Let’s be clear: we think accents are great. They reflect the multicultural society that we embrace. But when an accent is hard to understand, it can limit professional and social success. And when it affects self-confidence and self-esteem, then it’s probably time for a change.
Desh Pillay and Marie-Claude Biancardi started Change Your Accent in 2015. We believe no one should be held back by an accent — not when there is a highly effective and systematic way to help. As Speech Therapists, we are equally passionate about empowering people from diverse backgrounds, and share the same philosophy on accent reduction and speech therapy — keep it simple and make it work in real life. With over 20 years of experience in the field of accent reduction, we both hold Master’s degrees, and are registered College members and Clinical Instructors at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. We have used our successful and culturally sensitive accent reduction method in industries such as Healthcare, Hospitality and Tech, as well as with IT specialists, medical professionals, engineers, public speakers, actors, and university students. As a result, we helped our clients open social, educational and professional doors which had previously been closed.
It all began in 2011 when we decided we wanted to pass along our successful accent reduction approach to anyone who wished to feel more confident speaking English as a second language. With this in mind, we wrote “Change Your Accent: English Pronunciation for Success,” a guide to our successful accent reduction method. Over four years in the making, our challenge was clear from the start: How to take the complicated process of changing an accent and make it simple, systematic, step-by-step and accessible to anyone?
And of course we wanted more — a book that would not only be practical, but also inspirational. The end result? An easy-to-follow and effective method that features personal stories of past clients. We hope the stories will motivate readers, as well as provide critical exercises to change accents in everyday English conversations.
After writing our book, we went on to develop over 50 instructional videos to ensure clients had an opportunity to see, hear, and copy English speech. Videos help clients to say sounds, practice everyday phrases, copy high frequency English words, use contractions and stress, improve voice, and focus on clear speech techniques. Our video library offers easy-to-follow instructions and features straightforward models who are Speech Therapists and use a standard North American accent.
Our Website and Online Programs
In 2015 we launched Change Your Accent, a website with highly-effective online English speaking programs for individuals and businesses. Our programs focus on everyday English conversations so that clients can incorporate our accent reduction techniques into real life situations. Since we started Change Your Accent, we’ve met — and helped — people from all over the world.
Marie-Claude is a Speech Therapist with over 20 years of clinical experience in accent reduction. She graduated with a Master of Science degree from the University of British Columbia (UBC) School of Audiology and Speech Sciences in Vancouver, Canada and is a clinical instructor in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. Marie-Claude established adult speech pathology services for the Ministry of Health in the State of Kuwait in 1998. She has presented nationally and internationally on topics related to augmentative communication and co-created the educational video “Sharing Communication”. Marie-Claude has also worked on several TV series and movies including “ A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes : The Annette Funicello Story”. She has used her speech therapy skills to help individuals modify their accents since 1988.
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