Briefly describe your daily job duties.
I am a Technical Delivery Lead responsible for leading a team of Software Engineers and Business Analysts at Meridian Health Plan. We support an internal software application where our core business and healthcare process are maintained. I oversee all aspects of the software development lifecycle, from requirements gathering, development, promotion and stakeholder relations. We must react quickly to changes in state and federal requirements, ensuring the needs of clients are met, our processes remain compliant and that both our members and providers have an elite experience with Meridian.
As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
As a leader, effective communication and decision making are critical to the success of our team. In stressful situations where the prevalence of my stuttering may be heightened, I often have to remind myself that my fluency is secondary to the outcome that we are working towards. In those instances, my experience with stuttering allows me to approach the situation with empathy and courage. Ultimately, it’s about delivering the message and outcome required to get the job done whether I stutter or not.
Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process? If so, how did you do it and how do you currently disclose your stuttering to unsuspecting co-workers?
I am a firm believer in disclosing the fact that I am a person who stutters. In doing so, I am able to better focus on the context of the given situation and better keep the attention of my audience. Getting that disclosure out of the way also displays a level of confident vulnerability which I view as a sign of strength. In my experience, disclosing I stutter empowers others to be themselves and that helps them perform at a higher, more comfortable level. The last thing I want is for people to be wondering what is happening when I stutter, which could prevent people from focusing on the context of our interaction or the task at hand.
Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
One of the most rewarding parts of my job is being part of a team and working toward a common goal. I hope my stuttering brings a “human” aspect to the team that can sometimes be lost in a results-driven environment. Empowering our people to be themselves, to practice empathy, to be courageous and to work together regardless of differences or insecurities is what I work to offer to Meridian.
What is your proudest moment at your current company?
Regularly doing things I once thought were impossible, makes me proud. Leading a team of super smart and talented people, giving a status report to our Executive team and even facilitating a conference call are moments I’m grateful for every day.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
I hope to grow in my leadership role, become a technical expert and one day be the CIO of a Fortune 500 company.
What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
Be yourself and know that you can communicate effectively regardless of stuttering. In fact, I’d argue you communicate effectively because you stutter. Be confident in your abilities, prepare intensely and focus on acting with empathy and courage. Shine bright every day.