Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Wealth

Ep. 17: Suzanne DeMallie

May 12, 2021 Marcy Predmore-McPhee Season 1 Episode 17
Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Wealth
Ep. 17: Suzanne DeMallie
Show Notes Transcript

Guest Bio: 

Suzanne DeMallie taught for seven years in the Baltimore County Public Schools system. Research into her own son’s learning difficulties led her to author the Classroom Auditory Learning Issues resolution, adopted by the National PTA in July 2007. Her work has appeared in Our Children Magazine, T.H.E. Journal, Towson Times, and The Baltimore Sun. 


She has presented at the National School Boards Association’s Annual Convention; to national, state, and local PTA groups, and to politicians. Suzanne was awarded the National PTA’s Life Achievement Award in May 2007, the highest honor from the nation’s largest child advocacy organization.


 | https://www.facebook.com/SDeMallie
| https://suzannedemallie.com



Book: Can You Hear Me Now? available on Amazon: https://geni.us/CanYouHearMeNow




Janay Harris  0:01  
You are listening to ordinary women extraordinary wealth with Marcy Predmore-McPhee. This is the show where we talk about how ordinary women achieve extraordinary wealth. We interview successful business leaders and entrepreneurs to learn about their journeys, discover what success means to them, and go over the various forms of wealth they've been able to achieve. And we'll learn all the best tips and tricks you can start applying in your own life and career. While extraordinary wealth comes in a variety of forms, we don't neglect the financial side. And it's so important for women to feel comfortable talking about money. So in this show, you'll also learn how to put your money to work and keep your money in motion. And use your money to enjoy life today, without stealing from tomorrow. Be sure to like and subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts. And if you find this show valuable, make sure to share it with your friends and colleagues. And now, your host, Marcy Predmore-McPhee. McPhee.

Marcy Predmore  0:59  
Good morning, and welcome to ordinary women, extraordinary wealth. And I am Marcy Predmore-McPhee, your host of the show. And you know, I started this podcast because it was super important for me, to really help women understand that we all are extraordinary, in our own journey. But so many of us feel like we're just ordinary. I mean, how many of you in a day think, Oh, my story's not that big of a deal. My journeys not that big of a deal. But you know what? It truly is, you are truly extraordinary. And I love spotlighting other entrepreneurial women and their extraordinary journey, because we have so much that we can connect and engage with each other. So today, I have the privilege of introducing an entrepreneur that I just learned about her book and her passion. And I am so intrigued, and I know you will be too. So I am going to introduce Suzanne, and we're going to talk just a little bit about her book, her passion. And I know that some of you are really going to relate with what she has uncovered, and what has become a passion for her through her son's life and through that education process. So today, I get to introduce Suzanne damali. And she hasn't book. Can you hear me now. And Suzanne, Welcome, today.

Suzanna DeMallie  2:43  
Thank you excited to be here.

Marcy Predmore  2:45  
We are so excited to have you. And again, just hearing just little snippets about your passion, the heart you have for technology in the education arena. Let's just go ahead and start with a little bit about you just tell the audience a little bit about your background. Sure.

