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7 ISSUE th


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artist & trailblazer

TATE TULLIER and much more...

WHO ARE WE? A B C D E F G H I J K We are language interpreters who provide Video Relay Services (VRS) and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). Also known as Video Interpreters (VIs), we operate from approximately 40 inbound call centers, with over 500 interpreters, across the United States under the rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission. Who are we? We are Z. We love what we do. We help people connect. We make great friendships. And we have fun!

cover photo by Tate Tullier @





Writer, artist, and sign language interpreter, Frank lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

Dog mama to Luna the English Bully, wife, lover of oceans, aspiring oenophile, Tampa transplant and native Napan.

M a s t h e a d


Digital tech and smoothie nut, Julian lives in Clearwater, representing his birth state of North Carolina. He's been with the Marketing Team since 2012.



Step-mother to three, dog mother to two, wife to the very best one, Sarah lives in Colorado by way of Maryland and has recently joined the Z Marketing family.

PUBLISHED BY Z PRODUCTIONS, A PART OF CSDVRS, LLC Chief Executive Officer Chief Technology Officer Vice President, Finance Vice President, Residential Sales Vice President, Customer Experience



Vice President, Operations and Interpreting Vice President, Business Development and Outreach Vice President, Product Development and Engineering Vice President, Sales Operations Director, HR

EMAIL VOICE 800.216.9293 VIDEO 866.932.7891 FAX 727.443.1537 ADDRESS ZVRS Corporate Office CSDVRS, LLC, 600 Cleveland Street, Suite 1000 Clearwater, FL 33755




Masthead..................................................2 Deaf Women Supporting Deaf Women, by Trudy Suggs...........................................6 Photo Series by Anastasia Lekontseva....................12, 56 Getting "Z Fit" with Jenny Locy, by Jenny Locy...........................................22 Tate Tullier: an interview..........................24 Defining Influence, an introduction by Mack Story..........................................32 Keep in Touch, by Halene Anderson.........36 Artwork by Martin Pyper....................37, 54

Find these and other great articles at


State of the Arts, an interview with Rosa Lee Timm................................38 Times Have Changed, by Martha Barnum...................................48 Choices: My Decisions Define my Destination, by John G Miller.......................................52 Comics by Matt Daigle.......................55, 66 Two Worlds, One Team............................64 SOLER, by Diane Mouradian.....................66 Moving Forward, by William Cobb...........69

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photos courtesy of the author



hen you put a group of women together to work, what do you get? Ask anyone this question, and you’re likely to get stereotypical responses like, “Oooh, catfight!” or “A lot of drama and backstabbing.” Is this really accurate, especially in the Deaf community? Many don’t think so.

Stereotypes Why do such negative stereotypes persist? “I think it’s because of the already-oppressive world that women live in,” says Deaf Women United (DWU) Chair Melissa Yingst Huber of Phoenix. “For a long time, women have faced oppression, and just recently more and more women are emerging as leaders. Women have had to work harder, and in a sense, ‘fight’ to earn respect as leaders, so that is already a negative connotation in us as women, that we have to fight hard to earn the respect we deserve as leaders. It may be hard for some women to celebrate other women leaders because they are already fighting for a place for themselves in society. So it may be their first instinct to view other women leaders as competition rather than recognizing them as equally accomplished female counterparts in the world.” Socorro Moore of Seattle, who serves on the Council de Manos board along with the DWU board, agrees. “To collaborate and work together can be challenging because we’re dealing with people different

from ourselves, and our self-interests may conflict. Women might also have fears coming from a place of unawareness, [fears of ] being judged and miscommunication, and being patronized simply because they are women.” Another factor of negative stereotypes is the expectation of women to do it all. Huber says, “Many women who have children may be expected or feel that they need to put in more time with their children, and that takes away the free time that they may have to continue with leadership commitments, activities, and so on, especially if they are working women.” “There’s so much domestic violence going on, a lot of women have self-esteem issues where they may need support from other women without judgment,” adds Sharon White, an active National Black Deaf Advocate participant from Frankfort, Ky. “We also have to remember different backgrounds, cultures and religions. Today, things are a lot different for women in employment, especially for single moms—the list goes on. It’s sometimes frustrating and hard to get everyone together. There are many bright women out there but they may be not available to be part of the advocacy network because they have small children, and they don’t have the time to give to support groups.” Huber, however, sees an upside to this high expectation. “The idea that many women take on many different roles can enable them to be great multitaskers, juggle different commitments, and develop skills to make significant contributions to the community.”

"Deaf people are already trying to make their place in a hearing-

dominated world, so it makes it doubly harder for Deaf women leaders to emerge and celebrate each other."

Lack of Support and Role Models Another challenge is the lack of support and role models, Huber says. “In the Deaf world, where the crab theory is already imminent, that’s a double negative for Deaf women. Deaf people are already trying to make their place in a hearing-dominated world, so it makes it doubly harder for Deaf women leaders to

sensitive. However, I feel that very element makes women great leaders. Being emotionally in tune enables women to connect with others, be more in tune with others’ emotions, understand each other more, gauge interest and reactions from other people.” She points out that the availability of Deaf women as role models in her upbringing helped her become the confident, happy woman she is today. “I’ve always loved being a Deaf woman. My pride of being a strong Deaf woman probably comes from the fact that I had a Deaf mother who was a strong woman, never afraid to share her thoughts, and that was instilled in me at a very young age. I also had wonderful Deaf female role models growing up. That sense of pride only got stronger as I grew older.”

