Hi, Bright Start Families! I hope all of you are doing well. You may recall that, in 2011, Bright Start ventured into the area of Speech Therapy after Beth and Teri recognized the need for more providers. This program was immediately successful and is only getting bigger and better. Since it’s a milestone 5th anniversary, I think it’s appropriate that they’re the spotlight of this month’s blog. It is a pleasure to introduce to you some of the finest Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) in the business! I’ll begin with our SLP Supervisors: Kelli Floyd & Sarah Myers.
Kelli Floyd started at Bright Start when she was six months pregnant with her first child in October 2011. She recently said, “I’m coming up on my 5 year anniversary and have never regretted my decision to join the Bright Start team.” Kelli received a BA in Speech Language Pathology from Columbia College in 2004 and a Master’s degree in Communication Disorders from the University of South Carolina in 2007. When asked about her career choice, Kelli said, “I was in my junior year of high school when they had us take a test given by the military that indicated professions/jobs you would be good at based on your interests, skills, and cognitive abilities. One of the areas that was suggested to me was rehabilitation, so I started doing research to find out more about this field. I quickly found out that speech language pathology was a good match for me. I’d always wanted to be a doctor or a teacher, so this had a bit of each of those professions. I asked to shadow some local SLPs and was hooked from there. I made my college choice based on the SLP programs that were in SC and I’ve never looked back. This field suits me to a T.” I then asked Kelli to tell me about what she loves the most about being an SLP: “I love everything about being an SLP, but selfishly, I probably love the feeling that I get when I know I’ve really helped a family the most. There’s nothing like being able to help a family and their children to accomplish goals that they have set for themselves. Those goals are different for every family, just like every family and child I work with is different. And figuring out the best way to help them reach their goals is what keeps me coming back every day. It’s also what keeps me up late surfing the internet, reading journals & blogs, and talking with other SLPs to help me know how to best serve my families. I love it!” Kelli’s love for Bright Start is just as evident! She says, “I love that Bright Start has encouraged me to change and grow and be better! We are a true team at Bright Start. And when I say ‘team’, I really mean it. The whole organization works as a team and helps and supports other parts of the team. I feel like Bright Start has pushed me to become a better version of myself and has definitely encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone again & again. A friend once shared a quote: ‘If you would change, everything would change for you’. Bright Start has helped me to change and step out of my comfort zone and to push my limits to be an even better me than before. I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity to work with this wonderful group of motivated and like-minded individuals every day!!” Kelli is married to Lee. They live in Charleston and have 2 precious children– a little boy named Jay and a little girl named Myer. They are very excited to have another baby girl this December.
Our other SLP supervisor, Sarah Myers, joined the Bright Start team in February of 2012. Initially, this was part-time on her days off to cover Kelli’s first maternity leave. She fell in love with Bright Start and the Early Intervention population and was full-time in 2013. Sarah went to Columbia College for years and then transferred to USC to graduate from the business school in 2003. She then went on to earn a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from USC in 2010. I asked Sarah about her career path: “After college, I worked in event planning and non-profit development before changing careers to pursue speech pathology. I had originally considered speech therapy when I started college, and after working for several years in these other positions, I decided that speech was the right direction for me. Looking back now, it was the best career decision that I could have made and I couldn’t be happier working in this field.” I also asked Sarah to tell me what she loves about being an SLP. She says, “There is so much to love about being a speech therapist. I really enjoy training and supporting our team of SLPs at Bright Start. I also love being able to help families. It’s always my goal to empower parents to help their children and I love seeing that happen. It is so exciting and rewarding to see parents and teachers help their children make progress with communication and feeding skills. When asked Sarah what she likes most about being on the Bright Start team, she said, “It’s hard to pick just one thing! I feel incredibly fortunate to work for such a supportive company and with so many wonderful, caring people. One of the things that I love most about Bright Start is our mission and approach to helping families and their children.” Sarah and her husband Matt live in Columbia and are the proud new parents to their baby girl, Millie, who was born in July.
I would now like to introduce Rupal Patel, Intake Coordinator. Rupal plays a vital role and is a big reason why our SLP program runs so smoothly and is so successful. Rupal started with Bright Start in October of 2010 and later joined the Speech Team. Some of her day-to-day duties include processing all incoming Speech referrals, managing all speech therapy billing claims, and credentialing new therapists. And since Rupal works in the Columbia office, I can tell you that she does way more than her listed duties. She is always willing to help out in any way that she can, from providing EIs with ST notes to being our unofficial IT expert (trust me, she’s helped with numerous “disasters”). Rupal always has a smile and makes our office a little more cheerful. Like Sarah said, “We wouldn’t be able to keep everything straight without Rupal! She’s been with us since the start of the SLP program and we hope that she continues to help us as we grow our program.” When asked about working here, she said, “I love being with Bright Start because I feel like we are all part of a big family. We all come together for the progress of the children that we serve. I am very proud to say that I play a small role in the progress of our kids’ therapies.” Rupal, her husband Sandi, and their daughter Anjali moved to SC from NJ in 2007. They love living in Lexington and Rupal said that she will never get tired of our southern hospitality.
Since Bright Start SLPs span 6 counties, I asked Kelli and Sarah to introduce them to you.
We have a great team of therapists serving our up-state, midlands, and low country. We’d love to introduce them to you!
