Author archive for CSD

  • CSD
    CSD Social Venture Fund

    CSD Social Venture Fund Opening to New Applicants

    - by CSD

    We are pleased to announce that the CSD Social Venture Fund (CSD SVF), which focuses on Deaf-owned or Deaf-run businesses, will be opening to new applicants to its fund and business incubator on October 4th, 2018.

    For our second year (Series 2), the CSD SVF will look to support new business ideas, nascent start-ups or businesses just getting a foothold in their industry, and mature businesses that are looking to expand or upscale their offerings or operations. This year, the CSD SVF is broadening their category reach to include media productions, which will be accepted in the form of either a script or treatment.

    CSD CEO Christopher Soukup says, “The goal of the SVF is singular. We want to address the issue of low employment rates in the Deaf community, which is tied up in negative societal perceptions of Deaf people and their abilities. The CSD SVF has identified that an optimal point of focus for our efforts at societal change is through supporting Deaf-owned business ventures. These businesses are more likely to see the value in and hire Deaf employees, making them a most effective focal point for our efforts at increasing employment rates in the Deaf community.”

    For more information on the CSD Social Venture Fund and the application requirements, please visit

  • CSD
    Kari Cooke

    CSD Welcomes Kari Cooke as CSD Neighborhood Vice President

    - by CSD

    CSD introduces its newest Vice President of CSD Neighborhood, Kari Cooke. Kari began work on September 17th, 2018, and will oversee CSD Neighborhood’s efforts to share resources, build coalitions, and support collaborations between agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and the Deaf Community.

    Kari Cooke, Vice President of CSD Neighborhood

    Kari Cooke, Vice President of CSD Neighborhood

    Cooke has long had a passion for advocacy, and her work in that field started with her appointment by Governor Cuomo to the New York State Independent Living Council. She has also been a Policy Analyst for the Center for Disability Rights, and received a federal appointment to the Obama Administration’s FCC Disability Advisory Council. Cooke is the former Director of Policy and Government Affairs for National Black Deaf Advocates (NBDA), where she worked with the executive team on policy advocacy and strategic partnerships. Most recently, she was the Assistant Dean in the office of Pluralism and Leadership at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

    Cooke has been recognized for her work in the community by the Center for American Progress as one of the Top 15 Inspiring Young Female Activists, lauded by Deaf Women United as A Deaf Woman Making History, and was selected as a U.S. Delegate at the United Nation’s International Young Leaders Assembly.

    CSD CEO Christopher Soukup said, “Kari’s list of achievements is considerable, and it became clear to us very early on that she possessed the qualifications and demeanor to provide CSD Neighborhood the leadership it deserves. CSD Neighborhood’s direct service and work with the Deaf community is designed to uplift every individual, something that is at the core of everything we do at CSD. We know that Kari has the same values at heart as evidenced by the impact that she has had throughout her career.”

    Cooke holds an undergraduate degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Master’s degrees from Northern Illinois University and the University of Pennsylvania. A special interest in community outreach and coalition building has meant she’s become involved in many local community and governmental groups such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Media Center, Senator Gillibrand Symposium on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and New Leaders Council (as a fellow).

    “My vision for my time in CSD is to deepen our connection with the U.S. Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, hard of hearing, and cochlear implant using communities; to create spaces for members of our communities that are isolated, mainstreamed, or disconnected so that they may find one another and build community; and to address the needs in our communities through technology, community support services, organizational development training, and advocacy,” Cooke said. “The team here is brilliant and talented, and I’m so honored to be part of their story.”

    Soukup added, “We’re incredibly proud of the work we do at CSD, and are even more proud to be able to bring in talented individuals like Kari who are already aligned with our mission values and goals. We look forward to all the good work she will do, both for the organization and for the Deaf community.”

    For more information about CSD Neighborhood, please visit CSD Neighborhood.

  • CSD
    Bradley and Ruan on the deck:

    Team CSD Contributes to Camp Mark Seven Experience

    - by CSD

    The campers gathered around the drone, excited to see how it worked. The two counselors, experts on drone operations, patiently explained to the curious young people, and handed over the controls. Gradually, the the little Mavic Air rose into the air.

    Bradley and Ruan on the deck: "Bradley Gantt (left) and Ruan Du Plessis at Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York"

    Bradley Gantt (left) and Ruan Du Plessis at Camp Mark Seven in Old Forge, New York. Photo by Amelia Hamilton.

    The counselors were Bradley Gantt and Ruan Du Plessis, part of CSD’s Creative team. They spent some of their summer at the Deaf Film Camp at Camp Mark Seven in New York, teaching filmmaking, editing, and drone operations. CSD was a primary sponsor of the camp, and also supported Bradley and Ruan’s participation.

