Our Team

anne-5Anne Ricketts – Founder & Principal 

Anne Ricketts founded Lighthouse Communications in 2013 after seeing the need at many Bay Area companies with a heavy international workforce for English as a second language and communication skills training. Anne has taught workshops at many of the top tech companies in the world. She was asked to be a speaker at Facebook Tech Women’s Day, and has coached executives for big keynote speeches at conferences such as TED and SXSW. Anne is also a communication coach for the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Anne grew up in the Bay Area, and attended the University of California at Davis where she majored in Italian.  Indulging her passion for world travel, Anne spent several years studying and teaching English in Florence. In 2004, Ricketts moved back to San Francisco and earned a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Upon graduation, she received a position as an English teacher at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where she taught English to students from all over the world. Outside of the classroom, Anne helped Academy of Art build its first cross country and track teams while she served as the distance coach.


profile_2Christine Haas –  Slide Expert & Presentation Skills Facilitator

Christine has traveled around the world teaching courses to scientists and engineers on technical writing, storytelling, and presentation skills. With a special focus on developing slides that have targeted messaging and effective visuals, Christine bans the use of bullet-points to help her clients deliver focused content with confident delivery. She has taught clients across industry, government, and higher education, including The North Face, Texas Instruments, Sandia National Laboratory, European Southern Observatory (Chile), Simula Research Laboratory (Norway), and The Pennsylvania State University. Christine founded Christine Haas Consulting, LLC in July 2012.


She received her MBA in marketing and international business from Drexel University, and her BA in English and Film from Dickinson College. Christine’s job has led to some amazing experiences, including tobogganing down the Great Wall of China, attending the launch of the final U.S. space shuttle mission, and meeting Bill Nye the Science Guy.


Burt Alper – Communication Coach

Burt has dedicated his entire career to making exceptional communication a competitive advantage. He helps clients articulate their ideas more effectively through improved content development, storytelling, and presentation techniques.

Burt serves as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as a presentation coach for Stanford’s highly-regarded LOWKeynotes program.

Burt earned his BA in Psycholinguistics from Swarthmore College and his MBA from Harvard Business School.  He likes to visit ancient ruins and sample wines from around the world (not so keen on ancient wines or local ruins).


Kara Levy –  Communication Coach

Kara Levy has been a communication coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business since 2010, and works with Bay area tech leaders, entrepreneurs, and academics to connect with audiences and maximize personal leadership presence. Kara also has extensive experience in the writing world: a fiction writer with an MFA from Columbia University, she has taught writing at multiple universities and mentored best-selling writers of business, memoir, academia, and fiction in crafting their narratives. She is a loyal devotee of the New York bagel.


portrait-best-crop-05_2016Gitta Sivander –  Body Communication Expert & Presentation Coach

Gitta is highly trained and experienced in non-verbal communication for presentations and leadership. Having taught her dynamic expression techniques in 7 countries to hundreds of top professionals, global speakers and executive leaders, Gitta is regarded often as the secret weapon to helping people improve their confidence and their delivery.


Gitta combines her practical and academic background in Physical Therapy, Laban Movement Analysis, NLP, Somatic Movement Therapy, Theatre, Circus Arts and Dance performance to deliver an outstanding training in becoming your best in leadership, presentation and expression skills.

Gitta grew up in Germany with Swedish traditions. Gitta is fluent in German, Swedish, English and French. Yoga has been one of her great passions and she is still teaching Yoga today.


Heidi Fridiksson – English Language Specialist 

Heidi is an English language professional who has worked with students, teachers and curriculum throughout the Bay Area and abroad.

Heidi grew up amongst the vineyards in beautiful West Sonoma County and studied English literature at Whitman College. After completing her undergraduate degree, she followed her passion for language and travel to the field of English language teaching, earning a Masters degree in TESOL from San Francisco State University.


Currently, she works as an Academic Coordinator at the American Language Institute at San Francisco State University training teachers and overseeing curriculum, and does 1:1 ESL coaching and pronunciation refinement for Lighthouse.


Gardner_headshotJessica Gardner – English Language Specialist

Jessica is an English language instructor with teaching experience in the U.S. and abroad. She received a TESL certificate from UC Berkeley Extension, and a Master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from St. Mary’s College of California. She then taught for a year at the University of Macau while experiencing the wonders of Southeast Asia.


Jessica is a Coordinator and Instructor at the Academy of Art University. She has presented many times at regional and state conferences, and is co-author on a research study pending publication in the CATESOL journal. Besides teaching, Jessica worked as a consultant content editor for Apple’s Professional Development Team.



Michael Shehane –   Instructional Designer and Facilitator 

Michael grew up in the Silicon Valley, earned a B.A. at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an M.A. at San Francisco State University, and lived in Germany, Japan, and China, studying each country’s language and culture.


Currently, Michael co-creates a lot of the Lighthouse curriculum and materials. He also works at Academy of Art University where he teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, develops curriculum, and manages instructors. Pioneering instruction in a globalized, technological world, Michael has domestically and abroad led conferences on topics such as diversity, language learning skills, and technology.


In his free time, Michael practices martial arts (finally mastered the tornado kick), yoga, and meditation, enjoys silent movies, graphic novels, and builds Instagram feeds for local non-profits.


Adam Reid photo 1

Adam Reid – Facilitator and Coach

Adam is an English language instructor with a diverse range of experiences in education as well as the corporate world. After completing his undergraduate studies at the University of Washington, Adam worked for several years in the legal field before moving to Central Mexico to teach English at the high school and university levels. In 2011, Adam returned to San Francisco, where he completed his M.A. in English with a concentration in TESOL (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages).


Currently, Adam works at Hult International Business School as a coordinator for the Academic Resource Center, and will be joining the Undergraduate Program as an Assistant Dean in the fall. For Lighthouse, Adam does 1:1 ESL coaching as well as facilitates the Pronunciation Bootcamp. He has previously taught at UC Berkeley Extension’s Intensive Academic English Program, the American Language Institute at San Francisco State, and City College of San Francisco, in both their credit and non-credit programs. Outside of the classroom, Adam is an avid runner, cyclist, and coffee drinker.


MJ Kennedy – Presentation Skills Coach 

Maryjo Kennedy (MJ) brings over 15 years’ experience in facilitation, training, executive coaching, strategic planning and organizational development in both the corporate and Non-profit sectors.


Maryjo is a presentation and communications expert who works throughout the US and abroad and specializes in improving business presentations and strengthening interpersonal communications. She trains high achievers craving honest feedback in order to grow. She sees beyond habits and learned behaviors to focus on what is unique and authentic in the individual or group. She’s a facilitator for several workshops at Facebook. She’s presented at multiple conferences and has competed in Speech Contests through Toastmaster’s and is past President of a local Toastmaster’s Club.