What's in a name?

Academy 404 is founded by brain & behavior expert Dr. Nicole Van Hoeck. Together with her partners she supports individuals and organizations with building the confident leaders, creators and negotiators needed in today's and tomorrow's world.


a place for study or training in a special field


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International & Diverse teams
Negotiation & Communication
Innovation & Creativity
Leadership Development
Well-Being & Self-Regulation


Nicole Van Hoeck, PhD

Founder - Speaker - Coach

For nearly 10 years Dr. Nicole Van Hoeck carried out psychological and neuroscientific research on processes that involve creative thinking, decision making and learning from setbacks. Her work appeared in top-tier journals like Frontiers in Human Neuroscience and NeuroImage. She was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA.  Today, she supports individuals and companies with boosting innovation, negotiation and leadership.

Aside from her professional interests she is also fascinated by the unknown and driven by adventure. You can find her regularly abroad where she enjoys the wilderness, off-roading and sailing.

(Image credit: Kate Miller)

Abigail Paul

Trainer - Consultant

Abigail Paul has an MA in Mass Communications from the University of Leicester and a BFA in Theatre Performance from University of Central Florida. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the non-profit Theatre Language Studio Frankfurt. She has performed and trained all over the world as an actress and improviser, notably at iO Chicago and Second City. An active member of the Applied Improvisation network, she has been a speaker and trainer in Germany and abroad at numerous schools, universities, businesses and non-profit organisations training a variety of students in the transformative techniques of theatre for the purposes of language learning, personal and professional development.

(Image credit: Kate Miller)

René M. Becker

Trainer - Consultant

René Becker has a BA in theatre from Nazareth College of Rochester. She has worked for over 25 years in the theater as an actor, producer and director and for the last 8 years as a trainer to students of all ages, using the tools of theatre and improvisation. René is the Producing Director for Theatre Language Studio Frankfurt , a non-profit school for English language theatre arts, and is currently teaching Drama at The Strothoff School in Dreieich.

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