Suzanna DeMallie  3:08  

I do a brief history. I graduated with a business degree from Gettysburg College and became a certified public accountant. And I did that for a number of years, probably about 10 or more years. And then I had three children. And my son, who was the middle child, when he was in kindergarten, he was diagnosed with something called an auditory processing deficit. And what that means is that his ears could capture signals auditory signals to sound the same as anyone else. But his brain had difficulty discriminating between the different sounds, interpreting them, identifying them, and ultimately with comprehension of what he was hearing. And his kindergarten teacher is really the one who sort of brought it to my attention that you know, she really thought impacting him academically, he was having difficulty learning to read. I had already noticed his speech was really difficult to understand. But it was also impacting him really socially. He was withdrawing from the other children. He didn't like noisy environments. He was the kids other kids would laugh at him when he was sharing during circle time because his speech was so difficult to understand. So he had was becoming introverted and withdrawn. And so we have the testing done and we that's how we've found out his diagnosis. And I just as a, you know, a mom who was just trying to help their own child, I started just doing a lot of research to understand what this diagnosis meant, and how it would impact his ability to learn particularly in a classroom where so much of learning is auditory and I uncovered this Just this wealth of information about how all children have difficulty hearing and understanding in the typical classroom, because the acoustics are so poor, and all children do not have fully developed neurological auditory abilities, until they're in their teenage years. And what that means is that, you know, if an adult and a child go into the same room, and it's a little bit noisy, or there's some reverberation of sound in the room, yeah, the adult is able to understand a lot more of what's being said in that room than the child will be. Because the child's brain just cannot process information, the same as an adult. And, you know, if an adult doesn't quite hear something, or they hear, they hear something, and they're not sure did that person say whether or whether the adults brain can automatically based on the other information they've heard, just insert the correct word. And, and so they, they can get meaning out of what was said, but a child just doesn't have the ability to do that. So I had uncovered this information, which was really, you know, just incredible to learn. Because really, kids can normal hearing children can this up to a third of what their teachers saying, because of these problems, because of acoustics and these immature hearing abilities. And then I uncovered all this other information about kids having hearing problems like permanent hearing impairments, I think almost 15% of children have a permanent hearing impairment. And then another 15 to 20% of kids can have a temporary hearing impairment from an ear infection. So you know, on an average day, we have up to maybe 40% of our children in the classroom who have some problem with hearing, and then all these normal hearing kids who, you know, are having problems because of the acoustics and immature auditory capabilities. So it was just overwhelming to learn all this information. And I thought, Oh, my gosh, you know, I'm a mom of three kids, one of my children does have some sort of hearing problem, but the other two could hear fine, but I was concerned even for them being in a classroom. And I learned about a simple technology, that teachers could use a wireless microphone and put some speakers in the room. And research had shown that just by using the simple technology, academics for all the children would improve academic achievement, literacy improves, behavior improves, because they can pay better attention to what they're hearing. And, you know, it was just a win win. So I started advocating that this technology be put in to my child's school where he would be starting for for first grade. And then I realized, you know, this is bigger than just Christopher, this is really necessary for all kids. So I share the information with our Board of Education locally. And eventually, I kept advocating for it. And I formed a nonprofit organization so that I could get the message out nationally. And I started doing speaking engagements, and ultimately got the approval of the National PTA behind me, which was about 6 million members. I wrote a resolution that they adopted to, to encourage schools to integrate this technology. And so that kind of became my life for about four years I just devoted, you know, I really devoted a lot of time to getting the message out on hearing problems and why we need this in the schools. And after four years, I was so passionate about education, I said, You know, I want to go back to school and become a math teacher. So I did, I went back to school, I got a master's degree, and I became a teacher in the public system. And that was just a whole nother awakening of all the problems that are in public education. And I became so concerned that eventually, if we don't start doing something about this, the only kids that are going to be left in the system are kids who have no other choice that I thought I need to, again, speak out on the concerns that I have. And so that's why I wrote the book. And I'm really trying to encourage people to, you know, join the conversation and start having a conversation and, and start speaking up on problems and ideas that they have to make it better. Sorry, it was a very long.

Marcy Predmore  9:33  
We love that. Because I really think there's so many in the audience today that can really relate and again, just your uncovering of something so simple. And as I shared before we hopped on the call. This is so near and dear to my heart. I have a grandson that I absolutely adore, but he has some hearing loss. And I know just in this last World COVID it's just been really hard for him, you know, with technology with masks those types of things. But so many times we overlook that we overlook how we can help. So I am just super excited that it was put upon your heart to really bring out not only to help your son, but you began to really see that in the public education system, we all need a little help. It doesn't, it doesn't mean that we're, you're disabled, or I'm not, or you have a hearing loss, and I don't, but we can all really benefit from what you've uncovered.

Suzanna DeMallie  10:41  
Right, right. And, and there's so many you know, that the book that I wrote is really the, it's split into two sections, really. And the first half talks about problems that I saw as a teacher problems with the curriculum and technology, and behaviors. And, you know, I go into like, five specific areas. And the second part of the book, I really describe my journey to help my son and then help all children in the country hear better in the classroom. And I break it down into a step by step process, on how I advocated for reform, to really give the reader a guide to say, if they're concerned about another problem in education, that they can use that as a guide on how to advocate for, for change, using my experience, so it's really I've had readers get back to me and say, you know, they just, they got so much out of the, the second half the advocating part that they thought that could be applied to advocating for anything in life, you know, and a couple of readers have said, You know, I want to give this to my, my daughters, especially, who are just starting out their careers and and let them know, you know, the challenges you faced, as a woman as a mom. And and just really like how everybody is capable of making a difference.

