The Own The Room Story

From a pickup truck to a global brand

Rooted in humble beginnings and a passion for public service, Bill and Maria Hoogterp launched Own The Room to help leaders around the world realize their full potential. Since launching, Own The Room has grown exponentially, training nearly 250,000 people, counting 46 Coaches and 8 global offices, and partnering with some of the greatest companies on the planet.

truck

1983

Bill Hoogterp, still in his 20s, crisscrossed the country motivating college students to pursue community service. Bill traveled in a red Mazda B2000 pickup long-bed truck that he appropriately named Nomad; the covered cab had enough room for a twin mattress, a rack for clothes, and a basketball.

Despite sometimes doing multiple presentations a day, Bill realized he was not a good presenter, so he started teaching himself and trying new things. Bill improved quickly and started getting paid to speak, which he donated back to groups he was helping.

newspaper

1992

After helping to launch a few national volunteer programs, Bill received a grant to explore community organizing in Newark, NJ. There, he created a leadership program for youth and neighborhood leaders, including a segment on communication and public speaking — the first iteration of our trademarked methodology. Instead of having them read leadership books, they each had to present a chapter from the book to the class in a creative way.

professional development trainers

1993

Bill and Maria met after she tried signing him up as a volunteer for his own program. It worked. Together, they developed a program helping underprivileged Newark teenagers build leadership and communication skills.

2003

Seeing an opportunity to grow the program, Bill and Maria booked as many free demos as they could. Little by little, the methodology improved and corporate customers began to take notice. German-based Siemens signed on as the first major customer.

2012

Drawing on our roots in public service, we launched our #GivesBack initiative. To date, we’ve offered no-cost trainings to hundreds of nonprofits around the world. That same year, we officially trademarked our communication workshop methodology.

Bill Book Sales Coach

2014

Bill partnered with McGraw Hill to release Your Perfect Presentation, bringing our methodology to readers worldwide.

2020

Own The Room goes virtual and mobile! We introduced over 45 virtual sessions and launched our proprietary mobile application, LifeHikes®!

2021

Own The Room remains as the trusted communications training provider for LifeHikes®. LifeHikes® brings new offerings and new opportunities that are guided by a philosophy of lifelong learning.

We Take Lifelong Learning Seriously

Own The Room® powered by LifeHikes®, is a training company like no other. We bring a uniquely experiential approach to learning and development; using our highly interactive and innovative methodology, our expert Coaches keep participants so energized and entertained that you may not even realize you’re at a training. Whether you are training virtually or in-person, you’ll be armed with real-life knowledge and skills you can apply immediately.

Since founding in 2011, we’ve partnered with more than 200 companies in 46 countries and 7 languages, empowering learning and development in individuals and teams with the breakthrough skills they need to drive progress, increase efficiency, and improve collaboration — all while boosting the bottom line. 

After years of working with top leaders around the world, we‘re inspired to do more — more coaching, more skill development, more refinement of what already makes you great. As of 2021, Own The Room is now part of our new company, LifeHikes®. 

LifeHikes® goes beyond communication, designed with your advancement in mind.  We’ve built a learning ecosystem that combines training programs, providers, technology, measurement, community, and certification for the most important skills for business and life. 

the difference is clear
Hard Measures For Soft Skills

We believe in teaching for how people learn today: quickly, and by doing. Through our trademarked, experiential methodology, you’ll see actionable results in minutes, not months. We also believe in achieving consistency without turning our Coaches into robots. That’s why they know our methodology like the back of their hands: they’re highly skilled at teaching our key concepts while infusing their own style and swagger. 

Our sessions are live, instructor-led experiences. You’ll always be answering a question, discussing with a partner, practicing individually or with a group, or giving and receiving feedback.

No need to bring your own safety net. We create a fun and fast-paced environment that eases you outside of your comfort zone. Time will fly by, and suddenly you’ll realize you’ve already completed 2-3 exercises successfully.

Part professional development, part ‘pep in your step.’ You’ll walk away with personal growth, increased self-confidence, and new leadership skills that you can apply immediately.

Our mobile application, LifeHikes®, seamlessly integrates with our instructor-led training so you can gain quantitative metrics that track your progress.

We go back and forth from silly and serious. Silly is the fastest way to get you laughing and open so your brain can accept new techniques. While everything we do is fun and engaging, it has a clear and practical purpose tied to the content.