Thank you to the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC for sponsoring today’s Chambana Mom to Know. The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC will be celebrating National Small Business Week, April 29-May 5, with 13+ events – all free to attend and open to the public. Learn more / register at http://www.cusbdc.org/event/2018-national-small-business-week/.
Katie Martin started her business, Dovetail Speech Consultants, fresh out of graduate school at the University of Illinois, where she obtained a master’s in speech language pathology. “My mission and passion is to help you speak smarter, not harder,” she said. “I crush bad communication habits of entrepreneurs, speakers, thought leaders and up-and-coming stars who want to make a difference in the world and have fun while doing it.” Martin is a “townie” who spent a few years overseas, including a stint while studying in Germany, where she learned to be fluent in German and — not coincidentally — met her husband, Emanuel. She has two children, a 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.
See why we think Katie is a Chambana Mom to Know
Q: You offer a unique service. How did you get into this field, and why do this in Champaign-Urbana?
Early on in graduate school, I went to a career info night. Several people presented on jobs we could do with a degree in in Speech-Language Pathology, including the up and coming area of “accent modification” within our field. One person called it “speech pathology to the stars” – meaning working with actors and actresses on their accents for various movie roles. I instantly fell in love with the idea, but I was more interested in helping non-native English speakers with their accents and communication skills. C-U was the perfect place to start due to the constant influx of brilliant students, scholars, and professionals.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job? What’s the most difficult?
The most rewarding part is definitely helping my clients achieve those “ah-ha” moments when they do something they thought was impossible. For some, they get to hear themselves speak in a way that makes themselves feel good for the first time in ages! For others, it’s finally overcoming a fear of public speaking, or simply being able to cut down their prep time when preparing for interviews or presentations, so they can give their best self (not the stressed out one) to their family and friends.
The most difficult part is getting people to understand that speaking is as much physical as it is mental. Retraining your muscle memory and getting comfortable performing under pressure is just as critical as knowledge of speaking techniques. Therefore, I have to coach people to stop studying alone, and to get out and train like it’s a sport if they really want to see amazing results.
Q: Why go into this business for yourself?
When I graduated with my MA, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but I could not find a single full time or even part time job opening! My husband and I were settled in C-U, and it’s a great location for what I wanted to do, so I jumped in to entrepreneurship! I also knew there was a huge need that wasn’t being met by traditional approaches, both for people who were interested in accent modification and for those interested in public speaking. I was excited about uncovering new solutions to help.
Q: What impact do you see your business making a) for your clients; b) for you?
The impact on my clients varies. I’ve helped students prepare for interviews and land their dream job, pastors shave hours off their sermon prep time, doctors improve their patient ratings, and business owners deliver effective elevator pitches. What they all have in common is that better communication skills lead to clarity and the confidence to go out and excel at what they are passionate about doing.
For me, my success is a product of practicing what I preach. I believe that better communication makes life better. Without it, we can’t connect — we can’t share our ideas and talents with the world. I’m constantly challenged to take my own skills to the next level, which means I’m learning new ways to help my clients reach their next level as well. It’s a win-win and I can’t think of a more exciting job!
Q: What resources in the community did you use on your journey to entrepreneurship? What were the most impactful resources, and why?
I have attended workshops and received 1-1 coaching from the great folks at the SBDC. I have also had 2 SCORE mentors, and I was blessed by some funds from the City of Champaign’s Small Business Incentive Program. Another helpful resource in the community is all of the smart business men and women who live here! I have been blessed to know and meet regularly with several of them. Finding people who are in the same boat, who want to grow their business, and who are willing to be accountability partners has been a game changer for me.
Q: Who is the business person you see as a role model, and why?
Marc Changnon is the District Coordinator of Career Programs for the Unit 4 School District, and he’s one of the business people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with on a regular basis. He has given me practical tips about sales, how to follow up with customers, and how to take things one step at a time. He lives out his life motto of “always do your best” and is one of the most positive and encouraging people I know. The cherry on top is that he is a seasoned motivational speaker, so I love hearing about his speaking adventures as well.
Q: Do you have any advice for women/moms who want to own their own businesses?
First of all, do it! Don’t be what I call a stuck dreamer – always thinking about and planning how to help people, but never actually doing it. Second, find groups or mentors who you can bounce ideas off of and who will hold you accountable to take that action.
Q: Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I can ride a unicycle!
About the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC:
The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is part of America’s Small Business Development Center Network, the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States, and provides information, confidential business guidance, training and other resources to start-up and existing small businesses. The Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC is funded through a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois Department of Commerce, and the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation; with additional support provided by EDC of Decatur and Macon County and the Midwest Inland Port. Learn more at www.cusbdc.org.
About National Small Business Week:
Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. As part of National Small Business Week, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness. Learn more at https://www.sba.gov/national-small-business-week.