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2012 Idaho Small Business Person of the Year
Children’s Therapy Place (CTP) was started in 2001 by Sondra McMindes after relocating to Boise from her native state of Florida. Sondra had built a successful children’s speech therapy business in Florida, but family issues required her to move to Idaho. Shortly after arriving in Boise, Sondra started collecting information on the speech therapy market in Idaho. What she identified was an alarming trend in Idaho’s underserved communities – schools were often unable to obtain skilled service providers for students requiring speech, physical and occupational therapy. Believing location shouldn’t prevent children from educational success, Sondra McMindes started Children’s Therapy Place out of her home and began traveling to school districts up to 50 miles away to help kids.
As her niche business grew, McMindes assembled a team of highly skilled therapists who shared her vision and love for children. Her small army of physical, occupational and speech therapists provided home visits for children in the government funded Infant-Toddler program and in underserved communities in rural Idaho.
Within two years, CTP had experienced sufficient growth to justify relocating to a small, leased office location and McMindes was already developing strategies for expansion. As technology opened new opportunities, McMindes began exploring how the internet and telecommunications could improve services for children in underserved areas across the country. In 2008, CTP became one of the first national providers of teletherapy services, delivering online speech/language and occupational therapy services for children from Florida to Washington.
In ten years, CTP has grown from its initial offering of speech/language services in school districts to a full service therapy company with clients nationwide. The firm has experienced an exponential progression of increased revenues with more than 75 therapists and support staff employed at CTP.
CTP’s rapid growth is the result of Sondra McMindes’ qualifications as a highly skilled speech therapist in addition to her ability to assemble a team of business experts in disciplines she lacks. Since 2001, McMindes has been a client of the Idaho Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and continues to rely on their expertise for all facets of business growth. Regularly, McMindes participates in joint mentoring groups with the SCORE counselors to gain depth and perspective in critical business decisions. The SBDC has coordinated student interns to helped CTP with business policies and practices, conducted research on new and developing markets, studied new product lines and developed tactical and financial budgets. This positive relationship has allowed McMindes to focus on the core services CTP offers while developing her business acumen from local SBA resource partners.
Sondra McMindes is committed to the development of the speech therapy profession in support of her passion for children. She has taken on a leadership role in Idaho State University’s Department of Communications Sciences and Disorders. Besides teaching coursework to undergraduate students and providing clinical supervision for graduate students, CTP regularly provides both internships and externships for graduate students. On the state level, McMindes is actively involved in the Idaho Speech, Language and Hearing Association having served on the executive board for the last six years. She is currently the immediate past president of this organization. One of her significant accomplishments was to help secure licensure for speech pathologists in the state of Idaho. On the national level, McMindes has been an active member of the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association her entire career.