Meet Lauri


My passion is helping people to express themselves fully – both vocally, and creatively. I’ve spent my lifetime as a leader finding valuable tools in theatre, coaching and yoga that can help anyone unleash their voice. I share these gems with change-makers (speakers, leaders and teachers) as they do their part to help change the world.

I want you to know
Your Voice Matters. You Are Enough. And … There’s MORE!

What? Those things don’t go together?

Here’s what I mean….

You Are Your Instrument

We are our instruments – body, heart, mind, voice and soul. We’re born able to express ourselves fully and completely. As babies, even before we can speak, our bodies are working their best.

Throughout our lives, we’re taught to hold ourselves back: “Don’t be too loud. Children should be seen and not heard. Suppress. Fit in. Don’t be emotional. Don’t be too much.”

Those messages take a toll on us. They shut us down. They plant soul sucking thoughts in our mind, constantly telling us that we’re not enough. We also develop physical habits that trap our voices and make us numb.

We can’t be “fine” and charismatic at the same time.

Deep down, at our core, we are all enough. And, in order to fully express that enough-ness, we have to recapture the potential that we had at birth. Retraining our instruments – ourselves – Body, Mind, Soul.

There is a path back to the full expression that we were all born with. We can recapture the freedom that we had as children as we combine that with our sense of purpose as adults. We can be vibrant, radiant and alive when we communicate.


My Journey

Despite knowing at a very young age that I was meant to lead, I had a love/hate relationship with being seen. 

I’m a Highly Sensitive Person and an Introvert. As a teacher, speaker and actor, I experienced some moments when everything flowed effortlessly. I surrendered to the present moment, found my voice and inspired others. Other times, I felt like I couldn’t find my voice.  Like a porcelain doll, I couldn’t think or move.  Or, when I did speak, I felt trapped inside of a deranged manikin wanting to express myself (while being forced to watch the manikin function in the world as a pale imitation of my true self.)

One of the worst parts during this time was that I didn’t understand what happened to create these two vastly different experiences of using my voice in the world.  So, in my early thirties, I embarked on a quest to find out how to speak authentically and powerfully when it mattered most.

Now, through my work at Voice Matters and as a theatre instructor, I’m sharing the answers that I found that work for me and thousands of others I’ve worked with.


About Lauri

Lauri Smith, a Leadership Presence expert, is the author of Your Voice Matters: A Guide to Speaking Soulfully When It Counts. Lauri helps change-makers stand in their power and speak their truth – from the bedroom, to the Boardroom to the TED Talks Stage.

Drawing on her 30 years of experience as a professional speaker, actor, director, educator and coach, she developed The Vocal Presence Path™ to help people live their most authentic, creative and powerful lives. Lauri’s passion is evoking people’s innate, unique charisma, so they can make their mark in the world.

With a master’s degree in theatre, she earned certification as an Associate Instructor of Fitzmaurice Voicework® and co-founded Front Line Theatre Company. A certified professional Co-Active coach (CPCC) through the prestigious Coaches Training Institute, she is also a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leader Program and certified as a professional certified coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation.

“Lauri truly acknowledges the person in front of her and, because of this, she is unusually sensitive and perceptive.
She will see you even when you do not.”

– Ara Glenn-Johanson, Actor and Educator, Toronto ON

As CEO of Voice Matters she has coached clients individually and in groups around the world. Known as “The Voice Whisperer,” Lauri has been coaching for over 20 years. While initially focused on actors, she eventually integrated co-active coaching and transitioned to working with professionals and speakers. From California to Dubai, Lauri has worked with thousands of individuals and corporate teams to connect to their deeper purpose and empower innovation. For the past seven, since developing her own method, she’s coached emerging leaders at a range of levels across organizations including senior executives. She has worked with eBay, Paypal, Electronic Arts, Genentech, and more. Lauri evokes the full creative expression of each and every client she works with – enabling them to speak from their authentically compelling selves when it matters most. She helps Leaders do more than communicate, she helps them move people.

