Across a varied career, Shari Robertson, 2019 President of ASHA, has always relied on the foundation that her CCCs have provided.
Shari Robertson has worn many hats throughout her career. She’s been a school-based SLP, held multiple university positions including professor and associate provost, started her own publishing company — and even made and sold her own chocolate. Now, as the 2019 President of ASHA, Shari sees a common thread across each of these paths (chocolate-making excluded): The value in getting your CCCs.
“For each chapter, my ASHA CCCs remain the cornerstone of who I am and what I do professionally,” Shari says.
In many ways, Shari sees her role as ASHA’s President as a “continuation” of what she’s done in the different classroom settings she’s been in. Whether it was working with preschoolers with communication disorders or quizzing her college students about how to promote their CCCs to a prospective employer as part of their final exam, she traces it all back to her certification.
“I vividly remember the day my certificate arrived in the mail,” Shari says. “I was so excited—I felt on top of the world!”
Shari didn’t initially gravitate to her eventual line of work though: Growing up, her mother was a school-based SLP, so Shari says she found herself resistant — and admittedly a bit rebellious — to the idea of following in her mom’s footsteps. Then, one semester in college, Shari needed an elective and an introductory course on speech pathology fit the requirement. It wouldn’t take long before she realized it was her passion; she never missed a single one of the 8 a.m. classes, including even when she had mono.
“It clicked and I never looked back after that,” she says
Shari’s commitment to helping people with communication disorders has extended into her family. Her daughter is an ASHA-certified audiologist (Shari framed her CCCs certificate for her). Shari also credits her son, who was late to develop language, as “the impetus” for many of the materials she created over the years. Even her niece is an SLP.
Having her CCCs has allowed her to touch the lives of so many kids, and watching them grow up and reach their fullest potential is what has always driven her. Over the years, Shari has received countless letters from past clients about how she changed their lives.
In one instance, while working at a Wisconsin preschool, Shari developed a program where students were paired with their peers who had significant communication disorders. At the time, she says, it was considered a pretty “radical” program. There was one student in particular who was nonverbal and socially challenged. Years later, Shari heard how this student was doing.
“He and his parents both wrote me when he was a senior in high school and said that it was his experiences in that preschool program that changed the trajectory of his life,” she says. He had gone on to become class valedictorian and starting quarterback at his school.
“That’s one of those moments where you realize that this is why I do what I do.”
Shari also carries out her CCCs through her publishing company, which she describes as “the sandbox that I play in.” She founded Dynamic Resources with the goal of helping her peers get the resources they need to as well as creating material that better serves their clients. That’s why every book she publishes is written by or coauthored by an audiologist or SLP. Today, Dynamic Resources is wrapping up its 22nd book for its children’s collection, all geared towards helping kids with various communications disorders, to go along with a couple dozen other materials.
“This is pure fun for me,” Shari says. “And the kicker is SLPs and parents love our books, too!”
None of this would be possible without the foundation that her CCCs gave her. For Shari, it’s a certification of professional commitment to being the best one can be through the highest ethical standards and continuing education. As ASHA’s President, she’ll continue to highlight why, no matter the career path, her CCCs will always be valuable.
“ASHA has been a leader in ensuring those who provide services have met the highest standard of excellence,” Shari says. Through the CCCs, “ASHA clearly walks the walk, and not just talks the talk.”