Connecting to the community

By Amanda Duchsherer
Digital Communication Specialist

When Maegan (Guest) Mason ‘09/’11 reflects on her time at Minot State, she remembers the sense of belonging she found in the Souris River floodwaters.

“Our whole department went out to help sandbag.” she said, “And I remember feeling very much a part of a community and very connected to the teachers and my fellow students.”

That feeling of community and connection is something she is currently building in Regina, Saskatchewan.

In Fall 2018, after much dreaming and planning and a frenetic few months of construction, Mason and business partner Cari Thiele opened the doors to Pathways Learning Centre, a one-stop location for health, education, and wellness services.

“We currently offer speech therapy, occupational therapy, and music therapy, but we have much more up our sleeve coming in the next while,” she said. “We want to create a place that provides all the services a family could need, all in one place.”

 Included in the Centre is their preschool, the first of its kind in the region.

“It is the first private school in Regina to be run from a speech language pathology (SLP) focus and to include a SLP into the classes for the students,” she said. “Overall, we have a very high professional standard in our staff and a very low staff-to-student ratio, so this really sets us apart.

“We are also unique because we are inclusive, meaning we specifically welcome enrollment from children of many different backgrounds and abilities.”

Mason received her Master of Science in Communication Disorders: Speech-Language Pathology from Minot State and has since held many different health and education jobs in the public sector, first landing in acute care at a hospital in Regina following graduation.

It wasn’t until Beyond Words Speech-Language Consultants, a small practice founded by Mason and fellow-alumnae Miranda Miller ’12 in 2012, began to outpace their space that the idea for the Centre came about.

“We were mostly seeing clients in their homes or on our own. Over the years, we grew our client base, brought on new team members, and eventually needed our own space,” she said. “This was a large part of the driving force to open Pathways, in addition to the needs of our community in needing an inclusive private preschool.”

With a year of success behind them, Mason reflects on lessons learned.

“We have learned so much during our first year of business with regards to general operations, budgeting, planning, succeeding, failing, pivoting, but the key lessons I’ve learned are a little deeper,” she said. “Make time for yourself and your family. Never be too proud to learn from your mistakes and to own them. Most importantly though, it’s to take things one day at a time. Entrepreneurship can seem very insurmountable; it often helps to focus on the baby steps, and then to keep on walking.”

About Minot State University
Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 12/19/19   

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