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Dr. Barbara Shwom is managing principal of Communication Partners. For the past 25 years, her commitment to improving communication has informed all aspects of her professional and personal life. As a professor at Northwestern University and the Kellogg School of Management, and as a consultant to business and not-for-profit organizations, Barbara has taught hundreds of students and professionals to be clearer and more strategic about what they say and how they say it.

A nationally recognized leader in business communication, Barbara has served as president of both the Association for Business Communication and the Association of Professional Communication Consultants. She is a frequent presenter at national and international conventions in communication and education, and has published numerous articles on workplace communication, training and curriculum development, and communication strategy.


Before earning an MA and PhD in English at Northwestern University, Barbara received a BA in English and Philosophy from Simmons College in Boston.
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Karl Keller, MBA, principal, brings a wealth of business, academic, training, and writing experience to Communication Partners. He has held senior executive positions in marketing, strategy, training, and technology in the managed fund, brokerage, venture capital, and private equity industries. Karl has developed and written business plans and private offerings for capital-raising and revenue growth, has led business teams on developing large-scale technology projects, and has a strong track record in negotiating bottom-line benefits and solving business problems.


Karl is also a dynamic speaker, presenter, and trainer, and has created and delivered dozens of seminars across a range of disciplines, including communication, negotiation, accounting, budgeting, investing, and technology. He taught English at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, and also worked as a journalist covering real estate development and finance. Karl co-authored How To Raise Capital: Preparing and Presenting the Business Plan (Dow-Jones Irwin), designated in 1990 by The Economist as one of top 500 business books published in the previous 20 years.

Karl holds an MBA in Finance/Marketing from Northwestern University, an MA in English, also from Northwestern University, and earned a BA in English from the Pennsylvania State University. He holds Series 7 and Series 24 security licenses from the National Association of Securities Dealers.
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Matthew A. Woolsey, Associate, has 19 years of education-based leadership, strategy, and implementation experience helping clients find the optimal developmental solution for their employees. With a mix of higher education and work in the professional services sector, his expertise and learning programs have received external recognition by the Association of Professional Communication Consultants, Consulting.Com Magazine, and Experience.com. He has extensive international market experience combining human capital program development with hands-on delivery and coaching. Currently, Matt is an adjunct professor teaching courses in public speaking and critical thinking while finishing his doctorate in Higher Education & Organizational Change.
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Dr. Penny Hirsch, principal, has been a faculty member in Northwestern University's Writing Program since 1978 and, along with Barbara Shwom, was a founding member of Shwom and Hirsch: Management Communication Consultants in 1986.

Her teaching assignments at Northwestern have included management communication, technical writing, engineering design and communication, and advanced expository writing. In her work with industry, Penny serves as facilitator, trainer, communication coach, and program developer. Penny currently heads a communication initiative for a multi-institution National Science Foundation research grant that aims to improve teaching and learning in biomedical engineering.

Penny is a member of the Association for Business Communication and the American Society for Engineering Education. She is a frequent presenter at national conventions and an editorial board member of several professional journals.

Penny received her PhD and MA in English from Northwestern University; she did her undergraduate work at Wellesley College and the University of Michigan.
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Dr. Jeanne Herrick, associate, is a specialist in intercultural communication. After a career doing sales and marketing in the field of broadcasting for CBS, Dr. Herrick focused on the study of how people from different cultures and language backgrounds can develop effective strategies for clear and sensitive communication. She conducts ongoing research in the area, and is an expert on managing Latino employees. She has worked with clients as large as ExxonMobil, Commonwealth Edison and Helene Curtis as well as many smaller organizations. Using anthropological methods, she assesses a client’s unique needs and then works with the client to develop customized organizational and training solutions to meet those needs.

Jeanne is a full time member of the faculty of Northwestern University, where she teaches project management, teamwork, and presentations skills, as well as both business and technical writing. She is also a lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she teaches MBA courses in cultural diversity, project management, performance management and business communication. A published author, she has won awards for her writing, scholarship, and teaching.

Jeanne received her PhD in sociolinguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago, after earning an MA from Northern Illinois University and a BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
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Dr. William Pullin , associate, is the founder of Applied Leaning Concepts, and has broad and deep experience in instructional design and development.  Bill has particular expertise in innovative workshop development for sales organizations, where his creative solutions integrate the sales force culture, the corporate selling model, and the unique product or service opportunity the company wants to deliver to customers.

These workshops often take the form of dynamic business simulations, lively business-centered games, and behavior-changing role plays. Bill has executed these workshops at a range of industrial and service companies, including Abbott Laboratories, Cutler-Hammer, Snap-on Tools, Baldor Motors, and Lincoln Motors. Bill has also worked in various training media including computer-based training, audio and video productions, instruction manuals, and learner-based instruction.

Bill received an MA and PhD in English from Northwestern University, and his BA in English from DePauw University.
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Judith D. Schwartz, associate, is a widely-published author with broad experience in writing, editing, and corporate communications. She has written three books and co-authored a fourth with such major publishers as Simon & Schuster and St. Martin’s Press. She has written more than 200 articles for publications ranging from Glamour and Redbook to The New York Times Book Review.


A consummate wordsmith, Judith is an outstanding ghostwriter, collaborator, and coach. In addition, she has special expertise in sales and marketing; for several years she wrote the “Marketing Solutions” column for Adweek’s Marketing Week, and has reported on advertising and marketing in South Africa for The New York Times and Adweek. She has also written extensively on medicine, particularly women’s health and mental health issues.

Her corporate communication specialties include internal publications, public relations, proposals, profiles and success stories, Q and A’s, newsletters, and brochures.


Judith received her BA from Brown University, an MSJ from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and an MA in Counseling Psychology from Northwestern University.
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