Cari Craden '87
Her love of public speaking goes back to her college days, when she was required to take a course in the subject. Even before that, growing up in two cultures (Italian and Greek) Cari Craden ’87 P’21 understood the importance of communication. Those facts fit her career choice, although she never expected to do what she does. She majored in psychology. Now she’s a public speaking and pitch coach in two languages — in Paris. Craden spoke with us about her career.
How did you come to live in Paris?

I came to Paris immediately after graduating from Hamilton. I was offered a job at a bank in New York and felt too young to climb the corporate ladder. I figured I’d go to Paris for six months and perfect my French. (I’d spent my junior year abroad here.) The six months have turned into over 30 incredible years and three French/American kids. [One of them is Luke Bernard, Hamilton Class of 2021.]

Tell me about your work.

I coach everything from keynote speeches to TED talks, to startup pitches to business meetings — and I do it both in English and French. In a given week the subjects can range from luxury items, to shipping, to pharmaceuticals, to politics. I feel privileged to meet so many amazing people whose experiences I get to make a little bit of my own. My most recent adventure is a five-session workshop on female empowerment called Find Your Voice. Since COVID hit, my clients have gotten farther away (Australia, Singapore, India) but I spend a lot more time sitting in front of my computer screen.

Because Hamiltonians

Read about other alumni who are making an impact in their professions and communities throughout the world.

What do you enjoy about what you do?

Most people tend to fear speaking in public, and I love helping them not only get past that fear but do it successfully and even enjoy it. I feel so lucky to do something that is constantly new and different, makes a real impact, and that can take me all over the world.

When and how did you realize that this was the career for you?

I’d say it was serendipity. I was teaching English to professionals in companies here in Paris and started getting more and more requests to help people with their public-speaking events. I loved it, and was surprised to realize that something that came pretty easily to me was such a stumbling block for so many. I trained with some amazing coaches and added my own experience and expertise in cultural differences.

What is your best tip to someone who hates speaking in public?

Know you are not alone; most people are uncomfortable speaking in public. Prepare and practice, practice, practice. The opposite of vulnerability is courage — so just go for it.

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