    Bradley and Ruan were able to share with the campers their own stories of how they became filmmakers. They have known each other since they were fifteen years old, and they showed the campers the very first movie that they ever made together. This gave the campers a feel for how far Bradley and Ruan have come, and provided inspiration for how far the young people watching can still go.

    Bradley with campers: "Bradley Gantt and campers look at some footage". Photo credits: Amelia Hamilton.

    Bradley Gantt and campers look at some footage. Photo by Amelia Hamilton.

    In addition to the Mavic Air, the campers learned about the Sony A72 camera, the DJI Osmo X5, and the DJI Inspire 2. Bradley said, “They asked me if Hollywood uses that equipment and I said yes. They were surprised. But we wanted them to experience the real world.”

    It wasn’t all about technology though. The camp provides opportunities for growth and leadership as well. Bradley was especially impressed with one girl who was a director for a short film project. She was hesitant at first, but grew into the role. “She showed great leadership and balance,” Bradley said. “She made sure that her team was okay, and it resulted in an excellent, beautiful film.”

    Ruan Du Plessis explains how to operate a drone. Photo by Amelia Hamilton.

    Ruan Du Plessis explains how to operate a drone. Photo by Amelia Hamilton.

    Ruan said, “When I told them that each of them could operate the Mavic Air drone, I could see they were very excited as they impatiently waited for their turn. That moment when I gave them the controller — I could see the joy in their eyes.”

    The campers knew that there were some random white lines on the field in front of them but they couldn’t make sense of what the lines were supposed to represent. As they navigated the drone high into their air, the video it shot made it all clear. The white lines formed an enormous “I love you” handshape.

    With new technical skills, confidence, and a change in perspective, the young Deaf campers were able to see something they couldn’t see before. And we can’t wait for them to show us what else there is to discover.

  • Featured News
    CSD Learns: Dealing With Debt. Free Online Learning in ASL

    CSD Learns Launches New Course for Deaf Learners 

    - by CSD

    Knowledge is power. Even if you don’t have any debt yet, learning about debt gives you a powerful place to begin to work on maintaining financial stability.  

    CSD Learns: Dealing With Debt. Free Online Learning in ASL

    CSDLearns is providing a NEW course called “Dealing with Debt” about how debt and credit work. Based on Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking® program, this class features instruction in American Sign Language, English voiceovers, and the option of either English or Spanish captions. 

    Enroll in the #CSDLearns course “Dealing with Debt” today. You can learn in ASL and get the information you need to maintain your financial health. Watch this short teachable moment to get an idea about what you’ll learn when you enroll in the full-length course.  




    What is CSD Learns?  

    CSD Learns is a program that creates innovative, platform-based solutions that overcome barriers and increase learning opportunities for deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing individuals. Through CSD Learns, bilingual online courses are presented in American Sign Language with voiceover and captioning as well as screen-reading compatibility. CSD Learns’ courses are self-paced and include interactive quizzes and assessments for a dynamic and active learning experience.  

    Visit to learn more.  

    Read the Press Release about our collaboration with Wells Fargo:  


  • Engineering
    Photo of Charles Chaz

    Announcing CSD Engineering – Creating Technology Solutions Through a Deaf Lens

    - by CSD

    Communication Service of the Deaf (CSD), the world’s largest Deaf-led nonprofit, proudly announces the launch of CSD Engineering, one of the first-ever dedicated initiatives focused on providing technology solutions that fully integrate the Deaf perspective. CSD Engineering will be led by Charles “Chaz” McFadden, Chief Technology Officer for CSD.

    The main focus of CSD Engineering is to approach the development of technology through a Deaf lens, defining inclusive design and providing solutions that are beneficial for all. By developing technologies that truly integrate the Deaf perspective, CSD Engineering aims to eliminate many of the gaps and barriers of today’s new technologies, improve communication experiences, and increase opportunities for Deaf individuals worldwide.


    CSD Engineering Logo


    CSD Engineering is focused on creating more technologies that center the Deaf perspective and experience, from identifying current and emerging opportunities, to building CSD proprietary solutions, to collaborating with others to develop and improve their own technologies.

    “CSD Engineering speaks directly from the heart of our belief that technology can be and has been an equalizing force for us,” said CSD Chief Executive Officer Christopher Soukup. “For decades, CSD has had a part in creating many new Deaf-centered technologies. CSD Engineering is not only a natural extension of our heritage, it will also serve a vital role in ensuring that today and tomorrow’s technologies provide improved experiences for everyone. We are excited that Chaz will be leading the CSD Engineering initiative, taking us into the future by building it.”

