Flowers mark Janelle Irvine’s ten years of service to people who stutter

In April Janelle Irvine completed ten years of service to the stuttering community through her work at START.  Janelle commenced work as a Speech Language Therapist (SLT) at START in 2009. She had previously worked as a SLT with the Ministry of Education.  Her clinical focus at START has been mostly with pre-schoolers and school age children who stutter. She has also facilitated group programmes for people who stutter.

As Janelle’s wider interests and abilities in management and leadership became apparent, she moved into a promotion, management and leadership role while maintaining her clinical practice.  To support this new work Janelle undertook part time study in the Graduate Diploma in Not for Profit Management through Unitec which she completed in 2017. The course not only provided general learning but was also organised in such a way that Janelle was able to apply that learning directly to START.  Over recent years, as Janelle has developed strong leadership and management skills she has used these to the benefit of START, enabling its development as an organisation, while always keeping START’s client’s needs as paramount and a primary focus.

At the April Board meeting Janelle was presented with flowers to mark the occasion and her key role in START’s development.  Board members expressed their gratitude and acknowledged her diverse contributions to START, which is the only New Zealand specialist service for people who stutter. Janelle was also warmly applauded by the Board.

Speaking on behalf of the Board, Chair Eric Allan spoke of Janelle’s warm and generous heart for all those affected by stuttering.  Her heart has always been evident and underpinned all of her work at START. He also acknowledged her work with clients – many of whom have spoken of how much they have valued her support and clinical work.  Eric also paid tribute to how Janelle’s leadership and management have enabled START to develop to the point that it now plays a pivotal role in improving services for people who stutter. Eric spoke of how fortunate START is to have a person in the Executive Director role who is not only a highly regarded clinician but also a respected and able leader and manager.

In response, Janelle spoke of how fortunate she was to have the role of Executive Director of START and thanked the Board for their acknowledgement and for their strong support.  She acknowledged the role of the Board in supporting her study for the Graduate Diploma. She spoke of how much she had benefited from that study but even more importantly, how she has been able to use it for the benefit of START and its clients.  Janelle spoke of how excited she is by START’s progress and looks forward to it making even more progress in the future. Janelle will shortly attend the Fourth Croatia Stuttering Symposium in May which, having been at START for ten years will be a very good way to support further her work and the work of START.

Introducing our newest Speech Language Therapist

We would like to welcome our new Speech Language Therapist (SLT) – Beth Laurenson – to the team at START.

Voon Pang has taken on a new role at the University of Auckland this year, supervising Speech Language Therapy students, which means he has reduced one of his days at START.  Janelle Irvine is busy in her role as Executive Director with the development of our organisation, and as a result we were in need of an additional Speech Language Therapist.

We are excited about the growth of the START team.  Having Beth join us ensures we can reach as many people who stutter as possible.

Beth is a highly motivated Speech Language Therapist, experienced in working with children, teenagers and their whanau. Beth previously worked for a private practice, which provided a range of services to children and teenagers in Auckland. She has a keen interest in working with people of all ages who stutter.

Beth is looking forward to specialising in the treatment of stuttering as she commences work two days a week at START. She loves what she does and is committed to providing the best possible service for people who stutter.  

Beth will be working alongside our SLT team of Anna Hearne, Voon and Janelle for the next few months as she develops her skills in working with people who stutter. Our SLT team are looking forward to supporting Beth’s development as our newest stuttering specialist.

So what motivated Beth to specialise in working with people who stutter?

“I was excited when I saw the advertisement for the role at START as I have had a keen interest in the area of stuttering since Anna Hearne’s classes at Massey University.  I particularly enjoy working with older school age children and teenagers. I’m really looking forward to working with people who stutter as I see this as an area where speech language therapists can make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Welcome to the START team Beth!

Introducing our newly reinvigorated board

It’s been an exciting year so far for START, and we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes on some really exciting stuff (as well as some less exciting but no-less important tasks such as updating our health and safety policies)!

We’re so grateful to have a wonderful group of supporters who help us in a number of ways; by making donations, volunteering, and even sharing our posts with their Facebook friends.

Something that we are equally excited and grateful about is the number of wonderful new Board members who have joined our team here at START. Our newly reinvigorated Board is a dedicated team of volunteers who were chosen for their wide range of skills, experience, and commitment to START and its governance. We are so proud to have such a wide variety of skills and passions represented.

Our Board is led by Eric Allan, someone who is deeply passionate about the work we do here at START. When asked why he decided to take on such a role he told us, “I joined the START Board because START changes the lives of people, both young and old, who stutter.  I’ve had many years in community social service leadership and governance and bring that to START. I also have a lived experience of stuttering and START helped me with that. As an organisation we are in great heart.  As a Board we want everyone who stutters to know that START is here and ready to help. To enable this, our Board focus in 2018 is on expanding our loyal support base. This will ensure that we have the people and financial resources we need to respond to as many people who stutter as possible.”

We are so fortunate to have someone with his ideas and dedication leading our Board.

Anita Hayhoe, on the other hand, brings fresh perspectives with her position in marketing, and says, “When I saw the START board position advertised on the Institute of Directors website I immediately felt a connection with it and for what I could contribute in terms of building partnerships and bringing new ideas. START provides confidence and skills to people who stutter, and provides a supportive place for people who stutter to  become the people they want to be. My personal interests in singing and performing make me realise the importance of a voice in terms of expression and confidence.”

Other Board members would simply like an opportunity to make a difference to our community.  Tony McAlwee tells us, “I have good memories of working with a speech language therapist as a child. I wanted to give back to the community so when an opportunity arose to join START’s Board, I knew this was where I could put my commercial skills and fundraising experience to good use.”

If you would like to read more about who our Board members are and what they bring to START, please check out our Board members page here.