Q and A with Lynda, Long Island, NY
“I feel we live in a world where people have become very egocentric, not necessarily because we want to be, but because social media feeds into it and says it’s okay.”
“As a child in elementary school, my mother was told I would never go to college because I wasn’t smart enough.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I am passionate about so many things. Besides being passionate about being a Christian woman of faith, wife for 24 years to the love of my life, and mom of three pretty great kids, I have always loved my 20+ year career as a speech language pathologist.
In my field, I feel rewarded when I can help improve the communication skills of others to help them succeed in whatever situation they find themselves. Be it interviews, customer service, presentations, conflicts, leadership skills, or personal relationships, we all need to be able to communicate our best selves in each situation and more.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: I grew up on Long Island in a family that embodied both the Italian and Jewish cultures. Growing up was always about food and family and getting together with extended relatives whenever humanly possible. Yes, it was always loud with many people speaking at the same time! I also come from a family of 3 electricians that believe in hard work to get any job done. Heck, I could have been an electrician if I wanted. Growing up in not only a tight-knit family, but also a Christian home, is the basis of how I formed my strength in my family, faith, and wanting to help people.
As a child in elementary school, my mother was told I would never go to college because I wasn’t smart enough. I always struggled with reading, so I guess that’s how they made that determination. Something I always found joy in was singing…so much so that I took private lessons, sang in many groups and, proving the elementary schools wrong, was a vocal performance major in college. In my sophomore year of college, I was introduced to speech pathology by a professor teaching phonetics. She opened up a whole new world to me that I didn’t even know existed. While I loved singing, I disliked the competitive cutthroat nature of it all. When I realized many singers required speech pathologists to help with their vocal health, that was it, this is what I wanted to do.
While in graduate school, I worked with elementary school children as a speech therapist within the Florida school system. During that time, I found that I enjoyed helping children succeed with their speech and language skills, giving them the tools they needed to communicate with others to help them be social, interactive, and connect with their peers and adults. After receiving my master’s degree in 1998, I moved back to NY as an ASHA and NY state certified speech pathologist working with preschool/elementary level children.
Years later, I began working with teenagers and young adults who were also diagnosed as needing to improve their communication skills. I loved working with them even more. I saw how obtaining the communication skills improved every area of their lives, especially when it came to their work situations where these skills were imperative to their success outside the classroom.
Fast forward 10 years, 3 kids, and the explosion of technology and social media…I found that it wasn’t just my students who were diagnosed that required help with their communication skills; it was everyone all around me! From my children’s friends to the salesperson at the car dealership, from the cashier at the fast food restaurants to the hostess at an expensive steakhouse where you spend $500 for a dinner; they all exhibited difficulty with communicating in a way that acknowledged the people around them. I thought I was the only one who thought communication skills had become a bigger problem and that social media had desensitized people on how to understand and use interpersonal communication skills. Then, there it was on the news; something that confirmed and validated everything I was thinking and feeling, LinkedIn had completed a study identifying communication skills as the #1 skills gap in the work environment across America. It was clear that people were no longer aware of how important these skills are in order to succeed professionally and personally. It was clear I was onto something and knew, with my skills as a speech pathologist, I had to help others improve the art of great communication skills.
I decided to work on developing specific classes targeting communication skills and situations where you would need to have great communication for a specific purpose. I pitched my classes to a professional development administrator of a local college and they contracted me to instruct my classes to staff (administrators and professors) monthly for approximately a year. This propelled my husband to push me to open my own business, Antonetti Communications & Speech Consulting, PLLC. I now go to post-secondary trade schools to help them prepare for interviews, communicating with bosses, coworkers, and customers. To bring it full circle, my husband, who is in the electrical industry, had a connection with a trade school called the Electrical Training Center. They became my first trade school client and I have now been working with them for approximately 2 years. I have also worked at a few medical trade schools and have provided one-on-one coaching to help prepare for interviews. Additionally, I host a weekly podcast called “The Digital Divide,” where I record short episodes that provide communication tips. Currently, given the new world we live in, I am working on an online course to make it accessible to everyone.
While I continue to work part-time with my students who have been diagnosed with a deficit in their communication skills, I am excited about building my business. I want to build help and inspire those who want to transform their communication skills so they may be successful in all facets of life.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: I feel we live in a world where people have become very egocentric, not necessarily because we want to be, but because social media feeds into it and says it’s okay. I want people to have the ability to truly connect with one another by being present when with others, having the ability to relate, built trust, have empathy, have compassion, and being able to genuinely listen to one another without judgement. I could go on and on about all the things I would love to help improve, but ultimately, it’s about being able to build long lasting trusting relationships, be that professionally or personally. For me, the key to that is by embodying the understanding and use of effective communication while keeping the other person in mind.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: To me, it means that, as a woman, I have the opportunity to succeed professionally and personally without oppression or judgment from others based on my gender. It means that I am given the same opportunities and am respected, not because I am a woman, because I am able to the job just as well or better than the next guy.
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