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 Entrepreneur.com 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.
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.”
CSD warmly welcomes Khadijat “Kubby” Rashid, Ph.D. as the newest member of our Board. Kubby will serve beginning July 1, 2018. CSD is very much looking to Kubby for her leadership and expertise to guide CSD’s organizational strategy to better address the many issues facing the Deaf community.
Khadijat “Kubby” Rashid, Ph.D. is currently the Interim Dean of the School of Education, Business and Human Services at Gallaudet University, having previously served as the chair of the Department of Business. A member of the Gallaudet faculty since 1994, she has developed and taught courses for both undergraduate and graduate students in the fields of economics, social work, and international development. Additionally, Kubby was the first coordinator of the Gallaudet Leadership Institute’s Deaf Women’s Leadership Program creating a curriculum that continues to be implemented today. She has also taught in the School of International Service at American University and in Merrill Lynch’s summer program for deaf-owned businesses.
In 2010, President Obama appointed her as a White House Fellow, where she worked closely with senior government officials. She also was appointed by the Maryland governor to serve on the board for the Maryland School for the Deaf from 2008 until 2014, and recently completed her term as a board member for Discovering Deaf Worlds, a non-profit organization that works with signing deaf communities worldwide. Currently, she is a board member for South West Collegiate Institute for the Deaf in Big Spring, Texas. Other organizations she has served include the World Deaf Leadership Program and the National Deaf Business Institute.
Kubby is the author of numerous published scholarly articles and book chapters, and is the co-author of the 2015 book, Citizenship, Politics, Difference: Perspectives from Sub-Saharan African Communities. She has presented widely, including at colleges and universities, the World Bank, United Nations, the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the White House. She makes her home in Maryland.
Little is known about the shared and unique experiences that deaf people have, particularly regarding employment. With a 70% under and unemployed rate, a clear understanding of the details specific to those experiences and how they relate, would greatly increase the chances of employment success within the Deaf community.
That’s why in partnership with Sorenson, Deaf Grassroots Movement, American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association (ADARA), and other national organizations and businesses, CSD Unites is spearheading a nationwide community survey with the goal to create greater opportunities for Deaf Americans.
“It’s extremely important that Deaf and hard of hearing people show up to make their experience count. One of the best ways to do this is to collect data, because data helps us better understand how to address certain challenges facing our community such as unemployment,” Communication Service for the Deaf CEO Christopher Soukup said. “Accurate community data will give us proof of shared experiences and realities, and will help policymakers and government agencies make better informed decisions that will help uplift Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. It will also help us continue support for legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and help us work towards new policies that will have a net positive impact not only on Deaf people, but American society as well.”
The survey is open from February 15th through March 21st and is open to all Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind Americans. Soukup went on, “Data itself tells stories; it helps us tell stories about ourselves. That’s why we’re encouraging people to take the survey. When we achieve a large enough pool of individuals to draw from, we can more justly know how to address the story of employment within our community.”
About CSD Unites:
CSD Unites is a department of CSD Neighborhood and is sponsored by Communication Service for the Deaf, the largest Deaf-led nonprofit in the world. CSD Unites believes in building strength together within the Deaf community. To learn more about the survey visit: MakeYourselfCount.org or CSDUnites.com.
Dominic (Dom) Lacy was raised by Deaf parents who established high expectations in his studies, and he witnessed their dedication to ensure that access to education and sign language was provided him. That experience forever shaped him, and is why he is passionate about education because it “opens new doors and opportunities,” which lead to a more visible Deaf workforce that can “help shift limiting beliefs about Deaf and hard of hearing people.”
Dom discovered his zeal for activism as he joined the workforce after graduating from Southern Methodist University as a double major in finance and political science. He’s well-known in the Dallas community for his leadership on the Deaf Action Center (DAC) board, where he spent 10 years as a member, and was DAC’s first Deaf board president. During his time at DAC, Dom focused on developing the organization’s capacity and steering capital development to establish facilities, including Martha’s Vineyard Place, an affordable and accessible housing project. He also served as a commissioner on the City of Dallas Community Development Commission.
Prior to coming to CSD, Dom worked 14 years at Accenture Strategy as a Senior Manager. In this role, he worked with Fortune 500 companies, guiding them in achieving strategic objectives such as streamlining business operations, developing a vision for business models and implementing technology to achieve this.
“The CSD SVF needs the right leader to ensure that it achieves its full potential, and Dominic Lacy is that person,” CSD CEO Christopher Soukup said.
In his new position at the CSD Social Venture Fund (SVF), Dom will focus primarily on the further developing the SVF and its offerings. He will work with Mozzeria and DeafTax to help achieve their goals, and help develop the SVF’s incubator and mentoring programs. On top of all this he will also provide day-to-day support to all of CSD’s programs, investments, and partners.
“I love CSD’s vision of creating success stories while combating the unemployment and underemployment rate among Deaf people. It feels like a perfect fit,” said Lacy.
Soukup added, “Dominic will be integral to our work to create meaningful change for Deaf people and will be contributing broadly to all of the initiatives in our company portfolio. We’re fortunate to have him.”Anuncio en español (Spanish Translation PDF)
A second notable business has been selected to become part of the CSD Social Venture Fund, DeafTax.com. “We are very pleased to be recognized by CSD,” said owner Joshua R. Beal. “This support will allow us to expand our services to better serve more Deaf individuals and Deaf-owned businesses throughout the United States. This investment from the CSD SVF will help the Deaf community become more self-reliant through a greater understanding of taxes and procedures. In turn, this will create additional jobs, such as expanded availability of Deaf tax experts and ultimately help strengthen the Deaf community’s economic standing.”
CSD CEO Christopher Soukup says that this is exactly what CSD wants to happen. “The central purpose of CSD SVF’s investment in DeafTax is to support their vision for growth and their commitment to creating employment opportunities for deaf professionals in the areas of finance and accounting.”
DeafTax.com was founded in 2007 and is currently managed by Beal and Charles L. Sterling. The company, a spin-off from Schwarz Financial Services, provides tax preparation services to individuals, non-profits, trusts, and small businesses throughout the nation. With offices in Washington, D.C., and Hawaii, DeafTax.com works primarily with clients through videophone and email.
Soukup added that another goal of the SVF is the creation of jobs in as many sectors as possible. “Expanding DeafTax’s services can lead to other professional opportunities within financial services such as financial advising, accounting, and so on. By partnering with DeafTax.com, we will improve the quality of information available to Deaf people regarding income tax and tax preparation.”
With this investment, DeafTax.com plans on developing an app for mobile devices, providing bookkeeping services for Deaf-owned businesses, nonprofits, and organizations, and establishing a third office.
Soukup noted that Beal is an ideal choice for increasing the Deaf community’s access to information. “Beal’s commitment to supporting the Deaf community is clear and he has served hundreds of clients over the course of his career. Joshua has compelling ideas for evolving and scaling DeafTax, and CSD is excited and proud to be a partner in helping the entire DeafTax team convert their vision into reality.”
To learn more about DeafTax.com please visit www.deaftax.com. More information on the CSD Social Venture Fund is available at www.csdsvf.com.