President’s Report: September 2019

Hi all,

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since our last conference in Melbourne where I was elected National President. I’ve noted some highlights from the past year.

Website
We launched a new website on 31 March 2019. Thank you to the website committee Geoff Martin, Janet Beilby and Susan Block for assisting with the content review. Some statistics for 2019 from launch date until September 2019 are 10,718 views and 3,122 visitors. Our website now appears as the second item on Google when searching for “stuttering Australia.”

Technology
Our new email platform for the speakeasy.org.au domain is Google Suite for Non Profit which has been made available free of charge. This has allowed me to use the president@speakeasy.org.au email address as my main ASEA email address rather than forwarding emails to my personal email account and responding from the personal account. Composing and responding from an official email address also helps the ASEA look more professional.

National Council and Advisory Board
• Thank you to Mark Irwin, Geoff Martin, Tushar Kumar, Geoff Martin and Celeste Merrigan for all of your time and efforts with ASEA. We hope to continue to see them at future ASEA events.
• Welcome Grant Meredith and Peter Dhu to the National Council.
• Welcome Paul West to the role of National Vice President.
• Welcome Amanda Lyons to the Advisory Board.

Speech Pathology Australia (SPA)
I was Invited to the 2018 SPA Conference opening reception, consumer panel discussion and closing reception by outgoing National President Gaenor Dixon. While at the conference, I also met some great people at SPA who are interested in helping people who stutter. For all SPA members here at this conference, you will earn PSR points for attending this annual conference. Through an introduction to the QLD SPA Chair, I have been Invited to speak at the SPA QLD Annual General Meeting. I will begin to reach out to all other SPA State Branch Chairpersons to introduce myself and begin collobration efforts with our local ASEA State Executives. For those areas where we do not have a presence, such as North Territory and Tasmania, I will begin efforts to support them through technology.

Stuttering at work
I reached out to the CEO of Diversity Council Australia, Lisa Annese, to enquire if they had any efforts in place for stuttering in the workplace. Lisa then offered me an opportunity to write a guest blog piece for their website about what it’s like having a stutter at work. You can find a link to the blog post on our website.

International Stuttering Awareness Day (ISAD) 2019
• Brisbane is turning green for ISAD! The Story Bridge, Victoria Bridge and Reddacliff Place will all be lit up green on 22 October 2019. A social gathering is being scheduled to start around the Victoria Bridge and end at Howard Smith Wharves which is right under the Story Bridge.
• I will be part of a podcast created by SPA about stuttering for ISAD.
• Harrison Craig will join me for a Facebook Live video chat on ISAD where he will read his children’s book Harrison’s Song, sing a song and answer questions from the public.
• My Beautiful Stutter is a movie that follows five kids ages 9 to 18 all over the United States. Partnering with SAY:Australia, we will be screening the movie for the first time in Australia in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Speak Freely
Speak Freely is about speaking how you want to speak using whatever tools you want to (or don’t want to) use without judgement. It’s a chance to meet others who stutter in a casual environment. The Speak Freely Brisbane group held our first meet up last month in August 2019. Stay tuned for the Speak Freely Video social group.

If you have any ideas or questions that were not raised during the conference or the AGM, please don’t hesitate to contact me at president@speakeasy.org.au.

Vikesh Anand
National President