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Meet Deborah Shames of Eloqui in Calabasas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Deborah Shames.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Deborah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
After completing film school, I began my professional career as a producer of public affairs at WTTW-TV, the public television station in Chicago. There I produced programs in the healthcare arena before moving to the Bay Area and launching my own film/television company called Focal Point Productions.

Through Focal Point, I received over 60 awards for programming focused on everything from training emergency medical dispatchers and caring for babies born drug addicted or with AIDS, to patient education videos for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and women’s health issues.

As a consultant, I also coached executives before book tours, trained them for media interviews and counseled them to be seen as leaders in their industry.

I ran Focal Point for 14 years, before moving to Los Angeles. There, with my partner David Booth, we formed Eloqui. This company leverages my professional directing skills and experience to train, coach and deliver keynotes to corporations and non-profits throughout the U.S.

Our clients include Fortune 500 companies like Mattel, TD Ameritrade and Northern Trust, as well as small and mid-sized professional firms of attorneys, CPAs, insurance and financial professionals. Our individual clients include CEOs, entertainment icons and Olympic medalists.

In 2012, David and I completed our book, ‘Own the Room’ which was published by McGraw-Hill and is now in its third printing.

Throughout my career, I have focused on developing the talents of outstanding female professionals. To support these women and advance my mission, I recently completed the book ‘Out Front: How Women Can Become Engaging, Memorable and Fearless Speakers’ which was published by BenBella Books in 2017. Now, I speak all over the country to organizations and corporate divisions who support and acknowledge women.

Eloqui continues to thrive and last year we added six new trainers to accommodate our growing client base.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
If someone tells you they have not encountered struggles along the way, they’re lying…

I remember producing and directing my first national series for public television featuring high school students. Our cast and crew traveled to the Papago reservation in Arizona, Disney’s Epcot Center in Florida, and a segregated high school in Chicago. On our return, I learned that the cameraman took credit for my efforts, diminished my role and did his best to get me fired. It only made me stronger…

When I started the only female-run production company in the Bay Area, I competed against established companies who did their best to crush me and control the market. I survived…

In the early days of Eloqui, we were often hired to put out brush fires. For example, if Amgen had an upcoming product launch, we were brought in at the last minute to coach their speakers. It was a nearly impossible task. This wake-up call inspired us to change our marketing strategy. After that, we focused on programs that built skills over time, motivated participants to attend workshops and created one-on-one coaching that was customized to each participant…

Recently, I was excited about the publication of my book ‘Out Front’, which took nine years to complete. There was never a better time to give women practical tools to speak out and have their voices heard. Unfortunately, the 2016 Presidential election (and the year leading up to it) dominated all media channels, leaving little room for anything else…

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Eloqui story. Tell us more about the business.
Our company is Eloqui, from the Latin “to speak out.” We train, coach, and speak to professional service firms across the U.S.

Eloqui has translated performance techniques from the Entertainment Industry for the business professional. We partner with clients to develop their unique voice and give them the tools to be successful.

What sets us apart is that all of our training teams are male/female duos to create a richer learning experience. We are also field trained, and walk the talk by being keynote speakers ourselves.

What is the most satisfying is that we have devised every module, exercise, and speaking strategy for our clients. We did this by leveraging our experience as directors, performers and corporate spokespersons — making sure we serve our clients’ needs.

I’m also proud of the success our clients achieve by consistently receiving the highest evaluations at a conference, advancing in their firms or being seen as a leader in their industry.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I don’t believe in luck. As a scrappy kid from the south side of Chicago, I’ve made my own luck through perseverance, strategic alliances and an incredible amount of hard work.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Karen Sarfaty-Schreiber, Sara Barrington, Deborah Shames, Amy Commans, Sally Phillips, Rori Ridley, Doug Ridley, Deborah Shames, David Booth and Eden Gillott Bowe

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Julie Ferman

    April 13, 2018 at 17:12

    NICE article. Deborah and David continue to ROCK it !! And every time I’m in front of a room of people, I remember all these two have taught me in class. Most importantly, they helped me discover how to build a company around my own natural strengths in speaking and presenting, which has served to funnel the RIGHT people to me year after year. Cha Ching. 🙂

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