That’s Another Wrap ~ 2014 in Review & A Look Ahead
How in the world did we just wrap up 2014? Whenever I write these reflection posts at the end of one year and start of a new one, it never ceases to amaze me how blazing fast time goes. I love that I have the opportunity to blog and be mindful of my life both personally and professionally throughout the year. In the past, I often found myself saying, “I will get to this/that tomorrow.” All of a sudden ‘tomorrow’ turned into a week, then a week turned into a month and then a month turned into a year. Darn it! I needed to change this cycle. Something needed to give because to continuously have this feeling is not healthy, at least not for me. I did not want to be part of the rat race. As a wife, mom, friend, daughter, & business owner, I wanted to make sure I did not let time pass by with feelings of regret so I have since made a conscious effort to reflect every single day and savor… both personally and professionally. To start, I journal every single morning.
Looking through my 2014 professional journaling …
- At the start of 2014 we wrapped up a big remodel of the clinic after 7 weeks in a temp suite down the hall in our same building. January brought a lot of unpacking boxes and simply settling. Also in January, I was filmed by a professional videographer to launch video blogs to bring more awareness to speech-language topics. These are available on this blog page as well as on YouTube.
- In February we hosted an open house in the building along with other tenants (OT, SLP, PT, ABA Specialists). It was so wonderful to collaborate together. Most exciting this month, Courtney Martin MS, CCC-SLP and her husband welcomed their first child, a son!!
- In March, with the help of Fingerprint Marketing, we launched our bi-monthly e-blasts where we provide brief clinic announcements and blog features. We also learned that we were voted into 2nd place next to Encompass for the Macaroni Kid Snoqualmie Valley/Issaquah Family Choice Award in the “Pediatric Therapy” Category.
- In April, I attended the NW Children’s Fund Gala as an official sponsor of this amazing 100% non-profit organization. Also in April I, along with 2 other SLPs from Florida, submitted our proposal to the American Speech Hearing Association (ASHA) National Convention Committee to hopefully present at the National Convention in Orlando, FL later in the year.
- In May we promoted Better Hearing and Speech Month within the community, including our on-going free speech-language screens. Also in May, we welcomed Tracy Sexton MA, CCC-SLP to the Susan Cohn & Associates team. Tracy works on Thursdays and Fridays as well as assists with Saturday vacation/time off coverage. Also this month, Sarah Oarbeascoa MS, CCC-SLP and her husband welcomed their 2nd son. Since I was the SLP covering for Sarah’s maternity leave, I was able to get to know so many of the clients and their parents even more since the time of the 1st referral call.
- June was inundated with prepping for and transitioning into the summer caseloads. Once again, Danielle Nelson MS, CCC-SLP added 30 sessions per week to accommodate our increased summer needs. Mid-June we sponsored Snoqualmie Elementary School’s Field Day by renting their 3 sno-cone machines. As a parent of this wonderful school, I volunteered at this event. To see all those red and blue lips and smiling faces made me so happy! Last, but not least, I hired Cassie Callaghan MA, CCC-SLP to join our Susan Cohn & Associates team. Cassie works Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
- July… WOW! Our ASHA presentation proposal was approved so preps were in full swing to get my bit squared away. Fingerprint Marketing assisted me with my layout and PowerPoint. Oh, and Sarah Oarbeascoa, MA CCC-SLP started her 6-month children’s book review series on the blog.
- It was August that thanks to Toddie Downs MA, CCC-SLP, all the therapists were trained in our new EMR cloud-based software system. Although change can be hard, having everything electronic is so much more efficient.
- September we welcomed Courtney Martin MS, CCC-SLP back from her 6-month maternity leave. Courtney is now in the clinic Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays. In addition to Courtney’s return, we welcomed our first graduate student Kimberly Ridenour who is attending Nova Southeastern University. Both Toddie Downs and Sarah Oarbeascoa supervised Kimberly’s 1st semester of clinicals. It is so important to us to assist in the continued training of professionals in our field. Oh, and how can I forget we started social groups in the clinic??? Well, we did and it was super fun.
- October marked the Snoqualmie Elementary School Walk-a-Thon. As an annual SES PTSA sponsor, my husband and I volunteered at the event as well as donated to this amazing school in support of the amazing programs. This is also the month my family and I brought home our Aussiedor puppy, Isla Ann. Isla is going through training right now to become a therapy dog in the clinic as well as get clearance to visit nursing homes.
