Little Stars Therapy Services shines for kids

Written by Julie Hying

Little Stars Therapy Services began when owner Nicole (McLain) McArthur identified a need for additional services for children with autism in the Wichita community. The company opened its doors in August 2018 with only two clients and three team members and began providing applied behavior analysis services, parent training and consultation to families in the area. Over the course of the next year, Little Stars expanded their client base to 28 children impacted by autism spectrum disorders, ages 2 through 18, and the Little Stars team grew to employ 24 people. The expansion called for additional support and leadership, and Kimberly Becker was chosen as the company’s new CEO in January 2020.

The CEO role was new to Becker, but she was ready for the challenge; McArthur was confident she was the right person for the job. With expertise in early childhood special education as well as previous experience as the director of pediatric services at Heartspring, she brought vast background knowledge to the position.

However, the challenges that would shape her role were unprecedented. In March, the Covid-19 pandemic created significant uncertainty for businesses and people throughout the country, including the Little Stars clients and team members. This health crisis posed hardship and a potential loss of service for the clients, but also placed the well-being and employment of her team of professionals in jeopardy. The insecurities and challenges through the pandemic called for quick critical thinking and a robust action plan. Becker assessed these hurdles and addressed a multitude of considerations and factors beautifully.

Swiftly, Becker shifted all intensive therapy services that were occurring in the clinic with multiple providers each day to client’s individual homes, with one assigned therapist for the duration of the initial stages of the pandemic. Becker was diligent in the creation and execution of Covid-19 safety protocols and regulations, providing frequent and pertinent communication to her team, clients and families to ease already heightened levels of anxiety. When the CEO felt the pandemic allowed for reintegration of services back into the clinic, she provided well thought-out strategies and led her staff through the process, while keeping the team, clients and families safe and engaged in treatment.

These changes in place, Becker provided ongoing monitoring to safely and diligently provide services and meet the needs of her team, clients and families. McArthur praises Becker’s response to these unprecedented times: “As a business owner through a pandemic, I felt a high level of personal responsibility for ensuring our clients had the medically necessary services they were prescribed, families felt supported and carefully guided throughout the changes necessary, and for our team members who relied heavily on our response and business sustainability over the last year and a half. Kimberly exceeded all of my expectations in her response to Covid-19, and she did so with an abundance of grace, flexibility and fervor. We are very lucky to have her as our fierce leader at Little Stars!”

The new CEO’s innovative and creative strategies allowed the business to not only continue serving children and families who need these medically necessary services, but also increased the number of clients served to 75, creating 45 additional jobs. Most importantly, though, Becker set the bar high and became a shining example for others in leadership throughout the nation, demonstrating that with hard work, critical thinking and passion, anything is achievable for dedicated leaders.

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