Next up in our SHE Educates series is Kristin Weingart, a 25 year old Speech-Language Pathologist. Hang on: what’s a Speech-Language Pathologist? I know I should probably explain this before continuing to write because it may cause you to have to stop, google it and then come back to this post. And I’d like you to just grab a coffee and stay here a little while. So let me explain this in a very broad, just-touching-the-surface kind of way. A Speech-Language Pathologist is someone that is able to diagnose communication disorders and feeding/swallowing difficulties in individuals of a wide variety of ages. We’re also able to work in many settings from schools and hospitals, to nursing homes, home-based settings and private practice etc.
How did you find this field?
For as long as I can remember when I was a little girl I wanted to become a teacher. I would come home from school, run up to my room and then line up my beanie babies to play school (yes, I was a 90’s kid). I even bought a gradebook from a teachers’ store, so you could say I was obsessed. But, like many things, I go ALL in when I’m passionate about something. There was a special drive in me from a young age that wanted to provide value to others through education and to lead individuals to do great things. There was a special drive in me from a young age that wanted to provide value to others through education and to lead individuals to do great things.
When I was in high school my mom told me about the field of Speech-Language Pathology. I conveniently was in a college and careers class, and it was a requirement to job shadow someone in a field of your aspiration. So I took this as an opportunity to explore more about what my mom was telling me. I went to a day school for students with severe to profound disabilities and I fell in love. Students that did not produce verbal speech were equipped with a communication device and were able to engage in meaningful connections with their loved ones and environment, and achieve independence. It was beautiful and I immediately wanted to be a part of this work. This type of school was actually my first job right out of graduate school, and it was amazing to see my experiences come full circle; from observing day one, to completing my requirements for certification. This was something so much more than a means to make money, it was something I felt very much led to do and it makes my heart beat faster and it makes me excited to wake up in the morning and go to work.
Where do you work now?
I have recently transitioned to become a travel Speech-Language Pathologist, where I take on 3-5 month contract assignments in different states. My husband and I moved to Oregon and we are living out another passion of ours traveling together (we share travel adventures on Instagram @wanderingweingarts).
At this job placement, I provide speech services to 8 head starts (children 3-5 years old). I love this age range as it’s the time when we typically see a lot of growth in the speech and language areas, but yes it is challenging to maintain several placements. It’s all about organization and being willing to put in the work.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I work some more… no, really. I have a blog and digital resource shop at Communication Cottage, LLC, and I recently launched my company’s product The CommuniCrate, a monthly speech and language subscription box that provides thematic resources to the busy parent, teacher, or Speech-Language Pathologist. Working with students with severe to profound disabilities I saw the need for students to have adapted books and resources that were interactive no matter what ability level. I also saw the need for educators to have high quality, durable resources that they didn’t have to prep themselves. Working with students with severe to profound disabilities I saw the need for students to have adapted books and resources that were interactive no matter what ability level. I also saw the need for educators to have high quality, durable resources that they didn’t have to prep themselveves.Educators have less and less prep time, if any, and so many educators sacrifice their family and personal time to create resources. This is where The CommuniCrate provides value. It’s my way of serving my community, bringing solutions, providing education opportunities for all levels of ability, and increasing self-care and family time. It’s not only a product, it’s also a tool to improve the quality of life for educators and parents who work so hard to inspire the next generation. The results of this tool have inspired me and others to think about what they can do NOW to help others live into their true potentials.
How does it feel to own your own company?
Honestly, unreal. I truly did not know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t expect for it to grow so fast, and I am so proud of this work. Have I had a lot of business experience prior to taking on this subscription platform? Honestly, no. But I decided that I have a mission that is very strong and that it was more important to take action on it than to have everything figured out first. I decided that I have a mission that is very strong and that it was more important to take action on it than to have everything figured out first.I took a step out in faith and it has been such a rewarding process. One of the biggest challenges that I had to face was how to scale the business. Originally I was creating all of the materials by hand. Cutting them, laminating them, binding and velcro-ing and now I partner with a printing company to reduce the amount of manual labor. Scaling businesses is a whole blog post/book in and of itself, but it is terrifying to trust another company with your product and have to rely on them to deliver so you can ship out your product in time to your customers.
Advice for those considering education:
It’s not for the faint of heart. Education gets a bad rap these days due to so many factors: funding, lack of staff, larger class sizes, low salaries etc. However, if you want a platform to work with students and to be a huge role in their life for the better; if you want to show up for students who may not have any other support system, show them they are worth it, teach in the way they learn, and inspire them to reach for more; if you want to learn to communicate the way they do, and be their biggest advocate: do it! You’ll be surprised at what your students will TEACH YOU along the way.
To keep following me on this journey of providing access to education for all students, I have two social media handles, one for my brand, @communicationcottage, and one for my product, @thecommunicrate. You can find me on Instagram and follow me and direct message me there, or if you’d rather email, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICYMI: Check out the first post in our SHE Educates series from Cassidy Dias!