The Truth About Me & What I Believe

This is Who I Really Am and What I Truly Believe

Photo of Kyra Minichan. The Cognitive Emporium.

Hello and welcome. Grab a seat beside me and let's get to know one another!

First, the basics. I'm Kyra Sovine Minichan.  A mom, wife, writer, and mompreneur.

My husband and I have two sons, 18 and 16 years old.  When our second son arrived, I said: "We are good." I knew I only had two hands and I wanted to offer one to each child.

What's in a Name?

My company name is "The Cognitive Emporium." It came about when I needed to change the initial name to one that better encompassed my vision.
When deciding on the new one, in a nod to my previous company which had the initials TCE in its name, I wanted the new name to have the same acronym.

In the end, my husband came up with the winner. He is always telling me "You don't just do one thing with cognition. You do a lot of little things that make you great."  (Insert mushy, "I love you, Honey" here).

He said that the word "emporium" represented the multiple works. We then both added "cognitive" and, voila! "The Cognitive Emporium" was born.

Why Did I Start My Company?

Why? It all began with one child. In our work together, I made a difference and the result for her made a huge impact in the direction of her education.

Continuing the same type of work with more children, I was able to make that same difference for another child and then another.  Before long I realized I had a niche.

My Job...Make that "Jobs"

My "Job #1" is Mom and it is my favorite. I hate to even call it a job because it is my life's work. It truly is what I was put on this earth to do.

When I headed to college, though, I had a different career in mind: Job #2, Speech Language Pathologist. And that is how I began my early professional career.

I was so fortunate to spend these early years in the medical field, especially neuroscience and child development. I still am amazed at how much ground I covered during my first 5 years out of graduate school.

Back then, employers didn't pay you well but they trained you well, and I took advantage of every training.  Which is what has become my Job #3: Lifelong Learner.

I love to learn and get excited to share what I learn with others.

You know the feeling you get when you find the perfect bit of information that changes your life? Like the secret to your kids sleeping through the night or potty training? Or better yet, how to navigate your child's school information system? These are the kinds of things that make you hurry up and call your best friend to tell her.

Which, incidentally is Job #4: Friend. I love my friends and quite frankly, I love people. So when I find something that I know will help someone, a feeling of invigoration rushes over me every single time.

One day, a friend called me up and asked me if I could help her with her daughter who had just been diagnosed with dyslexia.  My response was typical to whenever I have a friend in need: I didn't know how to help but I would figure out a way.  That was the day my niche for the struggling student was born.

When I thought about all of my jobs, 1, 2, 3, and 4  combined (I actually have more, but these are the relevant ones for this blog), I realized that all of my training in child development, language, and neuroscience, left me with a pretty amazing skill set that held the secrets that moms everywhere were looking for.

I started by helping a friend and now I am blessed to share with moms, dads, teachers, medical and other professionals, and, of course, children, all over the country in ways that I could never have imagined.

Why Write a Blog?

I'm just like you. I'm real. I'm relatable. I am a mom. My advice and techniques are things that I would want to hear if I were in your shoes.

I find the best programs, the best resources, and provide truth. I would never recommend anything that I would not allow someone to do with my own kids.

This blog has brought me so much joy and given me a voice to share with more people than I see in my office.  I get to connect with people across the country and I love hearing from you.

What's the Secret to Growing a Business?

I don't think there's a secret to any of it. You must simply be authentic. People can very easily see right through those who aren't authentic with them.

I follow the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. I'll also add humor, because that is just me. I find joy in the little things, and I practice what I preach.

So basically, my business grows, because I continue to grow. I set out each day to be better than the day before.

How to Grow into Success?

How to do that?  Well, my favorite piece of advice for moms is to listen to that inner voice. Your gut is your secret "mom weapon".

It's also important to realize success happens with help from others. You must build a strong support system - everyone needs one.

My husband is a pillar in mine. We have been married for 25 years and while the long days of start-up took its toll, we have stayed the course. On the days when I think I am going to throw in the towel, he reminds me of the lives that have been changed.

My friends, especially in my inner tribe, provide another pillar of support. They know who they are and are only allowed in my tent because they are the people who are strong enough to speak the truth to me when I sometimes don't want to hear it. But they are also the ones that allow me to be me -  a hot mess - and who can handle it.

