Founder & President
Michelle is a veteran of film, television and the stage. Her accomplished career as an actress, writer and producer has lent a unique insight to her position as a trainer, consultant and coach for corporations. She has designed workshops for groups and individuals in the craft of presentation skills, authentic communication, executive speaking, teambuilding, leadership development, messaging and effective collaboration. Her ability to discern key issues and find accessible solutions has made her an industry favorite and return guest. As an educator, Michelle has led workshops for corporations such as Medtronic, General Mills, Mayo Clinic, Minnesota Medical Association, Burger King, Humera Staffing, Dolphin Group and Minnesota Association of Professional Employees. She is a resident Teaching Artist for the Guthrie Theater and Hennepin Theatre Trust as well as an adjunct professor for Augsburg College and Concordia University.
Michelle continues to thrive as a professional actress as she can be seen in iconic films such as the Coen Brother’s film Fargo, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Thin Ice, Factotum, Into Temptation, The Public Domain, and in television shows such as ABC’s In An Instant and as recurring character, “Candy Coombs”, in the hit Netflix series, “Lady Dynamite”.
Here’s an idea of some of Michelle’s clients: Pillsbury, General Mills, Tony’s Pizza, Schwan’s, Medtronic, Dolphin Group, Cassidy Turley, Mrs. Meyer’s, Nissan, 3M, and more.
endy Johnson’s expertise lies in her overall advertising knowledge, experience, communication and leadership skills in print & broadcast production. She’s worn many hats over the years while working in the advertising and film industry as she enjoys digging into a project and making sense of the budget, schedule and tasks that need to get done to make the project shine. Wendy has a successful record of leading teams in the production of high-quality deliverables, innovating solutions to the problem at hand no matter how large or small, as she is able to define, communicate and fulfill project goals and break down complex issues into manageable parts. She works collaboratively with team members to reach common goals, while maintaining responsibilities and commitments. Wendy’s experience serves her in acting as a liaison between the account executive, creative teams, production and outside vendors. Her smart and vibrant personality make her a wonderful asset to Skilled Expressions as she honors the timeliness of seeing a project through from start to finish. Wendy’s career includes freelancing for the past 10 years plus acting as a Director of Broadcast for 15 years with the Foley Sackett Advertising Agency in Minneapolis, MN, and Traffic Manager for Colle & McVoy Advertising Agency and Duncan Nelson Lambert Advertising.
auren joined the Skilled Expressions team as Executive Assistant and Sales and Marketing Coordinator. She has driven research and outreach for training opportunities forging viable relationships with new clients as she is is passionate about the process of building exceptional communication and leadership skills in the workplace. She is committed to assessing client needs to produce and plan effective training events that will further an organization’s goals and individual’s growth. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with a degree in Communication Studies. Her multiple years of experience as the Director of Competition at a Minneapolis dance studio as an accomplished choreographer-instructor in the local and national dance competition scene lends to her depth of overseeing large productions in educational surrounds. She has trained under the tutelage of famed choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Brian Freidman and Tyce Diorio.
im has facilitated communication and improvisation workshops for over 20 years and has worked with companies such as Cargill, Target, Allina Health, and 3M, among many others. He is an alumnus of the Brave New Workshop and the Disney Cruise Line’s Off-Beat Comedy Club and is a co-producer with Table Salt Productions, an independent theater company based in the Twin Cites. Jim has written, along with Dennis Curley, two original musicals–Love After Hours and Psych 101–and the show Whistling Past the Graveyard and the one-act play The Last Time I Saw Richard and Deirdre. He’s also a teaching artist at the Guthrie Theater and has been a professor of psychology at St. Catherine University since 1994. Jim hails from Riverside, California.
elissa Denton – Program Director for The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company. Melissa oversees the development, implementation and strategic growth of the nationally recognized theatre arts program for youth and families in underserved communities throughout Los Angeles county. Prior to USTC, Melissa served as Project Coordinator with New York City’s Roundabout Theatre Company, managing 25 teaching artists at Bronx Theatre High School. She has worked as a teaching artist for various arts organizations in NYC, including the Guggenheim Museum. In 2013 Melissa was invited to participate in the First International Teaching Artist Conference in Oslo, Norway. Melissa is currently a 2015 Master’s candidate for the Nonprofit Management program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. When not overseeing programs, Melissa directs and performs for stage. Some of her TV credits include, Two and a Half Men, The Middle, Anger Management, and Seinfeld.
oshua Will is an Emmy-Award winning writer, performer and Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop alumnus. He has led improvisational workshops for colleges and businesses for almost 20 years. Joshua is an active member of The Theater of Public Policy and serves as Artistic Director for The Recovery Party which produces “sketch comedy without all the drama.” His first book, The Alternative Animal Alphabet, was released in March.
ob Beverage is a professional actor, playwright and training facilitator based in Minneapolis, MN. As a member of Actors’ Equity, he has worked in theatres throughout the country, performing locally for The Guthrie Theatre, The Children’s Theatre Company, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, History Theatre, and The Cricket Theatre. Bob’s plays have been produced at around the country including Florida Stage, Capital Repertory Theatre, Sierra Repertory Theatre, the Stoneham Theatre, as well as internationally at Gottingen Platz in Germany and the Großes Haus in Bregenz, Austria. His screenplay, One Who Stole at Christmas, won an IRIS Award for “Best Entertainment in a Medium Market.” Bob has also designed and delivered corporate and non-profit training programs for a variety of U.S. companies including Roche Diagnostics, Honeywell, NK (Syngenta), Knoll Pharmaceuticals, and Memorial Hermann Healthcare, to name a few.
llie Hino has worked in corporate training facilitation and entertainment for over twelve years. Whether she is performing a custom improvisational show or facilitating a workshop on effective communication, she brings an infectious energy and respectful professionalism to meet each group’s culture. She has worked with a multitude of corporations such as Microsoft, General Mills, Target, Dolphin Group, Thomson Reuters, Hampton Inn and Suites, US Bank, Cargill, DHL, Ameriprise, ING, United Health Group, Mayo Clinic and many, many more. Ellie worked with the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theater as a writer, performer and teacher; and with their Creative Outreach team as a performer and facilitator for over ten years from 2001-2012. She is not only an experienced improvisor, but also a seasoned sketch comedy performer, writer and a stand-up comedian. Ellie has made Minneapolis her home for fifteen years and looks forward to each new opportunity in her ever-expanding field. She believes that the strong tenets of improvisation and comedy can bring great insights to companies looking towards a new and exciting future.
nsa Akyea is a professional actor with extensive experience from stage and screen. He has worked as a facilitator, teacher, instructor, and collaborator in numerous corporate and educational training settings. As well as being a facilitator with Skilled Expressions, Ansa Akyea has worked with the Guthrie Education department in Minneapolis, MN, The St. Paul Schools, EMID (East Metro Integration District), Penumbra Theater Company in St. Paul, MN, The Connie Belin Blank Center for Talented and Gifted Education in Iowa City, IA, The Stanstead Language French Immersion Camp in Stanstead, Canada and others. A talented actor he has worked on stage throughout the country at theaters such as the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Black Ensemble, Children’s Theater Company, History Theater, Penumbra Theater Company, and many others. Ansa has also starred in numerous films and commercials. A graduate of the University of Iowa’s prestigious Master of Fine Arts Acting program, Ansa Akyea continues to ply his craft and connect with community around issues of education and arts.