About

We design our speeches and trainings to be engaging, interactive, and inspiring.

But that alone isn’t enough.

Our passion is to deliver relevant and valuable skills–and enable participants to rapidly put them into practice and achieve better results.

We’ve worked with an incredible range of audiences (from CEOs to coal miners), industries (from health care to high tech), and organizations (from Homeland Security to Honda, Google, Mars Snack Food and hundreds of others)–over 100 days a year. (See full client list here.)

We believe that every workplace is driven by its underlying culture. And that there are universal capabilities that individuals and organizations must possess to create and sustain a culture that executes effectively and innovates consistently. These capabilities frame our content offerings (see Trainings and Speeches).


Our Team

candace-aboutCandace Bertotti, MPA, PMP is the founder of Candid Communications and specializes in negotiation, interpersonal communication, influence, crisis communication, and conflict resolution to help individuals, teams, and organizations increase effectiveness and achieve better results.

Candace served in the federal government for seven years at the U.S. Department of Education where she helped negotiate multi-million dollar contracts as well as controversial content decisions among multiple stakeholders and differing political administrations. Candace now helps clients experience wide-spread improvements to productivity, internal and external communications, negotiation and influence, and overall effectiveness.

Candace serves as adjunct faculty at Georgetown Law School teaching Negotiation and is a mediator for the District of Columbia Superior Court for child abuse cases. Previously, Candace served on the faculty at the University of Maryland in the Center for International Development and Conflict Management for five years where she taught Negotiation, Decision-Making, and Crisis Leadership to the federal government.

Candace is a Senior Master Trainer for Vitalsmarts in Crucial Conversations®, Crucial Accountability®, and Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change™

Candace enjoys making people laugh with her improv group Spring Broke, practicing meditation and mindfulness, and bringing fabulous people together to build community.

Candace’s clients include: Google, Penn State University, Internal Revenue Service, Honda, Fish and Wildlife Service, Mars Snack Food, College of William and Mary, Panasonic, Toyota Financial Services, Prudential, Office on Women’s Health, New York City Judges, National Park Service, Food and Drug Administration, Ursuline College, Department of Veterans Affairs, Eli Lilly, National Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Johnson & Johnson, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Iowa Western Community College, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AARP, University of Notre Dame, Reading Hospital, Invesco, Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, SC Johnson, Bucyrus International, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Boise Cascade, Allstate, Loudon County City Government, Dentsply, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Chicago Board of Trade, State Farm, Mass Mutual, Wrigley’s, Turner Broadcasting, and Management Concepts.

Candace holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from The George Washington University; an Education Policy Certificate from The University of Virginia; and a bachelor’s with a concentration in Corporate and Community Education from Indiana University.


jayne-aboutJayne Nucete teaches Crisis Negotiation, Decision-Making, and leads computer-based and face-to-face simulations. Jayne is the Training Manager for the ICONS Project at the University of Maryland.

Ms. Nucete began facilitating interpersonal skills workshops and trainings in 1998. Her clients have included youth-at-risk, college students, survivors of domestic violence, and professionals in the public and private spheres, domestically and internationally. In Malaysia, she facilitated training for rising leaders at a major bank. In Mexico, she facilitated cross-cultural exchanges and sustained professional relationships with villagers in the remote Copper Canyon. Jayne has also extensively negotiated difficult conversations between youth-at-risk and their parents as they attempted to improve their relationships.

Jayne is an adept outdoorswoman who has spent more than 700 days leading wilderness expeditions through challenging terrain and (often more challenging) group dynamics. She worked for Outward Bound, Inc., first as a field instructor and then as a manager. Her facilitation style emphasizes an experiential approach. Ms. Nucete is also trained as a Wilderness First Responder and has experience managing emergency evacuations with limited resources in wilderness contexts.

Jayne earned her MA in International Relations, Conflict Management, and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy, and Washington, DC. She holds a BSW in Social Work and a BA in Spanish from the University of Missouri.


gururaj-aboutGururaj Kumar specializes in teaching negotiation, conflict management, cross-cultural communication, and organizational development. Previously, he was the Training and Policy Program Director for the ICONS Project at the University of Maryland where he delivered leadership development trainings to thousands of public and private sector senior managers and executives, diplomats, and ambassadors in the areas of negotiation, conflict management, and crisis leadership.

As the Director of American University’s Mediation Services, Gururaj provided mediation, conflict management, and third-party facilitation services to all faculty, staff, and students on campus. Prior to working at American University, he was a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, where he provided organizational development, conflict management, and strategic communication expertise to government agencies, including the IRS, Army, and Navy. His professional experience also includes family mediation with the Washington, DC Superior Court and workshop design and facilitation in conflict management, cross-cultural communication, and organizational development. He also teaches as an adjunct professor at American University with the Washington Semester at American University Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution program and the Intercultural Management Institute.

Gururaj holds a BA in History and Psychology from the University of Michigan. He earned his MA in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and a graduate certificate in Organizational Change Management from American University. During his spare time, Gururaj likes to play and watch sports, cook, and spend time with his wife in Chicago, IL.


vitalsmarts-aboutAn innovator in corporate training and organizational performance, VitalSmarts™ is home to multiple training offerings, including Crucial Conversations®, Crucial Accountability®, Influencer Training™, and Change Anything Training™. Each course improves key organizational outcomes by focusing on high-leverage skills and strategies.

VitalSmarts has taught more than 2 million people worldwide. Candace Bertotti is a Senior Master Trainer for Vitalsmarts. www.vitalsmarts.com

All VitalSmarts™ Content Property of VitalSmarts™, L.C Content used by permission.


icons-aboutThe International Communications and Negotiation Simulation Project (ICONS Project) is part of the Center for International Development and Conflict Management in the Government and Politics Department at the University of Maryland. The ICONS Project delivers role-play simulations and leadership trainings to thousands of public and private sector senior managers and executives, diplomats, and ambassadors in the areas of negotiation, conflict management, and crisis leadership.

Your opening keynote was everything we could hope for: thought-provoking, enlightening, entertaining, interesting, informative and inspiring. Wow, you hit them all! You are just the sort of trouble-free, good-natured professional we love to deal with. Thank you.

Jean Barber, NRECA

I’ve taken a number of classes for my business and I can say that Candace is hands down the BEST teacher I have had. She’s a great speaker and lovely person.

Kirby Woodson, Founder, Petite Alma

Thank you for the wonderful session. I definitely learned new tools and have a greater appreciation of the power of communication and negotiation. Wish the day had been longer!”

Alison Kraigsley, AAAS Fellow, National Institutes of Health

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Candace, and highly recommend her.”

J.B., retired Program Director, Office of Personnel Management

Candace’s high energy and enthusiasm for her work is highly infectious.”

J.B., retired Program Director, Office of Personnel Management

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