About Us

Our mission is simple. We want to create a better world for deaf and hard of hearing people.

CSD Logo
Chris Soukup

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.

The Past

From a closet to the world.

Watch our Founder’s Story

The Present

Actions we take today will impact generations to come.

Learn more about, and get involved with our deaf-led social advocacy campaigns.

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The Future

We envision the future every day. 

 See the world we are working towards represented in our Vision Film series.

Meant To Be logo
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.

Beyond Inclusion logo
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”?

The Future

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.

What’s Next?

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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.

AllBoardLeadership
Pat Myers
President of CSD Global Contact Centers

Pat Myers

Maria Wilson
Chief Legal Officer, Board Secretary

Maria Wilson

Director

Dr. Khadijat Rashid

Vice President of Human Resources & Talent and Culture

Christina Cota

Director

Rogelio Fernandez, Jr

Rosa Lee Timm
Chief Marketing Officer & Social Venture Fund President

Rosa Lee Timm

Director

Mark Seeger

Director

Bruce Hodek

Director

Marwan Elrakabawy

Sasha Ponappa
Executive Director, CSD Unites Community Foundation

Sasha Ponappa

Director

Marilyn Jean Smith

Charles McFadden
Chief Technology Officer & Division President CSD Professional Services

Charles McFadden

Chris Soukup
CEO, Board President

Chris Soukup

Elise Nye
Director

Elise Nye

Board Member

Melissa “echo” Greenlee

Board Member

Dr. Mei Kennedy

Juli Robinson
Vice President, Government Markets

Juli Robinson

Chair

Danny Lacey

Chief Financial Officer

Thomas Means

President of CSD Global Contact Centers

Pat Myers

Pat Myers provides direction on business development and customer relationship management for CSD’s communication solution programs. Previously, Pat was chief of staff & strategy at CSD, where he oversaw company goals and development. Pat works with the board to maintain relationships with customers and businesses. Prior to CSD, he worked at the regulatory commission for the State of Kansas where he helped establish Kansas’ first ADA mandated TRS. Pat attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Wichita State University and holds a BA/BS from the University of Kansas.

Chief Legal Officer, Board Secretary

Maria Wilson

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.

Director

Dr. Khadijat 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.

Vice President of Human Resources & Talent and Culture

Christina Cota

Director

Rogelio Fernandez, Jr

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 CenterWorld 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.

Chief Marketing Officer & Social Venture Fund President

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.

Director

Mark Seeger

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.

Director

Bruce Hodek

Bruce Hodek is retired from a 37-year career in public service. He served as Regional Manager for the metro office, Assistant Director, and – for the past 18 years – Division Director in the Minnesota Department of Human Services Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS). Bruce’s accomplishments are many. He led the development of many new services for people who are deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing, offered in the DHHS regional offices.

Bruce was also involved in the development of a consumer-directed services model for individuals who are DeafBlind, the design of the American Sign Language mentor program for families with DHH children, and the ongoing redesign of interpreter referral services that focus on gaps in the marketplace. Additional projects included restructuring community-based mental health services for adults who are deaf and use sign language, development of mental health services specifically for children who have hearing loss, and implementing TV news captioning in smaller Minnesota communities. During the recent years of significant budget reductions, Bruce led the reorganization of DHHS regional offices to maintain the infrastructure needed to support the most vulnerable Minnesotans with hearing loss.

Director

Marwan Elrakabawy

Marwan Elrakabawy is a lawyer with the international law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright, LLP. Marwan’s practice focuses on intellectual property and commercial litigation. Marwan received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin and earned his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. Marwan is very active in the Austin deaf community, having served as a volunteer and coach at the Texas School for the Deaf since 2003. He was also an assistant basketball coach for the men’s basketball team at Gallaudet.

Executive Director, CSD Unites Community Foundation

Sasha Ponappa

Director

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.

Chief Technology Officer & Division President CSD Professional Services

Charles McFadden

Charles McFadden graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Computer Science and from Villanova University with an MBA. In the data privacy realm, he holds a Certified Information Privacy Technologist credential from the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Prior to joining CSD, he worked with Leidos, Lockheed Martin, Martin Marietta, and GE Aerospace. An activist, Charles has served on several boards including those for the Deaf Hearing Communication Centre, the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, and the RIT/NTID Alumni Association.

CEO, Board President

Chris Soukup

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.

Director

Elise Nye

Elise Nye is an entrepreneur and social leader based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Gallaudet University.

Ms. Nye has served on various boards, including the Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services Board, where she helped move the organization through a very successful capital campaign to establish the nation’s first housing for Deaf and Deaf-Blind women and children. Nye lives in Santa Fe with her three boys, where they enjoy the great outdoors, climbing calderas, and the 283 days of sun throughout the year.

Nye is a successful entrepreneur who led large-scale projects in healthcare administration for more than 20 years with Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative and Albuquerque-based Presbyterian Healthcare Services. Currently, she is the owner of Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, an art-to-wear retail boutique featuring artisanal clothing and accessories for women.

Board Member

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.

Board Member

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.

Vice President, Government Markets

Juli Robinson

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.

Chair

Danny Lacey

Danny Lacey is a partner and advisor for Kramer Wealth Managers. Danny is valued for his easy style, positive energy, and unique approach in financial advising. He graduated with honors from the College of Social Studies from Wesleyan University in CT and earned a master’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Gallaudet University. He is an active leader in the deaf community and speaks frequently across the nation, including an invitation to give a TEDxIslay Talk. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Debbie, and two children.

Chief Financial Officer

Thomas Means

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.   

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