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National Stuttering Association

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Aidan Marshall-CortManager & Personal Trainer

    Aidan Marshall-Cort

    Upper Marlboro, MD
    Manager & Personal Trainer
    Fitness Together

    Briefly describe your daily job duties.
    As a Manager at my facility, my job involves overseeing a team of 5-6 Personal Trainers that handle upward to 100 different clients every week. Ensuring every individual client has a goal specific program and proper path of progression that is tracked through bi-monthly assessments. Effectively supervise an atmosphere of teamwork and communication between my team and our clientele. I also take part in the Sales and Marketing of our business with phone calls to prospective clients, discussing their goals and our services before handling an in-person introductory consultation with the individual.

    As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
    My career has challenged me every step of the way as a person who stutters – communication is a fundamental part of my role not only in regards to my clientele but also to my team members as well. When it came to first meeting all of our clientele, introductions were a challenge and produced a lot of anxiety every time I saw someone new on my schedule. As I accepted more responsibility, my role absorbed new tasks that centered around initiating conversation through phone calls or first-time in-person encounters – all things I’ve always feared through my journey with stuttering. However, these experiences have only pushed me outside of my comfort zone and inevitably turned me into an effective communicator and leader that felt more confident with my stutter!

    What are your long-term career aspirations?
    My long-term career aspirations is to become a Chief Wellness Officer (CWO). A CWO is an individual who works in an organization, company, etc. who is responsible for employing many different strategies and resources that can positively benefit the employees or workers well-being. This can affect them mentally, physically, financially, etc. Wellness is a multifaceted compass that can be attributed to many different areas of life. Even though mental health is seen as the forefront of concern, there are other areas that can increasing stress and anxiety in one’s day-to-day life.

    Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
    Yes, I did – self-disclosure is a way of taking control of your stutter. I have learned through my time in the stuttering community that a lot of fear and anxiety may come from the expectation to mask our stuttering so that we may appear fluent and therefore make others comfortable when speaking to us. However, this constant need to hide who we are as People Who Stutter can only increase fear in speaking situations which ultimately leads to higher levels of feelings of shame and guilt when we show moments of disfluency. When you eliminate that expectation to hide who you are, you don’t only eliminate that pressure we may feel but you also allow yourself to be who you are.

    I know it can be easier said than done, I disclose my stutter when I first meet most individuals – mutual friends, co-workers, clients, etc. – because it allows me to be myself without fear or guilt from the start and show what Aidan is saying, may take a little more time, but nonetheless still matters.

    What is your proudest moment at your current company?
    It is very difficult to pick one proud moment as everyday we are changing people’s lives. When I work my clients, my goal is not only for them to leave feeling physically better but also mentally and emotionally. A lot of my work involves being able to listen, adapt, and respond to what I encounter from my clientele everyday. It’s not always the main focus we are keeping in mind is an ache or soreness but it may be an interruption of the emotional or mental state. Seeing a client come in and inform me of some progress in their everyday life or some achievement in other areas is a consistent brightness to my day and re-affirms the love and passion in what I do.

    Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
    I always saw my stutter as a hinderance in my life until I learned how much I see it as my own superpower. Stuttering’s relationship with the Stutterer can subjective as everyone may experience it differently – I found mine to be an obstacle, something I was ashamed of and attributed it to a lot of my shortcomings. Through a lot self-reflection and journeys outside my comfort zone, I’ve learned how much it reflects values I hold dear to this day. My stutter has made me someone who is empathetic with a developed emotional intelligence, patient similar to how those are with me, and allows me to be vulnerable with people I encounter in my life and at work. Due to my career, I encounter all walks of life and my stutter has taught me skills and values that allows me to connect on a multitude of levels.

    What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
    We have the superpower to be open and vulnerable with those in our lives. Stuttering affects 1% of the population on our planet, you have the opportunity to educate those around you in your daily life and inevitably make the experience of another stutterer after you, easier. Progress is never a straight line, there will be days where we are sad and feel defeated – it is okay to have those moments and feelings, they are natural; it only matters how we bounce back and learn from them. You’ve got this and you’re doing a great job, go out there and let the world hear your voice 🙂