Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ciao 2008 - It's Been Great!

There are many traditions that we have become accustomed to in ringing in the New Year – the ball dropping, party hats, champagne toasts, noisemakers and of course, nostalgia. Every magazine, newspaper or website you read features a nostalgic look at the year past - from fashion do’s and don’ts and Hollywood blockbusters and busts, to top news stories and famous faces that have passed on. Lists commemorating a year that will be no longer have become a part of welcoming a new year, filled with hope and promise.

In this grand tradition of list making, we are taking a swing at it – highlighting the things that we were most grateful for in 2008.

10. A Historical Year – From the presidential election to the Olympics to the Tampa Bay Rays not only winning more than they lost but making the World Series, 2008 was by all accounts one that will make the history books. We were simply grateful to be a part of it!

9. Bruce Springsteen – He is THE BOSS after all and he is actually a pretty big part of the Progressus Experience. Our esteemed colleague, and Progressus President Don Scheeler is an Über-fan and it runs much deeper than Born in the USA or the Jerry Maguire track. Bruce and his musical wisdom have become a fun part of what we do and how we do it. He’s become a motivator, a messenger, a welcome part of the Progressus Team and the half-time act at this year’s Super Bowl, which will be held in Tampa, home of our corporate offices.

8. Growth – 2008 represented a significant growth spurt for Progressus – in the number of clinicians on our team, in the number of districts we partnered with, in the number of children we serve. We’re no psychics, but if we had to make a prediction, 2009 will bring more growth, allowing us to make an even greater impact on the lives of children around the country.

7. Connecting – With each passing year, we wonder how we ever lived without the technology that has become part of our everyday lives. As miles often separate colleagues, friends and family, technology has helped keep communication frequent and consistent. This year, Progressus was excited to introduce social networking as a new part of our culture. ProgressusConnect helps us do just that – connect anytime, anywhere. Clinicians that live in Los Angeles can connect to folks in Baltimore with a simple click.

6. Face-Time – 2008 was a year filled with events around the country. Conferences are especially fun because they give us the opportunity to meet new and experienced SLPs, OTs and PTs. As much as we appreciate technology and all that it does to make life easier, there is nothing that replaces meeting someone face to face and having a real, live conversation. It is priceless!

5. Amelia – Our Soaring Star – 2008 brought a lot of changes – one very important one was our new logo and tagline. In July we proudly introduced Amelia – who graces our logo and shows up where good things are happening. She illustrates the notion of leaping free of bounds – of soaring – and is accompanied by our new tagline, The Power of What’s Possible. We know that every dream, every goal is possible and that is truly powerful.

4. Investing in Students – We feel privileged to have the opportunity to invest in students that are entering the fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy by funding scholarship and grant opportunities. We are inspired by the brilliant students that are getting ready to launch their careers. It is an honor to help them on their journey and celebrate their success!

3. Powerful Partnerships – One of the greatest gifts we celebrated this past year were the partnerships we were able to build. With our school-districts around the country, creating customized services to meet their needs. With professional organizations such as the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Physical Therapy Association. We were also proud to partner with companies like TheraSimplicity, and Advance – each of which has helped us achieve our goals for the year.

2. 25,000 – that is the number of students our clinicians are currently serving in school-districts around the country. We are awestruck by the number of lives we are able to touch – to change - through the work of the country’s best SLPs, OTs and PTs.

1. The Progressus Team – We aren’t afraid to say it – even brag on it a little bit. Progressus Therapy has the best Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists in the country. And it’s not just our humble opinions that we base this on. It’s what we hear from our partnering school districts, parents of the children our clinicians work with – sometimes even from other companies in the arena. We’re extremely proud of our team and, gosh-darn-it, it has truly been the best part of 2008!

As we say goodbye to 2008 and warmly (at least in Tampa!) welcome 2009, we wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Make Your Resume A Star!

I remember clearly writing my first resume –fingers poised and ready at the key board – the makings of the most successful candidate an employer has ever seen ready to pour out of my anxious fingers onto the marbleized, specialty resume paper. I typed my first words – first and last name. Ooh – they looked good! My addresses (home and email) followed immediately. It was really shaping up.

And then I sat there – fingertips firmly set upon ASDF JKL; - for what seemed like an eternity. What exactly do I write?

A bead of sweat formed on my brow when I realized that in terms of experience, mine was moderately anorexic. I had just graduated and this resume was to be my entry into the professional world. Do I include my exciting stint with Old Town Trolley tours in Boston? Do I add some creating musings to add some flesh to the frail bones of my experience?

This year at the ASHA Convention in Chicago, the organization added Resume Star to their list of offerings. Attendees had the opportunity to have their resumes reviewed by participating companies. Progressus was one of the companies that signed up to help students and experienced clinicians. From that experience, here are a few resume tips.

Choose a standard font. Yes, Comic Sans is fun, but it does have the word comic in it and that should tell you a lot. Also – keep your font size between 11 and 12. Even on a seriously malnourished experience section, you don’t want to beef your resume up by using an 18 point font. On the verse - you don’t want an employer to need a magnifying to read a teeny tiny font that you used to cram all of your information onto one page. Which brings me to the next point…

There is an age-old urban legend that resumes MUST be one page. No more. I really wish would bust this myth. As long as your multiple pages are ripe with relevant and persuasive information, going to page two is not going to cause seven years of bad career luck. Because there is a double edge to every sword, your resume should fall quite short of a novella. If it’s looking like the latest Harry Potter book, you have gone too far.

