We’ve all seen those cheesy Instagram posts with inspirational messages—like “Seize the day” or “Follow your heart” or “Live with passion”—scrawled across picturesque photos of sandy beaches, golden sunrises, and snow-capped mountain peaks. Maybe we’ve even tapped that little heart icon to publicly declare our support of such statements. But rarely do we live by them—at least not consistently. Emily Ely, on the other hand, has always used her heart as her compass—and it hasn’t failed her yet (well, except for the time she wandered off to an elementary school playground, scaring her parents half to death and setting off a massive search effort that involved a police helicopter).

That’s not to say Emily was a rebel child. On the contrary, she was the stereotypical overachiever: she always got good grades, she was a multisport athlete, and she even teamed up with her dad—who worked in the automotive industry—to rebuild the 1986 Chevy S-10 Blazer she drove in high school. “My dad bought it from my uncle and surprised me with it, and I was so excited,” she said. “Then, he told me it didn’t work.” But, Emily took it as a learning opportunity, and she spent the next two summers gutting the car and replacing the engine and the transmission.

That ended up coming in handy a few years down the road, when she began dating her now-husband, Tucker. “One of my first dates with him was helping him change the transmission on his truck,” she said with a laugh. The couple met in Santa Barbara, where Emily was attending college—and despite a friend’s best effort to keep them apart (“She thought he wasn’t good enough for me!”), they ended up getting married just shy of a year after they started dating. To some, that might sound crazy—but Emily knew in her heart that she’d found her soulmate.

The truly crazy part, Emily says, was that she and Tucker—along with their parents—planned the entire wedding in two weeks. “My mother-in-law is incredible,” she said. “My only job was to find a dress. My parents and his parents somehow managed to get the venue [in Henderson, Nevada] and the flowers.” And so, on July 4, 2008, before a crowd of 50 of their closest friends and family members, Tucker and Emily were married. “We planned it for the Fourth of July because Tucker was in the Navy and was training to go to Afghanistan, so that was the only day we knew for sure he could get off.” Luckily, the hitchin’ all came together without a hitch (pun intended). The wedding party even got to enjoy a spectacular fireworks display, as the reception room overlooked all of Las Vegas.

In 2009, Emily graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in communications—just as Tucker was processing out of the Navy. They moved to Santa Cruz, California, where Tucker attended school under the GI Bill, and Emily hit the pavement in search of work. “It took forever for me to find a job,” she said. “I had just graduated, and I didn’t have any real job experience. Plus, we were right in the middle of the recession.” Eventually, she landed a customer service gig at a screen printing company—and later, she ended up getting a job at a local bakery. “That was where my love of small business really began,” she said. “I started to understand small business owners and their challenges.” There, she wore many hats: administrative assistant, marketer, social media manager, website designer, blogger—even cookie packager. “Things were always really, really busy during the holidays,” she said. “So it was all hands on deck. I was out on the factory floor sleeving and boxing cookies. I’d come home with raw fingers from twisting the ties on the cookie bags.”

While she and Tucker loved Santa Cruz—their apartment was only a 10-minute walk from the boardwalk, the university, and the downtown area—they eventually decided to make their way to the Valley of the Sun so Tucker could enroll in a doctoral program at Arizona State University. “I was excited about all of the different opportunities for work,” Emily said. By then, she did have some real job experience under her belt—but she hadn’t yet discovered her true passion. “I knew I liked social media and interacting with customers to get their feedback,” she said. So, she applied for some social media positions, but she didn’t have much luck.

Not one to be discouraged, Emily decided that if she couldn’t get a marketing job, she’d put her efforts into marketing herself. “I subscribed to a bunch of design blogs and figured out how to make my own business card,” she said. “And I started going to a bunch of free networking events. Basically, I took on a ‘fake it until you make it’ kind of attitude.” All that hustling paid off: one of her networking contacts invited her to a special technology meetup, where she made a connection with someone from a local tech company—and that ended up turning into a job in website management, blogging, and social media.

Once she had her foot in the door of the Phoenix tech community, she started meeting people from other companies—including Charlotte Bohnett, WebPT’s content marketing and communications manager. The two hit it off, and when a position opened in WebPT’s marketing department, Charlotte enthusiastically recommended Emily for the job. When Emily received the offer to join the WebPT team, she again followed her heart—and accepted. At first, she handled WebPT’s EDU sales and media placements. “Talking to [physical therapy] professors was really cool, because they have so much knowledge about what the industry was when they were first starting out,” she said. “And it was also really cool that most of them were familiar with, or had heard about, WebPT from their therapist friends.”

The more she talked with those in the therapy profession—including WebPT Members—the more she started to recognize a huge opportunity to build some type of therapy community. “I got this feeling that a lot of people [in the PT industry] have wanted a central place for networking and peer-to-peer feedback and support in general,” she said. Fast-forward almost two years, and she and her team are on the cusp of introducing the exact type of community she was envisioning (stay tuned to the WebPT Blog for more details about this exciting development). “When WebPT was small, each Member had an assigned rep,” she explained. And while that ratio wasn’t scalable as the company grew, Emily says the new program “will hearken back to that.”

The program has also helped open a new door for Emily, who transitioned out of sales and media to take on the more customer-centric role of WebPT Member Marketing Specialist. “The position that I have now is something that developed and was created because of a company need and personal interests,” she said. According to Emily, that’s proof-positive that if you’re at the right company, you can chart your own path and align your passions with the work you do on a daily basis. “Knowing that a company will adapt to your wants and needs is a huge benefit as an employee—and one that keeps me happy every single day I've ever worked here,” she continued.

