Magnet Genius Machine is the corporate training and workshop division of the Magnet Theater & Magnet Training Center, an improvisation, sketch comedy, and storytelling school.

get in touch

Our Approach

We emphasize active listening

To think fast, you have to slow down and listen – to your client, to your gut, and to each other. Improv is ‘listening training.’

``Yes, and...``

All of our workshops harness the power of ‘Yes, and…’ This mutual agreement is the basic principle of all good improvisation. We say “Yes” to each other’s ideas, and then build directly off that idea with “and…”

What’s with the Genius thing?

Make your partner (colleague, co-worker) look like a genius, and they will start doing and saying things that are, well, genius. When we begin with an attitude of support, creatively flourishes.

our offerings

Applied Improv

By applying improvisational theater techniques and processes to non-theatrical settings, non-actors gain access to a fully developed yet flexible approach to working with each other, building on each other’s ideas, and having a great time while doing it.

Team Building

Our Team Building workshops are designed around the premise that a great team is one in which everyone both listens and is listened to, and develops an instinct to make each other look good.

Applied Storytelling

Stories are tools we use to make sense of the world. Stories have a profound impact on us because they engage different parts of our brains at the same time, generating a web of new emotional and logical connections in our mind. We use stories to educate, persuade, convey our values and bring us together. Crafting a good story and telling it well are skills that can be learned and practiced.

Creative Ideation

We use improvisation to help groups generate ideas. Innovating takes teamwork, focus, energy and risk. Our ideation facilitator packs all of those elements into a high-performance session, using a process designed to remove the obstacles that prevent great ideas from getting through, and tricks us into building on an idea before we have a chance to give up on it. Sessions work well when designed around a specific goal or set of business problems.

Instructors / Facilitators


Rick Andrews

Instructor / Facilitator

Rick Andrews is an instructor and performer at The Magnet Theater, and has been studying, performing, and teaching improvisation since 1999. He began improvising with Improv Boston.


Ed Herbstman

Instructor / Facilitator

Ed Herbstman began teaching improv to organizations with SC Communications in Chicago while he was a member of the Second City National Touring Company.


Melanie Hoopes

Instructor / Facilitator

Melanie Hoopes is the Executive Storytelling Coach for The Rutgers Executive Leadership Program for Women and holds a Master’s Degree from NYU’s Gallatin School Of Individualized Study with a concentration in Education, Performance and Nutrition.


Elana Fishbein

Instructor / Facilitator

Elana Fishbein is a performer, instructor, and Director of the Youth Program at the Magnet Theater. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Theater from NYU.


Nick Kanellis

Instructor / Facilitator

Nick Kanellis is an instructor, performer, and coach at the Magnet Theater. He was born and raised in Iowa, and began his theater and improv training at Northwestern University.


Jocelyn Chia

Director of Corporate Events

Jocelyn is a former corporate attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, and represented clients such as Goldman Sachs, Citibank, General Electric and American Capital Strategies.


Megan Gray

Instructor / Facilitator

Megan is a writer, performer, teacher and native New Yorker. She has been studying improvisation for over a decade and performed with Second City aboard the NCL Gem.


Louis Kornfeld

Instructor / Facilitator

Louis Kornfeld is a teacher and long-time ensemble member at the Magnet Theater.


Peter McNerney

Instructor / Facilitator

Peter McNerney is head of the Conservatory Program at the Magnet Theater.


Adam Wade

Instructor / Facilitator

Adam has been performing in New York City for the past ten years. He’s an 21-time StorySLAM Champion at The Moth, and a 2-time GrandSLAM Champion.


Hannah Chase

Instructor / Facilitator

Hannah Chase is a teacher and performer of improvisation, as well as a career counselor.

Genius Machine in the News

Thank you, Howard Stern

We conducted a full day training with the entire staff of The Howard Stern Show! What an amazing day. And Howard said on his show: “They did such a wonderful job, the team learned a lot apparently, except Scott, one of the engineers… It’s really a very bonding kind of thing and it was a […]

Magnet Genius Machine In The New York Times!

Big thanks to The Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz for bringing in Magnet Genius Machine to facilitate workshops on Improv and Storytelling at their annual retreat.  Facilitators Ed Herbstman and Melanie Hoopes had an amazing 4 days with you and your wonderful colleagues, and are particularly happy to see your latest New York Times Blog […]

Magnet Genius Machine at Twitter

We had a wonderful two days of Improv at the New York Twitter offices this week. Check out this article on how former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo used Improv to help him become a better leader:

Our own Jocelyn Chia on CNBC!

Here’s something fun all about the collision of professionals and comedy.  In this case, the comedy is stand-up and the professional is our Director of Corporate Events, Jocelyn Chia! Here interviews Jocelyn on what it’s like to be an experienced attorney doing comedy, and winning the funniest lawyer comedy competition. Check it out here:

We’re Here

It’s easy to start the conversation and see how we can meet your needs.

Fill out the form or reach out to us at:

    Contact Us