Our mission is simple. We want to create a better world for deaf and hard of hearing people.
We do this by working within the community.
We redesign technology to access the previously inaccessible. We invest in businesses whose goals and interests align with ours. We embrace change. Those little things, and more, contribute to the larger picture of what is truly possible when unity remains our strength.
Community is more than a place of shared culture and language. It is a home, and a safe haven. We are privileged to share it with you.
Chris Soukup, CEO of CSD
Where We’ve Been. Where We’re Going.
For over 40 years we’ve been adapting and advancing our deaf-led social impact organization – and we will continue to do so. Take a look at our journey to today, and what we have in mind for the future.
From a closet to the world.
Watch our Founder’s Story
Actions we take today will impact generations to come.
Learn more about, and get involved with our deaf-led social advocacy campaigns.
FCC Petition: Direct Video Calling
FCC Petition: Direct Video Calling Written By CSD height="0" width="0"...
We envision the future every day.
See the world we are working towards represented in our Vision Film series.
Alba has always stood out, even at birth. When her parents learned she was deaf, they raised her without sign language. Now a teenager, she struggles with a deprived past and her place in the world – until a fated encounter alters the course of her life, as it was meant to be.
In the near future, technology has advanced to the point of blurring lines of human connections… or has it? Beyond Inclusion explores the relationship between technology and human nature. Will we remain true to ourselves? Or will we jump at the chance to be “cured”?
We envision a world where communication is open and transparent. A world where every deaf person can interact freely with others. It’s not simply a far-fetched dream; it’s our vision for the future. It’s why CSD exists. It’s why we come to work every single day. CSD has always belonged to the community just like this vision belongs to you.
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Who’s Leading the Charge
Meet the people who live and breathe CSD’s values, elevate our community, and make a difference through a deaf-lead organization.
Thomas Means graduated from the University of Texas with a BBA and a Master in Professional Accounting and is an active CPA. Thomas brings more than 15 years of public accounting and private industry experience to the team. Prior to joining CSD, he worked as an auditor at Ernst & Young. As a former Big 4 auditor, Thomas oversees the payroll, benefits, and financial accounting and reporting. He has served as Treasurer and Board Member of Deaf Action Center.
Dr. Khadijat “Kubby” Rashid
Khadijat “Kubby” Rashid is the Dean of the School of Education, Business and Human Services at Gallaudet, where she’s developed and taught graduate and undergraduate courses in economics, social work, and more. Kubby received her Ph.D. in International Relations from American University. She is a co-author of Citizenship, Politics, Difference: Perspectives from Sub-Saharan African Communities. Kubby has presented at the UN, the White House and several other prominent locations. In 2010, President Obama appointed her as a White House Fellow. Kubby has served on the boards of the Maryland School for the Deaf and Discovering Deaf Worlds.
Chris Soukup, a 2001 graduate of Gallaudet University, has held diverse and progressively responsible positions with CSD since the mid-1990s. Since 2005, he has been a member of CSD’s executive leadership team and was appointed by the CSD Board of Directors to lead this organization as chief executive officer in 2014. In this role, he has represented CSD at national and international events relating to the deaf: community-based forums, educational panels, and instructional workshops. Chris has also served on a number of prominent committees and advisory boards.
Dr. Mei Kennedy
Dr. Mei Kennedy provides strategic consulting on integrating technology to improve the learning experience for deaf students. Over the past two years, Dr. Kennedy consulted CSD Learns on the development of instructional content for several projects, one of which introduces deaf role models in STEM fields. In addition to her background in Instructional Design, she fosters enhancement in communication accessibility with years of experience in remote real-time transcription services.
Dr. Kennedy obtained her doctorate degree in Instructional Design for Online Learning from Capella University. She also serves on the board of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc (TDI). She currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and two boys. She is a parent, and an advocate, of a hearing son with autism.
Shireen Hafeez is the founder of Deaf Kids Code, a first-of-its-kind nonprofit that teaches Deaf and hard-of-hearing children computer and technology skills so they can be economically and socially successful in life. The national outreach organization has worked with more than 9,000 children in over 40 locations around the United States. Hafeez founded Deaf Kids Code to support future generations of Deaf children, including her son, so they can thrive in ways that previous generations couldn’t due to societal and linguistic barriers.
Deaf Kids Code is founded on the belief that the digital age is the great equalizer. The organization empowers Deaf and hard-of-hearing children by equipping them with the technology and design skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive workforce. By teaching them the universal language of computing, students have more substantial opportunities to enter top-tier colleges and pursue fulfilling careers in technology.