Ashley Winters is one of our low country therapists serving Charleston and the surrounding areas. She graduated from the University of Alabama and continued her studies at the University of South Alabama where she completed her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology! She joined our Bright Start team in the fall of 2014 and has been such an amazing SLP to have as part of our team! Ashley is a dedicated SLP who loves helping families meet milestones both big and small. She is always willing to help out the other members of our team in any way that they need. We love having Ashley as one of our therapists and we often tell her that she just makes it all look so easy!!
Lindsay Gantt is another of our low country therapists serving Charleston and the surrounding areas. She graduated from the University of South Carolina and after serving the low country as an early interventionist decided to further her studies with a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Speech Language Pathology. Lindsay joined our team in December of 2013 as a CFY and has been instrumental in starting and growing the Bright Start name in the low country. Lindsay has a passion for feeding therapy and has learned so much in the past few years in order to better treat and serve her clients. Lindsay always has a smile and a kind word for her other team members and is a wonderful support to each of them. We are glad to have Lindsay as part of our Bright Start team!
Rebecca Corbett is our third low country therapist and also serves Charleston and the surrounding areas. She graduated from Winthrop University and after working for several years returned to school to pursue her Master’s in communication disorders from the University of South Carolina. We were lucky enough to add Rebecca to our team last fall (2015) as a CFY. She has been a great fit for our team and has such a positive attitude and takes such great initiative. Rebecca has learned so much this past year and never shies away from a tough case. She has also become quite proficient at toddler level Spanish in this past year! We love Rebecca’s determination, enthusiastic attitude, and her dedication to her clients and the Bright Start team.
Dru Filter is one of our upstate therapists serving Greenville and the surrounding areas. She graduated from Radford University and continued her studies at Old Dominion University where she received her Master’s in speech language pathology. She comes to use with a vast amount of experience in pediatrics and has practiced in the hospital system for 15 years as well as in the pediatric home health setting. She recently joined our Bright Start team in the spring of this year (2016) and we have been blessed to have her share her knowledge and skills in serving the medically fragile population, which is a passion of hers. We look forward to learning so much more from Dru as she continues to grow and settle in at Bright Start!
Hailey Zehner also serves as an SLP in the upstate, serving Greenville and the surrounding areas. She graduated from the University of Redlands in California and continued her studies with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Nova Southeastern University. We were lucky enough to convince Hailey to move from Oregon to join our team in the summer of 2015 and we are so happy that she agreed! Hailey loves to share her knowledge on behavior and communication and as a result is a favorite around the office with all of the EIs. She is always happy to lend a helping hand or even give a presentation at the last minute to help her team. We are really lucky to have Hailey as part of our team and can’t wait to watch her grow as she continues her journey!
Katie Harrison is part of our Midlands team and serves Columbia and the surrounding areas. She graduated with her Master’s in Speech Pathology degree from the University of South Carolina. We immediately snapped her up and Katie joined our team in the fall of 2015 as a CFY. We have loved having Katie’s smiling face on our team this past year and have been amazed to watch her develop and grow into such a great SLP. She has been willing to tackle any project we have given her and has as a result expanded both her skills and knowledge in the pediatric field of speech language pathology. We can’t wait to see what the future will bring for Katie!
Kelly Hogan is also part of our Midlands team and serves Columbia and the surrounding areas. She graduated with a Master’s in Speech Pathology degree from the University of South Carolina. Kelly joined our team earlier this year and and has quickly learned her way around at Bright Start. Kelly brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and has special knowledge in the area of fluency. Patients and their families love Kelly’s warm and caring approach to therapy, and many have already seen great progress. We are so glad to have Kelly as part of the Bright Start team!
Michelle Flynn is another of our Midlands’ therapists and serves Columbia and the surrounding areas. She graduated from James Madison University with a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. We were lucky enough to convince Michelle to be a part of our team last summer (2015) when she moved from New Orleans to Lexington, SC. Michelle is our traveler and has practiced as a speech language pathologist in the various areas she was stationed with her husband and family including a diplomatic mission in South America where she ran a private practice. We have greatly benefited from Michelle’s various areas of expertise as she is always willing to share her knowledge and new information that she finds to help grow the skills of our SLP team. We are truly fortunate to have Michelle as part of our Bright Start team!
We’re also excited to introduce 2 SLPs that will be joining our Bright Start family very soon: Laura Hicklin & Amy Muzynoski!
Laura Hickin: Sarah told me that “Laura will be joining the Bright Start team in the Rock Hill area in September. She grew up in this area and brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this new position. Laura is experienced with working with a wide variety of disorders including speech, language, feeding, and swallowing disorders. She has special training in the areas of feeding/swallowing, hearing loss, and apraxia. We are thrilled to welcome Laura and to begin providing speech therapy services in this area of the state!”
Amy Muzynoski: Of Amy, Sarah said, “Amy is a brand new graduate and has moved to Charleston from Milwaukee to join our Low Country team for her Clinical Fellowship Year. She has gained some awesome graduate school experience as well as outside experience that make her a great addition to our team. We are excited about having her join us and help to cover the areas of Summerville, Goose Creek, Ladson, Hanahan, and James Island.
It has been my pleasure to introduce this awesome team. If you are interested in their services, please contact Rupal: firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-929-1112.