Introducing Two New Board Members
Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) is proud to announce the appointment of two new board members, Dr. Mei Kennedy and Melissa “echo” Greenlee. Dr. Kennedy and Ms. Greenlee, who have more than 40 years of experience advancing the successes of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community combined, join nine other board members who guide CSD’s overall strategies, promote innovative thinking about the future of CSD, and strategize ways to unleash transformational impact in the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
Dr. Mei Kennedy
Dr. Mei Kennedy (she/her) is an expert in using technology to advance the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Mei has spent decades providing strategic consulting services on how to best integrate technology in academic and professional spaces, improving deaf students’ learning experiences through innovative design, and enhancing communication accessibility for remote real-time transcription services. Mei obtained her doctoral degree in Instructional Design for Online Learning from Capella University, her master’s in Instructional Technology from the University of Houston Clear Lake, and her bachelor’s in English from Gallaudet University.
“Mei is a longtime supporter and collaborator of CSD programs,” said CSD CEO Chris Soukup. “As an expert in instructional design, online learning, telecommunications, and entrepreneurship, she brings a tremendous breadth of knowledge and experiences to our team.”
Mei’s longstanding passion to improve and advance Deaf education is well documented, having received two separate grants to research technology-based instructional approaches and learning environments to support Deaf students’ reading comprehension. Over the past two years, Mei has worked with CSD Learns to develop instructional content for several projects, one of which introduces Deaf children to deaf role models in STEM fields.
“As we usher into the digital era where technological advancement cultivates our community, I am honored to be part of the transformative movement CSD is leading to meet the needs of the Deaf community through innovative solutions,” said Dr. Kennedy. “I am excited to be part of a progressive thinking team!”
Mei is an advocate for equitable access to information, and to the world at large, in all facets of her life. She serves on the board of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to shaping the nation’s public policies, specifically in information and communication technologies, to ensure the 48 million Deaf, deaf bling Americans have full access. She is also an advocate for her children, including in her role as a parent to a hearing son with autism. Mei currently resides in Austin, Texas with her husband and two boys.
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. She also launched Deaf-Friendly Consulting, which provides training and education to businesses, ranging from small startups to Fortune 500s, that strive to become more inclusive to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Through her work, echo is revolutionizing how businesses interact with the estimated 48 million Deaf and hard-of-hearing consumers living in the United States.
“For two decades, echo has been a tireless advocate working to advance the way that both individuals and businesses interact with and support the deaf community,” said Chris. “Since founding DeafFriendly in 2011, echo and her team have reviewed thousands of businesses and have been a trusted partner to corporations that endeavor to hire deaf professionals and improve their relationship with deaf consumers.”
A laser-focused optimist, echo serves as a disability advocate far and wide. In addition to being a transformative entrepreneur, echo serves on the board of Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit disability rights law clinic, which has taken on—and won—more than 500 cases dealing with disability discrimination within healthcare, employment, voting, housing, and more.
“At CSD, I’m looking forward to shattering ceilings and making the world more inclusive and Deaf-friendly for our community!” said Greenlee. “I love working with people who believe accessibility for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people is important. Together, we can erase misconceptions, increase knowledge, and spread compassion through the world.”