17th November 2023

International Men’s Day with Mark Straker

Ahead of International Men’s Day, we caught up with Project Manager, Mark Straker, a remarkable individual whose unwavering determination and resilience truly set him apart.

Project Manager, Mark Straker shares his stammering journey update as he coaches graduates through an intensive course, helping people to gain control of their stammer.

Mark StrakerLast year, on the occasion of International Men’s Day, Mark Straker shared his story of resilience about overcoming his stammer which prompted a lot of public support and positive engagement. 12 months on, we caught up with him to see how he has been progressing on his journey.

Mark has suffered with a stammer since he was 4 years old. After undergoing different forms of speech therapy during his childhood, Mark continued to face challenges, frequently struggling to say his own name and freezing mid-sentence.

As he progressed in his career as a construction professional, Mark needed help to confront his fear of public speaking and that’s when he discovered the McGuire Programme. The programme helps people overcome stuttering by providing intensive courses, supporting those with a stammer to overcome it and become more effective speakers.

Since joining the programme back in February 2018, Mark’s confidence has grown as he’s developed new breathing techniques to help him speak more fluently in public. Fast forward 5 years, and Mark is now a certified primary coach on the programme and has supported hundreds of graduates with their speech.   

During a recent intensive course with the McGuire Programme, Mark coached 12 new students in Newcastle. Over the duration of 4 days, he provided support to the students, addressing various aspects of stuttering, encompassing both the physical and psychological aspects of dealing with a stutter, while also introducing them to the costal breathing technique. Each student then took on the challenge of speaking to 100 people in public, followed by a soap box speech in the middle of Newcastle city centre.

Public speaking helps reduce the fear and also raises awareness about stammerers. It’s important to keep going back to these courses to help maintain my speech at the level that it’s at.

Mark Straker Project Manager at Sir Robert McAlpine

Not only does Mark coach students but he also holds speech support groups around Newcastle. His goal is to become a course instructor for the McGuire Programme next year.

Find out more about the McGuire Programme.

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    International Men's Day is an opportunity to celebrate some of the inspirational men in our lives. In that regard, you'd be hard pressed to find a better example than Mark Straker, whose perseverance and strength of character are really something else.

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