At Work: Inc’s serene studio space

Ten years of working on your own is quite an accomplishment. Ruth Milligan is celebrating that milestone this year. She had been working on her own as a communications professional and  in the last two years, has channeled those skills into is centered around helping others develop their public speaking, speech writing, presentation and storytelling skills. Milligan and her full-time employee Allyson Kuentz work out of a small studio above Milligan’s garage at her Clintonville home. The space was built in 1925 by an architect who also used it as his workspace. After that, it was used by an engineer.

Milligan started her career with an agency doing public relations and speech writing for political figures. It was when she attended a TEDx event that she decided to focus on public speaking services.

“I found my love of oratorical art from my father who was forever taking me to meetings and lectures while growing up,” says Milligan.

She finds it really empowering to help others present.

“It’s fun to push someone who loves what they do,” she says.

Allyson Kuentz began as an intern and now works full-time with Ruth Milligan.
Curtains made with fabric from Sew to Speak.
Detail view of the dentil molding on the built-in shelves. It is also carried through in the home's interior.


Colorful FLOR tiles form a rug on the cork flooring.

TED is a non-profit organization that centers on ideas worth spreading. It started as a four-day conference 25 years ago in California where people would speak for 18 minutes. TED has hosted leaders and thinkers such as Bill Gates, Al Gore, and Jane Goodall. The x in TEDx means the event is independently organized.

The TEDx sign was made out of wood by The Columbus Idea Foundry.

Milligan was so impressed with TEDx that she became the license holder for TEDxColumbus. She and Nancy Kramer of Resource Interactive co-curated a TEDx event here in 2009. Now, Milligan and Kuentz spend about 20 percent of their time working on TEDx and TEDx related events. is involved with the training and coaching for TEDx presenters and other individuals. It also works with larger companies. Currently, Milligan is developing a TEDx method for companies to use internally as a coaching and learning tool to tell stories.

The studio space.

Another new project involves using the TED approach with young children at school to help them be comfortable with public speaking. Many people have a fear of speaking in public. Learning about it at a young age makes it less of a daunting experience and more of a positive one.

Many of her clients come to her studio space for their coaching sessions. They are almost always held in the morning, when a client is most focused and has not become distracted by day-to-day responsibilities.

The studio is a little over 300 square feet and has nine windows that overlook the old-growth trees. The cork floors, high ceiling, and serene paint job add to the retreat-like feel. She likes that it is close to her home, which allows her to also accommodate the schedules of her young children.

Milligan has found a niche in advising creative directors and people with similar jobs, and has started to branch her services across the country. She would like to keep finding people who love what they do to help. It’s very rewarding work.

“To be really good at this one thing and that’s what people think of us for…that’s a good goal,” she says.

When asked what advice she would offer to other small business owners, she says, “Just focus on what you do well and don’t worry about competing.”

Good advice to take. If you are passionate about what you are doing and are doing it well, success will follow.

For more information about, visit

Like TEDxColumbus on Facebook. There is a TEDx event coming up at The Ohio State University on March 31. For more information, visit their website at

Do you know of, have, or work in a creative workspace and would like to be featured in this series? If so, contact Anne Evans.