go quiet most of the time when we see someone sabotaging the efforts of another "I think we

or don't who

confront women

tell stories about others

that may not be true." emerge and celebrate each other.” “I think healthy models are lacking because many of us did not have other women to look up to while growing up,” Marilyn Jean Smith of Seattle says. Smith founded the acclaimed Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services (ADWAS) organization and has served on numerous boards, including DWU and the National Association of the Deaf. She continues, “I personally had to unlearn a lot of things, move away from the hierarchal model and go with a consensus model, which I think respects everyone’s thoughts (or tries to). Our models have been traditional male ones, which is, for the most part, about power and control.” Huber echoes this perspective. “It has often been said that women are too emotional and

The Deaf community is close-knit in nature, so when the crab theory is in full force, that can become difficult to address, Smith says. “I think we go quiet most of the time when we see someone sabotaging the efforts of another or don’t confront women who tell stories about others that may not be true. Our community is certainly small and in an effort to get along with everyone, however superficial it is, this can mean we sometimes keep quiet to not rock the boat.” Sofia Seitchik, of Global Deaf Women, says, “This pulling-down of each other takes place because of people’s mindsets and their up-

Each woman has

unique story a

much to

and has so


so important to and it’s

celebrate & recognize each woman can what

contribute, whether

bigwomen or small. When are recognized & celebrated, this inspires

ripple effect... good things

women, creating a

bringings. Many don’t realize what their beliefs are as Deaf people, which are often developed from oppression.” She continues, “They need to reexamine themselves and ask themselves questions like, ‘Is there anything I can do to shift my mindset and beliefs as a Deaf woman, to believe that we are intelligent and as capable as any other person?’ This will help them open their hearts and this can be a very powerful self-mirror. Only then can they really support other women, such as Deaf business owners.”


There are only

more to come, which

more acceptance,

will include

respect for women.

celebration, and

Deaf Business Owners Jasmine Garcia-Freeland, who owns All That Jazz and lives in Bozeman, Mont., sees this pulling-down often. “As a second-year business owner who is a Deaf woman, I think a lot of the negativity is based on mentality.” She cites a pattern among many Deaf women who refuse to support certain Deaf businesswomen simply because of personal conflicts, rather than looking at the bigger picture of the Deaf ecosystem. “To me, it doesn’t matter if I like that person or not. It’s important that we always support each other, encourage each other, and strive for a stronger Deaf business community so that our reach can extend to the hearing community, too.” Seitchik is a successful business and life coach working with Deaf women entrepreneurs. “In the past few years we’ve seen some of the fastest-growing numbers of Deaf-owned and woman-owned businesses, but not many of them survive. This creates unique stressors, because so many eyes are on the owners, waiting to see if they fail.

There exists a norm among the Deaf


that they will wait to see if a


makes it or not before they support.”

As a result, Seitchik says, deaf businesswomen have to invest time

and energy

in educating the community on their businesses,

rather than focusing on the businesses themselves. Seitchik also receives the same questions repeatedly in her coaching: “I get asked over and over again, ‘Will I be successful in my business? Will Deaf people sup-

port me? Do you think I can do it?’ I see so much fear in their eyes, and this pains me because this is the mindset that has been in place for many years. Most deaf people prefer to invest in hearing businesses because they mistakenly believe that hearing people know more. This is even more true for deaf women business owners, and it’s tiring and demoralizing.”

Strategies for Support Moore believes the solution to removal of negativity can be found in ourselves. “We each have to get out of our way to help others reach their goals. This goes beyond concern for yourself and your own advancement. Don’t panic when others are happy and improving—envy, jealousy, and bitterness are a waste of time, and it’s not a great place to feel insecurity.” Smith agrees wholeheartedly. “I have my limits with negative people. There is only so much I can do and then I need to walk away or minimize our encounters. One thing I know for sure: always respond in a positive way to negativity. It is draining work

but it has to happen or you risk getting sucked in.” She suggests writing about your experiences, and having dialogue by being vulnerable and being open. She often posts her thoughts on social media, saying, “I’m amazed at how many people validate some things I post on Facebook with responses like, ‘Whew, I’m not alone. I thought I was the only one.’ We need to praise other women not just to their faces but also to others. Cherish their gifts, as you want them to cherish yours. Be a role model.” White says, “Trying to work together and trying to find a common ground is always important. It’s best to take a negative situation and try to see the positive of it and work with that.” She adds, “We need to start offering our experiences in exchange for helping out with peer groups for women to help become more independent as well as boosting their self-esteem.” Sharing experiences to bond with others is another way women can support each other, she believes. “Provide support for them. Let them know there are resources out there. Be honest and open-minded, and provide clear communication so that things can be understood rather than misunderstood. Basically, treat deaf women the way you wish to be treated as a human being, not because we are deaf.”

today’s society where people are becoming more accepting and aware of everyone’s differences, respecting everyone’s backgrounds. There are only more good things to come, which will include more acceptance, celebration, and respect for women. Not only the concept of womanhood, but also the full picture of each woman, all the different layers in each woman, and the different intersectionalities of each.” Garcia-Freeland adds, “It’s so important to socialize with women from all walks of life,

"We each have to

get out

of the way to help others reach their goals.

concern for yourself and your This goes


own advancement."

Celebrating each person’s accomplishments is another step, Huber says. “Each woman has a unique story and has so much to contribute, and it’s so important to celebrate and recognize what each woman can contribute, whether big or small. When women are recognized and celebrated, this inspires other women, creating a ripple effect.” Although there are many who continue to believe in traditional roles and expectations for women, Huber has hope. “The optimist in me has already seen so much positive change in

because this is the reality of the world. It’s diverse, and I want to work well with others. I can accomplish this because I value each person’s experiences and stories, regardless of whether we have mutual friends or not.” “I am aware that we Deaf women may have to work harder and prove ourselves, but that’s okay with me, because I know that we Deaf women are fully capable of accomplishing many wonderful things. I would not change a thing, especially with the plethora of Deaf female organizations out there and all the opportunities for Deaf women out there,” Huber says. “There’s always magic when you put together a group of women, because they’re able to influence each other and inspire each other in positive ways.”