Marcy Predmore  12:03  
Wow, in and again, for Yes, young teachers, but also parents to really feel like, you know, how can I help my child if maybe they see a little bit of dysfunction. Again, we're all dysfunctional in our own ways. But as long as there is a simple, simple process, and the PTA must have really understood and you were able to regurgitate the message well enough, that they actually were able to pick up on what you've uncovered, and write really helped in the classroom. I, I'm just super excited. Well, the name of the book is, can you hear me now? And Suzanne, where can people get that book,

Suzanna DeMallie  12:48  
they can get it on Amazon, for I know, it's also at Barnes and Noble. But if they go to my website, which is Suzanne dimma, tamale calm, they can, they can buy it, you know, they can just click on the link to Amazon to buy it there. And it's also a great resource for a lot of the hearing problems that I've been talking about, I have a lot of the data and research on there. And they can also just get in contact with me or access my social media links through that website.

Marcy Predmore  13:17  
That's wonderful. And we for sure will have all of that information in the show notes today.

Suzanna DeMallie  13:23  

Marcy Predmore  13:24  
Suzanne, I'm going to shift gears just a tiny bit because this is so important, but I want some of our entrepreneurial women to get to know Suzanne. So I always have a couple broad questions that I like to ask, just so they can really understand who you are, not what you do. My first question is, what does success mean to you?

Suzanna DeMallie  13:49  
You know, I, to me, I would break it down into three categories, you know, success as a mom, that would be my highest priority, but that that would be that I have been able to, you know, raise my children to be happy and independent and responsible people. And hopefully that they can add something, some value to society. And then there's professional success, which for me, has changed so much throughout my life because, you know, I was a CPA, and then a teacher or nonprofit director, and then a teacher, and now I'm an author. So, you know, depending on what I am doing at the time, there's success and that, right, currently, it's just getting my message out, you know, that people can change something, particularly education system. And then there's personal success, which I probably a lot of women put last in their life and that's what I would and I would say I'm, I'm still working towards that. I think I'm just getting to that stage in my life now where that's becoming a little bit more of a focus. You know, my kids, my kids are older now and I'm more established. In life, so I'm just, you know, that's just finding enjoyment and what makes me happy. And probably, like I said, a lot of women but that last?

Marcy Predmore  15:09  
Yeah, exactly. And we definitely you because again, as you in your first success, it's our kids, it's our family. And a lot of times we put us in the back seat or the back burner. And as we help them succeed, or move into the journey that they are looking forward to, we kind of paved the way for them. Right?

Suzanna DeMallie  15:32  
Yeah. And I think, you know, like, success is always a work in progress. You know, you never get to a point where you're like, I'm successful now, you know, as because your life is constantly changing and shifting directions. And,

Unknown Speaker  15:44  
yes, you

Suzanna DeMallie  15:45  
know, so it's, it's a work in progress.

Marcy Predmore  15:47  
And that's exactly we talk about this a lot is, you know, you actually said you had three different careers, you know, most people have four different careers in their lifetime. And it's not unusual to go from one career to the other. Now, yes, there's people out there that go 20 3040 years in one career, but the majority of us, I know, I've been through three, we all go through that journey change where it evolves over time. And as you grow, the journey grows,

Suzanna DeMallie  16:21  
right? begins to mold and change. Right? And that's life and the end, that's what you want. Really, you know, we we get bored, if that was always the same?

Marcy Predmore  16:30  
Absolutely. If you're not growing, you're dying. Right? Well, one of the next questions and again, ordinary women extraordinary wealth, a lot of people think that this show is about wealth, and it is at times, money has its place, but there's also different meanings or foundations of wealth for people. So Suzanne, tell us, what does wealth mean to you?

Suzanna DeMallie  17:00  

Well, I think wealth, when I think of the word wealth, I think of abundance of something. But I think for me, I'm maybe more, I don't know, simple. It's really having what I need. Not necessarily like tangible items, but just what I need in my life, which is, you know, like everyone, you know, you want to be loved. You know, you want to have your family around you, you know, you want to be respected. So it's really more of more of an emotional, I think, or social sort of need that I have. And so if I have what I need in those terms, and to be I'm a wealthy person,

Marcy Predmore  17:46  
I absolutely love that. And, and truly, it is a solid foundation. It's, it's, it's really what resonates with you. And again, we talk about wealth here on the show, because I really have that's my journey. That's one of the journeys that I've been through. But wealth to me also is the journey of growth on on where you've come and where you are today. And what does that look like in the middle? So let's just talk about what motivates you Suzanne?

