Where: ASHA Connect
I just returned from ASHA Connect 2017 in New Orleans, and I am floored. I now know the secret of how to be a successful speech-language pathologist. So, here’s what happened. I, along with 5 fellow SLPs, were given the task of sharing a “big message” to the attendees at the closing IGNITE session. This is what we had to do, and I was excited. Then, we were told how it was going to happen. We were given exactly 5 minutes and 20 slides. The catch? The slides would automatically advance every 15 seconds. At this point in time, I became nauseated. Alas, I always like a challenge, and this sounded fun. Just call me Phun-Phuong.
Who: Six SLPs
I got to go first (thank goodness), and I spoke about the foundation of our profession–making connections with our students, clients and families. And, the way to connect with others is through stories. So, I completed my task, and I sat down. It was time to listen to my fellow IGNITE speakers. I’ll be honest. I was intimidated. Those who spoke after me all had something that I did not. They all had their doctoral degrees, and I quit my doctoral program after a brief six months 15 years ago. So, I listened closely. These brains were going to share their brilliance, and I was going to take note. Oh, they were outstanding.
Barbara Ehren, EdD, CCC-SLP
Professor, Director of the Doctoral Program
University of Central Florida
Sandra Gillam, PhD, CCC-SLP
Utah State University
Ann Kummer, PhD, CCC-SLP
Senior Director and Professor
Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Gregory Lof, PhD, CCC-SLP
Dept. Chair and Professor
MGH Institute of Health Professions
Tommie Robinson, Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP
Chief, Division of Hearing and Speech
Children’s National Health System
What: How to Be a Successful SLP in 5 steps
Here’s the thing, y’all. The takeaway messages had nothing to do with the speech, language, fluency, voice or dysphagia. Here is the general consensus from some really great thinkers in our field on how to be a successful SLP:
Lead with your heart and lead with compassion.
Believe in yourself and your efforts.
Connect with others through stories.
Have fun, fun, fun.
The final session concluded, and it was time to go back home to Texas. As I waited for my flight, I reflected. You see, all of the speakers chose to speak about the human component of our field. We need to see the heart-value of our peers, students and clients first. Then, we get to some great speech-language pathology. So, you ask, how can I become a successful speech-language pathologist? The answer? Dear friends, you already are.