January 19, 2022
Louise C. Keegan (left) and Mohamed Taiebine (right)

January is National Mentoring Month—aimed at highlighting the importance of mentoring in all professions, and, more generally, supporting younger and/or less senior people as they explore future opportunities. As part of this mentoring celebration, a mentor and mentee participating in ASHA’s  Student to Empowered Professional Mentoring Program (S.T.E.P.) share what their partnership has brought them.


How an ASHA Mentoring Program Shaped My Career

ASHA Voices: George Castle Talks Mentoring and Race in Speech-Language Pathology

"Truth is, I enjoy supervising. It allows me to do work I’m passionate about, while teaching someone else grow to appreciate the work and learn to perform at the top of their abilities."

Mentor Louise Keegan

Like many others, my responsibilities during the pandemic increased significantly. As a parent of a 3-year-old and director of a speech-language pathology graduate program, mentoring a new SLP in Morocco seemed daunting. However, the mentors that have and still do support me in my career inspired me to accept this worthwhile responsibility.

I’m involved in both of ASHA’s mentoring programs: S.T.E.P.  and Mentoring Academic-Research Careers (MARC) and have been since 2016. These programs let me connect with—and learn from—mentors and mentees I would otherwise probably never meet. I like the structure of these programs, which provide guidelines to establish and develop our relationships. They also give us strategies to connect regardless of physical location—ideal, given the current pandemic environment.

My connection with Morocco-based Mohamed Taiebine—one of several new SLPs I began mentoring during the pandemic—has provided multiple insights: into his specialty in health care for older clients, especially those with dementia, his projects examining interpersonal skills in our professions, and differences and similarities between the United States and Morocco regarding the professions and the general public’s response to the pandemic.

Mentee Mohamed Taiebine

I’m an SLP and clinical neuropsychologist working in private practice in Morocco, and a former lecturer at the International University of Casablanca. Like many SLPs around the world, I adjusted my caseload to a telepractice service delivery during the pandemic. Fortunately, I had been mentored in person since starting my career in 2015 at the Faculty of Medicine in Rabat by my PhD supervisor, Mustapha El Alaoui Faris. His dedication, continued supervision, and international expertise meant a lot for me academically, clinically, and personally—giving me the confidence to make the challenging transition. In addition, my S.T.E.P mentor, Louise Keegan, has been actively supporting me since March 2020 and gave me the tools to begin treating my clients virtually. 

I have been an ASHA international affiliate since 2016—an affiliation that provides me with numerous clinical and academic resources like the MARC and S.T.E.P. programs. Through these, I have learned about novel trends in our professions and how to prepare for—and pass—the Praxis exam.

My S.T.E.P. experience with Louise during these times of global unrest has been especially helpful. In our bimonthly Zoom meetings, I receive dynamic guidance from and collaboration with someone who’s an active listener, a motivator, and an empathic and cheerful colleague sharing her multicultural and multilinguistic background. Our e-social hour gives me a glimpse into SLP duties and challenges in the U.S. and has helped me achieve my pandemic-driven goal of moving to an effective hybrid model of using telepractice for many sessions while maintaining strong connections with my clients.

S.T.E.P. coaches understand what it means to advocate for us mentees. I benefited from S.T.E.P. posts linking me to resources such as Harvard Business Review and ASHA’s cultural competence platform. The latter boosted my motivation to learn cross-culturally as I work with clients of varying backgrounds.

Mentoring lets us both learn from each other with cultural humility and mindful positivity. This mentorship came at the right time, from the right person, on the right platform. Louise and the S.T.E.P. program have been “my second home” for e-learning speech-language pathology while growing globally. With positive vibes from Africa, Morocco, and Marrakech, I hope all of us will make connections and collaborations to get through this critical period with calmness and hope.

Louise C. Keegan, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS (she/her/hers), is the program director of speech-language pathology in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at Moravian University. [email protected]

Mohamed Taiebine, PhD (he/him/his), works as a clinical neuropsychologist and speech-language pathologist in private practice in Marrakesh, Morocco. He is an international affiliate of ASHA.[email protected] 

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