Rochel founded her NYC-based company in 2011. Her team of 6 instructors works with professionals in industries including finance, health care, consulting, legal services, and dramatic arts.
The team at AccentsOff provides private and small-group training in foreign and regional accent reduction, voice enhancement, workplace oral communication skills, and (for the actors) preparation for auditions and roles. The instructors have backgrounds and education in fields such as speech-language pathology, writing, presentation training, acting, and the musical arts.
Clients at AccentsOff come away feeling more clear, confident, and self-aware when speaking - more critical than ever with the challenges of online communication and ever-increasing job competition.
New York City is a great marketplace for offering services in accent modification and speech coaching. And now, in this time of virtual learning, our volume of international clients has increased threefold. Given the challenges that come with our new lives online, teaching our clients best-practice “on camera” communication skills is key to helping them maintain a professional edge.
- Rochel deOliveira
Q: What would you like to see your team accomplish in 2020?
Continue streamlining our operations, upgrading our technology, learning how to scale the business, and, of course, improving client service with all the new demands of virtual executive presence.
Q: Who is your role model or hero?
Have to say... Roger Federer. :) He's an amalgam of a great soul, a great master, and a great brand. Roger just floats above it all. When faced with a problem, he is quick to pivot and readjust his game, which is what I’ve learned to do as a business owner. I adore his sense of humor and am constantly amazed by his equanimity during matches.
Q: What is your favorite book?
Recent favorites...Fiction: "All the Light We Cannot See". Non-fiction: "The Happiness Equation".
Q: Do you use any specific method or system to run daily operations?
We have recently developed a very sophisticated Google spreadsheet that functions as a hub for automated tracking of our client sessions, instructor pay, and banking details. It all revolves around the calendar and CMS we use, developed by a company called Keep&Share. They're out on the West Coast and have great products and terrific support staff. I'm thrilled to finally have a system that requires minimal data entry, and allows us to put our energy into new, exciting projects.
Q: Why did you choose your present industry at this time?
My parents are German immigrants, so accents and languages have always intrigued me. I had devoted the first half of my life to music and was working as a full-time classical pianist and teacher. But I'm a little restless! So I wanted to explore another area that was related to music, but where I would be challenged to explore new skills - and combine the two careers. Speech-Language Pathology seemed like a good fit, with its multiple niches including voice and accent. I've also had an entrepreneurial bent since the age of 10, when my neighbor and I opened a weed-whacking business!
Q: What is the best/worst moment you can remember in your career?
Best moment: when I was first hired by my accent mentor Sam Chwat: the feeling of excitement knowing a new universe of knowledge and career possibilities lay ahead. Worst moment: when I had to lay off my first staff member (fortunately, a rare occasion!)
Q: Looking back - if you could advise a younger version of yourself to do something different - what would it be?
Hire a good business advisor from the get-go. Get mentors. Get a great lawyer, accountant, and technology partner.