Educational Connection

National & International Speakers

Educational Connection has a variety of speakers and entertainers to provide your organization with a fun and inspirational program. Only top quality speakers have been selected to work with our bureau. Whether you are planning programs for a small retreat or a large convention, we can arrange an outstanding professional to make your event a success! Just let us know the topic, date and size of audience. The cost will be determined by the speaker you choose and the details your program requires. We look forward to working with you!

Watch a video of Mark Michelman, MD & Leslie Gibson, RN
speak about the Healing Power of Humor

Mark S. Michelman, MD, MBA

Mark S. Michelman, MD, MBA, received his MD from Boston University School of Medicine, and completed his internship, medical residency and hematology fellowship at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Dr. Michelman is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Quality Assurance and Utilization Review. He is a member of FMA, AMA, the National Association of Managed Care Physicians, the American College of Managed Care, the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Internal Medicine, the American College of Physician Executives, AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association), FHIMA (Florida Health Information Management Association), GHIMA (Gulf Coast Health Information Management Association), the American Case Management Association, and the Florida Chapter of the American Case Management Association. Dr. Michelman has been practicing in Clearwater, Florida since 1974, and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, where he teaches on a part-time basis. He is Clinical Director at FMQAI and served on the Board of Directors from 1996 - 2001. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Michelman is Physician Quality Advisor, Medical Director of Quality Management, Medical Director of Utilization Management, and Physician Coding Advisor all at the Morton Plant Mease Health Care System.

Dr. Michelman also serves as the Clinical Advisor with the hospital’s Comedy Connection program. He has provided lectures on “Rx For Laughter” for CME programs in the US and Puerto Rico. His presentations explore the physiological and psychological benefits from humor as well as information on the current research in the area of humor and health.

Barry Bittman, MD

Barry Bittman, MD is a neurologist, author, international speaker, award-winning producer/director and inventor. As CEO and Medical Director of the Mind-Body Wellness Center, a comprehensive, interdisciplinary outpatient medical facility in Meadville, PA., Dr. Bittman has pioneered a new paradigm for treating the “whole person.” Based upon extensive research, he developed "Insights for Living Beyond Cancer" with Bernie Siegel, MD, a program that integrates the power of mind, body and spirit with conventional medical care. Dr. Bittman has also created similar programs for individuals facing the challenges of asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease and diabetes.

His medical perspectives, emphasizing a mind-body approach have been presented in his book, "Reprogramming Pain," written to help individuals transform pain and suffering into health and success. His latest book, "Maze of Life," co-authored with Anthony DeFail, is a soul-searching parable about restoring hope, meaning and purpose amidst life’s challenges.

Dr. Bittman's "whole person" approach has been featured in numerous leading publications throughout the world, including USA Today, Business Week, Time, Prevention, Discover, O (Oprah Magazine), the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Scientific American, Men's Fitness, Health magazine, Spirituality & Health, New Age Journal, Self Magazine and numerous other leading publications.

In 1995 Dr. Bittman began TouchStar Productions, a company dedicated to providing evidence-based resources to help individuals harness their inner healing potential as a complementary approach to traditional healthcare. With an emphasis on Psychoneuroimmunology, the medical discipline that studies the interaction between emotions, nervous system, endocrine system and immune system function, TouchStar’s initial releases (available through select distributors in the US and Canada) feature multimedia journeys through nature with introductions by world-renowned authors. SmithKline Beecham, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies, is distributing TouchStar’s self-help program entitled Affirmations For Getting Well Again, to cancer specialists throughout the nation.

Dr. Bittman's latest research, was a study demonstrating for the first time, that playing a musical instrument reverses multiple elements of the human stress response on the genomic level (Medical Science Monitor Feb. 2005). His team included researchers from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and Applied Biosystems, the developer of the original technology that led to the successful mapping of the human genome announced in June, 2000. Stress-reduction was far greater for individuals participating in their first group keyboard lesson (Yamaha's Clavinova Connection) than for subjects who simply relaxed and read newspapers and magazines. In addition, the researchers introduced the concept of individualized genomic stress induction signatures, which uniquely demonstrate biological diversity in action.

