Brenny Campbell

When art and business collide, it's like the perfect storm. And the ideal person to bring these two worlds to life is the illustrious Brenny Campbell. A veteran actress and executive coach, she is an ever-smiling presence and force of positivity. Her joy in whatever role she plays is infectious.

Tell me about your business or specialty.

As an actor, I audition, send my work out in self-tapes, and hope it comes back in offers and bookings. Many people know that the ratio of audition to bookings can vary greatly, and I’m deeply proud of the work I do in the other part of my life, too. I’m an Instructional Designer/Lead Facilitator/ Executive Coach for two companies, applying improv and social psychology to improving people’s performance at work. Both companies feel like family to me. I work with Kat Koppett based in New York's capital region, who literally wrote one of the first books in using improv in training. She was my first mentor and introduced me years ago to her friends in New York City, called Performance of a Lifetime. With POAL, I’ve gotten to travel all over the country and world. I’ve worked in Switzerland and in Singapore several times, leading programs in leadership, communication and storytelling.

How'd you get to where you are now?

What a great question! At first, I tried hard not to be an actor. I studied to be a teacher and writer, and my master’s degree is in Composition Studies. (In my work, I looked at theories of language and how people come to know.) But again and again, I was called back into acting. I was teaching a program for high achieving high school seniors in Theatre Arts when I got sick with mono. In bed, healing and gathering back my strength, I asked myself, “What’s the one thing you will regret NOT doing at the end of my life?” The answer was, “Being a professional actor.” Miraculously, I had my Actors' Equity card within the year. All my education, my work as an improviser and my acting experience made me a perfect candidate to learn more about business and to design and deliver highly interactive programs to companies as big as Fortune 5. (Honestly, I’d only heard of Fortune 500 or 100, and never considered that of course some were as big as Fortune 5…it’s impressive to me. My participants are extraordinary people. I’m so blessed to know them!)

How has the Covid crisis affected your work or business? Any new ideas or approaches…or lessons learned so far?

POAL and Koppett were leaders in developing our work to be delivered virtually, and we've gotten huge kudos for it. For me, for a while, I felt a little bit like a victim of our success. I delivered a huge number of sessions throughout 2021, getting up at midnight sometimes, to deliver a 2AM program to clients in Asia. Then another to Europe at 8AM, with meetings and revisions of Facilitator Guides due that day... We’ve learned a lot about clarity, modulating cadence of activities, and technology features across different platforms. We added new roles, including “Technical Producer” to our teams. All of this has fed into the work I do to create self-tape auditions. There are a million teachers writing and promoting advice to create self-tapes, and everything changes as we learn. My agents encouraged me early to get creative and make art that we might use to get into new doors. All of it was fun, and most of it was stressful.

What surprises you in your work, now or in the past?

I’m always surprised (and delighted) by how much I come to love the people I work with. (Okay, there are a few I think of only with “cool respect.”) I’m energized by the give-and-take and discovery of a rehearsal room and by a training room. It surprises me what more and what else is possible when humans come together to create.

What drives you crazy?

Dry eyes! All this virtual work has given me headaches, and my doctors assured me I wasn’t having a stroke. My eyes get so dry and strained that an apple sized spot of headache has come to live over my left eyebrow.

Who inspires you? (it can be anybody you know, or don't know)

As an actor: Cloris Leachman.

As a writer: George Saunders

As a trainer: Kat Koppett

As a coach: Sevanne Kassarjian

As a human: My glorious, loving, wise, funny, sexy husband, Dale

As a quiet rebel: Nolan Rabine, my son

You're a trailblazer - what are some highlights in your career to date? Well, I was handcuffed in the back of a meat wagon by all the supervillains on the TV show Gotham! I’ve performed some of my dream roles professionally throughout the country. I’ve got a feature film coming out in 2022 (Kid Happy), and I’m shooting on another now. One of my all-time favorite projects was performing in a microfilm with Nomad Theatrical Channel in New York City, in a piece written by my son, Nolan. See it here! (Language warning, haha...)

I was a story coach with a client in Singapore, and I really didn’t know who he was other than the minimum facts: he was a global leader in a powerful bank, and he was assigned to me. After we connected (and he was moved by our work), I noticed how all his peers related to him. He was extremely influential at the highest levels, had written an important book on cryptocurrency, and wanted to create a relationship with our company, all based on his work with little ole me!

Words of wisdom or thoughts?

My husband and I often say to ourselves, “You’re never sorry you showed up.” It encourages us to overcome inertia, to get out there, to connect. So, advice I give to myself is, “Get out there. Do the thing.”


Brenny Campbell is a professional actor. She’s appeared Off-Broadway and regionally in theater, in venues including SoHo Playhouse, Capital Repertory Theater, Florida Studio Theatre, Arkansas Rep, among many. She LOVES contributing to new American work and counts her time with Tangent Theatre Company’s NEWvember new plays series a highlight. TV/Film: Gotham, William Kennedy’s Prohibition, Kid Happy (2022). As a Trainer and Executive Coach, she’s worked globally with clients in professional services, healthcare, energy and manufacturing, pharma and banking, since 2007.

(published 2022)