And in the spirit of WebPT’s work-hard, play-hard philosophy, Emily also stays busy outside of work—trying new restaurants, testing and rating ice-cream sandwiches, and training for a winter 10K in Sedona, Arizona. “I’m going to be huffing and puffing,” she said, adding that it was Tucker’s idea to register both of them for the race. It’s a hilly, high-elevation course—which means it’ll require a lot of cardiovascular strength. Luckily, Emily knows she can always rely on her heart.

Fave Five with Emily

  1. Favorite food: Spaghetti
  2. Favorite movie: Hot Fuzz
  3. Favorite sports team: San Francisco Giants
  4. Favorite band: Dave Matthews Band or Nine Inch Nails
  5. Favorite place: Bass Lake, CA  


Social Media for PTs: Is it Worth it? - Regular BannerSocial Media for PTs: Is it Worth it? - Small Banner
  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on Taylor Glasheen Image

    articleAug 22, 2013 | 4 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on Taylor Glasheen

    Note: Each month, we will feature a different member of the WebPT family in our Staff Spotlight blog series. When she went on a trip to Mexico with just six bucks in her pocket, Taylor Glasheen learned the hard way that the exchange rate wasn’t quite as generous as she’d expected. “I thought that would, like, buy me a house—and it didn’t,” she said with a slight smile and a touch of sarcasm. Luckily, her friends and …

  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on Jenny Walters Image

    articleMay 13, 2014 | 5 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on Jenny Walters

    Whether she’s planning an event or sampling a craft beer, Jenny Walters is staunchly attentive to detail. After all, it’s the small things—like the subtle, citrusy flavor of Cascade hops or a personalized greeting at a large conference—that often make the biggest impact. As WebPT’s Marketing and Events Specialist, Jenny is responsible for planning all of WebPT’s public appearances—from our trade show booths to our Evolve conferences. And Jenny knows better than anyone that when it comes …

  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on Bradley LaFave Image

    articleAug 27, 2015 | 5 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on Bradley LaFave

    Whether it’s developing his own classification system for cabernets or overhauling a customer training program to make it more streamlined and intuitive, Bradley LaFave is always game for an exercise in improvement—especially if it involves pruning the complexity out of overly complicated processes. After all, why worry about nuances like tannin, fruit, and body when all it really comes down to is quality-versus-cost. That’s why Bradley’s wine system features three simple levels of classification: Weekday Cabernets are …

  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on John Brauchie Image

    articleFeb 26, 2016 | 5 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on John Brauchie

    John Brauchie is a sort of baseball hipster: he was making unassisted triple plays before unassisted triple plays were a thing—or at least before he knew they were a thing. “I think I was about 9 years old,” he said. “I caught the ball at first and touched first; then, I ran to second base and touched second. I didn’t even really know what I did or how rare it was until my dad told me later.” …

  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on Mike Clevenger Image

    articleMay 14, 2013 | 4 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on Mike Clevenger

    Note: Each month, we will feature a different member of the WebPT family in our new Staff Spotlight blog series. Growing up on his grandfather’s farm in eastern Tennessee, Mike Clevenger learned the value of a hard day’s work at a very young age. “We had days where the entire family—60 or 70 people with all of the grandkids—would come together, and we had to vaccinate all of my grandfather’s cattle,” he said. “That’s about 300 head …

  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on Stephanie Surratt Image

    articleJan 30, 2015 | 5 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on Stephanie Surratt

    With the right attitude, any job can be your dream job. At least that’s how Stephanie Surratt—WebPT’s Director of Human Resources—sees it. “It’s really about aligning your own goals with your organization’s goals,” she said. “It’s important to believe in what your organization is doing and have passion for that, because if you can’t buy in to what you’re selling, then you’re always going to have an inner war.” It might sound idealistic, but Stephanie is quick …

  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on Bryan O'Conor Image

    articleAug 28, 2014 | 5 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on Bryan O'Conor

    Whether he’s making a sale, remodeling a house, or hiking the mountains of Phoenix with his three Shiba inus, Bryan O’Conor lives for the thrill of a challenge. And that’s a good thing, because as he has discovered, no two physical therapy clinics are the same—which means that when it comes to helping practice owners identify the solutions that meet their business needs, Bryan must constantly flex his creative muscle. “It’s my job to listen to the …

  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on Courtney Lefferts Image

    articleJun 13, 2013 | 5 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on Courtney Lefferts

    Note: Each month, we will feature a different member of the WebPT family in our new Staff Spotlight blog series. She’s sweet, soft-spoken, and has a smile that could light up an entire dance hall—but never in a million years would you guess that Courtney Lefferts was once a Vegas showgirl. Courtney dedicated most of her childhood to training in dance—she began taking ballet lessons at age three—in hopes of one day dancing professionally. With the bright …

  • WebPT Staff Spotlight on Elizabeth Warren Image

    articleMar 10, 2014 | 4 min. read

    WebPT Staff Spotlight on Elizabeth Warren

    Note: Each month, we will feature a different member of the WebPT family in our Staff Spotlight blog series. Within the walls of the WebPT Billing Department, Elizabeth Warren is all about keeping things clean: clean processes, clean claims, and clean reimbursements. But when it comes to her weekend Jeep trail expeditions, she doesn’t mind getting a little dirty. “Recently, I’ve really started to get into Jeeping,” she said. “Now that my kids are grown, I’m kind …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.