“There is nothing of which we are more ashamed than of not being ourselves, and there is nothing which brings us greater joy and happiness than to think, to feel or to say what is ours.” Erich Fromm
Time until our next meeting:
Spotlight of the month
This month’s Spotlight of the Month honors Jeff Kote!
Jeffery Craig Kote was born in Dallas and grew up in Mesquite, Texas. He is 38 years old and now lives in Gainesville on an acre lot with his 3 dogs: Ace, Rex and Daisy. He graduated from Texas A&M Commerce with a Bachelors in Economics in 2004. Jeff is currently working as a Recruiter for IBM as a consultant to the Clorox Company where he finds Clorox’s research scientists, accountants, engineers and whoever else they need to hire. This means he spends most days on the phone, asking interview questions of complete strangers, a task he never felt he would be comfortable doing. His hobbies include spending time with his dogs, family & friends, doing minor home repairs, cleaning, stargazing, watching hummingbirds, drawing cartoons, and listening to music (all-time favorite band is Depeche Mode). Other interests include current events, politics, religion, art, history and finance.
His first job out of college as a recruiter was where Jeff finally addressed his stuttering as an adult. Having left speech therapy after 6th grade, stuttering has been a secret Jeff hid from everyone as much as possible. Jeff’s boss noticed he was having a hard time dealing with his speech on the job in an open call center environment. His boss recommended (and generously offered to pay) for him to see an SLP, which led to Jeff’s first introduction of the NSA. After months of thinking about it, he finally went to his first NSA meeting and met his new “family” which encouraged him to be more open about his stuttering. For the first time in his life, he began creating dialogues with friends & family as well as disclosing his stuttering to people, even total strangers. This was a game-changer and ever since, Jeff has had less anxiety and shame about his stutter which ultimately encouraged him to become Dallas Chapter Leader in the mid 2000’s. Jeff finally realized 100% fluency was not an achievable goal, but with support of his NSA family, Jeff finally “made friends” with his stuttering and is very open about sharing it with others without fear or embarrassment.
Jeff enjoys meeting new people who stutter and always encourages them to disclose their stutter and see how much easier it makes life not trying to hide, substitute words, or altogether avoid speaking engagements. He started a networking group on LinkedIn called “Professionals Who Stutter” in hopes this would be the first step in many others disclosing and increasing their confidence. Jeff is grateful for the NSA as it provided more “life tools” than traditional speech therapy ever could.