Our People

About Beyond Words: Our Story | Mission & Vision | Our People

Richard Cohn, Owner and President of Beyond Words


President & Publisher

Richard Cohn founded Beyond Words Publishing in 1983 and serves as the Publisher & President, overseeing Marketing, Finance, Editorial, and Special Sales. Having worked with many first-time authors and projects like The Secret and Hidden Messages in Water, he has established a reputation for producing inspiring, high-quality books that can help make a difference in the lives of millions of readers. He has helped Beyond Words expand as an information and media company, providing DVD, audio, online live-streaming, and product distribution.

A fifth generation Oregonian, Richard is a graduate of Stanford University and received his masters from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Richard is a motivational and inspirational speaker with a number of movie credits. He has coproduced several films and looks forward to delivering inspirational and spiritual content in innovative ways.

Richard is a treasure hunter, whether looking for the next bestselling book or movie, or finding a gem at an estate sale. He enjoys an active lifestyle with his wife Michele and spending time with his family and nine grandchildren. He has traveled and lived abroad and is fluent in four languages. He is immensely proud of the company that Beyond Words has become and the recent co-publishing agreement with Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, giving the company strong domestic and international distribution, as well as strong foreign rights sales.


Michele Cohn, Creative Director of Beyond Words


Vice President & Acquisitions Editor 

Michele Ashtiani Cohn began her journey at Beyond Words in 2005. Starting out as a part time sales associate, she quickly rose in the ranks and became Marketing Director in 2006. Her first big marketing success was The Secret book published by Beyond Words/Atria.

Michele now oversees adult acquisitions and is constantly looking for material that will help shift the consciousness of the planet. As Creative Director, she also makes sure that daily life at Beyond Words is fun, meaningful, and filled with purpose.

A proud Oregonian, Michele is a graduate of Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. Growing up in the mountains of Southern Oregon has given Michele a sense of wonderment about nature and an appreciation and gratitude for the lives we are given.

Michele works daily with her husband, Richard, with authors and filmmakers, and has coproduced several films. She is especially dedicated to reach and touch billions of lives with Beyond Words’s inspirational spiritual content.

She is very proud to be a mother and grandmother, blessed with thirteen amazing grandchildren. When not working, traveling, or spending precious time with family, Michele can be found pulling weeds and planting organic vegetable and flower gardens at their homes in Oregon and Washington.

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. — Buddha 


People who have helped along the way

Our first president Cynthia Black

Our first partner Robert B. Goodman

Our first printer Charlotte Liske of Dynagraphics



Richard T. Gallen


David & Dorothy Cohn

Robin & Heidi Rickabaugh

Rikki & Bronwyn Cooke

Dr. Masaru Emoto

Judith Curr

Ryan Lawrence

Bob Kabacy

Dr. John Gray

Jeanette Heinz

Charlie Winton & PGW

Harry Aldrich

Michelle Roehm McCann

Paul Owen Lewis

Karolyn Nearing

Larry Mihelich

Rhonda Byrne

Paulette Millichap/ Council Oak Books

Michael Thompson

Richard & Lisa Perry

Bank of Hawaii

U.S. Bank Portland, OR

First Republic Bank Portland, OR

Valley Bank, BBVA Bancomer

First Interstate Bank

Mark Patterson

Bob Millsap

John Rees

Monika Thaler & Gert Frederking

Will Arntz

What the Bleep Do We Know?

Jean Houston

Diane & Ward Powers

Kate Solisti

Dr. Ted Lehman

Jerry & Esther Hicks

UPS, FedEx, US Postal System

Bob Rainone

Becky Hubbard

Chip Forbes

Sunmark Publishing

Oprah Winfrey

God/ The Universe

Bill & Gail Weyerhaeuser

Book Nook Grand Cayman

Michele Cohn

Rick and Marcia Duff

Larry Sloan

Evelyn Georges

The White Bird Gallery

Richard Humphrey

Oregon Mountain Community

Billie Beiderman

Bess Myerson

Parker Johnson

Judy and Jerry Felsenthal

Roy Eisenhardt

Mark Smith

Sam Johnson

James P. Secord

Saltzman Family Trust

Gareth and Lucy Stevens

Graphic Arts Publishing


The Beyond Words family was saddened by the loss of Cynthia M. Black, our president and editor in chief. She passed away in her beloved Hawaii at the age of 61.

As a long-time friend put it, “She was a woman on a mission and that mission was to help enlighten the world through books and film.” Cynthia had perseverance, hope, imagination, humor, and a vision of the future that helped Beyond Words, in partnership with Atria Books/Simon & Schuster, become one of the greatest publishing houses in the self-discovery genre.

Cynthia is best known for her work as the editor of The Secret, a book that has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. Although she may be best known for that title, she worked on more than three hundred books in her lifetime and was always there for any author who needed help in developing ideas and concepts. She was so grateful to all of you as our partners in publishing, so grateful to collaborate over the years to produce cutting edge content that will help change the mindset of the world. She was a great mentor to many, and her presence will be greatly missed.

Over the past few years, Cynthia embarked on a healing journey. We are all blessed to have been part of that journey, and she wanted us to hold a memory of her spirit soaring. As we mourn the loss of this dynamic woman, we aim to take what we learned from Cynthia and move forward with the Beyond Words brand that she helped cocreate—just as she would wish. Our shared vision will continue to drive our decisions, customer interactions, and our passion for the possible in both life and work.

Beyond Words and the Black family wish to express our gratefulness for the love and support of so many who were touched by Cynthia’s life.

Richard Cohn