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Meet Julie Kristie Carrilo of Speech Therapy Partners in Redondo Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Kristie Carrilo.

Julie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
It’s 2011, I have been married for about 4 months. My husband comes home from his aerospace mechanical engineering job to tell me that he will be laid off in a months’ time, on his birthday no less. My blissful newlywed glow was quickly dimed. At that time, I was working for Paramount Unified School District as a Speech-Language Pathologist for an elementary school. I have always been the type to not wallow in my sorrow, so I decided that to maintain a healthy financial status that I would pick up afterschool clients. I contracted with a local agency and began providing in-home base therapy to families. I would work my 8am-3:30pm regular job and then see students from 4-7pm. It started with just one, then one turned to three and three turned into more referrals than I could service.

At the same time that I was developing what was supposed to be a temporary job, I was hitting my wit’s end at the public school. While I still enjoyed the students and my colleagues, I found that the bureaucracy of the public school was not for me. I found that I was looking forward to my afternoon clients more and more. Soon I decided to devote more time to my in-home patients and work only 3 days at the public school and 2 days for myself.

Fast forward to 2012, after my husband’s 14-month vacation, that’s what we call the time he was laid off. He found a position back in the aerospace industry and finances weren’t as big of an issue. He encouraged me to sink or swim. If after a year, the business was thriving then keep on swimming. On the other hand, if after a year I found that it was difficult or too stressful to maintain then I can let it sink, close up shop and return back to the public school. Lucky for me it’s 2017 and Speech Therapy Partners Inc. is going strong.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not been a smooth road. What I will say is that the business grew organically. For instance, at first I was testing the market, then I became a true business and I found out I needed to get a business license so I went out and got that. The I needed to cut my hours at the public school so I did that. Then I decided that I could serve more families if I had a clinic so I sought to rent a room from an existing business, then 2 rooms, then our own space and so forth.

I would say that one challenge that turned out to be a good event is when I was renting the 2 rooms from an existing business, it was in a Marriage and Family Therapist office. At first, it was fine as I didn’t have many clients, but then as I grew it became a problem. The energy that my clients brought was fun, vibrant, and loud considering that our clientele were mainly children with special needs and their siblings waiting in the lobby. My suitemates brought an energy of calm, soul-searching and at times somber mood. It was problematic and thus it prompted me to look for my own space.

Another challenge is what I lovingly call “Student Tetris”. Scheduling families and therapist can be difficult. Many families receive multiple services such as physical therapy or occupational therapy. So when a new client seeks services, it’s not as simple as offering them what’s available.

My biggest challenge is a small business owner, I wear many hats. This is not surprising to many small business owners. For me, I am the administrator, the biller, the treating clinician, the cleaning lady, and so much more. My day starts at 9am as the treating clinician until 6:30pm. Then as soon as my last client leaves, I become the administrator and the biller and work until 12pm or 1am. On Saturdays, I was the cleaning lady. My friends use to tell me that because I was a business owner I could make up my own hours. I would retort back and say “Yeah, it’s all the time”. I joked and I said that I would love to make a shirt that said “If the day ends in a Y, I’m working!”

My most recent obstacle happened May on this year. I was diagnosed with Stage 5 Renal (Kidney) failure. There was no signs or symptoms indicating I was/am sick until the day I was rushed to the ER. As I mentioned, I wear many hats so it was difficult to let go of all my different duties and focus solely on my health. My Team has been so amazing that upon hearing the news, they all began to take a few tasks off my plate and continued running the practice so I can focus on my recovery. That is the power of a partnership.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Speech Therapy Partners – what should we know?
We provide speech and language therapy to 18 months to 80 years old.

I am proud that my clinicians in my Team are knowledgeable in a variety of speech and language disorders, including but not limited to individuals with autism, down syndrome, developmental delays, speech disorders such as saying W’s for R’s, dysfluencies or more commonly known as stuttering and voice disorders. We pride ourselves in creating a collaborative environment not just among the staff members but especially with the patient’s family member. It is important that they buy into the concepts and strategies that we provide. That is why I called my business Speech Therapy Partners because we make sure that families feel like they are a Partner in their loved one’s success.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I feel that the most important trait I’ve developed is patience. Patience when there aren’t many referrals coming through the door. Patience when your client is making progress as quickly as you would like.

Patience when you are doing your accounting and you can’t find $.25 so you spend over an hour making the books match. Patience when you are juggling 10 things and they all need attention. Patience in finding the right team member to join our team even though you are short staffed. Patience!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Taylor Souza

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