Empower Her Focus On: Erin Mattingly, M.A., CCC/SLP, CBIS
Each month, ERPi’s Empower Her initiative will highlight the success and impact of one of our empowered and enriched women. This month, meet Erin Mattingly.
Erin is one of the many accomplished women that surround us at ERPi. A Senior Manager in our Healthcare account, Erin supports the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) and the Office of Healthcare Transformation (OHT), leading multiple tasks that include several Executive Orders and the Suicide Prevention Program. She also has built and sustained relationships throughout the VA, DOD, & DHS program offices and community Veterans Service Organizations. Erin is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist, an expert in Traumatic Brain Injury who has published several articles and research papers on the subject.
After receiving her undergraduate degree in communication disorders from UVA, Erin obtained a Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from The Ohio State University. It was in graduate school that she discovered her love for brain injury and worked full-time with adults with brain injury for close to 10 years. Prior to coming to ERPi, Erin worked as a clinical consultant supporting the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) and managed the Defense Health Agency (DHA) Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) telementoring program.
Outside of her work with OHT, Erin volunteers with a variety of brain injury organizations including Virginia’s Brain Injury Services, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and TBI Warrior Foundation. Recently, after an epic horseback riding trip to Iceland, Erin reignited her love of riding and makes time to ride once a week at a barn in Loudoun County. Erin also enjoys cooking and entertaining and feels lucky to be able to spend time with her parents, brother and sister-in-law, niece and nephews who live nearby.
ERPi Senior Project Analyst, Colleen Schillmaier, interviewed Erin to discover just what drives her and how she became so passionate about working with people with brain injury.
- How did you become interested in brain injury?
When I was in graduate school to become a speech-language pathologist, I was convinced I wanted to work with children with autism and loved the early intervention population (birth-3). I received an early intervention certification, however, in my final quarter of graduate school, I had an internship treating patients at Ohio State’s Inpatient Acquired Brain Injury Unit and I LOVED it. I loved the complexity, the fast pace, and the constant puzzle and problem solving needed in working with the injured brain and each unique survivor.
- Of your many accomplishments, which are you most proud of?
My proudest accomplishments are tied to patient care. One in particular comes to mind. When I was treating at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), I was working with an active duty Service member who had been receiving treatment for his brain injury resulting from blast injury in other military treatment facilities for over two years. When he came to me, no one had ever asked him what HIS goals were or made him feel that he had a path forward. He told me he wanted to go to graduate school to become a rehabilitation counselor, so that’s where we aimed our treatment. I also involved his wife in the treatment. Following those few weeks with this patient, I continued treating him via telehealth and worked with him to pass the GRE, get into graduate school, etc. He is now retired from the military, graduated from graduate school, is a certified rehabilitation counselor, and he and his wife started a brain injury foundation called TBI Warrior Foundation. They have also testified on the Hill about the necessity of providers involving caregivers in treatment, which is not always commonplace. I’m proud I was able to give them both the support and treatment they needed, and that this patient has succeeded in his life goals, as a brain injury survivor, even in the setting of continued impairment.
- Is there someone who has influenced or mentored you? How did their influence affect you?
I’ve been extremely lucky to have had many mentors across my career, who have empowered me as a woman leader within consulting and the brain injury rehabilitation world; teaching me to have confidence and trust in my skills and challenging me to continue to grow and expand my leadership skills through experience, reading, and discussion.
Some of the key words we mention when discussing Empower Her initiative have been: leadership, drive, passion and expertise, these next few questions are focused on these words.
- What does good leadership look like to you?
Good leadership to me means that you, as the leader, should be in the trenches with your team doing the work, while also providing candid feedback, coaching, mentoring, and support in the moment while maintaining an open and trusting environment.
- What drives you?
I’m driven to continue learning, problem solving, and challenge myself while also continuing to help others, either through direct patient care or more broadly at the policy and public health level, as with the VA Suicide Prevention work.
- What are you most passionate about in your work?
I’m passionate about being a strong, fair, honest manager and growing my team, as a whole and as individuals. I’m also passionate about preventing suicide and the work we’re doing at the highest level to save lives.
- What are your passions outside the scope of your work?
I’m still very passionate about brain injury, prevention and treatment, and support of caregivers. I’m hoping ERPi can eventually work in the brain injury space.