We’ve been colleagues at Stanford in the Mastery Initiative that JD founded since 2010. This decade-long partnership has helped us serve hundreds of students in that time. Now we’ve teamed up to write our first book together, Communicate with Mastery. You can explore our individual bios below, but we truly hope you will read and explore the book too. It’s full of resources to help you speak with conviction and write for impact.


JD Schramm

Founded and led the Mastery in Communication Initiative at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, where he’s served as lecturer in Organizational Behavior since 2007. He helped grow the communication offerings at the GSB from none in 2007 to more than 20 sections of elective courses in the 2019. He co-founded the LOWKeynotes program, where students work with a professional communication coach to conceive, prepare, and deliver a nine-minute TED-like talk to a packed audience of their peers.

JD Schramm has spoken at TED and TEDx events and has coached scores of others to do the same. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Huffington Post, and HBR Online. A sought-out speaker and trainer, he’s worked with firms and groups including the Aspen Institute Presidential Fellows for Community College Excellence, Qualtrics, YPO, Facebook, Breakline, Jane Street Financial, GenenTech, Ciena, AQR Capital, Adams Street Partners, and Google. JD is an active member of the LGBTQ community, particularly focused on inclusion efforts within higher education and communities of worship. He’s an advocate for suicide prevention, foster care services, and HIV/AIDS research.

During the 2018–2019 school year he served as the faculty director for Columbia University’s Career Design Lab in San Francisco, an innovative West Coast presence for Columbia. Schramm holds his Ed.D. in higher education leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, his MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business, and his BFA in theater from Emporia State University in Kansas. He and his husband, Rev. Ken Daigle, make their home in San Francisco raising three very active children.


Kara Levy

An executive communication and leadership coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She began her coaching career at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where she was an early member of the Mastery in Communication Initiative and spent nearly a decade in a variety of coaching roles, including the LOWKeynotes and India Innovation Growth programs. Since then, Kara’s coaching and trainings have offered thousands of leaders the tools to speak more confidently off the cuff; to become faster and better writers, more competent storytellers, and more empathetic and efficient problem-solvers; and to develop executive presence that feels authentic to them. Her collaborations in Silicon Valley range from household names like Facebook and Salesforce to unique startups just beginning to craft their company cultures.

Kara holds an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University and lives in San Francisco with her daughter.