Sarah RalphWyndham Vacation Rentals

    Sarah Ralph

    Destin, FL
    National Business Development Manager
    Wyndham Vacation Rentals

    Briefly describe your daily job duties.
    As a National Business Development Manager with Wyndham Vacation Rentals, I oversee a support team that assists in increasing new properties to our vacation rental business. My team and I work with our Business Development representatives across the country in forecasting, marketing, analytics and overall anything they need to be successful in their market.

    As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
    The telephone is probably where my stutter struggles the most, yet it’s my primary form of communication. My job is primarily based on constant communication which requires me to speak all the time, from leading large conference calls to randomly calling someone to discuss a recent market change.

    I’m in a current rut where I fumble when I answer my phone and the person on the other line often laughs as we blame in on a case of ‘the Mondays’, but that only works on Monday! (I need to find an excuse for the remaining days.)

    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?
    I did not disclose my stutter during the hiring process. While my stutter was worse as a child, I would qualify it as a mild stutter now so I now disclose when necessary. Most of the time, I’ll brush it off if someone makes a silly remark, and then once I build rapport with them, I casually talk to them about my stutter the next time it seems appropriate. I don’t want to make a big deal out of my stutter.

    Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
    I’m an infinitely better contributor at work because of my stutter. Spending a lifetime navigating around an invisible maze in my mouth has forced me to develop unique ways to problem solve. I also have learned to grow in my career from pure, hard work because I would rather not partake in tons of networking. Strangely, this has given me the confidence that hard work pays off and has resulted in people appreciating and valuing my opinion, because there’s no beating around the bush.

    What are your long-term career aspirations?
    My long-term aspirations are to continue to grow the National Business Development team at Wyndham Vacation Rentals so I can make big changes in how we do business day-to-day. There is a wealth of opportunity and since I am driven by big projects, it really excites me to push the envelope where I’m at. With my creativity and unique ability to get work done, I feel confident that I’ll meet my career aspirations in time.

    What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
    You are not your stutter. It’s part of you, but it doesn’t define you. Everyone you meet in the workforce has their own personal issues, and while they may not be forced to wear their issue on their sleeve like a stutter, it’s impacting how they operate every day. Having a stutter may feel like a disadvantage, but it’s no more a disadvantage than what anyone else has going on in their own life. Don’t expect special privileges but also don’t settle for blatant disfranchisement.

    At the end of the day, I have found when a company finds a quality employee, they will go the extra mile to work with you in whatever you need so you can continue to bring successes to the company. Show your value, and the stutter won’t make a lick of difference. And if the company doesn’t acknowledge that, then it’s probably not your work home.