Professionally, my support system includes Lyn Wendon, author and writer of Letterland, a unique, phonics-based approach to teaching reading, writing, and spelling.

She has been a mentor for over seven years now and is probably the number one reason I am where I am today.  She has pushed me beyond my limits and believed in me when I truly did not know why.

There is also Franco Valentino of Narrative SEO. I like to refer to him as the wizard behind the curtain. He is the right brain to my left brain as it relates to technology.

There were other people who came into my life offering services and promises.  Not only did they come close to destroying my work, but they got in the way of getting my message out.  I took one more chance and believed in what Franco was selling and I am so grateful that I did. He is brilliant and is the only reason you are reading this today.

My mom is my eternal shining light. Because of her, I grew up believing that I could be anything I wanted to be.  My being a little girl from West Virginia who knew early on that she had purpose was completely due to being raised by an amazing mom.

She modeled how to be a mom and, while I will never be the woman she is, she offered me a model that I continue to implement daily.

Finally, my kids - both my biological kids and the kids who greet me when I enter our office. To me, they are all my kids. They are the faces for whom I have been blessed to create an atmosphere in which they can rise. They are the reason I continue.

Finding Balance

I'm often asked what the secret is to finding balance; how to juggle being a mom and a career.  If there is a secret, when someone finds it, please share!

In the beginning, I found that creating hours for growing a business gave me more energy and created happiness.  However, as my career grew, and more and more people needed me, I realized that I suck at the whole "healthy boundaries" thing.  So I am learning to set boundaries.

My work is all consuming and I give 100% and more when I am with clients.  This can leave me depleted at the end of a long work day and nothing to offer to my first loves, my family.

I learned the same can happen to my team of clinicians and I need them to stay healthy.  So we work Monday through Thursday in the office and I choose to shut it down when I leave the office (at least I try).

I am making a conscious effort to shut it off on the weekends and enjoy Job #1, being a mom.  What I have seen is that it makes me a better clinician, leader, and writer.  Those phone calls and emails can wait till Monday.

Creating your Life's Purpose

What's the number one tip for creating your life's purpose? I'll offer four: Find your niche.  Find your voice.  Be comfortable in your own skin.  Stay current.

Being a Mompreneur

I'd say my biggest challenge in being a mompreneur is, again, finding a balance between work and family. Some days I think I've got it all figured out, and the next day I don't. It's a constant battle and I've learned to accept it.

I realized I just can't do it all, but I'll die trying. If at the end of the day, when I am washing my face, and I look in the mirror and I am content with what I see, then it is all good. I know that I have given it my best shot, I have learned from my mistakes, and that my second chance will come in the morning.

Least Favorite Part of my Job?

The least favorite - and most disheartening - part of my job is when I see a struggling student with a parent who is not ready to receive the gift that I am offering.

It is the innocent struggling child that I hurt for and the hardest part is to see them walk out the door.

People would be surprised to learn what kids say and give me during our first encounter. I have kept all of the notes that students write or draw as their parents and I are wrapping up our initial meeting.

It is as if they already know that their parents won't believe me and they are sending me one last plea. It is heartbreaking. I always say a prayer when they walk out that door.

The second least favorite part about my job?

Money. This has been the hardest part of breaking through in a little-known industry.

Americans have a mindset that anything to do with education should be free. My business usually gets lumped in that category because it is out of the box and doesn't really have its own space.

No one wants a child to suffer but we have not figured out how to provide quality service free of charge. No one ever stops to think of the providers who deliver the service. Or the environment in which the child receives the service.

It is tough to grow a small business and it is even tougher when your business is unknown to many, deals mainly with kids, and has an element of education attached.

I have seen both millionaires, and single moms with not a penny to spare in my practice. I am always amazed at the mom who is willing to accept that she can not do it on her own, understands that this will change her child's life, and will do whatever it takes to make it happen.

I wish I could share these moms' stories with you. They have sacrificed a lot and know that they have done whatever it takes to get their child the help that they need.

On the flip side, I have also had families who live in million dollar homes, drive expensive cars, who think that because they did fine in life, their son or daughter will too and they don't value my service enough to make it a priority.

Inevitably they are the ones who look at me and tell me that it is too expensive. My favorite response? Expensive is something that you pay too much for. You can not put a price tag on education.

My Guilty Pleasure!