Suzanna DeMallie  18:24  
I think,

Bradley, what has really motivated me, as a mother, as a, you know, a nonprofit director, as a teacher, I now really even as an author, what motivated me to write this book, I think it's when I children seem to there's something about when I see any child really needing and not having what they need. Yes, I think for some reason, that just is what motivates me, it's certainly been sort of there throughout my life. So that's probably my passion.

Marcy Predmore  19:01  
Well, and you can definitely see it. And even though we're in a technology situation today, I can feel that passion and that energy from you. And it really lights you up, I can really see that and I know the audience will too. So tell us just because we all have a daily grind, a daily passion, a daily growth. What does a life in the day of Suzanne actually look like?

Suzanna DeMallie  19:28  
Well, today, it's probably a little bit. It's very, very different than you know, even a year and a half ago or more because all of us with COVID are sort of more at home. Right now I'm concentrating a lot on trying to get my message out and market my books. So I do a lot of reading and writing and just getting in touch with people a lot of podcast opportunities. So it's very, it's very different and I am very, I have a dog and So, I'm really bad I love, you know, just taking walks and doing those kinds of things for myself as well. You bet.

Marcy Predmore  20:07  
And I'm a big Walker to it actually helps me clear my mind. But it also brings ideas in as you stay motivated, or you stay moving. A lot of times ideas come in, and I have a recording on an app on my phone that I record myself, if I have an idea, sometimes I'll record it. So I don't forget

Unknown Speaker  20:28  
it. Right, right.

Marcy Predmore  20:31  
Right. Well, you know, and again, none of us got where we are, without mentors, without people who really intrigued us. And I know I have many in my life. Again, everyone knows about my mentor, Bob. And again, he, he really helps me with understanding but being repetitious in learning my message. Suzanne, who do you have? Or do you have one or many mentors that actually keep you motivated, or really helped you in the direction of your passion?

Suzanna DeMallie  21:14  
I've had different mentors, certainly like the direction of my passion right now with public education and trying to improve it. There was a mentor I, I met up with he's a, he's been a teacher, a principal, he's been on the school board, and he was an adjunct professor for Brigham Young University. And that's how I actually came in contact with him, because I was reading a research study that I was going to be using to support the need to put the teacher microphones in the classrooms. And he was the one who would did the study. And I had a question about it, and somehow got a hold of his phone number and call them and, and, you know, he, he, from that day, on, we have been in contact and he just a you know, first of all, he's extremely smart and knowledgeable, and just an incredibly generous person with his time. And, you know, at the time when I called him, this was 20 years ago, I guess, you know, I was I identified myself on the phone is Hi, I'm just a mom. And I have a question about your study, you know, and here's this man with all these credentials, and he just stopped what he was doing so that he could talk to me and answer my question. And so he's just an incredibly kind person with always the, just a giving sort of motive, you know, he just wants to help other people. So he's been really somebody that has kind of molded my, my past my president, probably my future, you know, and I would say, my dad, my dad was, when I was in high school, I worked with my father, where he was working, my dad was an accountant. And I had a summer job throughout high school, and then college, at the company that he worked for, and I got to see how he worked. And he really was a great role model, because he always he treated everyone the same, you know, equally, and he, he respected everyone, he knew everyone's name. And he was always willing to just roll up his sleeves and do whatever needed to be done, you know, to get the job done. He didn't let title, you know, stop him or, or just alienate him from other people. And so I really learned how to be I think, a good leader, I guess, in that way, and just, you know, a good manager, so that that made an impression on me.

Marcy Predmore  23:41  
That's awesome. And, and again, you know, our dads are so special in that way. But mentors in general, I mean, one of the things that Bob always shares with us, and another mentor that I've had, is really go find someone who's been where you are, but has achieved what you want to achieve, or has attained what you want to attain because they can actually help you through that journey. Right? And just give you their perspective, not that their perspective is where you should be all the time. But they can kind of guide you along the way. For instance, many of you know I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and I would not have been able to reach the summit without a guide. And really, with a mentor like that, that has actually been where you are. It's just such a joy to be able to, you know, just really give them kudos and give them thanks for how they've helped you get where you are. Right, right. Yeah,

Suzanna DeMallie  24:43  
everybody needs someone to just kind of be by their side and, and when they start to go off the path of where they want to go to kind of guide them back there. Yeah, right.

Marcy Predmore  24:54  
You bet. You bet. So Suzanne, one of the things that just kind of keeps talking in my mind To hear as we're talking today is, if somebody really wants to make a difference, or let's just say somebody in the audience has a child, or knows of a child who really needs some help, how would they go about looking into this technology for their classrooms? in their school districts?