Mark Seeger, the proud CODA son of Texas School for the Deaf educators, is a lifelong communication advocate. Born in Austin and a graduate of the University of Texas, Mark began his career at the Texas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Here, he was instrumental in the State Legislation that set the standard for 24/7 Relay Services nationwide. Mark joined CSD as a Government Affairs Officer shaping the VRS reimbursement regulations for early providers. Now, as a freelance ASL interpreter in medical and court settings, he has the flexibility to travel with his husband, Jeff Harper.
Melissa “echo” Greenlee
Melissa “echo” Greenlee (she/her) is the founder and CEO of deaffriendly.com, a consumer review platform for Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing individuals to rate, review and find deaf-friendly businesses nationwide. In addition to a review platform, she also runs deaffriendly CONSULTING which provides training and education to a range of U.S. businesses from small startups to Fortune 500s striving to become more inclusive.
As Vice President, Government Markets, Juli Robinson represents CSD as their contract manager for the State of California’s Telephone Access Program (CTAP) and its contact center, in addition to the Marketing Services Provider contract for the State of California’s Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program. She serves as CSD’s liaison with T-Mobile’s Accessibility operations management and supports strategic utilization of CSD contact centers. She is also responsible for state and federal communications access-related research and public policy. Juli provides leadership oversight and has accountability for contact center business operations, including infrastructure, management team, workforce deployment and profitability. Juli is serving on the FCC’s 4th term of their Disability Advisory Committee and represents CSD on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network.
Marilyn Jean Smith
Marilyn Jean Smith is the founder and former executive director of the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) in Seattle and is considered the Mother of the Anti-Violence Movement in Deaf America. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Her work at ADWAS brought many awards, including those from President Clinton, Gallaudet University, the National Association for the Deaf, Deaf Women United, and the Phi Kappa Zeta Sorority. She received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Gallaudet University in 2004.
Maria Wilson holds a bachelor’s degree with high honors from the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center. Prior to joining CSD, she was an attorney with Bill Gordan and Associates. Maria recently served on the State Bar of Texas Disability Issues Committee, focusing on promoting the Communication Access Fund, which reimburses Texas attorneys for the cost of auxiliary aids and services when meeting with clients who are deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing.
Rogelio Fernández Mota
Rogelio Fernández Mota was born and raised in the heart of the border: El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, México. He attended Gallaudet University and received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. Rogelio also served as the president and vice-president of the Hispanic Student Organization on campus.
He has been a longtime activist involved in social justice with Latinx Deaf Organizations. He is currently an advisory board member of Manos de Tejas that he founded in 2006, a board of director of Communication Service for the Deaf, and a board member of Texas School for Deaf Foundation. He also served as an advisory board member of National Interpreter Education Center, World Association of Sign Language Interpreters, and a former president of the national organization Council de Manos.
He is an ambitious leader with over 17 years of professional experience in community relations, outreach, marketing, and sales, mainly in the telecommunications relay industry. Through Rogelio’s consulting company, Manos Communications, he and his wife Dr. Carla García-Fernández have worked closely with Latinx Deaf populations across the United States and overseas.
Rosa Lee Timm
Rosa Lee Timm is a well-known performance artist, recognized predominantly for her ASL music videos and work as a solo performer on The Rosa Lee Show. Rosa earned her bachelor’s in Social Work from Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling from Western Oregon University. Prior to joining CSD, Rosa Lee served as the marketing director for DCARA. Before this, she held various roles within education, teaching at Ohlone College, California School for the Deaf – Fremont, and more. The mother of two resides in the Bay Area.
TJay Middlebrook is an equity-focused leader who has dedicated his life to advocating for the rights and needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. His advocacy spans the globe, successfully affecting policy changes for disability communities in Uganda as well as in the United States.
Middlebrook has a proven track record of advocating for disability rights throughout different sectors. In 2013, he traveled to Uganda to educate Deaf Ugandans about self-advocacy in communication access. He also supported the Uganda Association for the Deaf while and the Uganda Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development to amend the country’s Persons with Disabilities Act of 2006. In Minnesota, TJay collaborated with domestic violence shelters and organizations to develop procedures that guarantee accessible communication and other accommodations for Deaf adults and children who are survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault. Later, as an accessibility coordinator for the City of Saint Paul in Minnesota, Middlebrook worked closely with public officials and agencies to enforce accessibility throughout the City’s services and programs.
Middlebrook currently serves at the Minnesota Department of Human Services as a Regional Service Supervisor. He oversees Regional Services for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals as well as individuals experiencing hearing loss.