Anastasia Lekontseva I was born in Russia, and currently live in Italy. My passion is photography and I can’t stop traveling around the world. I would like to know other deaf photographers. website:

part 1

Backpacking, Passport, tickets, camera Hours of travel Rain, colors, smells, afa, Taxis, buses, trains, scooters, tuk-tuk, Stories, experiences, moments, emotions Memories. (December, 2014)

GETTING Z FIT with JENNY LOCY I cannot express enough the feeling of accomplishment after completing in my first individual crossfit competition. I took 18th out of 49 women in the scaled divison and have only been in crossfit for about 7 months! Yes, three WODs (ie ‘Workouts Of a Day�) is a lot, and I get tired, but it was also so much fun, and one of the best experiences of my life! Every drop of sweat and sore muscle was worth it. So glad to have Kama Krakowski, our Z interpreter, contributing her time to interpret for me and thanks to Chris Reed, BVS Technical Engineer, for the support. Thank you!!

Jenny Locy is a Regional Sales Manager with ZVRS


I have been volunteering with Deaf Literacy Center for about ten years and i’ve enjoyed watching these teens grow, mature and begin to blossom after working with them in various areas such as: a Deaf Teen Boot Camp, Sign Language Storytelling, presentations, Social media workshops, Music performance events, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu demos, and going on local business tours (companies that employ Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing professionals) such as The Z Video Relay Service whose headquarter are in Clearwater, FL! During this year’s STEAM Camp (co-ed summer day camp for Deaf/ Hard-of-Hearing teens) the participants will be introduced STEAM fields: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts or Math. Participants will experience a wide variety of fun and immersive Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics workshops. The Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing teens had the opportunity to experience what CrossFit is all about and they actually went for some workouts such as 10 air squats, 10 wall balls, 10 push ups, 10 sit ups, and 10 burpees for 3 rounds. They really enjoyed it and wanted to do it again!!  It was a great opportunity for them to learn about why having a healthy lifestyle is important. After all, giving back and empowering others is what we are all about! photos courtesy of Mike Jordahl

TATE TULLIER photographer ~ artist

an interview


i Tate. Thanks so much for interviewing with us. Of course, we know you by reputation and by your wonderful photography. We’re very excited to get to know you a little more. To begin with, how long have you been a professional photographer? thank you for asking me to do the interview. it’s always an honor when someone thinks I’m worthy of one! I have been a professional photographer officially since 2008. I’ve been shooting since I was 12, and doing photography throughout high school and college. I do prefer to call myself an artist rather than a photographer, but I guess I do make my money doing professional photography. Haha.

source of income. The shoots in between those weddings were where you could never predict would stick to the schedule. When I knew I actually had a stable job in the arts was when I asked Sarah to quit her full time job for the state to help me by running the business part (bookings, contracts, and taxes).

a photographer, but one that inspires many in various ways including to break away from working only within the deaf community but to outside of it too. Do you bend reality to match your vision or prefer to let reality dictate the direction of your work?

I’m unintentionally chaotic Nothing is ever simple. I shoot

so much, edit so much,

& never

find a

balance...I call it being an artist. I can’t help it.

With weddings and my current client base that includes families, seniors, and the sorts with time limitations, of course I bend reality to match my A huge highlight was definitely vision but ALWAYS usually When did you know you’d when the deaf community in prefer the shots when I allow finally made a career out of it? a whole chose me to be their reality to dictate the direction trailblazer of the year through of my work. When I’m shooting For sure, once I started booking the Purple VRS campaign my fine art ("Tub Time with so many weddings so far ahead in 2009. That was a major Tate," fashion, and portraiture) of time that it was a pretty defining moment for me to it’s a combo of both too, of safe bet to actually see a set understand that I wasn’t just course, because overall, I’m I’m sure you have many, what is one moment or highlight of your career that you’ll remember forever?

“I love meeting strangers for the first time when I’m about to shoot them. It gives me


definitely a go-with-the-flow type of shooter. What is your favorite subject matter to shoot? People, no question. I absolutely love portraiture in a more editorial way. My current fine art series is called Tub Time With Tate, and it’s my current ongoing project. It involves diverse individuals in various bathtubs all over the states (I can’t wait for it to go worldwide). How important is customer service as an artist? Very! The customers pay me so of course, my ultimate goal is to have them satisfied. The art of making them happy is a trait I’ve learned to acquire. I’m very strong minded and like things my way, but I love having money in my account. What is your workflow like in post production? I’m unintentionally chaotic. Nothing is ever simple. I shoot so much, edit so much, and never find a balance. I am usually a month behind on edits and no matter what I do to change that or better that, I’m back to square one. I call it being an artist. I can’t help it. How about advice for new photographers. Is there anything you wish you knew

when you were starting out? New photographers, shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot. It’s still the same formula as it were ages ago. Nobody gets good without shooting. Shoot tons. Experiment. Do not be afraid of messing up. What I wish I had when I were starting out was today’s access to the internet. I did have a blog and website, but it’s nothing to the magnitude where it is today. I have achieved so much by using the power of social media and putting my work out there constantly.  What fuels you in your profession? What inspires you? Art does. I’m a huge art lover and other people’s art is a huge inspiration to me. People too. I love meeting strangers for the first time when I’m about to shoot them. It gives me butterflies, and I think having butterflies is a good thing - it shows I’m still out to strive to be the best I can be. You’re a great lover of the arts. What do you feel is most lacking in the world of photography now? What would you like to see more of ?   If anything is lacking, it’s the overall general appreciation FOR art in a whole. I think art should be much more important in one’s daily life. I

