• IMPROV YOUR TEAM

  • Who We Are

    Our mission is to make your leaders and team work and collaborate better using improv.

     

    Improv4 is a consulting agency that helps entrepreneurs, business leaders, and teams, using applied improv comedy methodologies. We use improv and comedy techniques to train individuals, entrepreneurs, teams, and companies important business and life skills, including communication, trust, confidence, resilience, problem-solving, public speaking, storytelling, thinking on your feet, falling with grace during fun and energizing training.

     

    Our work has been featured in Forbes, and we have led workshops for the smallest of startups, some of the top startup accelerators in the world, Fortune 500 companies, and top universities.

     

    Mary Lemmer

    Creator & Improviser

    Mary Lemmer is an entrepreneur, recovering venture capitalist, philanthropist, writer and improv comedian. She started her first company, Iorio Gelato, at age 14, did early stage VC, was a Director at a Silicon Valley unicorn, wrote Straight From the Investor's Mouth: 111 Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs, and started doing improv comedy to help her as an entrepreneurial leader with loads of anxiety. She created the Improv4 methodology using improv comedy to teach effectiveness and leadership skills and runs trainings for entrepreneurs and small startups to Fortune 500 companies and universities, including the TED, University of Michigan, Fordham University, Square, Patreon, TechStars, CBSi, R/GA, Silicon Valley Bank, 500 Startups, among others.

     

    Mary is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has studied improv comedy at The Second City and The Annoyance in Chicago, Upright Citizen’s Brigade in NYC, EndGames Improv and Bay Area Theatre Sports in San Francisco. She is the creator and host of Startup Late Night, a late night comedy show featuring business leader guests, and has performed improv and comedy all over the country, including at Gilda Radner’s Laughfest, The Punch Line in San Francisco, and the Lady Laughs Comedy Festival.

    When she’s not helping a startup, improvising, or selling gelato, she’s illustrating food puns and sharing them on Instagram @ProducePuns.
     

    Read more about Mary and her improv story here.

     

  • Debra Schifrin

    Improviser

    Debra Schifrin has been designing and leading improv-based corporate training sessions for businesses and universities for over 10 years. Currently, at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, she teaches an improv-based management course in the MBA curriculum. She also designs and writes academic curriculum material for the overall MBA program. In her early career, she was a reporter, producer and director for National Public Radio in Washington D.C. She performs improv theater in San Francisco, including in musical and science-fiction genres (usually not at the same time), and she has trained in Chicago, Washington DC, and San Francisco. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and bachelor’s degree from U.C. Berkeley.

     

    Read more about Debra here.

    Erica Marx

    Improviser

    Erica Marx is an improviser and leadership and team effectiveness coach who has over 15 years of experience working with businesses, organizations, and university students. She is the founder of Ithaca Improv, where she regularly teaches improv classes and runs communication skills trainings for organizations in Ithaca, NY. She is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation (ICF), a NYS certified conflict mediator and a certified practitioner through the International Applied Improvisation Network. She is on the leadership team for the Northeast Regional group of the Applied Improvisation Network and has presented at their conference for the past five years. She facilitates applied improvisational trainings with Improv 4, a corporate improv training company specializing in cultivating leadership, communication and team effectiveness skills for companies.

     

    She completed her B.S. at Cornell University and has a Master's in Interdisciplinary Ecology from the University of Florida.

     

  • Open Trainings

    Here are some of our open enrollment trainings.

    Don't see something happening in your city? Contact us to find out when we're coming to a city near you!

    6-week Leadership Development Class

    This multi-week training helps people improve important leadership development skills in a way that provides a safe space, outside of the typical work environment, to experiment and take risks, practice new skills and the bravery that is needed to grow and change. This course is ideal for individuals who want to develop their leadership skills, learn and practice improv, or want to learn improv comedy tools and methodologies they can use to develop leaders in their teams, companies, and lives.

     

    The class runs for 6 weeks, starting May 1, and will take place weekly from 6:30-9:00 pm in the Flatiron District in NYC.

     

    Click here for more details and to register.

    featured at the Positive Business Conference

    What kind of workplace will you choose to create? Thriving employees are likely to be more committed and satisfied with their jobs, perform at a higher level, become sick less often, give back more to their communities, and get more fulfillment from personal relationships. Discover how to improve well-being and performance using improv to build a thriving workplace. We’ll do improv games and exercises to learn how to apply improv comedy techniques to creating psychologically safe workplaces, empowering our team members, and enhancing employee well-being.

     

    The session runs on both days of the conference, May 9 at 2:00 - 3:15 pm and May 10 10:30 - 11:45 am.

     

    Click here for more details and to register.

    Laughing for Leadership - Strengthening Leadership Skills with Improv Comedy

    featured at the Agile 2019 conference

    This session is targeted at managers and leaders inside the company who want to develop their own leadership skills, as well as walk away with the tools and methodologies to develop leaders in their teams and companies. Attendees will leave this session with improved leadership skills, including, but not limited to the ability to make decisions with limited information, communication skills, emotional intelligence and empathy, knowledge about how to apply improvisational principles to their leadership practice, ideas for how to develop and inspire leaders, with fun and laughter, confidence in their leadership abilities, & a huge smile on their face!

     

    The session runs Wednesday, August 7, 10:45am - 12:00pm.

     

    Click here for more details and to register.

