As children, handing out valentines to our classmates was a moment when we appreciated each other with sugary words in cards and candies. Stripped of its commercialism and lonely-hearts backlash, the essence of this holiday for me is in taking a moment to feel the fondness for others and to let them know about it. Finding the perfect card, coming up with a unique compliment, taking time to think about each of the special people in our lives is what keeps us connected and is the real “Hallmark” of this holiday. Which is why I am publically sending out this valentine to some of the most special people in my life. This valentine is for the crush I have on all of my colleagues/employees at Stride Physio.

Francine Walsh was my first choice to champion the administrative side of Stride. A magical moment happened when Francine and I ran into each other while skate skiing in the Methow, right after I had been thinking of her for the job – a most auspicious moment. Among her many qualities is her effervescent personality and her ability to connect with and care about people. Another one of her superpowers is her skill at investigating and demystifying the confusing world of insurance. Francine has the grit and positivity to problem solve the everyday intricacies of managing a PT practice.

Dr. Grace Lucuab was the first PT I hired, cherry picked from one of the last University of Washington classes that I taught. Grace shines in her ability to make accurate diagnoses. Her years as a massage therapist gives her an edge over many PTs with her ability to use her hands in assessment and treatment   Her breadth of interests in various physical therapy specialties – vestibular, neurology and animal PT – combines with her passion for orthopedics and sports. Grace shows up, always in style, with humor and with the patient’s best interest in mind. I’m especially grateful that she took the risk to start out her PT practice when Stride first opened its doors.

Dr. Laurie Gribshaw joined Stride in May 2016, and with her came her rather large fan club of patients. Laurie exemplifies passion and mastery for her work. She started her career as an athletic trainer before becoming a PT and is now in the process of obtaining her advanced credentialing in Postural Restoration . Laurie’s zest for learning, her enthusiasm for untangling complex movement dysfunction and her empowering coaching style are but a few reasons why she is so adored by her patients and by all of us.

Dr. Mylan Vu is our newest, cheeriest, and most studious physical therapist. Mylan’s unique doctoral education, at a school that wrote the book on manual therapy for PTs, gives her great abilities to address any joint in the body. She is currently in the thick of studying for her board certification in orthopedic physical therapy, bridging the current research with the daily clinical practice. Mylan’s conscientiousness, warmth and knowledgeable approach are what make a lasting difference in the lives of those who work with her.

We are all so delighted that Mickie Nowinski joined our administrative team last spring. Mickie is the lovely voice sitting at the helm (the front desk) where she keeps our engines purring and our seas calm. Mickie is the maven of insurance authorizations, keeping us therapists on track and up to date. Mickies’ elegance, keen mind and quick laugh sets the right tone of professionalism and fun for all of us at Stride.

Cheryl Allison and I knew each other long before we ever met. Her excellent work and reputation were made known to me by numerous shared patients. Our first meeting was a hug at the Fremont Solstice parade – it’s as though we have known each other forever! Cheryl is a truly gifted massage therapist. Her work is grounded in solid study and elevated by her intuitive talents. Those who are lucky enough to get on her schedule rarely ever leave it.

My heart is still with all of Stride’s past employees:

Patient care coordinator and systems analyst Michelle Thompson, who worked many long hours setting up our electronic medical record. Michelle is now in Long Beach, CA taking care of our aging Dad.

Dylan Thompson, my cousin from Maryland who spent the summer with us as a PT Aid. He’s about to graduate from the University of Maryland and hopefully apply to PT school.

Dr. Molly Broadwater, a PT with many interests athletically and professionally, including women’s health, who returned to California due to the pull of her family and the call of the mountains.

Part of my drive to open up a physical therapy clinic was to collaborate with and learn from some of the coolest folks I know – physical therapists (PTs). As the doctors of the movement system, PTs are by nature active, intelligent, assertive and playful, so it’s easy to have love for my colleagues. At Stride Physio, we strive to create of culture of collaboration, mastery, and compassion. Everyone at Stride not only embodies these values, they also each bring to the clinic their unique insights, skills and passions that benefit all who come to our clinic.