National Stuttering Association

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Callie BrazilDirector of Digital Marketing & Storytelling

    Callie Brazil

    Los Angeles, CA
    Director of Digital Marketing & Storytelling
    UCLA School of Law

    Briefly describe your daily job duties.
    I’m a creative at heart with a knack for problem-solving in the digital domain. I manage the digital presence for UCLA Law through creative & strategic storytelling and create systems to support our diverse portfolio of digital projects!

    As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
    As a person who stutters, the most challenging part of my job has always been both formal and informal presentations/talks. In the past, as a person with a covert stutter for many years, I would do everything I could think of to work around having to give the presentation. Although presentations are still anxiety-inducing, I find that disclosing my stutter upfront – my unique way of communicating – helps to set me more at ease.

    What are your long-term career aspirations?
    Although I recently landed my dream job at a dream organization, I would love to one-day become a Creative Director and lead a creative team, creative strategy and operations.

    Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
    I always self-disclose my stutter during job interviews and before talks/ presentations. As part of this particular job hiring process, I was asked to give my take on a particular digital project. I opted to create a formal presentation and before I started, self-disclosed by saying, “Before we get started I’d like to let you know that I am a person who stutters, which means that I’m a communications professional who at times communicates atypically.” I always add something about being open to answer any questions anyone may have about my stutter as well.

    What is your proudest moment at your current company?
    I’m proud to say that in the short amount of time I’ve been with UCLA Law, I’ve been able to contribute to the team both business-wise and also by building team camaraderie.

    Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
    My stutter is my unique way of communicating and has been my most valuable (albeit frustrating at times!) teacher. It has allowed me to develop a deep intuition and sense of empathy for others. I love connecting with people, learning about them, and telling their stories. We can learn so much by just taking some time to sit still, listen and connect. As a digital storyteller and as a teammate, these are critical skills to have and to hone.

    What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
    My best advice for people who stutter new to the workplace is to take some time (make a list even!) of all the things you can do to make yourself more comfortable during the interview and hiring process. For me, this was self-disclosure – operating out of a place of control rather than feeling like I was at the mercy of my stutter. As a covert stutterer for many years, this was key. Another critical turning point for me in my career was taking control of negative self-talk, which in turn allowed me to connect more authentically and positively with those around me. My overall advice: take action! Figure and then implement what will make you feel like and operate as your truest, most wonderful, most powerful self!

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