SpotLight on Mark Downey

Mark Downey

Mark Downey

Registered Rodenburg Teacher, Vocal Coach & Presence Expert - Speech & Presence

Lisbon - Dublin
For Mark contact details, please email

Mark Downey

1. Describe your business in two paragraphs.  
Hello there IPBN members! My name is Mark Downey and I am the owner of Speech and Presence, a communication training and coaching company based in Ireland and now operating in Portugal. I help develop and support business leaders to lead with authority and humanity, to connect with empathy and authenticity, to communicate with confidence and clarity and to influence and inspire when it matters most, both internally and externally. We also help founders uncover, structure and pitch the story of their business to the world. 

Speech and Presence design and deliver bespoke programmes for one -one and group training and coaching, both in person and remotely. Our work covers all aspects of in-person, on-camera and remote live communication from content creation to delivery. We currently have a client base that stretches from the UAE to the North America. Among the companies whose leaders have benefited from our work are Google, Samsung, EDF, Siemens, CPL Resources, Coca Cola, NBCUniversal, EUIPO, EPO, PwC, KPMG, AIB and many others.

2. What are your company's Unique Selling Points (USPs) in Portugal or in Ireland or in both markets if present in both? 
As the first (and currently only) Registered Rodenburg Teacher (RRT) in Europe who has been certified by the world -renowned voice and presence expert Patsy Rodenburg OBE, along with deep knowledge of body language obtained from full time studies under Jacques Lecoq, Speech and Presence offers a unique value proposition in the growing field of speech, presence, voice and leadership communication training in both Ireland and Portugal.  

Global experience in the field of storytelling and speech creation ranges from researching speeches for a prominent U.S. Senator to 20 years professional experience in the storytelling industries of theatre, film and TV across Europe and North America. These experiences combined with years of working with business leaders who need to influence both local and international audiences have forged a broad world view of what we all have in common and what makes each story unique.

Speech and Presence’s work solves problems for companies far beyond the obvious benefits of effective communication to include the development of more resilient leaders and engaged teams to enhancing wellbeing and mental health in the workplace, challenges that businesses worldwide face in the fast paced, ‘always-on’ workplace of today. 

3. What achievement/success story(ies) are you most proud of?
Whenever there is transformation in a client or a company that leads to positive change in their behaviour, interactions with others and ultimately in life, individually or culturally, I feel very honoured and proud to be any part of that story. I consider myself incredibly lucky to witness this regularly.

4. What are your business current challenges and in the 2/3 years to come?
Speech and Presence creates most of its business by referral. Developing a new market in Portugal will take time and we in it for the long run! 
We are very excited to move with the times and bring Speech and Presence work online make it accessible to everyone. We are currently researching and developing ways of doing this and are very interested in speaking with experts in the fields of VR, blended and e-learning.

5. What do you think makes Portugal and/or Ireland an attractive destination to conduct your business? 
Ireland is a great global hub for business and Portugal is moving in that direction. The Start Up scene in Portugal is very dynamic and we are looking forward to meeting the innovators, movers and shakers from that community.

6. What sectors do you think will thrive in Portugal and Ireland in the coming years and why?
The Tech sector is booming in Ireland across all industries and fast emerging in Portugal. Intellectual capital and intangible assets are at the core of the Irish model of sustainability driven by the tech sector and Portugal is following that trend.

7. What is the best business advice you have ever received?
Be generous in your ambition, if you do high quality work others find you, when you have power you have the responsibility to use it and use it well. The moment you speak you have power.

8. How do you think the IPBN can help you achieve your objectives and what do you expect from your IPBN membership
Networking with the other members to learn from their experiences, share my own and build working relationships.

9. Favourite destinations in Portugal and why?
As a new arrival with family in tow, Estrela Park, Lisbon. A great place to spend my evenings with my two-year-old and wife meeting other new arrivals and native Lisboeta.

10. Favourite destinations in Ireland and why?
The West Coast of Ireland and its islands, the Hill of Tara and the Boyne Valley: all places of mysterious and breath taking beauty infused with mystery through  ancient stories.