Watching my favorite reality t.v. shows is a guilty pleasure. Survivor, The Voice, and So You Think You Can Dance!

I DVR my shows and love to spend an hour escaping into a world of things that I love but that I have no talent in (i.e. dance, music, and outdoor survival skills).

My lack of talent is the reason they are my escape: for one hour I live vicariously through those with the talents I don't have.

My Best Mom Moment?

When someone compliments my two sons. That is a proud moment for me. Because at the end of the day, aren't we all just trying to raise good people?

I'll share a funny story: My father-in-law gave me this piece of advice when my second son was born. He said, "Kyra, raise these boys in a way that no one ever sees them walking up the sidewalk and says "Here come those damn Minichan boys".

I am happy to report that no one has ever said that to me.

My Favorite Hobby

Hands down, is travel!  There is nothing that I love more than exploring new places and meeting new faces.

My Greatest Accomplishment

My kids. I think that is another reason that I love where my business is growing. I know how hard a job being a mom is and any challenge adds another level of intensity to it.

I have skills that offer hope to moms who don't know where to turn or what to do. Smart but struggling kids are tricky and moms are their biggest supporters and sometimes their only cheerleaders.

Moms are the ones who take the brunt of their unhappiness and often blame themselves. That hurts my soul when I know that it doesn't have to be like that and that I know how to help.

Moms I Admire

All the moms with the courage to listen to their inner voice and not what the world is telling them, and who will stop at nothing to help their child.

What I do has a learning curve and it takes a leap of faith to trust an individual with your child's future. Then it takes more courage to pay for it and carry it out at home. I understand this and that is why I admire the parent who says "yes."

Resources I Believe In

The System, not the Product. Over the years I have been introduced to a gazillion different products and resources claiming to help the struggling kid. I have spent hours becoming certified in many, spending money purchasing most, only to realize that there is not one product that will transform your child.

That is what led me to create The Predictable Academic Transformation Highway that I refer to as, The P.A.T.H. System.™

There are four basic rules in life that allow you to make progress; Assess, Identify the problem, Prescribe a treatment and Implement Corrective Measures. These four rules rely on individualization. That is how I designed my system.

I utilize a curriculum that I created along with research-based products that I have found to be the best out there.

Products are only as good as the person using them. These resources are like treadmills at a gym. You will get more out of the treadmill if you have a trainer/coach who has either designed a specific workout for you that allows you to effectively utilize the treadmill, or who is standing beside you pushing you further than you think you can go while you are walking/running on it.

I talk about each individual product on a different blog if you are curious as to what they are.

My Hope

So, that is a little bit about me. My purpose in sharing my story with you? Well, my hope is that in sharing it, I have earned the right to sit at your table and you will give me the privilege of listening to yours.

3 Comments

  1. Ken Lewellyn on July 10, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Kyra is, without a doubt, one of the most talented people I have ever known. She worked with my grandson when he was 3 years old (about 6 years ago). She still works with him. I credit her with being the most effective therapist to ever work with him (and there have been a bunch)… She is the most intuitive, understanding, insightful, caring therapist I have ever met. The difference she has made in my grandson’s life is immeasurable. And for that, she has my eternal gratitude.



  2. Vivian Miller on July 10, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Great read, but more importantly, you are a great person! I am so glad my family found you several years ago, when my son was diagnosed with dyslexia. Now, all the confusion and tears behind us, the blind faith we put in you paid off. Ryan, as you know, is reading at grade level, confident and continuing to make progress. By following your plan, we made every goal you put in front of us. I feel so blessed that your company (and especially you and your staff) are here in our community to serve the people that need you. Love you Kyra, you deserve every bit of successes and more!



  3. Pamela Powell, M.A., CCC-SLP on July 11, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Dear Parents, first off, I am not a Mom, but I am privileged to be part of Kyra’s “inner tribe” and there are a few things I’d like you to know. Your child’s academic struggles are never far from Kyra’s mind. I cannot tell you how many of our conversations are centered around her tireless search to find out more to help a child she has seen. These conversations can be early morning or late evening and anytime in between. And when she finds a nugget of information that dissects her work with children, with my work with patients who have dementia, she doesn’t hesitate to share (believe it or not, this does happen frequently!). Just know that you have chosen wisely when you came to Kyra for help with your precious child. I am proud to have called her a mentor, colleague and dear friend for over 20 years.