David Glickman

Select David as your Primary Laugh Provider for your next Awards Banquet, Medical Meeting, Management Retreat or any large convention setting! He specializes in Clean, Clever Comedy for any audience!

David Glickman has been a full-time professional comedian for eighteen years. He has performed over 2,000 comedy shows.

Before becoming a comedian, he earned a communications degree from the University of Florida. He worked for nearly a decade as a Manager of Public Relations and Marketing. In 1985, he switched from the "world of business" to "show business."

David was featured in "Rolling Stone" magazine and scores of other publications. He was the opening act for stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Ray Romano, Barbara Mandrell, Carol Channing, and many more. Steve Martin personally selected him from over 100 comics for an appearance on a CBS comedy program.

In 1992, David began focusing on shows for the corporate world. He began to get more national attention. He was selected the winner of the Entenmann’s National "Funniest Person In America" Contest from over 500 contestants. He was featured on "Evening At The Improv" and several other national television shows. He performed for Gloria Estefan’s birthday party. His ability to customize humorous material specifically to the client increased the demand for his services.

In 1995, David moved from Miami to Tampa. His list of corporate clients continues to grow as fast as the positive word-of-mouth and industry "buzz" that follows each of his performances. He is an active member of the National Speakers Association and is a past President of the National Speakers Association -- Central Florida. He is very popular international speaker!

John Timpanelli

John started his career at the young age of four in his hometown of New Port Richey Florida. By the time he was 17, he was entertaining in Las Vegas, and performing on cruise ships, at hotels, condos and dinner theaters. John has tremendous talent as both a singer and impressionist. He has appeared with many stars such as Red Skelton, Rosmary Clooney, Carol Channing, Lou Rawls, Shirley Jones, Lucie Arnaz and Pat Cooper, to just name a few. You may have seen John on television or heard him on the radio. He is currently developing his own dinner theater and performs on the nightclub circuit. Last summer, he took his children on tour with him as he performed across the Eastern Coast of the USA. Be prepared to laugh, sing and enjoy the incredible talent of John Timpanelli.

Leslie Gibson RN

Leslie Gibson RN, BS graduated from Purdue University School of Nursing and also holds a degree in Healthcare Administration. She is a pioneer in the field of humor therapy after receiving one of the first national grants to put humor into hospitals from Dr. Joel Goodman at The Humor Project. Leslie is the Founder of The Morton Plant Mease Comedy Connection service. The Comedy Carts & Caring Clowns provide free humor stimulation to over 10,000 patients each year! Leslie is an internationally recognized speaker specializing in stress management, customer service & end of life issues. Her workshops have been provided in England, Norway, Sweden, Brazil, and in nearly all 50 US states. In addition to her consulting, Leslie works full time with The Hospice of The Florida Suncoast as a Community Liaison. Leslie also writes a monthly column for Vital Signs Magazine & is frequently published in healthcare journals. Leslie also serves on the Board of Directors with The Applied Association of Therapeutic Humor (AATH).

She has been interviewed on radio & television shows including The Phil Donahue Show and American Health Network. If Laughter is the best medicine, Leslie will certainly find a way to fill your prescription!

The Smile Team

Leslie Gibson, Karen Dahmer and Joye Swisher can work together to provide a lively interactive Fun-Shop or individually for your organization in a lecture format. They specialize on how to Lighten Up with Laughter! If you have a lot of stress in your life, their lectures will help you learn the medical & emotional benefits from laughter. All of these funny ladies work in the healthcare and bring first hand experience regarding how laughter improves your health. Each of these speakers are approved to provide continuing education for nurses & other healthcare professional groups. The Smile Team will bring smiles to all of your participants!

