The Give Voice Mission is to train people to communicate with confidence, magnetism, honesty and individuality. Drawing from a diverse background as a clinician, linguist, singer and actress, Sandy is known to cut to the core of a communication challenge with sensitivity, humour and precision. A marriage of theatre and singing, clinical voice expertise, and languages (French and German) gives her a rich perspective on communication training, as well as a deep understanding of diverse cultures and personalities. Give Voice focuses on transgender/gender non-conforming voice and communication training, accent modification, and training public speakers and business professionals. Sandy is well-versed in and comfortable with a wide variety of arts and business contexts.
“There’s no such thing as good or bad communication. Either you communicate or you don’t.”
–Selwyn Hawtin, City Lit Institute, London
About Sandy Hirsch
Sandy Hirsch, MS CCC/SLP is a licensed and board certified speech-language pathologist with over 25 years of experience as a clinician, trainer and educator. She received her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology in 1989 from the University of Washington, and holds a B.A. in French and Classics (1981) with a minor focus in music from the University of Lancaster in England. Sandy is a Certified Member of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), the Speech-Language-Hearing Association (WSLHA), The Voice Foundation, The Northwest Voice Foundation , The Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health and The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). She is a certified Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) clinician, as well as a trained Lessac-Madsen Resonant Voice Therapy (LMRVT) clinician and Compton P-ESL accent modification trainer.
Sandy has over 25 years of experience working with transgender and gender non-conforming people. She has made this a focus of her practice and is internationally considered an expert in the field. Sandy is a strong advocate for the transgender and gender non-conforming community, and an active member of the Seattle area Ingersoll Gender Center consult group. She has worked with many hundreds of transgender and gender non-conforming people to help them find and develop a voice congruent with their gender identity and individual communication goals. She is co-author and editor of Adler, R; Hirsch, S; and Mordaunt, M (eds) (2012; 2006)Voice and Communication Therapy for the Transgender/Transsexual Client: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide. Plural Publishing, San Diego, CA.
Sandy has been a presenter and educator at The Esprit Gala in Port Angeles, WA since 2000. She has presented frequently at the American Speech and Hearing Association annual convention. Sandy has also been an invited speaker/presenter at the International Transgender Conference in London, the University of Washington and Western Washington University, and the Gender Odyssey Conference. Collaborating with two specialist colleagues, she has developed and teaches two-three day training workshops for voice clinicians and educators committed to providing voice and communication services to transgender and gender non-conforming people. These workshops include a webinar component in order to reach participants globally.
While Sandy’s practice focuses on gender diverse voice and communication areas, she also works regularly with public speakers, trains people preparing for interviews and job promotion, as well as with people who speak English as a second language.
In addition to private practice, Sandy’s career encompasses over 25 years of experience in inpatient and outpatient hospital and clinic settings, home health and hospice, nursing homes and schools.
Publications, Media and Journalism and Resources
Upcoming online transgender resources: ASHA online chat on assessment and therapy/training with transgender people Dec 6, 2017 3-5 pm PST .
NATS live chat on working with transgender singers: December 10 6:30-7:30 PST. https://www.nats.org/chats_schedule.html
Combining Voice, Speech Science and Art Approaches to Resonant Challenges in Transgender Voice and Communication Training Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, October 2017, Vol. 2 (SIG 10), 74-82. doi:10.1044/persp2.SIG10.74
Seattle Voice Coach Helps Transgender People Sound Like Themselves
KNKX’s Gabriel Spitzer and Warren Langford, June 4, 2016.
.Voice and Communication Therapy for the Transgender/Transsexual Client: A Comprehensive Clinical Guide.
Adler, R; Hirsch, S; Mordaunt, M. (eds. 2012, 2006) Plural Publishing, San Diego, CA
We Don’t Have an Accent in the Northwest – or do We?
KPLU’s I Wonder Why?, December 1, 2011.
The Sex Change Capital of the World
The Learning Channel, November, 2003.
The New Figures of Speech
Puget Sound Business Journal, March, 1996
Without The Right Equipment Your Message Won’t Sing
Puget Sound Chapter, ASTD October 1995
Starting a new job is daunting enough, but having to hit the ground running in a new role which required me to say grace every lunchtime was inevitably going to be a challenge. Sandy Hirsch showed me how to really explore the meaning of the words, how to find my authentic voice and how to project to a large group of people, some of whom have hearing issues. Thank you, Sandy!! Ann Kenrick, Master of The Charterhouse. London, UK
I had the rare opportunity to observe Sandy Hirsch at work. That Sandy is an expert in her field and a respected author, goes without saying, but she is truly a therapist of “infinite variety”. What really impressed me was how she personalized the path of learning for each of her clients. She’s excellent at problem solving. If one approach doesn’t hold the key, she has ten other strategies. She’s body smart and holistic. Sandy wants each of her clients to find the voice that expresses who they are. She’s patient and encouraging. She also has a great sense of humor and a generous heart. I cannot recommend her highly enough. ––Christine Adaire, Head of Voice, ACT, San Francisco, CA.
