Whelan Group trainers include widely experienced business writers, marketing communications experts, workshop facilitators, writers, and editors.
Darcie Whelan-Kortan, President, has taught Whelan Group courses and created course content for prestigious clients since 1997, including:
- United Nations Secretary-General Special Advocate (the office serving Her Majesty Queen Máxima of the Netherlands)
- UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
- International Finance Corporation
- World Bank
- National Committee for Quality Assurance
- Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
Whelan-Kortan co-created several versions of our popular writing courses:
- Secrets to Powerful E-Mail
- Ten Secrets to Powerful Business Writing for the High-Tech Industry
- Ten Secrets to Powerful Business Writing for General Business Writers
She also created and teaches business seminars for managers and staff on how to get results from your team and develop leadership:
- Secrets of Powerful Teaming
- Secrets of Achieving Motivation, Initiative, and Leadership
Whelan-Kortan has taught on the faculty of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, one of the top business schools in the U.S., and at Marist College. She holds a Masters degree in English and Writing from Mills College and a Bachelors degree in English from UC Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa and Magna cum Laude. She has taught a range of courses, including business writing, business communications, diversity in the workplace, and management at the university and MBA level.
She has twenty-five years’ experience as a writer, editor, and communications consultant. She has written for The Poughkeepsie Journal, environmental non-profits, and higher education—drafting the strategic plan and mission statement for Marist College. She has extensive experience in the technology sector; she was a technical writer for seven years at Oracle Corporation.
In the 1990s, Whelan-Kortan worked as Creative Manager at Catchword, a San Francisco Bay Area naming and branding firm with an extensive clientele. At Catchword, she generated thousands of names for clients, including Microsoft, Oracle, AT&T, and Pepsi. Since then, she has developed names and taglines for such organizations as environmental nonprofit Scenic Hudson, The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, and The Poughkeepsie Journal. Through the Whelan Group, she continues as a consultant for corporate identity, creating corporate names and taglines.
Whelan-Kortan rounds out her resume as a columnist and essayist. From 2012-15, she wrote the blog “Raising James” for the National Association for Parents of Children with Visually Impairments (NAPVI), exploring her experience as a parent of a visually impaired child. In 2016-17, she explored raising a multiply disabled child, associated family challenges, and larger educational-political issues in “Beyond Broken,” a column for Literary Mama, an acclaimed literary magazine cited by Forbes magazine as among the top 100 literary magazines online.
Connect with Darcie Whelan-Kortan on www.linkedin.com to see links and samples of her work.
Watch a video of Darcie Whelan-Kortan teaching the Secrets to High-Performance Teaming seminar.
Michael Whelan, founder and CEO of the Whelan Group, has specialized in written and oral communications throughout his career. He began his career as a business journalist in New York for The Gallagher Presidents’ Report, a hard-hitting, news-breaking weekly targeted to corporate chief executives. As Associate Editor, Whelan covered news across the full spectrum of U.S. business, viewed from the top management perspective. He regularly interviewed the CEOs of dozens of major corporations, including those of the Fortune 500 companies.
Whelan then went on to become manager of marketing MCI Communications in its early years, when MCI made marketing and business history by successfully breaking what until then had been AT&T’s monopoly on long distance communication. In that role he managed, among other projects, the marketing communications for the packaging and launch of the nation’s first long distance calling card, which rocked the telecommunications industry.
Whelan moved from MCI to launch the Whelan Group and designed its highly successful flagship seminar, Ten Secrets to Powerful Writing. For more than 20 years, the seminar continues to be requested in the US and more than 20 other countries around the world. Whelan continued to add other seminars and instructors focused on business communications. He extended the scope of the Group to specialized versions of Ten Secrets to Powerful Writing for Lawyers, which proved a popular offering with the DC Bar/ Georgetown University National Law Center.
While running the Whelan Group, he also developed an expertise in issues of finance, as Secretary on the Investment Committee of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank. In that position he sat in on and recorded minutes on some 2,000 investment decisions of IFC senior management, making financial commitments ranging from $5 million to $300 million per project in every sector of business worldwide.
Whelan has also served a term as president of Washington Independent Writers, which at the time was the largest professional association of independent writers in the US. His articles have been published in The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, and The Boston Globe. He holds a B.A. in literature, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, from Catholic University and an M.A. in literature from Canisius College. In his spare time he writes poetry, and his work has been published in professional poetry journals. Whelan points out that this writing is a world apart from the writing of business communications, but certain skills of language mastered by the poet can also be of great value also in business.
Drawing on this background, Michael Whelan offers a unique combination of training skills:
- Invaluable hands-on experience working with the highest levels of corporate management in the real world of business and knowing the caliber of written and oral communications they expect from their managers and staff.
- Depth of worldwide experience in distilling and teaching managers and staff the secrets of powerful business writing and business communications in a highly engaging way that gets rave reviews.
Watch a video of Michael Whelan teaching the Ten Secrets to Powerful Business Writing seminar.
Cynde Sears, Senior Associate, is a former Federal research scientist, science teacher, and environmental consultant with a talent for communicating complex ideas clearly and simply. For more than 20 years, she has helped numerous Federal and state agencies communicate important information to their target audiences. She has designed and delivered trainings on a range of topics, including Plain Language writing, environmental laws and regulations, risk management, risk communication, and human resources management for numerous Federal clients, including the US Departments of Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice, Commerce (NOAA), and Housing and Urban Development; the US Environmental Protection Agency; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and the Agency for International Development. Ms. Sears is extremely knowledgeable about the unique communication challenges facing Federal agencies, and she tailors her trainings to reflect Agency-specific culture and mission to help participants learn new concepts (or reinforce old ones) using content with which they are most comfortable.
Dr. Louis I. (Lou) Middleman, Senior Associate, is the author of In Short: A Concise Guide to Good Writing, published by St. Martin’s Press in 1981. The book has been used at more than 100 colleges and universities across the country, including Berkeley, Stanford, the University of Michigan, Harvard University, and Harvard Medical School.
Lou believes that wasting someone’s time, especially through poor writing and presenting, should be a felony – because it’s like killing part of the reader’s or listener’s life. Lou’s whole career has focused on helping people learn how to write more simply and effectively, first as a college and university professor specializing in “freshman comp,” then as a writing consultant to federal agency staff at all levels.
Lou took his degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University (B.S., Mathematics and English,) and the University of Pittsburgh (M.A. and Ph.D., English. After teaching language and literature at Carnegie-Mellon, Harrisburg Area Community College, and Virginia Tech, Lou began working on Department of Energy (DOE) radioactive and hazardous waste issues. There he helped the agency attack their own hazardous waste in the form of reams of bureaucratic gobbledygook. Lou went on to increasingly responsible positions, concluding as Senior Corporate Analyst, with the Waste Policy Institute, a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with Virginia Tech and devoted primarily to improving the daily work processes at DOE, the most important of these being written and oral communication.
Lou has also conducted numerous workshops for the Securities and Exchange Commission and other federal and private-sector clients in technical writing and speaking, strategic planning, and team building. In 2009, Lou joined Dewberry, a large Architecture & Engineering firm based in Fairfax, Virginia, as Senior Editor, where he is now also Senior Strategist. In addition to his work at Dewberry, Lou is now a Senior Associate at the Whelan Group.