Meet the Team
Sherry Artemenko MA, CCC-SLP & the Play On Words Team
Sherry Y. Artemenko MA, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist, Writer, Toy Consultant
Speech language pathologist Sherry Artemenko has loved working with children and educating families to improve their child’s communication skills, having served more than 35 years in public and private school systems and her private practice, Play On Words LLC.
In 17,000+ hours building kids’ language through play, Sherry intuitively identifies the learning potential in toys and games, passionately sharing her knowledge with parents, educators, brands and retailers to be more attuned and committed to smart play. Founding playonwords.com in 2003 and the PAL Award (Play Advances Language) in 2011 to recognize and promote the best products, Sherry is established as the credentialed speech expert in the Industry to recognize and promote exceptional purveyors of smart play.
Recognized as a speech-language expert in Parents Magazine, parenting.com, San Francisco Chronicle and The Chicago Tribune, her blog and website detail how to use toys to elevate language learning. A popular resource for therapists and parents alike, it was named an ASHAsphere “Best Speech-Language Blog.” Sherry also regularly shares her insights on FOX and NBC TV News affiliates, recommending “Smart Toys,” her “Top 10 PAL Picks,” and how the world of STEM is supported by a strong foundation in language skills.
Sherry’s career as a speech language pathologist spanned 22 years in Illinois and Connecticut public and private schools, where she worked with pre-school to high school-aged children with special needs, serving on multidisciplinary diagnostic teams and developing programs to teach language through literature, collaborating with classroom teachers to bridge language, reading and writing in school curriculum.
Graduating with honors from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Communicative Disorders, she is a licensed certified member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. True to her mission of supporting kids and families, she recently served as Chair of the National Board of Directors for “YoungLives,” providing support for pregnant and parenting teens and their babies.
Born in the Midwest, Sherry and Bob raised their three boys in Connecticut. They became residents of North Carolina in 2020. Their three sons, Sherry’s first Play on Words clients and toy testers, Bill, Yale ‘00; Andrew, Northwestern ‘03; and Peter, Duke ’05, graced them with three wonderful daughters by marriage. They are blessed with 11 precious grandchildren who love to play on words with Sheshe and Artie.
Sherry offers services including speaking, consulting, and media appearances.
B.A., Economics, M.M. Marketing, Northwestern University
Chief Marketing Officer
Word Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Pilot, Biker
Bob Artemenko began his 34 years with IBM selling and managing sales in Chicago and New York. He was an executive in international marketing and strategy, working with computer server, services and financing divisions. He was recognized for his abilities to interpret complex, competitive and organization challenges, communicate coherent problem statements with solutions, and lead teams toward issue resolution and growth.
Translating his experience to other industries has come naturally.
Working at IBM, teaching in Fairfield University’s business program, and getting his Masters from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management have shown him that “marketing” is centered more around the profession’s principles and disciplines than the plethora of products introduced continuously. Assembling Lego and Playmobil’s pretend play vignettes and vehicles, playing all kinds of spinner and strategy games, wowing kids with realistic Folkmanis hand puppets or lovingly created books – have demonstrated that it’s still all about satisfying markets with uniqueness and value as seen through that consumer segment’s eyes. “Knowing their hearts, you can delight them and build successful business models serving them – everyone wins.”
Serving the Toy Industry advances on the written and spoken word like other ventures. Customers, developers, producers, publishers, influencers and their management all need to be understood and helped via communicating. An avid reader and writer, Bob has always honored the value of words.
He loves to play. An All-Big Ten Big Ten shortstop, Yankee minor league pitcher and cyclist riding thousands of miles a year (with Sherry!), he’s always balanced the cerebral and relational with the recreational. His love of airplanes led him to get his pilot’s license in 2009.
Bob finds great fulfillment in partnering with Sherry at Play On Words LLC to help parents, caregivers and educators use the pervasive media of mass marketed toys, games and books to go beyond the $ Billions spent entertaining, to show the ways that the very best of them can fortify language, to power productive lives, careers and character.
“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”
― Ludwig Wittgenstein
Erika O. Cardamone, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist, Toy Consultant
Erika Cardamone is a speech-language pathologist, Mom of three, and fellow toy enthusiast. She spends her work life in schools and private practice helping parents and kids talk more and play hard.
She received her Masters Degree from Columbia University, went on to teach graduate students at her alma mater, and supervised students abroad while doing work in Africa and South America. Her expertise has been recognized on major parent resource blogs, such as the Honest Company, Disney, and the ASHA Wire.
Starting her career in New York City, then migrating to San Francisco, and finally settling outside of Philadelphia, Erika has experience working and playing with infants through school aged children. She’s spent most of her career in the urban setting, coaching parents to find the best toys and tools for small city living. Erika found a true passion for play and educating parents in 2011, when her sister (a first-time-mom) was eager for new information and new ideas on how to make playtime meaningful.
In her free time, she’s searching for umami in her local eateries, building forts and having dance parties with her husband and three kids. If you want to know what she’s thinking, she’ll tell you at her blog over at TheSpeechies.com.