Select Subject Matter
arts & humanities, biographies, business, computer-training manuals, current events, education/training, English- and foreign-language education, feminism and "women's issues," fiction, government policy, health, history, memoir, mentoring, multilingual and "diversity issues," non-fiction, political advocacy, politics, psychology, reference, science, small business, teacher-training manuals, technology.
articles, audio- and videoscripts, bios, books, educational materials, essays, executive resumes, executive summaries marketing copy, mission/vision statements and other business materials, op-eds, pitches, PowerPoint™ slideshow presentations, taglines, product and service descriptions, remarks, speeches, web copy and content, white papers.
Lydia Zabarsky is a communications consultant who helps clients tell stories that resonate. She has more than two decades of experience as a writer, editor, ghostwriter, speechwriter and researcher, and regularly relies on skills in design for communication and speech coaching.
With a client base that has included several award-winning leaders in their respective fields, she has also worked with dozens of well-known book publishers, brand-name imprints and professionals in multiple industries: C-suite executives, artists, politicians, book authors, company founders, communications teams, architects, scientists and others. That range builds on a background in literature, linguistics, rhetoric, English and several romance languages. It also draws from cross-sector experience spanning four of the five major economic sectors — commerce, academia, nonprofits and government — in five different countries and America's two great speech-making centers: Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Zabarsky has more than 12 years of experience working as a writer, developmental editor (one-on-one author coach) and project manager for commercial and academic publishers, including Harvard Business School, Beacon Press and Little Brown & Co. She has frequently written remarks in honor of city, state and federal officials, including members of the New York State Assembly, congressional representatives, the Lieutenant Governor and the former First Lady of the State of New York. She has also created pitch decks and slideshows for successful presentations aimed at a four-star General and the Mayor of Los Angeles, among others. She frequently writes bios of all kinds, most recently for a Forbes 30 Under 30 2019 nominee. A former op-ed ghostwriter for City and State Magazine, nowadays, she ghostwrites opinion columns for Forbes Magazine.
She also regularly consults on projects large and small in multiple genres, and a vast array of formats, including: articles, audio and video scripts, bios, books, educational materials, essays, executive resumes, executive summaries, marketing copy, mission/vision statements and other business materials, op-eds, opinion pieces, pitches, PowerPoint™ slideshow presentations, sensitive correspondence, taglines, product and service descriptions, remarks, speeches, talking points, web copy and content, white papers.
Select Client and Project Information
Book Publishers — Trained as a developmental editor (one-on-one author coach), Zabarsky has also frequently served as project manager on book projects. Also a trained copyeditor and proofreader, she has significant experience in long-form content published by commercial book publishers and academic presses, such as Houghton Mifflin Company, Ohio University Press, and Little Brown & Co.
Nonprofits/NGOs/IFIs — Her nonprofit digital message development experience has included work for international organizations with missions that span mentoring, workforce development, education and sustainable development. Clients have included Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Seacoast, JVS-Boston (the largest workforce developer in Massachusetts) and the World Bank.
Government Agencies — Hired by the National Institutes of Health to write and edit scientific research in Plain Language, Zabarsky also simultaneously coordinated work for five different Institutes on behalf of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and provided editorial services for the National Institute of Mental Health. Other government work includes creating presentations and materials for the NYC School Construction Authority and the NYC Department of Small Business Services, among other agencies.
Small Business/Policy Advocacy — Zabarsky has several years of experience working with New York's minority- and woman-owned business enterprise (MWBE) community for a government contractor who provided mentor training for NYC's Department of Small Business Services. She also developed advocacy- and policy-related speeches, including keynote addresses, general remarks, welcome remarks, commencements, talking points and panel moderation, delivered before a vast range of audiences.
Arts & Humanities — She has consulted on various arts projects, including fiction, humor and off-Broadway theater, visuals arts for the Forbes 2019 30 Under 30 pick and, at the intersection of art and science, architecture for a Fellow at the American Institute of Architects and an innovative West Coast creative designer for a presentation to the Mayor of Los Angeles.
