IMPROV IS FOR EVERYONE
Who We Are
We're on a mission to the make the world a better place through improv.
Improv4 uses improv and comedy techniques to train individuals, entrepreneurs, teams, and companies. Using improvisation and comedy techniques our workshops build all sorts of important business and life skills, specifically communication, trust, confidence, confidence, resilience, problem-solving, public speaking, storytelling, thinking on your feet, falling with grace, all while having fun and laughing in a few energizing hours.
Our work has been featured in Forbes, and we have led workshops for the smallest of startups, some of the top accelerators in the world, Fortune 500 companies, and leaders.
Founder & Improviser
Mary Lemmer is an entrepreneur, improviser, comedian, writer, philanthropist, and amateur chef. Mary has helped dozens of companies, including Plenty, Ozlo (Acquired by Facebook), True Link Financial (YC S13) and Fixed (YC S14, Acquired by Lawgix), and other ventures with growth, marketing, business development, fundraising strategy, and culture. She was an Entrepreneur in Residence at R/GA Ventures, focusing on investments in companies creating innovative experiences and technologies at the intersection of digital and physical commerce. She once was a Director at SoFi, a multibillion-dollar online lender, where she led a marketing team, built out the business development team, and ran SoFi’s entrepreneur program and investments in startups. Prior to SoFi, she worked at RPM Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm, concentrating on investments in online marketplaces, e-commerce, and automotive IT.
Mary graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor's in Business Administration, Minor in Environmental Science, and Certificate in Entrepreneurship from the College of Engineering. She studied improv at The Second City in Chicago, People’s Improv Theatre in NYC, EndGames Improv and Bay Area Theatre Sports in San Francisco, and other workshops through The Groundlings, Vancouver Improv Festival, among others. She 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.
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.
Every workshop is unique and customized to your needs. These are some of our most popular workshops to inspire sessions to meet your goals:
improv 4 ENTREPRENEURS
Successful entrepreneurs embody similar skills as successful improvisers, including effective communication, focus, teamwork, listening, confidence, creativity, & the discipline to undergo the journey to create something for the world. In this workshop, we use improv games & exercises to help entrepreneurs craft their pitch & story, improve public speaking & communication of their ideas, & generally be prepared for the inevitable uncertainty encountered as an entrepreneur.
improv 4 TEAM BUILDING
Improv is a great way to have fun and build camaraderie with our teams. Bring your colleagues or your classmates for a fun session thinking on your feet, improving communication, team bonding, all while having fun and laughing out loud!
improv 4 LEADERSHIP
Whether you're leading a company or leading your local breakfast club, Improv 4 Leadership will help you sharpen your leadership skills. Improve communication, build trust, become a better listener, inspire confidence, develop resilience, strengthen problem-solving and public speaking skills, learn to think on your feet, fail with grace, all while having fun and laughing.
Improv 4 STORYTELLING
An improv workshop to improve storytelling and communication skills, including effective communication, focus, teamwork, listening, confidence, creativity.
Improv 4 LIFE
Enjoy fun improv games and techniques applicable to life. Specifically, improve communication, dealing with uncertainty, building trust, increasing confidence, improve problem-solving, and develop an understanding of body language/non-verbal communication.
Improv 4 SALES
Enjoy fun improv games to help salespeople strengthen skills that drive sales. This session trains salespeople to communicate ideas clearly, be deep listeners, and react quickly, authentically in sales conversations.
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.
We can design a custom workshop for your needs. In the past, we've done improv 4 public speaking, communication, educators, job seekers, product developers, and just for fun! Contact us and we can put together a workshop just for you.
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.
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, Co-Founder, 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, 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
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Attending an Upcoming Jam?
Suggested donations of $15 for each open improv jam go towards sponsoring nonprofits to get improv leadership training and keeps us accountable for showing up. The last Improv for Impact session we did was earlier this year, for formerly incarcerated individuals.