Speechling's Founding Story

One day while relaxing in Guatapé, Colombia, a bet was made to become fluent French in 90 days. During it all, we learned that there weren't good language websites focused on speaking.

So we sought out to be the best website for helping language learners speak.

Meet the Team

Hongyu Chen

President and CEO

hongyu@speechling.com

Hongyu Chen

Hey! Great to meet you. I'm a language learner myself.

For the past fifteen years, I've been studying Spanish, Chinese and English and have reached near-native (C2) levels in all three.

I originally learned Spanish by starting an intercambio, or language exchange, with my best friend in high school. Since then, I've started wildly popular language exchanges at my alma mater, Dartmouth college, and my former employer, Google. I'm a voracious consumer of everything language learning: podcasts, books, software, meetups, and more.

Before Speechling, I founded a website for helping people become doctors, which was bought by one of the largest healthcare education research groups in the United States. And before that, I was honing my language, engineering and app development skills at Dartmouth College.

Steffanie Schilling

Director of Growth/Brand Management

steffanie@speechling.com

Steffanie Schilling

Make Speechling grow.

A lifelong learner and a lover of languages, being part of the Speechling team is an exciting new venture for me. Born in Germany and raised in the States, I grew up speaking English and German. In 2017, I found myself perpetually ensconced by the Montreal faction of the swing-dancing community, and decided it was time to add French to that list.

A month into that frustrating endeavor, I stalked unannounced into my mother’s house and wailed, “Mom! I have no words, no sounds, no syntax, no phrases, no rhythm, no melody! It is like I am wandering around a library, but all the books are blank!” To which my polyglot mother placidly observed, “Oh, it’s almost like you’re learning a foreign language, or something.” You can see why I might turn to online groups like Speechling for sympathy and encouragement.

As I continue to throw myself into French, I am excited to contribute to Speechling and to help the community grow.

Maria Inês Teixeira

Community Manager

maria@speechling.com

Maria Inês Teixeira

Make Speechling's Community Grow.

Born and raised in Portugal, I have always been encouraged by my family to learn new languages. My childhood was beautified with constant stimulation in Portuguese, English and Spanish - watching Disney movies in their original version with my sister, singing along to the latest pop hits in Spanish with my cousins, watching my mom plan her English classes...you name it!

Today, I have lived in three different countries, speak more than five languages and certainly hope to discover many more. No language or dialect is useless or uninteresting to me, and that is why I continue to study diverse languages like Spanish, German, Arabic, Turkish, Hindi and French. Additionally, I have dabbled in Mandarin Chinese, Catalan, Paraguayan Guarani, Cape Verdean Creole, Estonian, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian just for fun!

This fascination with speech, linguistics, the history of modern languages and polyglotism is precisely what got me interested in working for Speechling. I want everybody to feel the same sense of accomplishment, fun, curiosity and fulfillment that I get when I learn a new idiom, a tricky word or a useful verb tense. I believe there is something very beautiful about going out of one's way to understand and be understood by as many human beings as possible!

Dario Aharpour

Strategy Advisor

dario@speechling.com

Dario Aharpour

Connect the world.

Growing up in Southern California in a household of different countries and cultures, I was exposed to different languages left and right. I developed a passion for language which I took to Dartmouth College, where I studied neuroscience and worked as a teaching assistant and tutor in the French language department.

I learned to love the composition of language, from the origins of French loan words in Farsi to how to crack the French liaison. When I’m not applying this near-obsession of language to Speechling, I’m most likely trying to successfully order Szechuan food in Mandarin.

Devon Koch

Designer

devon@speechling.com

Devon Koch

Speak languages better.

When I'm not making Speechling, I'm known to consume copious amounts of Al Pastor tacos from taquerias in the Mission district of San Francisco.


Content Team

We make all the content happen for Speechling, from blog posts, to curriculum writing, to making sure everything is just perfect.

Alex

Alex

Daniel

Daniel

Heather

Heather

Gustavo

Gustavo

Mica

Mica

Mingtang

Mingtang

Robert

Robert

Vladamir

Vladamir

Jasmin

Jasmin

And more.

From vocal talent to coaches, advisors to beta testers, the list goes on. It is the wonderful team of people that made Speechling happen.