    Mr. McFadden has an extensive background in technology engineering and communications. Prior to CSD, his work experience included several years with General Electric (GE) Aerospace and work on naval sonar systems and communications satellites. McFadden received a Bachelor of Science in computer science from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and a master’s in business administration from Villanova University. He holds a Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT) credential from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Additionally, McFadden is Chairman of the Board Directors for the Deaf Hearing Communication Centre (DHCC) in Philadelphia, is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the RIT/NTID Alumni Association in Rochester, NY.

    “I am very excited about this opportunity to lead CSD Engineering,” said McFadden. “Without question, technology is advancing our world beyond our wildest dreams, and at an incredible speed. Yet, far too many gaps and barriers remain with many of today’s most celebrated technologies – voice activation and automated speech recognition among them. CSD Engineering will address these critical issues and, most importantly, put the Deaf perspective at the very center of future technology innovation.”

    CSD Engineering builds on CSD’s rich tradition of technological innovation through a Deaf lens. From helping to establish the Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) long before it was federally mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the recent launch of Vineya, the first online marketplace for onsite or remote sign language interpreters, CSD has been at the forefront of finding technological solutions that benefit everyone.

    Find out more about CSD Engineering here:

  • CSD
    Vannessa LeBoss

    Announcing CSD’s new Business Development Manager, Vannessa LeBoss

    - by CSD

    Connect Direct is pleased to announce that we have acquired Business Development Manager Vannessa LeBoss, as of July 1st, 2018.  Given her 19 years of experience supporting and spearheading corporate expansion through finance, HR, sales and operations, her role within Connect Direct will be impactful. Connect Direct will utilize this position to establish and develop relationships for effective growth and implementation of direct services in ASL.

    Vannessa LeBoss

    Vannessa LeBoss

    Director of Connect Direct Craig Radford shares, “Given Vannessa’s extensive background in successfully expanding opportunities for the organizations she has worked in, my team and I are thrilled to have her onboard.” Ms. LeBoss has a degree in Business Management and has worked in the field of American Sign Language for nearly two decades. Throughout her career, she has laid an integral foundation of education and expansion related to appropriate utilization of interpreters and technology within the ASL community to businesses and organizations throughout the U.S., and thus brings an unparalleled industry expertise into Connect Direct.

  • CSD Learn

    Financial Education Sweepstakes!

    - by CSD


    (Computer required to create account.)

    Don’t miss your chance to win $100 Amazon gift card from CSD Learns

    A recent study showed that 40% of millennials turn to their parents and family as a source of information. But what about the 95% of Deaf people born into hearing families? Without a parent fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), that valuable financial knowledge isn’t passed down, leaving Deaf individuals without access to the tools needed to successfully grow and manage their money.

    That changes today. Thanks to support from Wells Fargo’s Hands on Banking program, CSD Learns now offers free online courses focused on financial education, available in ASL with English voiceover and Spanish and English captions. Created with the Deaf learner and their classrooms and families in mind, these deaf friendly resources will inspire you to gain new skills and advance your financial knowledge.

    Enroll now for your chance to win.

    Enter the CSD Learns Financial Education Sweepstakes by June 29th, 2018 for your chance to win. All you need to do is enroll in our new course, “Interested in Investing“. If you haven’t made an account yet, it’s free and easy! You can even use your Gmail address if you have one.


    Find out sweepstakes details here.

    Financial Education Sweepstakes Rules and Regulations

    En Español:

    Curious about CSD Learns? Visit to discover classes on topics you want to learn!

  • Featured News
    Pat Myers

    CSD Names Pat Myers New President of CSD Contact Centers

    - by CSD

    Communication Service for the Deaf, Inc. (CSD) proudly announces the appointment of Pat Myers as President of CSD Contact Centers in a move to strengthen its rapidly expanding global contact operations. Pat has agreed to lead CSD’s largest business unit after formerly serving as CSD Chief of Staff & Strategy, teaming with Juli Robinson, who continues to lead as CSD’s Vice President of Operations.

    “Pat’s unparalleled experience and expertise will be essential in guiding our contact centers group through a period of tremendous growth and transformation,” CSD’s CEO Christopher Soukup said.

    Pat Myers

    Pat Myers

    Pat’s new role focuses on business development and customer relationship management, where he will cultivate the growth of CSD’s captioned telephone and IP relay centers, lead the development of new contact center business opportunities, and oversee crucial contract retention efforts.

    Pat also oversees CSD’s Connect Direct team which seeks to expand consumer communication options to include direct ASL communication support through the creation of ASL customer service channels among federal agencies and public and private corporations. Pat said of Connect Direct, “It’s the culmination of over 35 years of experience serving the communication needs of Deaf and hard of hearing community. CSD will continue to push the envelope for call center service delivery and quality through Connect Direct.”