- November was a HUGE whirlwind. Unfortunately I had to take most of the month off from my caseload (Thanks to Sarah Oarbeascoa and Tracy Sexton for covering for me). I was invited to present at The Bear Creek School the 1st Saturday of the month. I prepared 2 talks on speech-language development for both preschoolers and school-age children. The following weekend I attended the Encompass Gala not only to represent the practice, but also as a parent who is proud to support this organization and what they offer to the Snoqualmie Valley community.Of course I won’t leave out the fact that in November, I was in final prep mode for my ASHA presentation. The date (11/20/14) was drawing super close – yikes! In the midst of everything, I was busy putting together and delivering gratitude baskets. I always want to put time and thought (and support local) for my annual gratitude gifts. Being Super Bowl champs this year, I had extra fun with my ‘Seattle’ theme. It is always better to give than receiveJ.On 11/18/14 my family and I flew to Orlando. With my nerves in check (sort of), the entire team of SLPs in the practice all hands on deck running the day-to-day operations during my week-long absence and my presentation finalized and practiced, it was show time. To present at any level, much less at the national one, was on my professional bucket list. I hope to have the honor to do it again at some point in my career.
- December reflections include welcoming another student, Crystal Balchuck, who attends the speech-hearing undergrad program at the University of Washington. Thank you Amy Smith MA, CCC-SLP for allowing Crystal to observe you and get her undergraduate clinical observation hours under your expertise.It makes me sad to say though that December also brought Sarah Oarbeascoa’s decision to head back into the Issaquah School District full-time. She is one amazing person and therapist. The glass half full though is Sarah is remaining on staff to cover on a PRN basis as well as contribute to our blog and Facebook posts.Oh, and just in the knick of time before ringing in the New Year, I was able to squuuueeeeezzzeee in one more thing that was on my 2014 action item list… I was able to get an A-frame up at the clinic’s intersection with the landlord’s approval to assist parents in finding us more easily.
- We are expanding our current space to add 2-3 more rooms as we are now paying additional rent for more space in the OT clinic down the hall. Thank you to Eastside Occupational Therapy for providing us with the space to help up accommodate our constant growth.
- We will continue with our free 15-minute screens throughout 2015 to bring awareness and promote early intervention.
- Kindness matters! Each month we will be doing a drawing amongst our ‘active’ families to receive a copy of one of my favorite books, “Have You Filled Your Bucket Today?” The monthly winners will be mailed their copy at some point in the month as part of our ‘Random Acts of Kindness.’ Surprise!
- We will offer social groups this summer. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in getting your child signed up.
- We will continue to offer sessions in Spanish. A big THANK YOU to Jessie Kellogg-Smith MS CCC-SLP who provides these sessions.
- I am working with the volunteer coordinator at the Mt Si Food Bank to offer free speech-language screens 9-11 on Tuesdays 4 times out of the year. Since Issaquah is far away for many of the families who come to this food bank, I will come to them. Encompass’ Main Campus is across the street. If needed, I will refer to this amazing place for further diagnostics and treatment. It is about early identification and getting children the help they need.
- In August, I will celebrate the 5th year of ownership of the practice. I remember the Merger and Acquisition like it was yesterday. Throughout the month of August we will have giveaways and special things going on to celebrate this milestone anniversary.
- Kimberly, our graduate student, will complete her 2nd year of clinicals with us!!
- Last, but definitely not least … each year we choose a local charitable organization to throughout the year. Over the past 4 years we have supported local food banks, Encompass, and the Northwest Children’s Fund twice. There are SO many wonderful organizations to support and it is always so hard to choose, but after much consideration, I have decided that moving forward Northwest Children’s Fund is going to be the organization we will officially sponsor every year. This is why : The mission of NW Children’s Fund is to end the cycle of child abuse and neglect by investing in programs for at-risk children and their families, and inspiring informed philanthropy devoted to improving child welfare. They know that breaking this complicated cycle requires a multi-point strategy. Not only must intervention happen when abuse or neglect has already occurred and help the fragile victims heal, they also work to keep it from happening at all.NW Children’s Fund impacts several critical points in the complex cycle of abuse and neglect. By supporting therapeutic foster care, youth mentoring, family stability and so much more, we’re providing the support systems children need to be in a safe, nurturing environment, and working with families to alleviate the stresses and deficiencies that can lead to abuse and neglect. It is 100% non-profit and run solely by volunteers. Donations stretch all over the Puget Sound region. As part of my commitment to this organization, I plan to go on at least one site visit with one of the Board Members to see exactly how every dollar matters and helps.
On a personal note, I will turn 40 this year!! Bring it on!!! Here’s to an awesome 2015 to ALL!!