Leadership Spotlight: Stephanie Sjoblad, AuD – Member at Large

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to be in the great state of North Carolina?

I’m an audiologist and professor at UNC, serving as the Clinic Director for the UNC Hearing & Communication Center. I’ve been married for over 25 years and have two boys.  My husband and I moved to North Carolina in 1994 as it was a place that reminded us of New England with 4 seasons -the beach and mountains were nearby, but winter was not nearly as long!  When we moved to NC, I went back to school to earn my Master’s degree in Audiology at UNC after having a career in business for several years.

Where or in what type of setting do you currently work?

I work at UNC (in my 18th year on faculty). I teach several classes, see patients while supervising students and work with an amazing group of colleagues. I am very passionate about audiologic rehabilitation and helping people to hear and communicate. 

Why are you so excited about the new North Carolina Audiology Association, and what is your current role in the developing organization?

For years I just sort of sat on the sidelines and assumed business was being taken care of for me.  In 2009 I was asked to get involved in our state speech/hearing organization and then realized there were so many like me…just assuming our profession would be cared for by others.  Since that time, I’ve had several leadership positions in both the state and national level. I’m excited because we now have a stated organization of, by and for audiologists. It’s been a long time coming.  I am optimistic this ‘audiology’ only organization will make amazing contributions to the profession in the coming days.  However, change will only open if we are involved. I am committed to both the current and next generation of audiologists in North Carolina.  Currently I am serving in a Member at Large position for NCAA and mentor to the board.

What would one find you doing in your free time?

I drive a taxi! Seriously…I shuttle kids to soccer games, track meets, scouts, church youth group, piano, cello….and run lots of errands in the evenings and weekends!  I enjoy spending my free time with my family, going to the beach, traveling…and I love a good bargain. Yardsaling is a fun past-time! I also am committed to living a healthy lifestyle and try to get my cross-fit workouts in every morning.

What is your favorite part of the state to visit and why?

I’m definitely a beach girl. I like going to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina for rest and relaxation. It’s family friendly and super relaxing!

If you were not practicing in a career related to audiology, what would you be doing?

It’s a big ‘IF’…because I love what I do, but if not audiology then probably working in fitness profession.

What do you see as one of the biggest challenges facing audiology today?

Accessibility, affordability and use of evidence-based practice by all audiologists. I guess that is three things, but to me they are interrelated. To be respected as professionals, we must all use the highest standards of evidence based care with each patient. In doing so, it will be clear why an audiologist is the professional to be seen for hearing and balance issues. I believe we will then reach more patients because the benefits of hearing care will be more readily accepted which will favorably impact affordability.

What is one goal you hope the new North Carolina Audiology Association can strive to accomplish?

With almost 700 North Carolina Audiologists I would really like to see more involvement from my colleagues. This new group will be what WE want it to be and our goal is to reach ALL North Carolina audiologist. We need maximum membership with everyone working together to protect our profession and ensure the best quality care for the patients we serve.