see many organizations shutting down and struggling with funds to keep certain programs running. I would love to see more people learn to love art in a new light than they would have ever expected to. People always say art isn’t for everyone, but the problem is everything IS art. It’s how you let it into your lives. Let’s talk about your very popular “Tub Time with Tate” series. They’re photos of people in the nude in the bathtub. There is so much vulnerability in them and yet there’s also boldness and confrontation. We know the series began with a self portrait that went viral, and now you’ve photographed many well-known artists and actors, including Russell Harvard and Christine Sun Kim. What has this journey been like for you? Do you have any favorite experiences? I am loving my art series, "Tub Time With Tate," which has been ongoing for four years already. I don’t see it ending until I die. I hope to have the same people I shot for it hop into a tub again for me 20 years later. The majority

of my subjects are usually not in front of a camera to begin with so it’s definitely a bold move on their part to open up their vulnerability to me in that aspect. America is lacking that confidence in supporting the body in art and it’s very

in a very intimate setting. I’m very fortunate that so many people DO support my art series and are more than game to be part of it without a doubt. I certainly could never pinpoint a favorite experience, but I can definitely say this is my favorite project for me to work on. How have your goals evolved throughout this project? Are your intentions different now than they were when you started?  

My intentions on the Tub Time With Tate definitely have evolved in a very big way. When I first started out it was more of just “pretty people in a tub”, and I found myself on a journey as an artist to really push myself to find a meaning to the series. I have found that the actual shooting is a major thing so when I am editing and choosing which images to reveal to the public, it usually has that conservative compared to other “feeling” I felt when I captured areas in the world. I’m happy to it. The feeling can range from be part of a huge movement of so many different things, so I helping various types learn how try to let the audience really just to appreciate the body form. I interpret things how they want. am grateful for what it takes Many people are strangers in for my very special subjects to the series, and the audience open up themselves to my art can create stories by looking allowing the world to see them at one image. I was fortunate

to be given the opportunity at RIT’s Dyers Art Gallery to have a solo show based on my Tub Time with Tate artwork. That was a breakthrough for me to push myself even further to create images/pieces that evoke emotion, opinion, and a blank book to write a story in. What’s next for you?  Any big plans? I moved back to New York City last year and go back and forth between there and our home base in Louisiana. I do part time work for Convo Relay as an advisor for their photography in their marketing. Being in NYC, I have given myself even more opportunity to network with the arts world and meet a whole new batch of Tub Time With Tate subjects! Okay, one last question. How do you define success? Being happy with yourself.

Defining an INTRODUCTION to the book by MACK



“Leadership is influence. Nothing more. Nothing less. Everything rises and falls on leadership.” ~ John C. Maxwell

veryone is born a leader. I haven’t always believed everyone is a leader. You may or may not at this point. That’s okay. There is a lot to learn about leadership. At this very moment, you may already be thinking to yourself, “I’m not a leader.” My goal is to help you understand why everyone is a leader and to help you develop a deeper understanding of the principles of leadership and influence. Developing a deep understanding of leadership, has changed my life for the better. It has also changed the lives of my family members, friends, associates, and clients. I want to help you improve not only your life, but also the lives of those around you. Until I became a student of leadership which eventually led me to become a John Maxwell Team Certified Leadership Coach,

Trainer, and Speaker, and author, I did not understand leadership or realize everyone can benefit from learning the related principles. In the past, I thought leadership was a term associated with being the boss and having formal authority over others. Those people are definitely leaders. But, I had been missing something. All of the other seven billion people on the planet are leaders too. Why do I say everyone is born a leader? I agree with John Maxwell, “Leadership is Influence. Nothing more. Nothing less.” Everyone has influence. It’s a fact. Therefore, everyone is a leader. No matter your age, gender, religion, race, nationality, location, or position, everyone has influence. Whether you want to be a leader or not, you are. After reading this book, I hope you do not question whether

or not you are a leader. However, I do hope you question what type of leader you are and what level leader you are. Everyone does not have authority, but everyone does have influence. There are plenty of examples in the world of people without authority leading people through influence alone. Actually, every one of us is an example. We have already done it. We know it is true. This principle is self-evident which means it contains its own evidence and does not need to be demonstrated or explained; it

fluence. The most important person you will ever influence is yourself. The degree to which you influence yourself determines the level of influence you ultimately have with others. Typically, when we are talking about leading ourselves, the word most commonly used to describe self-leadership is discipline which can be defined as giving yourself a command and following through with it. We must practice discipline daily to increase our influence with others. It is not something we do only when we feel like it.

The question to ask is not, “Are you a leader?” The question is, “What type of leader are you?” The answer: whatever kind you choose to be. Choosing not to be a leader is not an option. As long as you live, you

will have influence.

You are a leader.

is obvious to everyone. The question to ask is not, “Are you a leader?” The question is, “What type of leader are you?” The answer: whatever kind you choose to be. Choosing not to be a leader is not an option. As long as you live, you will have influence. You are a leader. You had influence before you were born and may have influence after your death. How? Thomas Edison still influences the world every time a light is turned on, you may do things in your life to influence others long after you’re gone. Or, you may pass away with few people noticing. It depends on the choices you make. Even when you’re alone, you have in-

