SEC Stories Joe Connolly header image

A series about SEC employees and their work away from their desks

For some SEC workers, conquering personal hurdles can translate into a journey to help others struggling with a similar challenge.

According to, approximately 70 million people stutter worldwide – 3 million of them in the U.S. alone. Joe Connolly, of the National Examination Program in the New York Regional Office, was once a stutterer.

“As a child, I stuttered,” he said. “I thought I sort of graduated out of it, so I denied that it really even happened.”

It was Connolly’s personal experiences with stuttering that inspired him to help produce and fund “The Way We Talk,” a documentary about those who stutter. The documentary follows the journey of a stutterer searching for answers and self-acceptance.

“Movies like this and other books and other films that get the word out about stuttering can only help,” said Dr. Joe Donaher of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Childhood Communication, where the documentary was screened for patients and community members.

Joe Connolly photo

“Eventually, you just don’t speak”

Connolly was a guest speaker at the documentary’s screening event in Philadelphia and encouraged stutterers in attendance to make their goals a reality, no matter what.

“If somebody can take a risk and be inspired by the things that I’ve done in my life growing up with stuttering, then hopefully they will know there’s not a lot of barriers that they can’t break down,” he said.