National Stuttering Association

Tyler ClemensDistrict Manager

    Tyler Clemens

    Briefly describe your daily job duties.

    I oversee 11 Starbucks locations with close to 400 partners. My job entails all aspects of running the business, with a focus on motivating others to achieve their absolute best. I host weekly video conference calls, create content, and visit my stores throughout the week to connect with partners to ensure they have what they need to be successful. I also monitor performance, food safety, customer satisfaction, and ensure all stores are fully operating.

    I also am the Co-Chair for the Disability Advocacy Network, a network that engages partners to share, educate, and understand those with disabilities and impairments. As a PWS, this network speaks to me and my experiences, and I hope to inspire others to take a chance on someone or to find the courage to speak their voice.

    As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.

    The most challenging part on a day to day basis is when an emergency occurs, something that requires immediate attentiont – they don’t always happen at the best time and you have to be able to act quickly and efficiently. This can range from a difficult issue in a store to equipment breaking to a natural disaster.

    What are your long-term career aspirations?

    I would like to continue to grow to the director level – my aim has always been to impact others positively, and I want to remain in touch with all employees while also having a greater field of responsibility, so that I can create that experience for as many as possible. After that, I don’t necessarily have any aspirations other than to continue to help others at all times – ideally I would like to be involved with non-profits that focus on helping children. I try to view the work experience through the lens of my personal experience, and while I can’t go back and inspire confidence in myself, I can do that for others.

    Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?

    My stuttering precedes the ability to self-disclose; it is apparent from the onset. Because my work experience has always been in retail/customer service, I have to sell myself harder so that the interviewers know that my speech doesn’t hold me back and doesn’t define me. At Starbucks, I have found leadership that values the transparency and vulnerability that I offer.

    What is your proudest moment at your current company?

    While I am new to Starbucks, my proudest moments have been winning District Manager of the Year – Rookie, and kicking off the Disability Advocacy Network. My work with the network has focused on creating brave spaces for others to come forward and has highlighted the value of diversity and inclusion in all walks of life. At the last company I worked for, GameStop, I created the employee resource group, “visABLE” that was focused on the same idea. I was very proud to have built that group from an idea to being able to lead in person meetings at our annual conference in front of hundreds of managers.

    Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.

    I think I am patient with others – I understand what it’s like to choke on a word, and it gives me better perspective on growth, change, and vulnerability. I have been told by previous leaders that the courage displayed to speak publicly despite my stuttering gave them a different perspective on what was holding them back and why. My past experiences also allow me to speak about the importance of mental health and to share that back with my partners, oftentimes allowing them an avenue of conversation they may not have anticipated.

    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 I was in high school my counselor told me I should be a mechanic because I liked cars or to go into computer science so that I could code.

    Here is the thing – I love people. I love to talk to people and deal with people and I wanted to work in field that allowed me unique people experiences on a daily basis. I bagged groceries at a grocery store, I worked at multiple hardware stores, I worked in all sorts of retail establishments. I had people tell me over and over what I should be doing because of my speech.

    Working in retail, I have had people laugh in my face because of my speech more times than I can count. I have had people laugh during interviews, I have had people laugh in meetings. You do YOU. You get one life – all those who can laugh, can also learn. So rise above and be the better and bigger person. It’s not always easy, but never let someone tell you what you should do – your words are just as important as anyone else’s.