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.” ~ Jim Rohn As I define leadership as influence, keep in mind the word leadership and influence can be interchanged anytime and anyplace. They are one and the same. Throughout this book, I’ll help you remember by placing one of the words in parentheses next to the other occasionally as a reminder. They are synonyms. When you read one, think of the other. Everything rises and falls on influence (leadership). When you share what you’re learning, clearly define leadership as influ-

ence for others. They need to understand the context of what you are teaching and understand they are leaders (people with influence) too. If you truly want to learn and apply leadership principles, you must start teaching this material to others within 24-48 hours of learning it yourself. You will learn the foundational principles of leadership (influence) which will help you understand the importance of the following five questions. You will be able to take effective action by growing yourself and possibly others to a higher level of leadership (influence). Everything you ever achieve, internally and externally, will be a direct result of your influence. 1. Why do we influence? – Our character determines why we influence. Who we are on the inside is what matters. Do we manipulate or motivate? It’s all about intent. 2. How do we influence? – Our character, combined with our competency, determines how we influence. Who we are and what we know combine to create our unique style of influence which determines our methods of influence. 3. Where do we influence? – Our passion and purpose determine where we have the greatest influence. What motivates and inspires us gives us the energy and authenticity to motivate and inspire others. 4. Who do we influence? – We influence those who buy-in to us. Only those valuing and seeking what we value and seek will volunteer to follow us. They give us or deny us permission to influence them based on how well we have developed our character and competency. 5. When do we influence? – We influence others when they want our influence. We choose when others influence us. Every-

one else has the same choice. They decide when to accept or reject our influence. We only influence others when they want to change. The first three questions are about the choices we make as we lead (influence) ourselves and others. The last two questions deal more with the choices others will make as they decide first, if they will follow us, and second, when they will follow us. They will base their choices on who we are and what we know. Asking these questions is important.

Knowing the answers is more important. But, taking action based on the answers is most important. Cumulatively, the answers to these questions determine our leadership style and our level of influence (leadership). On a scale of 1-10, your influence can be very low level (1) to very high level (10). But make no mistake, you are a leader. You are always on the scale. The higher on the scale you are the more effective you are. You will be at different levels with different people at different times depending on many different variables. Someone thinking they are not a leader or someone that doesn’t want to be a leader, is still a leader. They will simply remain a low level leader with low level influence getting

low level results. They will likely spend much time frustrated with many areas of their life. Although they could influence a change, they choose instead to be primarily influenced by others. What separates high impact leaders from lower level leaders? There are many things, but two primary differences are: 1) High impact leaders accept more responsibility in all areas of their lives while lower level leaders tend to blame others and transfer responsibility more often. 2) High impact

leaders have more positive influence while lower level leaders tend to have more negative influence. My passion has led me to grow into my purpose which is to help others increase their influence personally and professionally while setting and reaching their goals. I am very passionate and have great conviction. I have realized many benefits by getting better results in all areas of my life. I have improved relationships with my family members, my friends, my associates, my peers, and my clients. I have witnessed people within these same groups embrace leadership principles and reap the same benefits. The degree to which I live what I teach determines my effectiveness. My goal is to

learn it, live it, and then teach it. I had major internal struggles as I grew my way to where I am. I’m a long way from perfect, so I seek daily improvement. Too often, I see people teaching leadership but not living what they’re teaching. If I teach it, I apply it. My goal is to be a better leader tomorrow than I am today. I simply have to get out of my own way and lead. I must lead me effectively before I can lead others effectively, not only with acquired knowledge, but also with experience from applying and living the principles. I’ll be transparent with personal stories to help you see how I have applied leadership principles by sharing: How I’ve struggled. How I’ve learned. How I’ve sacrificed. How I’ve succeeded. Go beyond highlighting or underlining key points. Take the time to write down your thoughts related to the principle. Write down what you want to change. Write down how you can apply the principle in your life. You may want to consider getting a journal to fully capture your thoughts as you progress through the chapters. What you are thinking as you read is often much more important than what you’re reading. Most importantly, do not focus your thoughts on others. Yes, they need it too. We all need it. I need it. You need it. If you focus outside of yourself, you are missing the very point. Your influence comes from within. Your influence rises and falls based on your choices. You have untapped and unlimited potential waiting to be released. Only you can release it. You, like everyone else, were born a leader. Let’s take a leadership journey together.

a sign language interpreter with ZVRS

My volunteer journey this summer took me up to Washington State where I worked and played as a support service provider forging new connections and nurturing established ones with DeafBlind people from all over the US, Germany, Austria, Canada, and even Belgium! My friend (Kelly, a DeafBlind woman from Illinois) and I joined up with several other DeafBlind runners to kick the week off with a bang, running a 10K through Gas Works Park in Seattle. Later we stopped at Starbucks for ProTactile Happy Hour before leaving for the small town of Seabeck and the DeafBlind camp hosted by The Lighthouse for the Blind. 80 DeafBlind campers and approximately 150 volunteers were in attendance at camp this year.

As a hearing (CODA) and sighted person, I found myself once again learning new ways to touch and be touched by the world and others around me. I continued my journey, learning and growing, internalizing DeafBlind cultural norms and striving to integrate TASL spontaneously and naturally in my own language expression. I had opportunities to consider and reconsider my own hearing sighted privilege and to examine my basis for and process of decision making. I also examined the nuances and intricacies of information sharing and joint decision making, trust building, and the web of human relationship borne out by them all. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to share in connection and get in touch, quite literally, with others.

2015 was a momentous year; for the first time since its inception the camp had a DeafBlind director as well as 25 DeafBlind campers leading and coordinating all camp activities. These ranged from an early morning polar plunge in the lagoon, going for a run, riding bikes, tubing in ocean waters, going to the local county fair, going face first down a giant slip and slide, taking workshops, socializing, going for a boat ride, taking a yoga class, driving a golf cart, soaking in the hot tub, making crafts…

Now I sit, having returned to Z, resuming my place in a cubicle. Sinking into my familiar chair I answer my first call signing, “Hello, thank you…” and the deaf person briefly glances away. Suddenly our eye contact, through cameras and pixilated across screens, deconstructed and reconstructed, miles away from one another seems too tenuous a thread for the whole heft of a conversation. There exists, for the moment, a distance between us, a distance so great and terrible that I find myself pushed from my safe platform of routine and forced to step out anew, as if onto a high wire for the first time. And this time, I have a chance to rethink… reconsider… and recreate how I might invite connection and "keep in touch" with the person on the other side of the screen.