    Pat will identify and develop opportunities and partnerships both within the U.S. and abroad, expanding CSD’s reach beyond New Zealand, where they manage equipment distribution, telephone relay, captioned telephone, and the New Zealand Video Interpreting Service for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) of New Zealand.

    Soukup added, “Pat is legendary in the telecommunications relay industry and we are fortunate to have him leading this important part of our organization.”

    For more information about CSD and its programs and services, please visit
    For media inquiries, contact Brandi Rarus at

  • CSD
    Entrepreneur Logo

    Interview with CEO, Chris Soukup in

    - by CSD

    Linda: This is How Success Happens, where we talk to Polar explorers, war correspondents, founders, ultra-marathoners, authors, artists, and a range of other unique personalities to help you understand the capabilities behind how success happens.

    Neil Armstrong: It’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

    Speaker 3: When I’m training for an ultra marathon, anywhere from 100 to 120 miles a week would be in my training cycle. Lots of miles.

    Speaker 4: We sold something like 250,000 books.

    Linda: I’m the managing editor at and your host, Linda Lacina. Today we’re excited to have a very special guest. Chris Soukup, the CEO of Communication Service for the Deaf. It’s a nonprofit dedicated to creating opportunity for the deaf community. What started as a grassroots organization has grown into one of the largest organizations of its kind. One that, this year added a special social impact fund to help deaf entrepreneurs get the funding and support they need to start businesses. He’ll talk about transforming this organization to meet the challenges facing the deaf community today, the important role entrepreneurship can play, and how we can all think differently about creating opportunity. How are you, Chris?

    Chris: Hello. It’s a great pleasure to be here.

    Linda: I also would like to introduce Terry Hayes interpreting for us today. Tell us, Chris, a little bit about yourself, but also about CSD. Can you get us started? Get us all on a level playing field?

    Chris: Sure. CSD was formed in 1975 with a $15,000 grant from the state of South Dakota. We opened our doors, and the very first service that we provided to the community was sign language interpreting services. Through the years CSD has taken on additional dimensions and has grown to become a worldwide organization continuing to be dedicated to the deaf and hard of hearing community. We provide today a broad range of products, programs, and services all engineered to elevate the quality of the life experience for this population. I’ve been involved with the organization myself my entire life, and I’m very, very proud of our journey as a company, and the impact that we’ve been able to have, and our continuing commitment to the ideas that we know are possible, or for the deaf community.

  • Featured News
    Charles McFadden

    Announcing CSD’s New Chief Technology Officer, Charles McFadden

    - by CSD

    CSD introduces its newest Chief Technology Officer, Charles “Chaz” McFadden, who is based near Philadelphia. Chaz begins work on March 26, 2018, and will oversee all information technology, software development and engineering efforts at CSD, as well as spearhead the formation of CSD Labs, a technology-centered initiative.

    Before joining CSD, Chaz worked for nearly thirty years in the aerospace and defense industry, mostly with Lockheed Martin, on the engineering development and verification of software solutions for sonar systems, satellite communication systems, and several classified programs. Chaz has led and managed several different software and systems engineering teams responsible for the development of solutions for classified domestic and international programs, internal and external web enabled business communications solutions, and internal IT service management applications based on BMC Remedy and ServiceNow.

    CSD CEO Christopher Soukup said, “Chaz’s decades of experience working with teams on critical and complex software and engineering systems should translate extremely well over here at CSD, especially as we continue to build out our CSD Labs initiative.”

    Chaz is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology, with a B.S. in Computer Science, and went on to earn an MBA from Villanova University. He holds a Certified Information Privacy Technologist (CIPT) credential from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), which acknowledges his expertise in data privacy.

    “The first order of business is listening to all IT personnel as they help me gain a thorough understanding of the breadth of their talent and capacity. This will allow me to best leverage them to develop and deploy solutions to support the CSD mission of elevating the Deaf community. This new technology is intended to make more apparent the incredible value Deaf people bring to the workplace and society, and increasing the number of self-empowered, self-actualized Deaf individuals,” Chaz said.

    McFadden’s leadership extends beyond the workplace, and shows in his commitment to service to the Deaf community. He now serves as Chair of the Board for the Deaf Hearing Communication Centre (DHCC) in Philadelphia and also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh. He will soon join the Board of Directors for the RIT/NTID Alumni Association in Rochester next month.

    Soukup added, “CSD’s dream of building Deaf-centered technological design initiatives and solutions that cement Deaf people’s place in the world will come to life at CSD Labs. Chaz’s leadership and advanced skillset paired with his community involvement make him perfectly positioned to recruit and develop our pool of technology professionals in service of this goal. We’re excited to see him take CSD Labs into and ahead of the future.”