Voice Matters

If you were standing in a desert and you heard the sound of a toy drum in the distance to your left and a real drum in the distance to your right, which one would you be called to follow?

Most of us are walking around as the toy drum equivalent of our full-fledged drum-sound selves. We’ve spent a lifetime training our voices to do the opposite of what they are meant to do. We have trained our voices to suppress our emotions – and therefore our life force and our soul’s expression – and then attempt to communicate, expecting the words to do all of the work. This has turned us into the toy drum version of ourselves as leaders.

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper.
It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning.”

– Maya Angelou

At Voice Matters our mission is to expand the range, resonance and impact of emerging leaders’ voices.  We believe this is vital because it supports the evolution of human consciousness. Our programs offer an integrated approach to speaking for current and emerging leaders. We teach you the “how” and “being” of speaking at the most profound level. And we show you the way to embody your words so that they resonate deeply and broadly – allowing you to truly affect people, move them to action and create change.

We desperately need more leaders who are present and connected with themselves and those around them.

Your voice matters … and it’s time to unleash the drumbeat of your soul so that those who need you can hear your call and together we can create transformational change in the world.

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Rock Foot Steps

The Vocal Presence Path™

Get the Tools You Need to Speak From Your Soul’s Voice Anytime, Anywhere

The Vocal Presence Path is our unique method – a holistic body-mind-soul approach to speaking for current and emerging leaders. We use The Vocal Presence Path in all of our offerings to expand the range, resonance and impact of emerging leaders’ voices. The Vocal Presence Path is a powerful practice, not a quick fix. You will learn techniques and methods that will immediately help you become grounded and confident – even in the most nerve-wracking situations. And, as with any practice, the more time you spend, the more you benefit.



The Vocal Presence Path …

Begins with Building a Strong Foundation

Most speaking & presentation work uses an “outside-in” approach – focusing on what the person says and wears, how they move and when they raise and lower their pitch. Using a construction metaphor, this is analogous to decorating the upstairs bathroom before building the foundation of the home. The Vocal Presence Path follows an “inside-out,” from the ground up path: connecting people with their “Why” and the impact that they want to have with their voice. We teach clients to fill any room in any situation as their most authentic, compelling, confident self. With The Vocal Presence Path, we might end with decorating the upstairs bathroom, if that is still necessary – saving you time and money overall.

Addresses How “Real People” Embody their Words

In the film industry the screenwriters create the content (what is said) and the actors embody that content physically, energetically and emotionally. When it comes to Leadership and Speaking, because one person often performs both functions, most training overlooks the embodiment or execution and emphasizes content only. The Vocal Presence Path focuses on how people show up.

Includes, But is not Limited To, Work on Speeches

The Vocal Presence Path helps people to find their voice in “on the spot” moments by working through and beyond the bodies’ flight or fight response. This helps people in all situations in which they have previously held back out of a lack of confidence or intimidation – from 1:1 meetings with their boss to heightened group meetings to speeches in front of crowds.

Combines Individual and Group Work (as opposed to one or the other)

We believe the combination of focused one-on-one attention with the empowering experience of small group work creates exponential learning.

Involves Working with People in the Moment

We stop and start, actively coaching clients while they’re in the process of speaking. This is often where the greatest improvement takes place because mentally understanding the concepts and being able to execute them are two different things.

Covers Emotional, Physical and Energetic Aspects of Speaking Powerfully

Walking the Vocal Presence Path rewires our neurological programming and undoes habitual patterns in the body, bringing back choice and enabling us to connect deeply and communicate passionately and effectively in any situation.

Incorporates Breathing and Presence Techniques from Proven, Age-Old Theatrical Voice Training

We help clients release habitual tensions in the body, enhance resonance and vocal expressivity, and deepen the connection between body, breath and impulse.


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