DeafBlind people are a linguistically and culturally diverse group. Seattle has a large DeafBlind population and its DeafBlind community, being particularly robust, offers a rich social milieu. It has been this social environment that has given rise to an emerging DeafBlind culture and language (Tactile ASL) which continues to spring up and evolve to meet the needs of its users. In DeafBlind culture, touch is of key importance. Touch offers a ground from which to establish direct relationships with the surrounding environment and a means to communicate and foster relationships with others. It is through touch, the ProTactile way, and Tactile ASL (TASL) that many DeafBlind people orient to the world. Jelica Nuccio and AJ Granda describe many aspects of DeafBlind culture and communication in their ProTactile vlogs on YouTube. Google it and see for yourself!

artwork by Martin Pyper @

a conversation with Rosa Lee Timm

“...I’m the mother of two children, a deaf boy and a hearing girl. My son, who is the older one, is a student at the California School for the Deaf at Fremont (CSDF). I’m a teacher and performer and I think those are the two roles I most identify with. I was born in California and at 3 years old I began to travel quite a bit. It’s interesting to me that at 37 years old I came full circle and ended up back here in California. The most impactful years of my upbringing were spent in Indiana. I went to school and graduated there and then I attended the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in New

York. I got a degree in social work, then a graduate degree in counseling in Oregon. I worked in vocational rehabilita) tion for a while but it didn’t suit me, and then my journey led me to CSDF and a job teaching American Sign Language (ASL). It’s been three years now teaching full time and I really enjoy it. Otherwise, about two or three times a month, I perform in a one woman show. That began in 2004 so, if my math is correct, I’ve been doing this for about 11 years!”


o how did you first get into performing on stage?

into film came along, I was chosen by none other than Mark Wood! My first film experience was Versa Effect, in which I I first got the taste for was paired with Russell Harperformance at age 14 at the vard, and it was unbelievable. Youth Leadership Camp. My Russell is such a talented actor. drama instructor was Mark He understands the world of Wood, now well known for pro- film, whereas I am predomiducing and writing ASL films. He was my first actual drama teacher and challenged me to stand in front of a crowd. I was so shy at the time! But it was a breakthrough for me when I realized it wasn’t so bad. I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve been involved in stage performances and ensemble pieces. I founded a performance group at RIT called “Dangerous Signs” and we did a wide variety of things including nantly a stage actor. These are comedy, skits, music, dance, and completely different animals. so on. In the midst of the stress- He taught me techniques and es of college life, school--rela- tools that enabled me to feel tionships--performance was my a greater sense of control over therapy. how I wanted to express my-

every year. I think it depends on where I happen to be at in my life. For the longest time, my mother was always the one I looked up to the most. It was her ability to deliver a message in a concise and powerfully direct way, never beating around the bush. When you see people meander in their expressions, you can feel a bit lost, or the impact is softened quite a bit. But my mother has a real talent for nailing every major point in a way that was undeniably clear and affecting. I’ve always admired that over the years. I’d like to think that I can accomplish the same. I’ve internalized her strengths and I can see them in my own performances.


In the past five years

I’ve begun to

feel the itch

for more


less of the same.

Now, as far as models for art and expression self. On stage, you rehearse Once we graduated, our team in the arts comoften until you have a set and dispersed, I had to figure out repeatable way of doing things munity, there what was next for me—and really aren’t that was my one woman show. for show after show. For Rusmany that I That was a way for me to con- sell, however, there were always can name. tinue my therapy, to channel my many different ways one could Sadly, thoughts and emotions into an approach a scene. That was there expression, a viewpoint, and it such a challenge for me! But I aren’t usually involved comedy. Com- enjoyed it so much. Since then, many edy is my strong suit, as is music I’ve been making music videos artists and performing in general. I’ve and regularly performing my show. That’s where I’m at now. out been immersed in that world there ever since. Who do you admire? like me. When an opportunity to get Hmm, that seems to change When I

look around for Deaf women of color with the same vision and the same passion, I find they are so very few. There aren’t enough people out there providing opportunities for our aspiring youth. That’s a struggle for many people of color. While we do see many successful artists in the Deaf community, the vast majority of them are white. I’m speaking of artists who are in the public eye, who are published, who make appearances on TV and film. They’re predominantly white, and typically male. You’ll find exceptions every once in a while, such as women like Marlee Matlin and others. But, by and large, we’re talking about white artists—and they are wonderful for having broken through major barriers for Deaf artists. Absolutely. It’s great. And I don’t mean to imply that we should want to see less of them. I’m saying their breakthroughs are valid but we do have enough examples of this now. My question is where are the people of color? In the past five

years, I’ve begun to feel the itch for more progress, less of the same. We’re becoming homogenized. Where’s the standout now? Where’s the artist with an unusual point-of-view and cultural background, who has a unique expression and voice that is all her own, something that brings us new ideas and perspectives? What I’m seeing feels like more of the same. So how can we plant the seed for greater enthusiasm and involvement in the arts? I think we need to make programs available for them. For instance, when I attended Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) that was my first experience in drama. Being on stage became an opportunity for me. I was pushed, encouraged, and given tools that allowed me to creatively play until on I was completely immersed in this lifestyle. this That being said, YLC itself is predominantly white as well. That is, it’s owned and operated largely by white people. So, what I mean is that it’s not designed with people of color in mind. It’s a camp, and it’s not as though it must be tailored to every cultural need but when it comes to feeling safe, feeling solidarity, having personal growth, being able to express yourself freely, feeling like you are in your element, with shared experiences: there hasn’t been a space for that for Deaf

students of color. That’s why that camp for Deaf Youth of Color was established not long ago. That’s one of the few programs that it would be nice to have more of. I mean, imagine a drama program for students of color, something specific to their needs. You’re so well known for your signed music videos on YouTube. It seems that signed music videos in general have become very popular. How do you feel about that?

gives me a kind of “music video exhaustion.” It feels like there’s an incredible amount of videos out there—and that’s left me feeling divided about this kind of popularity. There’s the ASL field and the interpreting field and they’re definitely not the same. In one field, you study the language, whereas in the other field you study how to transfer information from one language to another. You study how the process works mentally, how to manage between forms, and many other things including setting and context. Interpreting has its own curriculum geared specifically on how move from ASL to English and vice versa. On our focus the other hand, the study of ASL is not about its translation into English. It’s a study of ASL, simply put, about its structure, its grammar, and everything that’s involved in its proper expression. The trouble is that people tend to conflate the two fields into one thing when they make signed music videos. So people interpret the words into ASL without any skills in ASL. This is a premature leap.

