5 Years Later ~ Letter to Susan
I am rewinding to May 2008 mind you it is a bit foggy because my husband and I just welcomed our second child born on March 5, 2008. I was so sleep deprived. Not having worked since June 2006, I was longing to dive back into my career; Both my mind and soul needed it. No Baby Blues this go-round like I had with our first-born, but I knew I needed to tap back into the part of my brain that was not all Wife and Mom. I know there are many women out there who can’t get the fact that I WANTED to work despite us affording me not to. My career completed me. It made me a more mindful and better Wife and Mom. It made me appreciate the time apart from my family more. Absence truly did make my heart grow fonder.
Who knew that when I e-mailed Susan Cohn December, 2007 in response to an ad she placed on the WA Speech-Hearing website that a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would land in my lap 3 years later. If only I had a crystal ball while I vividly remember sitting in a really uncomfortable brown couch 6 months pregnant surrounded by uncertainty having just made a cross-country move following a full-year living abroad… My husband, our 4-year old daughter at the time & Louie Love ~ our then young 7-year old pooch who passed away this month~ slept soundly. I was seeking and searching. I e-mailed Susan. She replied very fast telling me to enjoy my time being home right now and to be in touch after our son was born. She said she would be happy to interview me. Thankfully I kept her contact info and I reached back out to her 5 months later.
I will never ever forget my interview with Susan in May, 2008. The closest any of our family lives to us is 3,500 miles west so I was grateful for friends of ours who took the kiddos so I could interview. My dress was purple. I bought it while we were living abroad. It was the first time I actually dressed up since giving birth 2 months prior. I fed the baby his last bottle before heading out for the interview. Right when I was walking out the door with him cuddled in my arms he spit up all over me. I did my best to clean it up, but I couldn’t be late (anyone who knows me well knows lateness is an epidemic for me).
A question Susan asked me in the interview, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” What an intense and loaded question. I could barely keep my eyes open or figure out dinner much-less think THAT far ahead and THAT deeply, but I answered quite quickly having actually asked myself this question during one of my regular self-reflection moments. My response, “I’d like to get my PhD with a focus on language acquisition in bi-lingual children or own my own practice.” She took a few notes then was on to the next question.
Susan hired me. I worked as an independent contractor one day/week. After ~ a year, I let Susan know that I interviewed at a facility closer to our home and was offered the position but I ultimately turned the position down. I simply let her know this because the speech pathology community is a small one in our area and I did not want her to find out from someone else. I did not want her to think I was at all unhappy in her clinic because I was perfectly happy. It was just I was approached, it was closer to home, and quite frankly I was curious. Honesty is always the best policy. I then went on to tell her that if I was ever going to leave her practice, it would be to own something of my own. We both had to head into our next sessions and went separate ways into our respective treatment rooms. Before leaving that night, Susan stopped me and asked me if I was REALLY serious about owning my own practice? She was thinking about retirement because her first grandchild was on the way. She told me to go home and talk with my husband. I did.
A few weeks later Susan and her husband met with my husband and I over dinner. Lots of chit -hat back and forth, another interview if you will. They were feeling Dan and I out. A question I remember most from that night came from my husband, “What is it you see in Amy to consider her for purchasing your practice? There are other SLPs who work more hours and have been working for you longer.” Her answer, “She reminds me of who I was when I started practicing all those years ago. I know she can take the practice to the next level that I do not have the desire to do as I near retirement. She is ambitious.” That was the first of many dinners between the 4 of us. The rest is history. After 9 months of proper Due Diligence, on August 31, 2010 my husband and I became the proud new owners of Susan Cohn and Associates. Honored. The 4 of us left the attorney’s office and celebrated over lunch.
Here we are, August 31st 2015 ~ 5 years later. Mindful. I write this …
As I reflect on the past five years and how truly fast they have gone, I feel pure gratitude. I feel grateful for you seeing strengths in me that I did not know I possessed, but I have only come to believe in with each passing day I own the practice. I feel grateful for you trusting your ‘Baby’ in my hands. Not a moment goes by that I am not mindful of the hard work you gave and the dedication you had for the clinic, the community and the wonderful field of speech-language pathology for all those years. You built Susan Cohn & Associates from the ground up and created a legacy that is now in my hands. I hold it delicately and with such pride. I am grateful for your mentorship. I knew NOTHING about running a business and I still learn every single day. You are always my first go-to. You are never far away and are always alongside me on this winding road. When I asked your permission a few years ago if you would be OK if I kept your name for the practice, I remember how your face lit up. So many ask why I haven’t changed the name to my own or something else. Why would I? My goal is to always make you proud.
This all said, Susan, the true gem that I now posses is your friendship. Our story could never be replicated. It is one in a billion. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting and believing in me, even when I have trouble believing in myself.
Since you say I remind you of yourself, I want to share this quote, because I feel we are both “HER.”
“She doesn’t do so well at standing still. She plans big, she rolls up her sleeves, she has faith in her own momentum. She knows that change doesn’t happen all at once, but she welcomes it, she prepares for it, she gives it fertile ground.” ~ M.H. Clark
Much Love, Amy