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Hidden Gems: Meet Brittni Winslow of Emerge Pediatric Therapy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittni Winslow.

Hi Brittni, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
The story of how I came to be the owner of a pediatric therapy practice involves a few twists of fate. As a young high schooler, I thought I wanted to do physical therapy as a career but when I went to observe at the therapy practice in my town, I was paired with a pediatric occupational therapist instead.

From there, my eyes were opened to this new career path that I didn’t know even existed but that combined all of my interests perfectly. As I was off to college, my dad made me set a goal for myself so that I had a trajectory to follow. I set a goal to own my own private practice by the year 2020; it seemed far enough off to not be intimidating. In graduate school, I researched therapy practices in the triangle area knowing that was where I wanted to settle down eventually. I came upon Emerge-A Child’s Place and requested that placement – to which I was accepted. I ended up getting offered a job with the company following my internship placement and officially began my career in February 2012. Having landed my dream job, I was on cloud nine. However, the “honeymoon” period wore off quickly and I found myself unhappy and questioning if that was the place I wanted to be after all. I sought out other job opportunities and with limited success decided that instead of leaving the situation I was in, I could turn around the situation and propose change.

Little by little, I began proposing some of my ideas to effect change in the company, which in turn paved the way for me to take on more leadership and responsibility. A few years later, the owner of the company offered me the opportunity to mentor under her with the intention to buy the practice. Coming full circle, I saw my goal of owning my own practice by 2020 realized a year early. After becoming the owner and Executive Director of the company in 2019, I have set out to lead my team in a way that encourages new ideas, leadership, and new growth. That new growth had led to opening a 2nd location in May 2020 and doubling the size of our team.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Assuming ownership of the company did not come without its challenges. Having been a member of the company as a student to therapist to clinical director to owner, I struggled with imposter syndrome while also managing the pressure of proving myself as a young entrepreneur. I have been lucky to find the right mentors at the right time along the way. They have helped me to stay true to myself and my vision for the company despite sometimes conflicting, outside influences. The first year of company ownership proved to be very successful to the point where we needed to look at expanding. This growth has come with its own set of struggles as we navigate quick changes. However, I am motivated by learning the best ways to communicate and implement changes and new policies so that we stay true to our commitment to providing quality services to our clients and families.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Emerge Pediatric Therapy is a pediatric occupational, speech and physical therapy practice located in Cary and Durham, NC. The company was started in 2001 and known as Emerge – A Child’s Place at the time. When I purchased the company in 2019, we still operated under the original name but rebranded to become Emerge Pediatric Therapy, providing more clarity to what we offer to the community. For years we have been known in the community as the best place to address sensory processing concerns, behavioral issues and the place to find truly play-based speech therapy. In just the last year, we have been further expanding our services to include specialties in a wider range of developmental concerns.

Since early 2020, we have added an infant program, physical therapy, orofacial myofunctional therapy, reading intervention using the Orton-Gillingham approach, and an aquatics program. The expansion of our services has been a direct result of listening to the needs of our clients and finding a way to better serve the needs they are experiencing on a daily basis. One of the things that make us unique is our model of caregiver education and community outreach. We build time into our therapist’s schedules to follow up with the client’s families, teachers, physicians and psychologists. We provide 24/7 access to a “Practice Portal” where families can access home programs designed specifically for their child. Our Community Engagement Coordinator spends time during her week reaching out to community partners, schools, physicians and other community resources to evaluate the needs they may have and connect them with members of our team who can help. We fully acknowledge that we are only able to spend a fraction of the week with the children we work with, so equipping caregivers and the community with ways to support our clients when they are not with us is a big passion of ours.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I would say tenacity has been at the cornerstone of my success. There have been several times throughout my life where someone has told me “no” or that something was not possible. Those words only fueled my desire to figure out a way to make it work. This really paid off at the beginning of the pandemic. As the medical community made the transition to virtual services, there was a time of uncertainty surrounding when and if virtual services would be approved and covered by certain insurance providers. Rather than wait and see, as many clinics did, we committed to continuing to serve our clients and I committed to continuing to pay my staff. It was important to us that our clients were supported all the way through this transition and that their services did not lapse. And it was important to me that my staff was paid and they felt as secure as possible in their jobs. We continued doing telehealth, not knowing that we would get paid or not, fought to have the services covered, and ultimately, we were successful.

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Image Credits
Amelia Cassar Photography Dan Hacker Photography

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