We’ve come a long way to get

to this point

at which

we are finally able to have

ASL programs and classes. We want to keep

celebrating and preserving


My work in music videos became bigger than I expected. I have to admit I hadn’t really given it that much thought. It was more like my hobby. When these videos went viral, I began to notice a lot of other videos performed by sign language students as part of their homework assignments. ASL teachers started using that as a way to get students excited about the language. It became so popular. But seeing all of this now

They sign because they enjoy the act of signing itself but do they realize they’re also incorporating many other consid-

erations? As you interpret, you need to step back from the phrasing and grasp the underlying concepts, and not only that you need to figure out whether you’re expressing simply what you’ve heard, or expressing what you’ve envisioned. Often, they’re expressing exactly what they’ve heard, meaning if you were to turn off the audio and watch only the signs it wouldn’t make sense. That’s because they’re simply expressing the song in the same way they heard it, and it makes sense to them because they’ve heard it. They’re trying to express it in a beautiful and artful way but the context and the overall content are unclear. So the question is who is this benefitting? It’s the performer herself, enjoying it as an activity. And it’s fun, yes, it’s fun. But in the long term, if we’re looking at the big picture, what impact is this having on the language? How does this impact our community? How we interface with the hearing world, how our culture and history are represented,

all of this have become watered down. It’s become a novelty, a fun experience. But, wait a minute, there’s so much history behind this. We’ve fought for so long just to get ASL recognized as a language. We’ve fought just to get ASL to be allowed in schools. We’ve come a long way to get to this point at which we are finally able to have ASL programs and classes. We want to keep our

focus on celebrating and preserving this language. Interpreting feels like the next level after this kind of deep appreciation for the heritage of ASL. If you want to sign music, wait until you’ve graduated out of a program and you’ve internalized this understanding, until you’ve thought about cultural appropriation and all the tools you need to be aware of. There are many interpreters who appropriate our culture, who live in the spotlight and earn money and fame from it. If you had a strong cultural education,

you would understand your place in our world and how best to celebrate ASL, how to use your skills to benefit the Deaf community. Many have missed that important step in learning ASL. They jump straight to interpreting and signing without that knowledge and they miss the point. That’s what frustrates me about the popularity of signed music videos. And I’m a part of that factory because I create signed music videos myself ! I feel that I’ve become more responsible now with how I model my work and how I present myself. I give more thought to the process now and the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get. There’s not enough training

programs and exposure surrounding the creation of signed music videos. There’s also not a lot of discussion of what’s acceptable and what’s insulting. Of the typical Deaf-owned talent shows I see, something like eighty-five or ninety percent consist of signed songs. What talent are you trying to express by doing this? That you can hear music? That seems to defeat the purpose of a Deaf talent show. Are you saying your skill is in translating from English to ASL? My point is, what talent are you trying to express? Often, people will say “I can hear this music and isn’t it fun to express it in such a pretty way.” With that sort of thinking, I believe we lose the core of our

language and our culture. The odd thing is I love music! It’s my passion. I grew up in a Deaf family, my first language is ASL. I love music. I founded a Deaf music camp. What I really want to explore is the question of WHAT IS DEAF MUSIC? What does music mean to the Deaf ? We’ve been borrowing our definitions from the hearing world. But what is uniquely our own? I want to discover that—because every culture has one. Any culture you can think of has some form of music that uniquely reflects their language and their culture. The Deaf have this too! But we haven’t had enough opportunities to analyze this, to come together and unpack what’s truly ours and

not derivative. Once we boil it down to that essential element, we can expand on it, and perhaps make more YouTube videos about THAT!


There is such a small number of artists who want to see individual success and so they are less inclined to share with others. My goal was to bring them together, and that’s tough. Do I consider that a failure? No. It was a learning experience. It taught me how to play the game, how to make artists feel safe, and how to work together in a way that doesn’t threaten to usurp work. There was a lot of back and forth and discussion in the formation of trust. Establishing the organization was not a quick endeavor; it was less of a failure and more of a bump in the road, from which I learned a lot.

There have been times when I’ve had big ideas and dreams, and unfortunately not everyone shares that vision. I established That’s what I want. I think Liberty Road Productions some that’s where I’m at now. time ago, in the hopes that Deaf female artists would organize. I appreciate signed music beAt that time male artists domicause as with most songs it’s nated, and I wanted to organize difficult to catch everything Deaf women and Deaf women being said. While with signed of color. At the time we fosongs I can appreciate the music cused on Deaf women and we more through the beautiful didn’t share the motivations, the ASL expression. Conversely, same vision and eventually the there are some ASL music videos that, I’m sorry, but are reminiscent of unclear, static-filled television shows with The next success I a poor antenna encountered was essignal where I’m tablishing KissFist only able to catch magazine, another a few concepts. avenue to bring Many of these artists together. Inivideos require tially this idea was a great deal of born through the work to understand. group folded. I don’t consider common interests my brother, it a failure; more of a “back-to- Frank, and I share – the sharThat’s where I am now. As it the-drawing-board” regroup. ing and publication of art. The stands, ASL music videos are How are we to gather as Deaf idea was to bring the commuvery popular. Now that the women, celebrate one another nity together, pair Deaf artists excitement and awareness has without competition? How can with the ability to publish their increased, it’s time to have a discussion around how to filter we make one another feel safe? work. My role was to recruit artists and encourage them to through the work. What are our Most artists are very selfish intentions; where are we com- with their work; it’s their hard share their work. Inherent in ing from? What message are we work and they’re afraid some- that that is the art of making one may steal it and capitalize artists feel safe in sharing their trying to impress and spread? on their work. It has a lot to do work with us. We were able to How can we, as a community with trust – do you trust me to publish twelve issues – it was embrace that? share your work? No. a success! We brought the What are some experiences, community together in print, Art is very personal, especially successes or failures, which maybe not physically, but in within the Deaf community. have led you to where you are print. People began to realize