Sandy worked with me on voice feminization, and in six months I went from a soft but decidedly male voice to a feminine pitch that I can sustain for hours without straining. In the words of my friend’s seven year old: “I’m not used to Meghan using that voice, but I like it. It’s really good!”
Sandy teaches everything from pitch, resonance and intonation up through nonverbal communication. She even helped me design strategies to break through the mental roadblocks I hit along the way. And she did it all with a sense of humor and empathy that got me through some very hard weeks. Sandy’s great… I’m glad I had the chance to work with her. MVW
Sandy helped me transform my voice completely. I came in with a totally male-sounding voice, and she helped me develop and maintain a voice that both sounds feminine and sounds like me. Today people are shocked to learn that my voice was every deep and masculine. I can’t recommend Sandy’s training more highly. N.W.
My work with Sandy was always challenging and sometimes frustrating, but the end result was infinitely worthwhile. With her patience and sympathy, she helped me develop a new feminine voice that reflects who I am rather than who I used to be. I’m more confident in and comfortable with my gender, and that confidence has helped all aspects of my life.B.F.
I came to Sandy knowing that the sound of my voice brought me great unhappiness but I could not say for sure what I was looking for beyond gaining better control over my voice. Not only did Sandy teach me the skills I needed to better control the pitch and tone of my voice but she helped me find a voice that is comfortable; a voice sounds like me.
If you are looking for help finding your voice, I cannot give a higher recommendation than Sandy Hirsch. S.A.
Sandy helped me to discover and address issues that were making it difficult for me to communicate clearly in the way that I wanted, and within a couple of months I saw (heard) noticeable improvement. K.H.
Sandy was responsible for a key element of my transition, and she accomplished it superbly. Speaking as a woman is much more than pitch. Sandy coached me professionally and firmly, but sympathetically until it all now comes naturally. And not only did she coach my speaking voice, she helped me adapt my mannerisms and demeanor as well. I am greatly indebted to her. E.C.
I have been to many speaker training courses but Sandy is truly a cut above. I was blown away by the small communication details that Sandy was able to reveal that can make or break a meeting or a presentation. Gregory Gicewicz, Group Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation
Sandy balanced constructive criticism with encouragement, pinpointing specific strengths as well as areas that needed work. She taught me how to modify my voice so that it was more pleasant and less strained, and provided valuable insight into how my voice affected my personal and professional interactions. She helped me greatly to prepare and deliver effective presentations to groups large and small. With Sandy’s assistance, I felt confident enough to deliver a lunchtime keynote address, that was very well received. Sandy is warm, inspiring and extremely knowledgeable. I would enthusiastically recommend her to anyone who does public speaking, from novices to more experienced speakers wanting to polish their skills. Amanda Klein, AIDS Housing of Washington
After only a couple of sessions with Sandy my ratings improved tremendously among new audiences and people familiar with my presentations. Whether for professional or personal development, a novice or experienced presenter, I highly recommend the services Sandy offers. M.A., Grant Writer
Give Voice helped me understand and improve areas of my vocal patterns that I never thought possible. I now think about all of the things I’ve learned each time I’m prompted to present. Sandy’s services are invaluable to anyone that needs to rely on their voice for their career – most of us. K.W., First Logic
As a developing speaker, I had no idea how to properly use my voice. Sandy’s care, her expertise, and her experience were immeasurably helpful. A.R.
Sandy is an amazing trainer. She used million ways to modify my accent. I had a hard time to sound out n at the end of words. She put peanut butter on the top of my mouth to let me feel the position of my tongue. I feel much more confident in my daily conversation after training with Sandy. Thank You!!! S.S., Liposonix
Sandy was able to put together a time- and cost-effective program that helped one of our non-native English speaking employees to make substantial gains in clarity of pronunciation. We’re very pleased with the results. J.Q., Liposonix
Sandy has finely tuned ears and eyes that come from her work as an actress and speech-language pathologist. She discerns the details of how women and men reflect through action what is in their hearts and minds. Her weekend workshops are called “Authenticity Workshops” for precisely that reason. J.R.
Sandy Hirsch is not only an outstanding coach, but someone who genuinely cares about her clients. Her knowledge, skill, and compassion have made a very big difference in the quality of my life. B.F.
Sandy’s approach towards teaching “authenticity”, which includes everything from hand and facial movements, to voice and ways of thinking, has made a huge difference in my confidence and ability to live more fully in my chosen gender. Her teaching methods and attention to detail demand a lot of effort from her students, but her warm personality and wonderful sense of humor make sessions pass by far too quickly. I would recommend her without reservation to anyone seeking true authenticity in their chosen gender presentation and voice. B.C.