Olé Noé at ASHA 2015

We had such an incredible time at ASHA 2015 and want to share our experience with you. Our business plan for 2014 dreamed big and declared that we would exhibit at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association! Our trip was full of many first time experiences, such as attending our first ASHA, visiting Denver, Colorado for the first time, exhibiting our company for the first time, and presenting a seminar at ASHA for the first time.

It was a great pleasure getting to connect with many of the 14,061 attendees, we love you! In case you’re wondering, approximately 96% of the 2015 ASHA attendees came from the U.S. Approximately 1% came from Canada, with the remaining attendees coming from other countries. In order of largest number of attendees from specific countries: United Kingdom, Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, and New Zealand.

Preparing for the trip

Olé Noé English Phonetic Symbols flashcards packed inside luggage.

The production of our first product English Phonetic Symbols was a miracle! Read about the manufacturing and printing of the product here. We got our hands on the product a few days before our flight was to take off on Nov. 11th. We were up all night getting the product ready to fly with us. The two traveling members of Olé Noé included founder Noé Erazo and associate partner Dani Rivera. Packing the deck of cards so that they would survive the travel took a lot of creativity to keep them safe and also under 50 lbs. In total, we took six bags with us and paid zero for them because we flew with Southwest Airlines. Check out our savings list at the bottom of the page.

As we were ready to leave for the airport, we got an email saying that our flight had been cancelled due to a blizzard in Denver. We were devastated and tired, but we had planned to get there a day early so all was not lost. Thank God we were able to reschedule our flight for the following day. We then called the Homewood Suites by Hilton Denver Downtown-Convention Center to tell them we wouldn’t be checking in. The staff was so understanding that they waived the fee for that night due to our circumstance. This turned out to be another blessing with huge savings! We crashed immediately and took the next day to recuperate from the stress of getting ready while still making sure our website was up and running.

Arriving in Denver

We made it to the airport early and got free parking thanks to one of Dani’s friends. We were so happy when we finally made it safely to Denver, one of the hippest cities ever, and with all of our things intact. Denver was not as cold as we were expecting and thankfully there was no blizzard. Our beautiful SLP friend Laura Behling picked us up from the airport and took us to our hotel. Laura and Noé used to work together at a speech clinic and share so many great memories of the patients they treated. Thanks to Laura, the team was able to save over $60 in taxi fees! We got to see the beautiful snow covered mountains and got to see parts of the gorgeous city. We checked in early, had breakfast, and then started walking to the Colorado Convention Center.

Exhibiting

The excitement of ASHA was contagious in the Downtown Denver area. The weather was cool and sunny and you definitely got the sense that ASHA is a woman’s world, and thank God it is! Olé Noé was definitely in its natural element and we had Cher’s “This is a Woman’s World” playing on blast. We checked in and got cute red and white ASHA tote bags with the program and lunch tickets. We also got the cutest green food containers with the ASHA logo on it and snacks inside. The loudspeaker began to announce that the exhibit hall was opening in 10 minutes and we still had not set up.

The ASHA members’ area is assigned as first come, first serve and Olé Noé was the first company to register for a booth. We knew which booth was ours based on the floor plan, but we were in for a big surprise! Our booth had been moved, and not by ASHA according to the Exhibit department. God positioned us exactly where we needed to be, on the left corner booth next to Lindsey Laurain and Dawn Winkelmann from ezpz, one of the convention’s sponsors! To us, this was a divine connection. Not only did we build a relationship with ezpz, but since the convention, we have toured Houston and Austin, Texas together. We have helped spread the word on feeding therapy to SLPs and parents. We have also built relationships with special needs organizations like the Champion’s Club. We believe that this is just the beginning and it shows you that setbacks can be set ups for promotions.