Feminism/Diversity/Women's Issues — As former Speechwriter and Director of Communications for the 2016 Feminist Press Power Award winner, she developed speeches, op-eds and other materials showcasing issues related to women entrepreneurs, the pay gap and sexism within traditionally male-dominated industries, such as construction.
Politicians + Officials — A "long-term loiterer" on the edge of politics, Zabarsky donated services to the Deval Patrick 2006 Gubernatorial Campaign, Durham Women for Obama 2012 and, most recently, the Friends of Rebecca Seawright on behalf of NYC's 76th Assembly District Assembly Member. Many of her speeches were written in honor of city, state and federal officials, including members of the New York State Assembly, congressional representatives, the Lieutenant Governor and the former First Lady of the State of New York.
U.S. Military — Experience in this sector includes editorial work on a book by the U.S. Naval Academy and the development of a successful slideshow of a lesser-known PTSD treatment presented to a four-star general.
Educational Service Providers — Zabarsky's educational publishing experience includes work with Scholastic Inc., Addison-Wesley Longman, McDougal Littel, McGraw-Hill, Pearson and Prentice/Hall Regents. Her NGO educational work includes leadership communications work with the founder and CEO of the educational programmer Learning InSync, developing program guides aligned with the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals. Other educational work was performed on behalf of University of New Hampshire, Roxbury Community College (Boston), CUNY, Harvard Business School.
Writing ⋅ Editing ⋅ Research ⋅ Design
Speeches, Talking Points, Slideshow Presentations
Research, Fact-Checking, Interviews
Leadership Communications, Collaborative Writing
Writing & Editing
Opinion Writing, Op-Eds, Articles, Blog Posts, Essays, Web
Design for Communication,
Page Design, Type Design
Pitches & Persuasive Copy
Books, Manuscripts, Proposals
Speech & Presentation Delivery Coaching, Manuscript Evaluation
Strategy, Analysis, Communications Planning
Read on for some ways to conceive of your project. Many of them touch on the number of hours a project requires, how much it costs and the way it turns out.
Who is the audience?
Is your text aimed at a boss, a teacher, experts, a lay audience or an ideal reader?
Where did you start?
Do you have any research materials, guidelines, a first draft, some notes, links, books, articles or interviews?
Why this topic or idea?
Good research generates ideas, adds background, identifies competitors and sources facts. Do you have the research you need?
What are your goals?
What are you trying to achieve, and what is your intended effect? Do you have any project role models?
When is it due?
Is it a rush job, or do you have any leeway? Will there be milestones? Have you factored in time to practice or revise?
How many words are there?
250 words/page is industry standard for most communications. 150 words/minute is the average for speeches and presentations.
Lydia has consistently demonstrated an outstanding combination of creativity, commitment, and capability. Her ability to assess our organizational needs, and the subsequent contributions she has made have been instrumental in the organization’s ability to clearly communicate our vision and mission to a diverse audience.
— Lisa Walker, Founder + CEO, Learning Insync
I’ve worked with Lydia, and know her to be a careful, skilled, and talented writer, editor, and overall content creator. She is quick to understand key points as well as the subtleties or differing aspects of a subject, and very capable of delving into the deep and important details of a topic and writing compellingly to explicate its facts and ideas.
— R. Sacco, Writer, Editor and Analyst
Lydia has the ability to see what an organization needs to best present its message.... Lydia helped us to articulate what our goals were and then helped us to get there. She is dedicated to her craft — doing a tremendous amount of research in what similar agencies are doing so that we can have a complete picture of just how to approach the project.
— Alyssa Salmon, Director of Communications + Special Events,
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Seacoast
Lydia's work is beautiful and faithful to her charge. She meets deadlines without complaint or excuse, is unflappable when others would be losing it and is, in every way, easy to work with.
— Dudley Dudley, former Chief-of-Staff,
Office of Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter