

I love P.G’s response when he says:

“Everyone got that? We all agree accents are fine? The problem is when people can’t understand you.”

Clear communication is vital in every position in every company. But if you’re a Founder or CEO you are always talking with customers, investors, employees, and all of us random folks who go to networking events. It’s important to be able to sell your product or services even if it’s someone you met at happy hour. You’ve always got to be on.

Being fluent in English is only part one of being successful in the States. Clear pronunciation is part two. I’m sure there are exceptions to this rule but they’d probably be the first to tell you their success could have come easier if they were understood better. You don’t have to lose your accent entirely, you don’t need to leave behind your culture-  I’d prefer if you brought it with you. I bring my Boston attitude with me everywhere I go. From San Francisco to Charleston, SC I’m always my authentic self and you should be too.

If you want at least a 50% increase in your English Pronunciation send me an email at and we’ll dive in. I’ll give you fast and effective personal training, provide a web based program for easy practice, and work with you over video conferencing so you don’t even have to leave your office.