    Improv Your Coaching! Using Comedy to Connect, Adapt, and Respond to Any Situation.

    featured at the Agile 2019 conference

    Great coaches are great improvisers. It’s the in the moment experiences that define and separate impactful coaching from the lackluster. Amazing coaches and improvisers both need to empathize with, actively listen to, connect and collaborate with the people to be successful. Improvisers and Coaches both operate within the context of uncertainty. During this session, we’ll discuss and use improv comedy exercises to practice handling coaching situations. It will be interactive, fun, funny, and a safe and creative space to practice some of the most challenging aspects of our jobs as coaches.

     

    The session runs Monday, August 5, 2:00pm - 3:15pm

    Co-Presented with Lean Product & Agile Coach, Jason Hall

     

    Click here for more details and to register.

  • Our Trainings

    Every workshop is unique and customized to your team.

    Kickoff/Group Sessions

    Energizing & engaging, these sessions focus on building foundational improv leadership knowledge in impactful & interactive training. Great for kicking off team trainings, offsites, conferences, or other group events.

    Multi-Session Class

    Designed to cover leadership principles, building and improving core leadership, communication, and team effectiveness skills, these trainings are 3-hour weekly (or monthly) sessions focus on applying improv to developing important leadership, communication, and team effectiveness skills. Great for an employee perk, team building, and leadership training.

    Flash Improv Jam!

    A quick jam to help people sharpen leadership skills, improve communication, build trust, become a better listener, problem-solver, inspire confidence, and more, all while having a blast and laughing a lot! Great for happy hours or an energizing Friday lunch session at the office.

    Custom Trainings

    We can design custom trainings for your needs. In the past, we've done improv 4 all sorts of organizations and situations. Contact us and we can put together a training just for you.

  • Core Skills

    Our trainings focus on developing these skills:

    Leadership

    Decision Making

    Emotional Intelligence

    Handling Uncertainty

    Creativity, Empathy

    Communication

    Active Listening

    Storytelling

    Difficult Conversations

    Team Effectiveness

    Collaboration

    Team Building

    Quick Thinking

  • Our Clients

    We have done improv trainings for individuals, the smallest of startups, some of the top accelerators in the world, Fortune 500 companies, and top universities

  • Improv 4 ENTREPRENEURS at 500 Startups

    We led an improv session for companies invested in by

    500 Startups, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator.

    Improv 4 ENTREPRENEURS at the University of Michigan

    With hundreds of University of Michigan students we led an Improv 4 Entrepreneurs session with the Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Engineering. This session was one of the most popular sessions all semester!

    Improv 4 ENTREPRENEURS at Fordham University

    We led an improv session for entrepreneurs in the Fordham Foundry program.

    Improv 4 TEAM BUILDING at Silicon Valley Bank

    We led an improv session for a team at SVB, creating a space for self expression and team bonding.

  • Testimonials

    People love us.

    Your workshop was honestly one of the best things I ever did for myself while living in San Francisco

    - Rebecca Chaika, Product Designer, SoulCycle

    Mary ran an amazing Improv session for our whole company as part of an offsite, engineers, sales and support and the team loved it.

    Whilst being hilariously funny, it also forced us to operate outside our comfort zones, and get us to know each other's personalities far better. We operate a distributed team across four countries, so this was a great way to bring everyone closer, make us think on our feet and have a bit of fun!

    — Simon Turner, President & Co-Founder of Myagi

    Want to finesse your pitch and present with clarity and confidence? Then take Mary’s I4E. Grounded in the art of improv, I4E ensures participants stretch and pivot their pitches, seize opportunities to present with confidence, while all the while, having fun.

    — Kelly Hoey, Author of Build Your Dream Network, podcast guest host & speaker, Co-Founder of the Women In Mobile Accelerator

    For the second year in a row, Mary's Improv4 Workshop was a huge success at our accelerator program. Our founders and interns alike loved the captivating session. We laughed, fell down, and grew more comfortable with each other and public speaking. I would recommend her workshop for startups, corporations and everyone in between. It facilitates team cohesive in a way that really works while also providing hours full of laughter.

    — Alison Todak, Managing Director of Cahoots and former Director at Desai Accelerator at the University of Michigan

    Mary Lemmer's improv workshop is the ideal environment to learn how to communicate more effectively. Imagine becoming a better communicator and learning the nuances of what it takes to be a better communicator in a fun and entertaining environment. If you want to become a top-notch communicator, you have to take this workshop.

    — Arun Dawit, Co-Founder of Urban Logiq (Batch 20 at 500 Startups)

    Mary has successfully translated Improv Theater to a business context … it’s fun, it’s funny, it’s compelling and everyone she teaches comes away as a better, more confident, more focused presenter.

    — Rich Sheridan, Founder & CEO, Menlo Innovations, and Author of Joy, Inc

    Improv4 was an absolute blast! I came in not sure exactly what to expect, and left her fantastic workshop with personalized feedback and a better pitch for my company. Anyone would benefit from an Improv4 workshop: founders, startup employees, corporate professionals. I'd join another class facilitated by Mary in a heartbeat!

    — Leslie Zaikis, Marketing and Strategy Consultant

    Read more testimonials and recommendations online here.

  • Contact Us

    Contact us to book a workshop or simply say "hi".

    Just say yes, and...

  • Check out some of the improv workshops we've done...