1. Tell us about yourself.
I joined the NSA when it was known as the NSP (National Stuttering Project) in 1985. I am a native of Houston, Texas and a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. I love college football especially the Longhorns! Hook em! Go Horns! I am married with two sons, ages 24 and 22.
Besides the NSA, my passion is TV shows (I'm a junkie) and movies, traveling, and towels! Yes, I love new nice bath towels! My professional work career has centered around IT mnagement/application support and accounting. I was employed for almost 30 years with a French owned company call Vallourec. Paris, France based Vallourec is a global pipe and steel concern with operations worldwide. After taking a year sabbatical, currently, I am pursuing opportunities in business administration support consulting and SAP application support.
2. What was it like for you to grow up stuttering?
Well, it was challenging to say the least! As with most people who stutter, there were the deeply embarrassing situations with my speech, the hard blocks, frustration, fear of speaking, and secondaries. My family was understanding and accepting of my stutter, because on my maternal side stuttering was prevalent. My maternal grandmother, uncle, and a cousin all stutter. So, my family actually did not pay too much attention to my stuttering. In fact, they treated it almost as normal. Not fitting the stereotype of southerners, my family actually spoke very fast. Of course, that made it more difficult to talk or get a word in during family gatherings and discussions.
I first recognized my speech was different and I had a stutter when on first day of class in second grade, my teacher did roll call. I stood up and could not say my name. And, yes, the kids laughed at me. That was hard and for many years after that I would hear the laughter of friends and foes directed toward my stutter and sometimes the relentless teasing! However, my stutter did not destroy me.
The reason it did not destroy me is because my family never allowed me to feel sorry for myself or that I was less than anyone else. My family, mainly my mother, made sure I felt I could still do and be anything I wanted to be.
There were many critical and pivotal moments in my life with my stuttering. One major moment was in college when I was part of a team assigned the responsibility of presenting results of a fictitious/faux company we managed in an organizational management class, I stuttered severely. I was only given 3 minutes to present my portion, it took at least 1.5 minutes just to say my name. I was so scared, sweaty hands, silent blocks, not breathing properly, totally embarrassed and ashamed. It was the worst day of my life. Needlessly to say, I did not receive a passing grade on the presentation part of the course. Fortunately, I did well enough on the content and written exams that I managed to pass the course.
3. What made you interested in becoming a Stutter Social host?
I participated in stutter social sessions for a year and half and enjoyed the experience. The opportunity to speak with friends and other people from all over the world was awesome.
Stutter social sessions are like mini-NSA meetings. In addition, it gives you an opportunity to practice your speech therapy techniques in a safe environment. I wanted to contribute to the Stutter Social group, my time and experience as a former NSA chapter leader and meeting facilitator, in the role of Stutter Social host.
4. Do you have any advice for people who stutter?
My advice to people who stutter is to be open to looking at your Stuttering as a journey! I feel that many things impact our stuttering but the most important factor in our stuttering is US. Join a support group for people who stutter. In USA, join the NSA. There is no better organization for people who stutter. If you can not attend a support group meeting then join a Stutter Social session.