Carol A. O'Flaherty, RN, TRW

Carol O'Flaherty is a registered nurse, laughter yoga practitioner, and a nationally recognized humorist who speaks about the power of humor and laughter - - - sharing her invaluable and hilarious life experiences and observations.

Her unique brand of therapeutic humor has been featured by the A&E Network, PBS, CNN, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and numerous other newspapers and professional journals.

With three decades of nursing experience, Carol has left a trail of laughter and learning throughout the country entertaining and educating audiences in healthcare, government, education and industry with the flair and enthusiasm that has become her trademark. Vowing to always mix work with fun her programs appropriately blend the serious with the hilarious so as to etch a lasting impression in the minds of captivated audience members. By creating a laughter-filled environment via demonstrations and participation, her message never fails to hit home.

A sampling of Carol's clients includes Aetna, Bank of Boston, International Paper, Digital, Harvard, Hasbro, Searle, Raytheon, as well as hospitals, religious communities, associations, and service organizations.

Bobbe W. Lyon

Bobbe Lyon, MD (mirth dispenser) believes humor is very malleable and can be adapted to any situation. Bobbe became a widow at age 45 after spending her married life as a stay at home mom to her five Lyon cubs. Returning to college as one of the oldest co-eds on campus, she realized that her "sense" of the humorous became her primary tool for survival. It worked so well the Laughing Lyon earned a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in Counseling. Soon she decided to take her humorous ideas public. She is a former board member of the Association for Applied & Therapeutic Humor and enjoys National Speaker status. Clients include AT&T, Westinghouse, Allstate Insurance, Clemson University, Webster University and the University of Central Florida. Bobbe has brought respite via humor to Hospice, Florida Hospital and numerous church groups.

Joye Swisher

Joye "Ting" Swisher

Joye Swisher started her involvement with Suncoast Hospice as a volunteer and has been a Volunteer Coordinator for a home based team for twelve years. She has coordinated The Smile Team, caring clowns of hospice, for eight years. Joye completed The Hospice of the Fl. Suncoast National Train the Trainer program in 1997.

Joye was a fashion designer with her own line of clothing for twenty-five years, creating stage costumes, tropical wear, weddings, lingerie & swimsuits. Coordinating fashion shows biannually, she had eleven models in her employ. Joining a Tae Kwon Do School in 1989, Joye earned her Black Belt in 1993. For five years she assisted Grand Master Dr. Jung Hwan Park in opening a new school in Palm Harbor as well as running his schools by teaching classes, selling martial art programs, scheduling classes and events, coordinating and judging Tae Kwon Do tournaments. Competing at state, national & international levels, she enjoyed competition and earned many medals. Joye was the Florida State Female Black Belt Champion in 1995.

Joye attended Clown College at The Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, graduating with the first class on August 20, 2000. She became the coordinator of The Smile Team responsible for holding monthly support meetings which contain continuing education, coordinating events, scheduling clown performances, responding to the media, speaking at community events as well as Florida State Hospice & Palliative Arts Conference, teaching caring clown class, and generally having the time of her life as a Giggle Therapist. Joye is an active member of the Palliative Arts Committee at Suncoast Hospice as co-chair for Therapeutic Humor and Energy Works. She teaches the Suncoast Hospice Patient and Family Support volunteer training, Lighten Up With Laughter, , Reiki, Journaling and Aromatherapy.

As a consultant with Educational Connection, Joye has presented at The World Clown Convention in Denver and worked with Dr. Joel Goodman at The Humor Project in New York. Joye is the Director of the Comedy Connection Caring Clown College. Her courses can be provided weekly, on weekends or as fabulous entertaining special event! If you invite Joye or Ting to your organization, be prepared to have lots of FUN!

If you are an experienced speaker who is interested in working with our Speaker’s Bureau, please - CLICK HERE -follow the instructions provided and we will be glad to review your application package.

Only top-quality spakers have been selected to work with Educational Connections. For more information call (727) 937-4746 or email

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