We were so happy with our exhibit and received a lot of traffic because of the vibrancy of our product and the buzz that ezpz also brought to the area. Melanie Potock did a book signing of Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater at the ezpz booth, which resulted in an amazing turnout for them and us. I tell you, God really knows how to show out in your life! We were so blessed to be warmly received by attendees at ASHA. People seemed to really like the name “Olé Noé”. People loved our Latino mascot as well. There was an older man that giggled when he saw the character’s face, which made our day. We got a lot of love from phonetic professors, phonetic students, accent modification specialists, as well as the Latino community. We heard your requests loud and clear and are actively working on the development of quality Spanish language products for 2017.

Endorsements

We are so honored to have launched our company at ASHA and more so to have made such wonderful relationships with the SLPs, audiologists, professors, students, and colleagues we met there. We received the endorsement from Dr. Jason L. Anthony, Professor of Pediatrics from the Children’s Learning Institute at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). We also got the endorsement from Regional Director and SLP Teresa Anthony from Cole Health, pediatric speech clinic in Texas. All the way from Brazil, we also got the endorsement from Dr. Fernanda Dreux Miranda Fernandes from the University of São Paulo who received the status of Fellow from ASHA at the convention. Last but not least, we got the endorsement from Dr. Theresa Mata-Pistokache and our product is now used in her Phonetics class at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). This is huge for us, and we are blessed and honored for the success and friendships we have formed. Many thanks to those who supported us and connected with us. You helped make our dreams come true!

ASHA seminar

Noé Erazo at ASHA 2015

If launching a company and product were not enough, Noé decided to present a seminar as well. We are very honored that ASHA accepted our call for papers proposal to present, Strengthening Relationships with Interpreters While Mastering the Art of Diplomacy. This marked the first time at ASHA that an interpreter presented to SLPs on the subject. Besides being an applied linguist specializing in clinical linguistics, Noé also has interpreting experience with SLPs and is an interpreter for Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church, the largest congregation in the U.S. The seminar discussed the ideal SLP and interpreter relationship based on clinical sociolinguistic research, historical interpreters, and personal experience. Our goal was to foster a collaborative partnership between both professionals to better serve our patients. Noé was privileged to have an audience with unique stories to share. Some of the areas of interest included working with interpreters from agencies, video remote interpreting services, cultural brokers in the school systems, the Indian community, and mission work in Latin America. The seminar was a success and we look forward to presenting again in the future.

Thank you

We are so thankful to the ASHA Exhibit Sales & Operations department for providing an ASHA members’ area. In particular, thank you Renee Tross for all of your help and support. Because Noé is a member, Olé Noé qualified for a huge first-time exhibitor’s savings. A regular 10 x 10 booth with carpet costs $1,948 and we got it for $500! Big props to ASHA for supporting start-up businesses and giving us a platform to start off on. We feel strongly that we made a mark at our first ASHA and have set even bigger goals for our next exhibition at ASHA 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Our goal and dream is to be a household name in the speech-language materials market and be the to-go company for research-based English and Spanish language products.

We want to thank the City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity, Capital One Bank, and the Houston Public Library for funding our trip, lodging, travel expenses, and all other expenses that went into starting up Olé Noé, LLC. Without them, none of this would have been possible at the lighting speed that it occurred. Thanks to Executive Director Marisa Erazo for helping us assemble our flashcard product in time for our debut. Thanks to Dani Rivera for helping us sell, connect with clients, and contributing to the overall success of the company. Thanks to Laura Behling for welcoming us to Denver and helping us with transportation and shipping of products. Thanks to Jim Bacon and Michael Odom from Southern Container, Ltd. for the manufacturing of our flashcard containers. Thanks to Donna Zurovec and Jamie Padzensky from Thomas Printworks for their printing of our flashcards. It took a team to make all of this happen and we appreciate your hard work, belief, and support. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Savings

$1,448 ASHA members’ area booth
$230 Cancelled night at Homewood Suites
$120 Bags with Southwest Airlines
$60 Free ride to Downtown Denver
$24 Free parking at airport
Total: $1,882