Suzanna DeMallie  25:21  
Yeah, I mean, if they're specifically looking for, you know, the technology that I was still advocate strongly for, you know, they can get a lot of information off of my website, I have like a whole section of it just devoted to classroom hearing. And I have a lot of the research studies on there. But they can, you know, I'm sure they could just google the information as well, just like teacher microphones, and they could get some some of the basics off of just the internet. Yeah, it's, I mean, it really is an important, you know, technology that can benefit so many kids with with many different learning disabilities. And again, the normal hearing child as well,

Marcy Predmore  26:04  
you bet in tell us just a small bit too about your nonprofit is that what the whole nonprofit is, is based upon,

Suzanna DeMallie  26:14  
it was I don't have the nonprofit anymore. Just because when I went into teaching, it was too much to maintain the nonprofit and be a full time teacher. But it was the purpose of it was really to educate the public about the need for, you know, this technology in the classrooms and to advocate for it.

Marcy Predmore  26:35  
Wow, that's awesome. And Absolutely, I mean, that'd be like two big jobs in itself is trying to educate, connect with your students, and then also run this nonprofit, right? So can you hear me now they can get it on Amazon, they can get it at Barnes and Noble, they can find you at your website, again, we'll put all of that information in the show notes. Is there anything else that we can share, or that you would like to share, just to help the audience understand one last time, you know, your, your direction for me, hear me now. Um,

Suzanna DeMallie  27:12  
I would just say, you know, the message I think I try to get across in the book, and just maybe in life right now is that all of us, and you kind of touched on this, all of us have the potential to make a difference in someone's life, and to to create change, and it can be very overwhelming. As a parent, you know, of a child who you feel like needs something else, you feel like, how can just how can I make a difference for the shot? How can I, you know, how can one person have their voice be heard. And, you know, really, this book is about saying that everyone has the power to make a difference on some level, and you never know, what what impact that you create, can generate beyond that. So, you know, it's it's really encouraging people to to advocate for what they believe in and just speak up, you know, let your voice be heard. And, of course, the more of us that do speak up, the harder it is for other people not to hear so, you know, gain support of your friends and family around you.

Marcy Predmore  28:18  
Absolutely. And I know, I've just been hearing too, in the education arena, as people say, if you want to get involved, start at your local level, start at your local level with your own school district with your own go to your board meetings, and your your board of directors, your your board of education, what's their message? What's the communication? And how can you become involved? Yeah,

Suzanna DeMallie  28:45  
and that's exactly what I did. You know, I started initially just going to the school that my son would be attending for first grade. And speaking there. And from that, it turned into the local board of education meeting. And you know, eventually I was speaking at the National School Board associations can annual convention and the National PTA is annual convention. So you know it but yes, start small. And that's, you know, in the book, I take people through the steps, and that's what we do, we start, you know, identifying the problem that you want to address, and then gaining knowledge around that issue and coming up with some ideas. And then, you know, going and starting that conversation at the local level and expanding it if you want to,

Marcy Predmore  29:29  
I again, I absolutely love that such simple tools, and really such a simple concept. But I would encourage all of you as we close today, just to get involved at your local level. If this has resonated with you in any way, please reach out to Suzanne, and she can at least give you maybe some resources or give you some encouragement on next steps. So can you hear me now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble I No, I'm going to get off of this podcast in order that book just due to my grandson, but due to other families that I know of that this could be of help and assistance. And Suzanne, I just want to thank you so much for being a part of ordinary women, extraordinary wealth. And you know, your journey, maybe seemed like it started out ordinary, but you truly are extraordinary. And I'm so glad that we could shine the light on Can you hear me now? Because it's such an important topic. Thank you so very much for joining us today.

Suzanna DeMallie  30:39  
Thank you.

Marcy Predmore  30:40  
You bet. Have an extraordinary day.

Janay Harris  30:44  
You've been listening to ordinary women extraordinary wealth with Marcy Predmore-McPhee. Be sure to drop us a line if you're enjoying the podcast. As we always love hearing from our listeners. Let us know what you think by looking this up at ordinary women extraordinary wealth.com or on social media, where you can join our private group on Facebook called ordinary women extraordinary wealth. If you'd like to connect with Marcy on LinkedIn, you can find her by going to linkedin.com forward slash i n forward slash Marcy

Suzanna DeMallie  31:13  
dash Predmore-McPhee.

Janay Harris  31:14  
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