Stuttering has no borders

Annie BradberryAnnie Bradberry, second
from left, seated
Canadians aren’t the only ones who attend the Canadian Stuttering Association conferences. People from all over have participated, particularly our neighbours south of the border!

In this third installment of our Q and A series with past attendees of our conferences – in anticipation of our upcoming 2015 conference (details here) – our subject is Annie Bradberry who hails from California. Annie has contributed tremendously to the stuttering community over the years and attends stuttering conferences all over the world!

 1. Tell us about yourself.

My name is Annie Bradberry and I live in Southern California. I’ve worked in the nonprofit world for 22 years and feel very fortunate to have been able to serve my community – be it the city I live in or the stuttering community. I am blessed to be surrounded by family, including a loving husband! We’ve been married for 26 years. For fun I steal time away with girlfriends, travel when I can, and have taken up painting as a new hobby.

I’ve been involved in the stuttering community my entire adult life, including being a member of the National Stuttering Association (NSA) for over 35 years, as a member, chapter leader, board member, and then as Executive Director. During that time I became involved in the international and professional stuttering community, serving as a board member for ASHA (American Speech-Language Association) and the International Stuttering Association (ISA). I’ve attended two ISA conferences (Ghent and San Francisco) and conferences in Iceland, Norway, France and England. I co-created the Youth Program for the NSA and have enjoyed helping to facilitate youth days for over 20 years.

Today I am the Executive Director of a California nonprofit and stay connected to the stuttering community by public speaking at local universities, presenting workshops at the NSA annual conference, and as a Stutter Social host.

2. What was it like for you to grow up stuttering?

I began to stutter at the age of 3. I grew up in a home filled with love and understanding but also a typical New York home with a family that loved to talk, interrupting each other and speaking over each other as normal conversation. As a child who stuttered, this caused me frustration, but I was never treated as anything other than being normal. In their eyes there was nothing wrong with me or nothing I could not accomplish. I’ve come to realize that most of the hardships associated with my stuttering have come from within and not my environment. It has taken me years to believe in myself as my parents had done all along.

3. What is your favourite memory/experience of CSA?

I've been fortunate to attend many Canadian Association conferences, showing stuttering has no boundaries. I traveled from West to East Canada, Vancouver to Montreal and though I had attended many NSA conferences by then, Canada was my first "international" conference. I have so many favorite memories… they come from being invited to an early board meeting and helping to brainstorm growth ideas to the many friends who I came to love… some have passed and I miss them dearly and some remain special in my life.

4. What difference has the Canadian Stuttering Association made to you?

I guess I answered this above. If I were to summarize here… it would be that the CSA gave me my first experience of understanding that stuttering has no borders. We are all alike and though some cultures might view stuttering differently, there is no difference in the minds of those of us who stutter.

5. Do you have a tip you'd like to share with others who stutter?

Baby steps… set goals, dream, visualize. Start at the bottom of your dream list… conquer the easier goals first… then move up your list. When it gets hard, go back to revisit our first item on your list. You will see how far you have come. Realize and begin again – with baby steps – each time getting a little higher and higher on your list. It is your list so remember no one judges or measures your success. I believe success is measured by every single attempt we take. It is the attempts in my eyes that are the true successes.

Thanks Annie!