Art is very personal,

especially within the Deaf community... My goal was to bring [Deaf artists] together.

the range of talent and the different mediums available within the community. It was finally a validation of the artists’ work; they were recognized for their talent. We never made a profit from the issues. We found that was the first step in establishing trust, the next was to bring their art to print successfully and then as that trust was established we would ask for more work for subsequent issues. After several issues, we couldn’t turn away work – it was overwhelming! It was nice… that, for me, was a success. How can young artists define themselves through their art rather than their "Deafness? "

to his work OR his work supersedes his Deafness. Tate has tremendous people skills; he’s gregarious and makes clients less anxious about communicating with him. His friendliness and openness helps people to understand that interacting with a Deaf person is not so bad! He has become a wellknown photographer based on referrals and often new clients find out after the fact that he is Deaf. Or they may know he is Deaf but are primarily interested in his work despite the

her work sells itself. People like her films and then find out that she is Deaf. All that’s to say, my advice to artists is: allow your work to speak for itself. How you market yourself impacts the decisions that your consumers or audience makes. If you, as an artist, market yourself as first being Deaf because of its uniqueness, you limit yourself to those people who are interested in disability groups, Deaf organizations and the like. Conversely, if you were to market to the general public as an artist first and place the focus on the work rather than Deafness, while still part of the work, it becomes a separate facet of you and not a gimmick to be used in convincing others to appreciate your art.

I want us to examine

Deaf music...I want to give new ways to celebrate music...

I first think of Tate Tullier – a Deaf photographer. He has reached hearing celebrity status – meaning, his following includes many celebrities such as a Desperate Housewives star and reality TV stars because his work speaks for itself. He doesn’t market himself as a Deaf photographer. Initially he marketed himself as a wedding photographer and is well known for weddings. Often he is contacted by people and then they find out he is Deaf. The work speaks for itself and as a result people are willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. His Deafness has become secondary

[and] develop a more


centered approach. communication barrier.

Tate and Jules are two artists who have seen success because Jules Dameron, a Hollywood they market the work well, film maker, often shares that she is a film maker that happens making their art, and creating to be Deaf. She doesn’t identify good work, the focus. herself as a Deaf film maker Tell me more about music. and it’s these word choices that My dream, going back to what allow her to market herself. I shared earlier… I want us to Jules believes that while Deaf examine Deaf music. I think individuals CAN, she is first and foremost a film maker with hearing people enjoy music a the ability to make all films. The lot. I want to give new ways to range of the work – hearing and celebrate music. The idea is that – you [hearing] know music, Deaf films – runs the gamut;

here is our [Deaf ] version. Then, if you know ASL, you can pair the two together. Replace the current hearing take on music and develop a more Deaf centered approach. Often we associate music with poetry. Poetry is truly its own animal and I feel that while written poetry and song writing have many commonalities – the rhythm, rhyme, endings, etc – they are two separate forms of art. People identify as a “song writer” or as a “poet”. The same is true in ASL with ASL poetry and ASL music. There is not a lot of research, analysis and criteria that states what constitutes successful song writing or poetry. The more we talk about the work, the more alternatives we give to ASL students, the more excitement builds around it. It’s not just music to get excited about, there is more to fly free with and create excitement around.

De’VIA has captured its part of small – and meeting that goal. Deaf Art well. Sometimes that goal is getting up at six in the morning. Doing Now the film industry has that in and of itself is a sucseveral Deaf film producers, so cess. Sometimes that goal is to far I know of three film propublish a poem and after many duction companies. It means submissions, when my work more opportunity for writers, is finally published – that’s a directors, producers and actors success, even if it’s a small pubto play around with their ideas lication. With my performances and creativity that may not have – success is feeling good after a been as prevalent in the hearing performance. Sometimes I may world. These opportunities can feel as though I didn’t do as lead Deaf artists into the Holly- well. That’s how I measure the wood film industry. success of my performances – if I feel good after, then it is a sucThere are many examples of cess. Success comes in different this – Switched At Birth, for example. The show made histo- ways – How you measure that success depends on the goals you set. However large or small the goals, I believe in celebrating the little things. For example, completing my website was a success. ry and some of their lead actors Of course with big picture are Deaf. It’s a Deaf themed, dreams and goals, success long standing TV show. Things is accomplishing what you I never thought I would see, dream about and set out to do. we have now. Progress is being “I made it! My dreams came made – Hollywood is becoming true!” Success is when you get more open to and familiar with what you’ve always wanted. the Deaf, identifying potential And sometimes there are larger, roles for Deaf characters. As a more recognizable successes but result I think the art commudon’t forget that success comes nity is becoming more defined, in small sizes, too. We need more established in developing to appreciate that we succeed opportunities. The direction a lot, so I don’t feel too bitter we’re moving in is exciting. about not achieving each dream.


advice to artists is:

allow your work to

speak for itself.

What do you envision the future of Deaf art to look like?

It’s exciting; I’m really excited. We now have De’VIA – art that focuses on Deaf culture, