American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Speech-Language-Pathology Advisory Council Candidate Statements


Michael P. Robb, PhD, CCC-SLP

I wish to serve as the international representative on the ASHA Speech-Language Pathology advisory council. When issues of concern to the ASHA membership are identified and discussed, it is important to seek an international perspective on these issues. I have a good understanding of the ASHA mission, as well as its many services and programs. I also have considerable international exposure to the academic, clinical, and research facets of the speech-language pathology profession. Having lived outside the US for many years, I have gained an appreciation for (1) how our profession is practiced in other countries and (2) how ASHA is viewed from ‘offshore.’ I believe my combined US and international experiences would lend a unique and valuable perspective to the council. I welcome the opportunity to provide service to ASHA in this regard.

I have been a member of ASHA for 25 years and a Fellow of the Association. I have practiced as a speech-language pathologist in school and hospital settings in the USA. I held academic posts at the University of Hawaii and University of Connecticut. I have published over 90 refereed journal articles. I received site visitor training from the CAA and performed several site visits. For the past 14 years, I have resided in New Zealand. I am a professor, and former chairperson, in the Department of Communication Disorders at the University of Canterbury. I hold clinical certification as a speech-language pathologist from the New Zealand Speech-Language Therapists’ Association (NZSTA). I am familiar with the models of education used in New Zealand, Asia Pacific rim, and Middle East. I am the past chair of the professional standards committee of the NZSTA and contributed to the application by the NZSTA for inclusion as part of the Mutual Recognition Agreement. I provided consultation on the development of the speech-language pathology program at Kuwait University. I am the past President of the Asia Pacific Society of Speech, Language, and Hearing and current Editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Speech-Language and Hearing (now known as “Speech, Language & Hearing”). I am also a current member of the Executive Board of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics (IALP). The IALP is the oldest professional society working from a global perspective on scientific, educational and professional issues affecting persons with communication disorders.

Troy W. Thiel, MS, CCC-SLP

It would be a great honor for me to serve as the international representative on the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council. I have been a member of ASHA and a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist for over 10 years. I am also an active member of The Overseas Association of Communicative Sciences (OSACS) and Deutscher Bundesverband fur Logopädie (DBL). My participation in these organizations and my experience in clinical and educational settings have provided me with the unique opportunity of identifying issues and concerns for other ASHA professionals in the international setting. I have lived in Germany for over six years and this has given me insight into the unique benefits and challenges of practicing as an SLP overseas. I have the verbal and written abilities to be a strong advocate for our members and our organization. My diverse professional experience working overseas has provided me with an awareness of multiple viewpoints and concerns facing Speech-Language Pathologists. It is this background and understanding that motivates me to give my time and energy to explore policies, programs, financial planning and advocacy efforts needed to ensure that ASHA continues to fulfill its vision of making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.

I have been a member of ASHA and a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist for over 10 years, as well as a member of The Overseas Association of Communicative Sciences (OSACS) and Deutscher Bundesverband für Logopädie (DBL). My work in various clinical and educational settings and experience in multi-cultural settings with bilingual children has led to my current position for the Department of Defense Educational Activity in Grafenwöhr, Germany. I am currently providing services in an elementary school for dependents of military personnel stationed overseas. I had previously worked in Germany providing early intervention services to military families with children that have developmental delays. My professional interests include assessment and intervention in multi-cultural settings, transdisciplinary approaches to service provision, and collaboration with teachers in an inclusionary model. My professional background and experiences working in Germany for the past six years have given me a keen understanding into the advantages and challenges facing Speech-Language Pathologists living and working overseas.

North Dakota

Jean L. Herauf, MS, CCC-SLP

I am seeking a second term on the Advisory Council because I feel I have something to offer from my years of experience as a practicing speech-language pathologist and as a manager. I feel the structure of the AC offers input from a wide range of practitioners from a variety of settings and locations. I believe this to be extremely valuable to the board in getting information about what’s happening out in the field. I also believe the advocacy efforts that we put forth make a difference. I take my role on the council seriously, and would very much like to continue.

I have served as our NDSLHA president-elect, president and past president, have served 2 terms on our licensure board, and served as chair of the clinical affairs committee for NDSLHA. I have aIso served on the nominations committee. I attended ASHA’s emerging leaders institute in 1990. I have had leadership roles in several civic and church activities. I enjoy working together with a team to achieve a goal.


Janice M. Wright, MA, CCC-SLP

I am applying for the advisory council position for the State of Ohio because of my passion about the field of speech pathology and the need to provide information to the ASHA Board of Directors about issues that are affecting professionals in the state of Ohio. I have been a certified member of ASHA since 1982 and served on the ASHA Multicultural Advisory Board in 1998. I am active in my state association – The Ohio Speech –Language and Hearing Association serving as a Professional Practice Representative for Supervision for four years; as President-elect, President and Past President for three years and now as the Director of Legislative Advocacy for the association. These experiences in leadership roles for the state association have given me the experience to be able to consider multiple viewpoints about controversial issues and to assist in the development of services, policies, goals and programs that enhance the profession of speech pathology.

As a clinical supervisor and instructor for Ohio University I am familiar with the technological tools need to fulfill the responsibilities of the position. I am willing and open to acquiring any new skills that would be necessary to be successful in the role as a member of the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council. I possess the ability to listen, analyze and think strategically and creatively in order to assist the Board of Directors in developing policies and programs that are strategic and forward planning. Thank you for considering me for this very important position.


Derick D. Deweber, MS, CCC-SLP

I am seeking appointment for a second term to the SLP Advisory Council as the delegate from Oklahoma because I have truly enjoyed the work that I have completed thus far on the council and would like to see continued implementation of the processes/goals that have been put into place during this time.

Apart from the myriad of leadership opportunities I have had during my career at the state and national level, I feel that I am qualified for a second term on the SLP advisory council due to work that I have completed thus far during my first term.

Tracy L. Grammer, MS, CCC-SLP

I believe that no one solution to any situation is perfect. If a solution does not work to solve a problem, another one exists with equal or more possibility. As a clinician, I consistently strive to find the cause of a problem situation and treat from that aspect. As a professional, I hold the same philosophy. As a state leader and an advocate of our professions, I consistently strive to find the cause of a problem situation, lead and manage from that aspect. As a member of the Advisory Council, I will have the opportunity to assist in identifying the cause of problem situations, form strategies to improve these situations and to represent the voices of ASHA members in Oklahoma to ASHA.

Honestly, being the eldest daughter of five children I was raised to be a leader. My parents often joke that I was born with my hands on my hips, leading my siblings and organizing family events. Leadership is not a position, but an attitude. Leadership is not assumed, awarded or earned…it is lived. I lead by example and by respecting the opinions and practices of others. Being open-minded to differences and valuing those differences are crucial to being a successful leader. Through my work, others have seen my commitment to excellence and to making a difference. This attitude is contagious. My role as Advisory Councilor will be another method of leading others into affirmative action to meet the ever changing needs of our professions.

My clinical and leadership experiences have afforded me a vast exposure to the needs and concerns of the profession as well as those being served by speech-language pathology and audiology. I have a keen understanding of the importance of not only the clinical aspect of our professions, but also the business and legislative components. I have vast knowledge of the importance of ASHA relations and interactions to the state association as well as to the individual members.

I currently serve as the 2009-2015 Chair of the Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech Language Pathology and Audiology and the immediate past-president for the Oklahoma Speech-Language Hearing Association. I have also served as a past president of the Brain Injury Association of Oklahoma, and 2005-2008 Oklahoma Legislative Councilor to the American Speech Language Hearing Association, president of the Oklahoma Academy of Medical Speech Language Pathologists and the 2000 president of the Oklahoma Speech Language Hearing Association.

I am a speech language pathologist with 22 years of experience working with adults experiencing a variety of cognitive-communication disorders to include cognitive dysfunction, aphasia, dysarthria, dysphasia and apraxia secondary to cerebral vascular accident, traumatic brain injury, glossectomy, laryngectomy, tracheostomy and ventilator dependency. I am employed at OU Medical Center as a speech language pathologist for the OUMC Trauma Team and Department of Otolaryngology. I am also a faculty member of the OUHSC College of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology and OUHSC College of Communication Sciences and Disorders.


Linda I. D’Onofrio, MS, CCC-SLP

My name is Linda D’Onofrio and I would like to be considered for the position of Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council for the state of Oregon. Connecting people and finding innovative ways to solve problems is my professional passion and I would really enjoy helping ASHA members have a richer connection with their association.

Since 2005, I have participated on the board for the Oregon-Speech-Language-Hearing Association as the chair of the Clinical Committee, the Health Care Committee, and I held the position of President in 2013. The OSHA board works hard to communicate with SLPs and audiologists across our state regarding pending legislation, reimbursement changes, professional trends, and networking opportunities. I have presented to our association on national issues and I have been able to share with national groups like STARs and CSAP about concerns and triumphs in our part of the country. It would be an exciting opportunity to work as a liaison on behalf of ASHA and I would hope that I could help create more value for ASHA members by acting as a liaison for them to the Advisory Counsel.

I’d like to consider myself a well-educated SLP. While I feel I’m always behind in my professional reading, I strive to continuously expand my education in this wide-ranging field. As a student at the University of Oregon, I wanted to know it all, and stayed for an extra year of graduate school to take advantage of all the coursework available to me. I worked externships in acute care at the Oregon Health Sciences University, early intervention, schools, skilled nursing, and I completed my clinical fellowship at the Portland VA Medical Center. I have an understanding of the many work environments available to our members. After a few years of clinical work, I developed more specific areas of interest and began networking with my SLP colleagues who had other talents, special skills, or were good with certain populations. I collaborate regularly with various medical professionals and act as a community provider the local craniofacial and feeding teams. I enjoy presenting and teaching about clinical and practice issues. As a private practitioner, I am familiar with the necessity and importance of advocating for my patients and for my profession.

I appreciate the nomination. I hope you will consider me for the position of Oregon’s Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Counsel. I’d like to make Oregon proud.

Lauretta J. Manning, MS, CCC-SLP

I am currently seeking a position on the advisory council of ASHA, representing the Oregon speech-language pathologist. I am passionate about the field of speech-language pathology, and have been an advocate for the profession at the school, district, university and state level.

I believe that my experience provides me with the background to make me an ideal candidate. My clinical experience includes owning a private clinic, as well as working in the public school setting in both Canada and the United States. I am the 2013/14 Oregon Speech-Hearing Association president, and have also served in the capacity of treasurer and a regional representative on the board. I have attended 2 CSAP (Council for State Association Presidents) conferences, and will be attending my 3rd in the spring. This involvement has fueled my interest in becoming more active at the national level, so I would love the opportunity to be on the advisory council. For the last 13 years, I have served in the role of a special education program administrator in Portland Public Schools. This includes the management of the speech-language pathology department of 85 professionals, with the responsibilities of supervision, hiring and professional development. Communication disorders in the school system encompass various aspects of our discipline, including the typical areas of articulation, voice, fluency and language. However, the challenges that our SLPs encounter are much broader that these four components. Students with feeding protocols, behavior issues related to autism, culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are some examples of the type of individuals served in the school system. As the program administrator of the department – I am acutely aware of what’s happening, and believe this would serve me well on the advisory council. In addition, I provide support to 21 schools as the special education administrator. This provides me with an opportunity to see the impact of communication disorders on a student’s academic experience, and ways that intervention can support or mitigate the challenges.

As well as my day-time position, I am an adjunct professor in the speech-language pathology department at Portland State University and a member of the advisory committee for PSU. This experience keeps me current with issues at the higher education level.

In addition to my Masters of Communication, I have a Doctorate in Education, with a focus on special education.

In conclusion, I believe my education, professional experience and my commitment to this field will allow me to appropriately represent the state of Oregon at the national level. I would be honored to be part of the advisory council!


Ann B. Bailets, MS, CCC-SLP

Through membership and active participation in various professional organizations within the state of PA, I have demonstrated commitment to the field of speech-language pathology. As a member of the advisory council, I would be able to work with others across the country through ASHA to work on initiatives that are in the best interest of the membership.

As a practitioner, I have worked with clients from ages 2 – 21 in an educational setting. In the past, I have engaged in private practice serving children and adults. For at least the last eighteen years, I have been the ASHA Continuing Education Administrator for my employer. As a member of the PA Assoc. of School Supervisors of Speech-Language-Hearing (PASS), I have held the offices of President and Secretary. A number of years ago, I represented the membership by testifying before PDE regarding caseload guideline recommendations. Working with university professors, early intervention providers and school-age speech-language pathologists, I served on a state-wide committee supported by ASHA and tasked with formulating recommendations on telepractice, licensure, and ASHA certification as a requirement for a speech and language certification through the Department of Education. As a school-based speech/language supervisor in an educational service agency, I have first-hand knowledge of the issues that face our practitioners in the school setting and through collaboration with colleagues in the clinical setting, issues that impact their practice.

Heidi S. Fleming, MS, CCC-SLP

I would love to be considered for the position of Advisory Council member. I have been looking for ways to get more involved in ASHA because there are so many current issues within our professions that spark my interest. Caseload/workload issues, funding for special education, state licensure requirements, therapy caps and reimbursement issues are just a few of the “hot button” topics that have motivated me to action. I feel very passionately about these issues and I want to do my part to ensure that the services we provide are accessible to the individuals who so desperately need them.

I have just over 10 years of experience working in the public schools of Pennsylvania. I have also served as a clinical supervisor for a local university’s speech and hearing clinic. During that time, I have worked with hundreds of children and their families. I have struggled firsthand with large caseloads and feelings of frustration because of too much to do and not enough hours in the day. I often wonder… is anybody listening and how can I change the situation to make it better? I am so thankful to be able to attend state association conferences and talk with other professionals to see if they are dealing with similar issues. I love to meet new people and I would welcome the chance to hear from more professionals about their everyday concerns and struggles. When we connect with each other and share issues, ideas and possible solutions, the next step is to do something about it. I feel that being a part of the Advisory Council is that next step and I am ready to take it!

I am so proud to be a Speech-Language Pathologist and a member of ASHA. I love my profession and I want to help other members feel like they are being heard. I would be honored to be nominated for the PA Advisory Council so that I may serve ASHA members, as well as help the clients we all serve by making sure our services are available and delivered in the most effective, efficient way possible. Thank you for your consideration!

Rhode Island

Sheryl C. Amaral, MS, CCC-SLP

Sheryl C. Amaral, MS, CCC-SLP, MBA is a speech-language pathologist for the Cumberland School Department and per diem for Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island. She currently serves as a reviewer for the American Speech-Language & Hearing Association’s SIG 13 Perspectives publication on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia). Other national appointments include the ASHA Continuing Education Board and ASHA Convention Topic Chairperson for Swallowing & Swallowing Disorders consecutively in 2010 and 2011. Other key positions involved appointments to ASHA planning committees and working groups leading to the creation of ASHA Guideline documents and various ASHA presentations. As examples, Sheryl and her colleagues authored the ASHA Professional Performance Review document designed for the evaluation of school based speech-language pathologists and the Guideline Document for Dysphagia in the Schools. These projects led to the 2008 article published in Language Speech & Hearing Services in the Schools, addressing physiological and behavioral issues related to feeding disorders in school age children with autism. On the state level Ms. Amaral held various positions with RISHA for approximately seven years. She was elected President of the Rhode Island Speech Language Hearing Association in 2003. During her 2 year term as president, Ms. Amaral spearheaded Rhode Island’s participation as a “focused initiative state” in the Salary Supplement Project of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). Ms. Amaral’s nomination to the ASHA Advisory council is complimented and strengthened by her graduate degree in business administration that afforded her business experience in marketing, product development, public relations, coupled with her involvement in community fundraising, historic preservation and Board of Trustee membership.

It is an honor to be nominated to serve on the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) SLP Advisory Council representing Rhode Island. Throughout my career I have been privileged to collaborate with colleagues who have served as mentors of the profession. Such experiences have afforded me opportunities to represent our professions at the state, regional and national levels. Given the continual changes in healthcare as well as in the educational milieu, advocacy for our professions has evolved into a critical need in our quest for the solutions to the challenges that face us all. My experiences as a practicing clinician in the schools and in healthcare combined with leadership positions at the state level and national levels have convinced me that serving on the Advisory Council for Rhode Island is an important role that I must fulfill. I am grateful for this opportunity to represent our professions if allowed to do so.

South Carolina

Elise Davis-McFarland, PhD, CCC-SLP

I am interested in being a member of the Advisory Council as a way to continue to contribute to and support ASHA in its service to our members. I feel service on the Council will also be a way to strengthen speech-language pathology practice in South Carolina. Working with the Council will provide an opportunity to raise issues that most directly affect clinicians and researchers nationally and locally. I am particularly interested in strengthening practice opportunities for school speech speech-language pathologists, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based practice, raising the issue of maintaining ethical standards and practices across the profession, and supporting ASHA’s interest in international practice issues.

I have served on several ASHA committees and boards so I know the association’s goals and workings. As the founding director of a graduate communication sciences and disorders program, I am experienced in the academic and clinical preparation of speech-language pathologists and audiologists, curriculum development and program administration. I am also familiar with medical speech-language pathology practice and the attendant Medicaid and Medicare issues. I have conducted funded research on communication development and disorders in children, and have contributed publications to the speech-language pathology and dysphagia literature. I have also had experience with the speech-language pathology professions in Africa and Europe.

LaShawn C. Thomas Bridges, MA, CCC-SLP

I am committed to positive outcomes for students with speech-language impairments. My daily work includes assisting Speech-Language Pathologist helping students reach their fullest potential and not be defined by their communication impartments. With the use of best practices and evidence based practices, students can make significant gains when a variety of approaches and strategies are in place. As a state education associate I am implanting these practices and I would like the opportunity to contribute on the national level.

LaShawn Thomas Bridges is a nationally certified and state-licensed speech-language pathologist. She is the Education Associate for Speech-Language Pathology for the South Carolina Department of Education where she provides technical assistance and support to assist LEAs in building programmatic and procedural capacity. She has provided speech-language services in a variety of settings to individuals across the lifespan. She is a member of several Speech-Language Pathology professional organizations and serves on the South Carolina Advisory Council on the Education of Students with Disabilities.

South Dakota

Kari E. Keating, MS, CCC-SLP

I am seeking appointment to the advisory council to further contribute to the field of speech- language pathology, including collaboration with other SLPs to address issues and participate in problem-solving for the betterment of the profession. My desire to work as a member of the advisory council is rooted in my passion for speech-language pathology as a profession and what SLPs contribute to society in a way no other profession is able to do. My area of focus and experience in the field allows me a unique perspective regarding topics of interest to members. I work with a wide variety of clients (birth-21) ranging from outpatients to people with severe and multiple disabilities at an intermediate care facility to students through IEP services to inpatient rehabilitation. I work daily with people on feeding/swallowing, AAC, language/communication, speech, and cognition resulting from a wide variety of diagnoses. The various settings and populations I work with allow me to consider multiple viewpoints and engage effectively with others with various backgrounds. As part of the advisory council I am looking forward to providing input ensuring SLPs from all areas are represented and supported by the decisions of the profession as well as being involved with ASHA advocacy. I am eager to work with other SLPs on analyzing information related to concerns from ASHA members and developing action plans and recommendations. I am looking forward to learning more and have a strong drive to continually expand my skills and ability to impact the profession.

My enthusiasm for the field of speech-language pathology certainly encompasses, but also goes beyond direct treatment. As mentioned above, I work with a wide variety of diagnoses in a variety of settings which gives me a unique perspective and an ability to work with SLPs with multiple perspectives. I am especially passionate about serving those with severe and multiple disabilities and I am eager to represent this area as well. I am fortunate enough to be able to be an acting SLP as well as the coordinator of the speech therapy department at the facility where I work. As a coordinator, I am not only able to provide direct treatment but also advise and mentor other SLPs and collaborate with a variety of professionals to develop programming to support communication, feeding/swallowing, and other ST services for the betterment of patients/students served. In addition to my passion for my career, I also volunteer as a leader with CLASP International which is a nonprofit that seeks to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities in developing countries through self-sustaining programming. I am currently the co-director of the SLP program with CLASP, which entails supervising volunteer SLPs, developing programming, and providing training/education with respect to various cultures. Through CLASP and my coordinator duties, I am familiar with technology that allows collaboration with others through online meetings and work efficiently with others from a variety of backgrounds.


Ellen M. Kelly, PhD, CCC-SLP

ASHA welcomes and benefits from the input and participation of its members in governance. By becoming a member of the Advisory Council, I will learn about the impact of ASHA on the state of Tennessee, sharing that knowledge with my constituents, as well as have the opportunity to share issues and ideas generated by my Tennessee colleagues (i.e., SLPs and AUDs in various work settings), stakeholders, and influenced by state legislation (e.g., telepractice delivery, licensure, practice requirements and settings, etc.) with other members of the ASHA Advisory Council and ASHA leadership. Exchange of information, ideas, and close collaboration between members from various states and ASHA personnel at the national level will yield creative, solution-focused interactions that will benefit the membership, enhance collaboration and cooperation between and within states, and help sustain and build a solid future for ASHA as the leader in best practices in the professions of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

I have had a wide range of experiences serving as a member of and chairing a variety of committees affiliated with ASHA (e.g., program committees, associate editorships, IN state representative, etc.), state speech-language-hearing associations (e.g., continuing education, convention planning, task forces, research grants, etc.), international organizations (e.g., publications committee and reviewer for IFA), and self-help organizations (e.g., Stuttering Foundation of America). I also have served as Director of Graduate Programs at Purdue University and on a wide variety of committees at departmental, school, and university levels at both Purdue and Vanderbilt. I am the team leader for fluency disorders at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, developing programs, mentoring colleagues and students, and conducting meetings to share new information from research and clinical practice realms. I recently obtained a Certificate of Telepractice Competence from the American Telemedicine Association that availed me of information and tools to provide direction and leadership in telepractice in my current clinical faculty position at Vanderbilt, to constituents and colleagues in the state of TN, and to contribute to the ongoing development of telepractice within ASHA. I am currently working with national and international colleagues to produce a new DVD for parents of children who stutter in collaboration with the Stuttering Foundation of America. Such experiences clearly demonstrate that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” (Aristotle), a key element in the kinds of interactions and working relationships this position will require.

Melinda L (Mendy) Richards, PhD, CCC-SLP

I am seeking re-election to the ASHA SLP Advisory Council for a couple of reasons: first, I have strong background in leadership, having been a commanding officer in the USAF, state association President (TAASLP), MTSU Faculty Senate, served five terms as Chair of the Tennessee Board of Communication Disorders & Sciences (elected by my peers and appointed to two terms by the Governor), and asked to chair the Tenure & Promotion Committee of my department twice. I have chair the Technology Committee of my academic unit and have done so for the past 12 years. Most recently, I was elected to the Presidency of the National Association of Pre-Professional Programs (NAPP), an affiliated organization of ASHA. In my “civilian” life, I was a four-term president of Mastersingers, Inc. (the community chorus of the Upper Cumberland region of Tennessee), and am in my third consecutive term as Senior Warden of my parish. I was asked to serve and then was reappointed to the Commission on Ministry by the Bishop of Tennessee two more times, a body that guides the discernment process for would-be priests and deacons in The Episcopal Church.

Second, my vision is that of always planning ahead, and being progressive and intentional in all our actions. Leading by consensus and achieving a high degree of “buy-in” from the stakeholders in any venture is critical to mission success. I look forward to continuing my contributions to the SLPAC; in particular, continuing advocacy for the people of Tennessee. Most recently, the issue of Chronic Concussion in competitive sports and the role that ASHA and its members play in prevention, assessment and treatment of sports-related TBI has become an issue of focus for me, and one in which I hope to see ASHA play a greater role

I appreciate being considered for re-election in this area of ASHA governance as one in which my skill set lines up with the need for leadership.


Jerrold J. Jackson, PhD, CCC-SLP

I am seeking an appointment with the Advisory Council because I possess the qualities and characteristics necessary to make an impact within our professional association. There continues to be a shift in the profession that affects the way we practice and how we are viewed by consumers and others. We have to remain steadfast in our approaches to treatment/service delivery and continue to strive to make others aware of the important work we do as health/human service professionals. As a speech-language pathologist that has worked in a variety of settings (health care, public schools, universities/clinics), there continues to be a misconception about the roles we play as professionals. It is vital that we continue to make our mark and leave a positive, lasting impression on those around us. There also continues to be a national shortage of professionals working in our field. We have to discover ways to increase our numbers, recruit and retain talented individuals from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds to meet the needs of those who require our service and knowledge base. I look forward to working collaboratively with other minds to solve problems and create solutions that will hopefully provide lasting effects on a profession that remains necessary in an ever changing world.

My professional life has evolved around working collaboratively with others. I have had the opportunity to serve on several committees in various capacities since starting work as a speech-language pathologist. Early on, I was a regional representative for the Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologists in Louisiana Schools (SPALS) organization, where I was then later asked to chair/manage the exhibitors that attended the annual conference. Upon leaving Louisiana and joining the faculty at Western Michigan University, I had the opportunity to serve on a number of departmental and university committees revolving around issues of student retention, curriculum development and multiculturalism and diversity. I was instrumental in developing community-based relationships that provided educational and research opportunities for students and faculty members. Each opportunity/experience provided me with the chance to not only grow personally and professionally, but to develop skills necessary to work collaboratively and assist with creating positive, systemic changes. While it is true that I have had the a variety of experiences that relate to being a part of the ASHA Advisory Council, my most valuable asset is my willingness to learn, collaborate and provide a service to an organization that has opened up many opportunities to/for me.

Mary R. Fernandez, PhD, CCC-SLP

I am Mary Ruth Fernandez and I am seeking an appointment on the ASHA Advisory Council for three reasons: 1) because ASHA has been very good to me, helping me over the last 35 years that I have practiced, 2) because in 2008 I earned a PhD in culture, language and literacy and that combined with my personal and professional experience as a person of diversity, I know I have a contribution to make and 3) because of the growing diversity of the nation, the international connections and emerging pattern that what is good for the mainstream is good for the diverse.

As for the characteristics needed to be an effective advisory council member those are listed on the web site. From early in my life, I have served different agencies in different capacities. As the third grader I arranged the music, choreography, costumes and flowers for a flamingo dance school performance done in honor of King Antonio, a dignitary of the City Wide Fiesta Celebration. In the fifth grade I was elected president of the school Science Club. In the seventh grade I joined the choir, as a freshman the pep squad, the dance team, the theater lime lighters and as a senior the cheerleading squad. In college I was elected the president of the OLLU chapter of the NSSHLA, and after graduation I was elected president of the San Antonio Speech Hearing and Language Association. I worked as a private practitioner, as a supervisor at the OLLU university clinic, on university search committees, the undergraduate curriculum committee and the faculty assembly executive committee. I have worked for the Texas Speech and Hearing Association and assisted in the formation and am currently the President of the Texas Organization of the Multicultural Multilingual Speech Pathologists and Audiologists. TOMMAS is a 501-C3 organization dedicated to supporting those who serve Spanish speaking populations. It is in this work, that I have demonstrated the ability to listen, analyze, and think strategically and creatively. As for viewpoints, I recognize that a view point is only that, and that shared perspectives can be converge into a shared vision that is parsimonious. By that I mean by working together we can create a view that can account for as many points of view as possible. Each best vision is formed when each stakeholder provides input. I consider myself both a stakeholders and a servant. I would like to work together with other ASHA members to guide us, ASHA, into the next few years. Teaching at university and working for different organization has required that I use technology, I have worked with financial statements, federal tax returns, ASHA’s CE paperwork for both presenters and conference attendees, and I am willing to learn more completely about ASHA’s mission, goals and vision. I believe my experience speaks to the characteristics I have and am interested in learning the skills needed to complete the tasks of the Advisory Council tasks. I can travel and participate in online meetings.

U.S. Territories

Clare A. Camacho, CCC-SLP

I served for several years on the Allied Health Board that licenses speech-language pathologists in our territory. There are many challenges of recruitment and retention, yet compromising our profession harms the clients and communities we serve. I’ve always strived to protect the profession and inform the community on the scope of practice of SLPs. I want to continue this mission in a larger platform.

I served one term several years ago when the structure of the councils was different. I believe in making decisions based on solid research and evidence. I do this in my current work as a private speech-language pathologist and a professor at a local college. I will bring this same approach to making decisions for the council in order to advance the profession.

Marybeth Torres, CCC-SLP

I have served on the ASHA Legislative Council and the ASHA SLP Advisory Council in the past as an International Representative and have experienced the importance and power of the work done on the Council on behalf of our members. I have the experience, knowledge and desire to represent members again, in this exciting new position as a Representative for members living in the U.S. Territories. Having lived in the US Territory of Guam for the past 25 years, working in both the Island School System and the Island’s only public hospital, I feel have a profound grasp of the joys and challenges ASHA members face, living in the US Territories . It would be an honor to be elected to this position.

I am a licensed, certified Speech Pathologist, active in the field for the last 33 years, working in the United States as well as on the Island of Guam, in educational, clinical and private settings. I am an active ASHA member and have served on the ASHA Legislative Council (2007) and ASHA SLP Advisory Council, International Representative (2008-2009). I have served on ASHA Vice President’s Government Relations and Public Policy Coordinating Committee – U.S. Territories, working successfully with Ms. DeAnne Owre and other committee members towards highlighting contributions of and improving conditions for ASHA members working in US Territories. I have a firm grasp on the current and evolving needs and contributions of these members and would be knowledgeable, dedicated and contributing Council member if elected to this position.


Sandra L. Gillam, PhD, CCC-SLP

I would like to submit my application for Advisory Council for the coming term. I have served on the Advisory Council as representative for Utah before and it was a great honor. Therefore, I understand the time commitment and obligations that are associated with this position.

I am willing to participate in activities and discussions via web-based forums, and to attend and participate in the annual meeting of the Advisory Council including participate in the Capitol Hill Day advocacy efforts that take place during that time. I understand the charge of those serving on Advisory Council and am willing to identify issues of concern to ASHA members in the state and to relay them to the Board of Directors for discussion.

I am happy to give my advice, to review documents, and to support the Board in fulfilling its mission to serve the ASHA members and persons with communication disorders across the lifespan.

My strengths are in my ability to listen, to think creatively, and to work well with others as we solve important problems that contribute to improving the lives of others.

It would be my pleasure to serve on this important committee again. Thank you for your consideration.


Susan L. Kimmerly, EdD, CCC-SLP

I am seeking this appointment to continue my advocacy efforts for Vermont’s speech-language pathologists with our national organization: ASHA. Since I was first an ASHA member, there have been tremendous changes. ASHA has made great strides in its service to the varied membership. I will advocate for continued support of individual members and state associations. ASHA’s regional and topical consultants have helped VT in many ways: legislatively, by monitoring our state’s activity affecting reimbursement, licensure, telepractice and through financial support to the association to conduct our own advocacy activities. Coming from a small state, I will work to ensure that Vermont’s unique interests are considered by the large organization.

Additionally, as a practitioner, I want to work toward maintaining the value we receive in exchange for our membership and certification dues. I enjoy reading the ASHA Leader, going to an occasional convention or schools conference and the new practice portal. These efforts benefit the typical member. I also value the leadership ASHA provides in the area of ethics and professional and training standards. I will work to continue the services that benefit all of us.

Since 1979, I have worked as an SLP Assistant, an SLP in public schools, a Home Health Agency, at the VT Dept of Education, and in private practice. I currently own and direct two businesses: one a school, and one a consulting/direct service agency, both focus on special education and related services.

I have 14 years’ experience in State government in two different agencies, where I developed my fiscal and programmatic management skills, sufficient to help me launch two businesses. I have organized groups of stakeholders, as well as been a stakeholder on many forums. I currently serve on the governor-appointed Special Education Advisory Council.

I have been active in VSHA two different times during my career, from 1979 – 1986 and then again, from 2006 through this year, when my term as past-president expires. In my capacity with VSHA I have attended two summits sponsored by ASHA- one on personnel shortages and the other on SLP Assistants. I have also benefitted from Vermont’s membership in the Council of State Association Presidents, by having personal contacts with ASHA’s leadership and high level employees.


Marie C. Ireland, MEd, CCC-SLP

I am eager to serve on ASHA’s SLP Advisory Council and offer my experience and assistance to support to the many projects that ASHA addresses each year. I believe strongly that since over 50% of ASHA SLPs work in public schools, that those who have experience in public school service and public school administration bring a view that is often underrepresented.

I have served as the Virginia Department of Education's educational specialist for Speech Language Pathology, evaluation and eligibility, language diversity, and general special education issues in Virginia for 10 years. Knowledge of clinical practice and state and federal regulations is a requirement for my current position. I have experience working as both an author and peer reviewer for ASHA publications, am a member of a special interest group, and avail myself of opportunities to expand my knowledge of both clinical and administrative topics.

I have worked in Virginia's public schools as a speech-language pathologist at the elementary and secondary level and supervised programs for special education students K-12. My service on the Speech-Language Hearing Association of Virginia’s Board for 6 years (including 1 term as president), ASHA’s Legislative Council and SLP Advisory Council has afforded me the opportunity to advocate for change and address issues of important to the profession regardless of work setting. I understand the need for groups to prioritize and plan and believe that my experiences and communication with the SLPs in Virginia will allow me to make contributions to the SLP Advisory Council. I am currently serving as the Past President of the State Education Agencies Communication Disabilities Council and am a member of the ASHA Medicaid Committee until December 2014. I have experience working on teams and councils and enjoy collaborating on projects that impact our profession.

In sum, I believe that my combination of work experience and service as the state and national level provides a unique set of knowledge and skills that would be valuable to the SLP Advisory Council.


Kathleen D. Gregory, CCC-SLP

I believe it is incumbent upon each of us to give back to the professions that have made the world and the communities in which we live a better place. Speech pathology provided me with the skills I needed as a child with a profound speech disorder to successfully complete my education, to enjoy rich relationships with family and friends, and to spend the last 26 years in a career that has afforded me with opportunities beyond any I had imagined. I would very much appreciate the opportunity to serve my fellow professionals and contribute to the future of the professions.

I have served at the national level as a member of the Council for Clinical Specialty Recognition. As a member of the CCSR, I acted as secretary for the Council and advocate for the American Board of Child Language and the American Board of Fluency.

At the state level, I have served as Membership Committee Chair for the Washington Speech-Language Hearing Association. I also served as Program chair for the 2012 WSLHA Convention held in Wenatchee.

While working in the public schools, I served as WEA Southeastern Washington Uniserv secretary. I served on the state board of directors for the WEA and served on the state Benefit Services Board.

I would like to note that while I have served in a variety of positions in a variety of organizations, I believe strongly that true leadership happens on a daily basis in schools, clinics, hospitals, nursing facilities, and homes...everywhere that SLPs provide service. I would be honored to serve my peers as the Washington state representative to the ASHA Advisory Council.

Sindy Sands, MA, CCC-SLP

I wish to receive this appointment because it is an opportunity for me to serve and support the SLPs in my state and national associations. I believe in the power of ASHA to support, train and serve our members. I am proud of my profession and ASHA for what we do to better the lives of people with communication disorders. I am passionate about being the best we can be while celebrating our diverse skills and backgrounds. Without my experience in state association leadership my SLP world would have been related to school experience only. I now know how to understand the needs of SLPs in different job settings from listening to, communicating with and utilizing expertise of clinical SLPs in the various settings in which they work. I truly believe it is an honor to represent other SLPs and work toward ASHA’s goals.

Having been an educational SLP representative to our state board and president of our state association, I am familiar with the workings of large associations.

As a president I needed to understand and review financial statements, gather reports and publish them in a timely manner as well as communicate with board and association members about the issues of the membership. I also communicated with ASHA over issues relative to our national and state associations. I find it energizing to meet these needs.

The ability to work with very different and sometimes difficult people is one of my strengths. I believe there is much to be learned when I work with folks who are different in experience, knowledge and opinions. I like looking at all sides of a situation. Working in a team is my favorite work experience.

I have 35 years of experience as a working SLP but I don’t think I have arrived. Rather I seek continued education and opportunities to hone my skills. I want to be a historian as well as forward thinking and innovative. At this point in my life and career I have the time to devote to Advisory Council and respectfully submit my name to such office.

West Virginia

Vickie Hinzman Pullins, MA, CCC-SLP

I am seeking this appointment because I believe I could represent the members of WV well since my reach across the state spans both universities and all levels of the practice of speech pathology from Birth-to- Three to schools to hospitals. I have spent 32 years working in WV with 22 years in a private practice building long lasting professional relationships. I serve on the WV Board of Examiner’s for Speech Pathology and Audiology and am a member of the National Council of State Boards.

I am a student of leadership and have learned to listen, compromise, challenge and dance with people of differing viewpoints. Most recently I have partnered with our WV Board of Examiner’s lobbyist in an effort to secure universal licensure to include the speech pathologists in the public schools, a most controversial issue. This experience has been enlightening in regard to the workings of state government and the effectiveness of communication and compromise.

I have been a member of ASHA since 1975 and have always believed in its mission. I would be honored to be a part of this team representing my colleagues in WV.

Julia Byers VanVolkenburg, MA, CCC-SLP

Over the past 11 years, I have had the good fortune to serve as a speech language pathologist to the students in Marion County West Virginia and continue towards my goal of obtaining a doctorate at West Virginia University. Collectively, my involvement with students and furtherance of my education have led me to a point where I would like to apply some of my training, experience, and education in an effort to shape and further this profession as I continue to move forward in my career.

During the past several years, I have been working on finishing my doctorate which will focus on the role of assisting children with Autism. My doctoral research has uniquely positioned me to address this continually emerging and critical component of our profession. In the school setting, I have strived to remain on the cutting edge of treatment for students with all types of speech and language disorders. I have also served as a clinical competency supervisor. Throughout this time, I have also been an active member of West Virginia Speech Hearing Association. Consequently, I have been able to remain on the forefront of our profession in a wide spectrum of areas. These experiences have demonstrated a critical importance of foresight related to emerging trends and treatment in the field of speech language pathology. This is a mindset that I would be honored to bring to the ASHA Advisory Council.


Mary Beth Hendrickson, MS, CCC-SLP

I am seeking appointment to the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council for Wisconsin because I would like to be involved in and give back to the ASHA community. As a speech-language pathologist for over seven years, I would be honored to represent members from the state of Wisconsin and members at large by identifying and discussing pertinent issues that affect all of us as ASHA members and work to provide input and assistance in the development of programs and services that could be of benefit to our members.

I currently work as a clinical speech-language pathologist at a state-run psychiatric hospital where I see patients from ages five through the geriatric population. I see a wide variety of patients and therefore encounter a vast variety of issues. Prior to working in this setting, I worked in skilled nursing facilities. I believe that I am able to work well with many different people and enjoy listening to others and working to find creative solutions to potential issues. At my current job, I am a member of the facility’s Employee Council which is a committee that meets monthly to discuss the issues and concerns that affect the staff of the hospital. At meetings, information is shared with members of the Executive Leadership Team, and issues, concerns, and problems are worked on and resolved as needed. Additionally, I am proficient with the technology tools needed to carry out this position and welcome the opportunity to develop skills in areas where I might not be as familiar.

I feel that my interpersonal skills, combined with my practical experience, my eagerness to learn, and my strong desire to serve the ASHA community would make me an excellent candidate for the Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council.

Dawn E. Merth-Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP

Holding the ASHA Advisory Council representative position for speech-language pathology in Wisconsin for the past two years has been an incredible experience. It has allowed me to expand my professional network not only within the state, but nationwide. I have appreciated the opportunity to serve as a leader and advocate on a variety of issues impacting the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology. I have learned how to promote the professions on a national level through trips to Washington D.C., as well as how to maintain those political relationships throughout the year. I feel that my journey has only just begun and would be honored to serve another term in this position.

My past experience with my state association (WSHA) has allowed me to pursue my leadership goals at the state level. I have served 2 terms as Vice President of School Services and represented Wisconsin as the State Education Advocacy Leader through ASHA. I have also served as President of WSHA and Secretary of the Council of State Association Presidents. I hope to further expand my professional involvement in ASHA in the future with other board positions. I applied for and received an advocacy grant through ASHA this year and have been very active in fulfilling the obligations of the grant. I hope to apply for a second grant to continue the efforts at the state level. My experience with ASHA AC has enhanced my ability to focus on the state advocacy goals.


Christiane Dechert, MA, CCC-SLP

I have served ASHA and my Wyoming colleagues in the capacity of Advisory Council member for the past two years. My first term on the Advisory Council ends December 31, 2014. I wish to continue beyond my original commitment of three years (term expires December 31, 2014) because I feel I can continue to make an impact representing my state at the Council. I represent a rural state with small population numbers and few face-to-face professional collaboration opportunities. I have excellent contacts to speech-language pathologists in the state, in my capacity as chair of the membership committee of the state association. I support the state association leadership with advice on organizational and program issues. I also chair the public awareness committee, and as such manage our webpage and publish a bi-monthly newsletter. Therefore, I am in a unique position to be familiar with the issues that affect speech-language pathologists and audiologists in the state.

I am a clinical faculty member in communication disorders at the only university in my state, and am at the forefront of teaching professional practice to graduate students. In my department, I serve as NSSLHA Advisor and regularly collaborate with undergraduate students on advocacy projects for people with communication disorders.

I have also used all of these positions to keep my department, state association, and fellow SLPs and students informed about national issues that I learned about at Council. For instance, I serve on the IPE committee of UW’s College of Health Sciences, and have brought the discussion of interprofessional education to my department and continue to work on implementing educational opportunities at the college level.

Wyoming is a small state with regard to population numbers. Wyoming representatives, nevertheless, have influence on Capitol Hill. I believe that I have been successful in talking to representatives and their staff during Capitol Hill Day, and I have continued to approach Senators and our one Representative through ASHA advocacy projects or in person while here in Wyoming.

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