Chronology counts, so count backwards. Employers want to know what you have done most recently. Start there and work backwards.

Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Seems basic enough, but temptation can be overwhelming when you are really trying to make a good first impression. Lying about experience on ability on a resume will be found – I promise you. I know this from shameful personal experience. I thought – I’ll just beef up my experience with using a particular software. Graphic design software. It’s not like they are not going to test me, right? Right? Wrong. Failed test. Failed interview. Lesson learned – DO NOT LIE! Figure out ways to highlight the experience you do have – highlight experiences, achievements. We all have them – we just need to hone in on them. As for cheating and stealing – don’t do it. Copying your friends resume or an online sample word for word, replacing only your name is never a good idea. You never know when your friend will apply for the same job that you are apply for.

Use a professional email address. may have been a great email address for your college days, but this is not the address you want an employer to reach you through. For the serious job hunter, I recommend setting up a separate email account exclusively for your search.

Keep your resume up to date.
As you gain new experience or reach a new goal, dust off the last version and update it. Even if you are not actively seeking a new opportunity. It will make the process much easier when you are ready to find a new position.

After participating in Resume Stars at ASHA ’08, I have to say that the majority of the resumes we saw were quite impressive, which was very exciting. The best piece of advice I can give is to be confident in your experience – don’t be afraid to celebrate your achievements or to be aware and honest about areas that you are looking to grow. Your resume is almost always your first impression with an employer, so make sure it’s a good one!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The AOTA Recommends Making a New Year's Resolution You Can Keep

Sure we all make New Year's resolutions, but how many of us actually keep them? 
Research suggests that only 1/4 of all resolutions are kept past June. 

The American Occupational Therapy Association says resolutions rooted in research-based occupational therapy practices are the most likely to be successful. 
These resolutions are strategies for daily living which prevent injury, illness and disability. 

The AOTA has identified acheivable New Year's Resolutions by age range:
  • Under 20: Get more sleep. Getting enough sleep not only increases alertness but it can also decrease behavioral problems.
  • Age 20-40: Organize living spaces. Eliminating clutter reduces dust and mold and lowers the risk of slip and fall injuries.
  • Age 40-60: Increase physical activity. 65% of Americans are overweight, increasing physical activity can decrease your risk of obesity related illnesses.
  • Age 60-80: Take up gardening. Gardening is America's #1 outdoor leisure activity and can help aging Americans remain active. 
  • Over 80: Check your driving. Safe driving over 80 is possible. Limit your trips to daylight hours or residential areas, take a safe driving class or consider public transportation.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Toni Braxton's New Autism PSA

Toni Braxton participated in the most recent autism awareness PSA for She urges people tp become familiar with the red flags for autism and to realize that early intervention is key.

Braxton speaks from experience. Her five year old son, Diezel, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Diezel also appears in the ad along with his mother.

Networking + Fun = ASHA '08

As a first-timer as ASHA, the conference was a whirlwind of excitement! The chilly Chicago air only seemed to add to the great hustle and bustle of activity. Opportunities abound at the conference, but the greatest of them is the opportunity to interact face-to-face with so many professionals in the field of speech-language pathology. To meet students that are just entering the field, readying themselves for their clinical fellowships as well as clinicians that boast 20+ years of experience was incredible!

Progressus sponsored two booths at ASHA – one in the main exhibit hall and the other within the Career Fair. Between both locations we were able to literally meet and chat with thousands of clinicians that were attending the conference. Networking is a significant part of an event like this. To have the chance to share ideas, make new friends and to sharpen our professional tools is priceless. With so much communication happening electronically these days, it is always refreshing to have a real-live conversation and put a face immediately to a name.

SLPs in the Windy City
Fun was undeniably a huge part of the weekend! Friday night at the conference we hosted a networking soiree for some of our new friends. SLPs in the Windy City was the theme – and to make sure we stayed true to our theme, we introduced two signature martinis – the Progressus-tini and the Amelia-politan (named, of course, in honor of our logo). There were tattoos (fake of course), drinks and even a presentation of one of our Career Vision Scholarships! We were lucky enough to catch up with our winning SLP Felicia at the reception!

So, was the party fun? Let one of our attendees tell you!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Great Careers Begin With Great Clinical Fellowships – Get the DVD – Our Compliments

Hundreds of future clinicians and new graduates were able to receive a complimentary gift that may turn out, in the long run, to be the best gift they received at ASHA 2008 Chicago – the DVD Stepping Stones to Success: The Clinical Fellowship. The DVD is intended to help guide current and future Clinical Fellows through their CF Experience and empower them to maximize this critical step in their career.

Although this video is sponsored by Progressus Therapy (and produced by National CEU), it contains insights from SLP professionals from several organizations. If you are now or will be going through your CF experience, this is a must-have DVD. You can order it at . Send this link to your SLP friends and colleagues.

Progressus Therapy has nurtured the careers of literally thousands of clinicians. One leader at Progressus, Laurie McCloskey, was a key contributor to the Stepping Stones DVD. Here we have an interview with Laurie, where she discusses her own CF experiences and explains her motivation for participating in the video.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Winning New Logo

A new name for the professional logo was unveiled last month for the Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapist Job Provider. 'Amelia' was the creation of Clinical Coordinator Katie Staniszewski's meaning industrious, striving and hard working. With over 100 entries, this was selected to remind people of Amelia Earhart and the symbol of the adventurous spirit.