National Stuttering Association

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Dana KoprowskiCenter Director

    Dana Koprowski

    Lombard, IL
    Center Director

    Briefly describe your daily job duties.
    I’m a Center Director of a KinderCare center. My job duties include managing a childcare center of 17 staff members and 90 children. The most important part of my job is making sure every child is receiving a proper education and making sure they are happy, healthy and safe. Other job duties include managing net revenue and budget. I also play a major role in enrolling new families in our center. We have tours come in on a daily basis and it is my job to enroll the family at our center and “pitch” why families should choose our center.

    As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
    The most challenging part of my job is communicating with families when there is a parent concern. These concerns can range widely from an injury to their child all the way to a discrepancy with their bill. Unfortunately, I have been accused of lying, making up stories or not knowing what I am talking about due to my stutter.

    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 and or customers?
    I did not disclose during the hiring process, I was promoted from within, so everyone knew I stuttered. In May 2019, I was transferred to a new KinderCare center and I originally did not disclose to my staff that I stuttered, but I did disclose to my managing partner. After about a month, I noticed teachers were finishing my sentences. We had a team meeting with my staff, my managing partner and my District Leader (DL) were in attendance. I asked my DL if I should disclose my stutter and her advice was to do whatever I was comfortable with. So, I started off the meeting by saying, “I know some of you may not know this, but I am a person who stutters.” I then expressed how I would like them to please be patient with me and not finish my sentences.

    What is your proudest moment at your current company?
    My proudest moment recently came from a new family that enrolled with us. This family told me they chose our KinderCare center because of me. I didn’t treat them like a number and they felt in their heart that I had the best interest of their first-born child at heart. They felt like I was treating them like family and felt very safe and confident leaving their 3-month-old daughter with us. That was a very humbling experience and I was very proud!

    What are your long-term career aspirations?
    My long-term career aspirations are to help people become the best version of themselves. That can be mentoring other educators or helping young people who stutter realize their amazing potential and help them succeed in life!

    What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
    Own your stutter. Do not let it own you. Embrace it as a part of you. Acceptance can take time and effort, but in the end, it’s worth it. Personally, I feel once you have accepted your stutter and owned it, disclosure becomes much easier. Do not let your stutter live your life. You need to live your life being a person who stutters and love it!