Army veteran and Speech Therapist Leslie Wegner owns North Texas Voice & Speech, a specialized speech therapy practice helping adults and children with voice, swallowing, and speech related problems. She works with a variety of clients, including veterans, who have vocal fold problems, aging voice concerns, difficulty swallowing, and now those who are recovering from Covid-19 complications. Additionally, Wegner provides voice treatments for patients with Parkinson Disease.
After starting her own company in 2020, Wegner noted that one of the best decisions she made was to seek out a mentor in the same field. By doing so, she learned best practices to improve business operations, grew access to resources in the Speech Pathology field, and gained a mentor and friend. She said that finding a mentor “was the single best decision I made, it made the greatest impact to my business.”
When COVID-19 impacted her practice, she quickly pivoted to telehealth services enabling her to see patients remotely, including those in rural areas throughout Texas. “The insurance companies recognize it’s viable and the shift to technology this year has made it efficient. Now I can treat anyone, anywhere in Texas.”
Recently, Wegner, pictured, was selected as one of eight businesses from over 900 applicants to join Bunker Labs’ Veterans in Residence Program – 2021 Cohort.
Veterans in Residence is a peer-facilitated, six-month business incubator that provides military connected entrepreneurs, including veteran small business owners, a networking community, business skills, and workspace to help launch and grow their business.
“I’m pretty jazzed,” said Wegner about her selection to Bunker Labs. “Entrepreneurship can be lonely. Having someone to bounce ideas off, other people going through similar things to talk to, talk about our businesses, problem solve with each other and direct each other to resources is great. If someone in our group doesn’t have a suggestion, the coach will; or, they will send it out over the Bunker Labs network, it’s national. It’s like a safety net.”
For those interested, applications for Bunker Labs Veterans in Residence Cohort 2021B opens March 22, 2021.
Wegner’s advice to entrepreneurs is to connect with others. “Make connections, even if they are not in your field. Intentionally make connections and talk to people about what you do. I don’t know how often I talked to people and later referrals came; I’ve gotten more referrals by word of mouth. And ask others about their field. They may have other, better ways of doing things. I had questions about how do I keep books, or file insurance. I talked with others and found out.”
Wegner started her business with assistance from Army veteran Christina Mortel, Veteran Business Consultant of the Texas Veterans Commission’s Veteran Entrepreneur Program.
“We had a meeting last year,” said Wegner. “What can I do? What are the options? Where can my business go? How do I get into it and where do I start? She (Mortel) has helped me with all these things.”
Veteran Entrepreneurs can connect with TVC’s Entrepreneur Program at Veteran Entrepreneur.
For 2021, Leslie’s business plans include acquiring more specialized imaging equipment and to expand her practice through government contracting opportunities.