What the heck is your job?!?

Posted on August 12, 2014 by karen


I get this question all the time. People are always curious about what I actually do. I am a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) specializing in English Pronunciation. Most people think of SLP’s working at schools with children who have trouble talking. But, that isn’t the type of thing I do. I specialize in the pronunciation of sounds in the English language. I know exactly which muscles to use for each specific sound. I can teach you how to use these muscles, properly direct the airflow, and control your voice so that you can be heard loud and clear.

What is it called that you do?

So many names but essentially all the same thing: Accent Reduction, Accent Modification, American English Pronunciation, Accent Neutralization, Business English, English Clarity, Accent Training, and good ole Speaking Clearly. I work with individuals on improving their English Pronunciation so that they can be understood by others.  So go for it and Google your brains out. If you think you need it- You probably do.

Okay, So what is it?

I meet with clients, teams, and companies to work on improving their communication skills. Specifically with improving a client’s English Pronunciation. If a client can improve their pronunciation they automatically improve their overall confidence, their communication skills, and no longer need to deal with the frustrations of repeating themselves over and over again. I also work with individuals on presentation skills, interviews, and anything else that relates to both individual and corporate communication needs.

Who do you work with?

We all have met my clients. They are doctors, professors, lawyers, CEO’s, engineers, programmers, translators, au pairs, and team leaders. They are customer service representatives, pharmacists, architects, journalists, hotel concierge, news reporters, and the radio show host on your local channel. I work with individuals, small groups, startups and corporations to improve their communication. I work 1-on-1 or in a small group. I fly out to big conferences when my client needs extra work on their presentation. I plan intense sessions at company headquarters before the CEO pitches to a VC for funding. I work with fast paced, motivated, creative and brilliant professionals.

How do I know if I need your training?

Two ways: Really unsure if you need to go through training? I offer a Free Screening tool that you can complete on your own. I listen to it and then check in with you about the things I notice. If you know you want to move forward with training you can email me. I’ll meet with you on Skype (AstiNovaSLP) and send you an online assessment to complete. This is how I plan your individualized training sessions. Honestly? If you found this blog post by searching the internet that means you think you need my training. Which is awesome because all you’ve gotta do now is start training!

How does the training course work? 

First comes the online assessment that you’ll complete on your own. I’ll analyze the results and use the information to create your game plan. By completing this assessment I outline exactly what sounds need to be worked on and when. I completely map out a program that is specific to YOUR needs. Even if we are in a small group of your coworkers- everyone has their own game plan. We then meet weekly for an hour or so. Each session has a plan with the specific sounds we are going to work on. After the session ends I send you practice work to complete online. Just like learning a new language- you’ve got to practice and use the skills you learn everyday.

What if I don’t live near you?

Even the clients that live a block away from my office still prefer to do their training over Skype or Google Hangouts. The flexibility is unmatched. So you can live in NYC, San Francisco, or Paris! I meet with clients all over the world using video conferencing. If a client or company wants me to come to their office- I can do that too. But most prefer signing online during work, after their meetings are over, before they work out, etc.

Does it work? 

Absolutely. After 12 weeks of training I have the client retake the assessment. If the client has been staying on task in our training sessions and doing the required practice daily then I guarantee at least a 50% increase in pronunciation and clarity. Honestly? Most of my clients that practice daily get higher than 50%.  It makes sense doesn’t it? If I’m learning Italian and I work on it everyday my success rate is going to be much higher than if I just work on it once a week. That goes for any sports, hobbies, languages, or new tricks.

Is it hard? 

Some of my clients grew up with English as their first language. It’s accented mostly due to the region of the USA they grew up in or perhaps another country that they call home. However, most of my clients have English as their Second Language. Many of which have only learned English in the last 5 years or so. What am I saying? I’m saying that it is a breeze compared to learning a new language. Yes, my training course is intense and I make you work. But that’s because I want you to succeed. This is just fine tuning the way you are already speaking. I’ve been learning Ruby on Rails since January 2014. I can promise you that my training course is much easier than that.


Do you want to be understood by your coworkers, peers, and others? Can you make room to meet with me for just 1 hour a week? Do you want to dominate your next presentation, meeting, or interview? Email me! I’ll get you on the schedule and get you seeing results in a few weeks.



Relocate Your Life

Posted on May 17, 2014 by karen
One of many pictures from my drive across the USA! From Charleston, SC to San Francisco, CA.
One of many pictures from my drive across the USA! From Charleston, SC to San Francisco, CA.

So, I quit my job. Then picked up my boyfriend at the airport. In the 20 minute ride home we decided we would move from Charleston, SC to San Francisco, CA.

I’m not kidding. But why?

Because I’m worth it. I mean this in all aspects of “worth.”  My time, education, experiences, patience, happiness, and morals all deserved more. I’m still head over heels in love with my career as a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). I just was no longer in love with the constant conflict I was living at my job. So I peaced out. 

My first experience with Accent Reduction was in graduate school with a client from India and I was hooked. However, coming out of school I went to work in Pediatrics and then transitioned to Geriatrics. It was when I was working with adults again that I realized how much I missed Accent Modification or Reduction. So I started it back up. Within a session I was hooked, again. This was the day AstiNova was born. Tada!

Why San Francisco? Because I couldn’t freaking help it. The culture just tied me up and dragged me here. Well, we considered Australia or New Zealand too. Maybe next time. I can’t explain the city lights, background hum, the taste or the feel of each and every different neighborhood. I’m in love with the motivated people. I couldn’t have asked for a more creative and innovative “new home” to grow in.


Stop whatever you’re doing and relocate your life. Where is it? Where is it heading? Where do you want it to go? If your life isn’t aimed where you want to be then you won’t get there. I want my life to learn, grow, and change. I want full control over my career. I want to work with people who want to change and improve. I want happiness. So I changed the course of my life and career. You don’t need to go to the extremes that I have gone to. But you do need to reevaluate your life- and do so often. I always want to be exactly where I am. If I wake up one day and find {here} is somewhere else… then I’ll make a change to get there.

Side Note: If you ever get the chance to drive across the country- Do it. America is absolutely gorgeous. It’s incredible the changes that occur from state to state.