Briefly describe your daily job duties.
I’m responsible for developing integrated marketing strategies for Overit clients and internally for the agency. I focus much of my time on the branding, content marketing, and social media side of things, but work closely with a talented team of colleagues who specialize in areas such as public relations, graphic design, video production, audio, and more. I also have the opportunity to pitch new opportunities to potential clients, which means I get to meet folks very early on in our engagement and be part of the initial impression of Overit.
As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
The most difficult part of my job as a person who stutters is often the internal feelings of guilt that I’m not giving an idea or campaign justice when I’m pitching or presenting it. Much about helping a client to feel confident in the capabilities of Overit is in the presentation of it. It can be easy for my fragmented delivery of a concept to put feelings of doubt or lack of confidence where there wouldn’t be otherwise. In many, even most cases, I don’t think it’s an issue but sometimes it can show itself.
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, clients and or customers?
My stuttering is severe enough that I don’t have to self-disclose. It’s evident immediately. I’ve never felt a need to offer a “disclaimer” and I’ve generally felt that as long as I appear comfortable, the listener (whether an internal colleague or a client) generally feels comfortable as well. I’ve learned the person you are speaking with generally feeds off your confidence and your energy.
When I started at Overit, my boss shared a TEDx speech I gave about stuttering with the office and encouraged employees to watch it. By doing that, he did me favor. He paved the way for my coworkers to “find out” about my stuttering on their own. They weren’t caught off-guard (which can be awkward even with the best intentions!). And, they also saw stuttering is not something I shy away from. I’m comfortable with it, so they were given permission to be comfortable about it, too.
Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
Much of the work I do involves voice. It’s about helping brands identify who they are, their point of difference (i.e .what makes them weird and interesting!), and their messaging. I’ve believe strongly that the reason I am able to help brands find their voice is because I’ve spent my entire life fighting for mine. That fight has underscored its importance. I understand voice and the ability to find people who are “weird” in the same way you are differently than someone who doesn’t have the same speech issues.
Early in my career, I found it very difficult to find employment, just as it can be for anyone who stutters. That left a strong imprint on me to prove my value and prove my worth. It gave me an incredible work ethic that helped me to stand out and to propel me when I was starting out and it’s something that I’ve kept.
What is your proudest moment at your current company?
Building my team is my proudest moment. When I started at Overit eight years ago, the agency didn’t have a content marketing or a brand team. They created engaging content and excellent videos, but it was part of other services. When I joined Overit, it was an impetus for them to change how they approached creating content and videos. I now manage a team of writers, brand builders and social media experts. Together, we create great campaigns for clients, while also defining and strengthening their brand. Having been with Overit for several years now, I’ve experienced ebbs and flows with the business, and the company has been there for me, as well. I feel proud to have found Overit.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
I want to keep doing what I’m doing and building great brands for clients I believe in.
What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
When you’re just entering the workplace, your energy should be spent focusing on your craft. It’s natural to be self-conscious of your speech but the more comfortable you are with it, the more comfortable others will be. And it’s probably given you a bunch of other great assets. It’s given you empathy and compassion and helped you to see things differently than your non-stuttering colleagues. There are benefits from people a person who stutters in the workplace and workplaces need us.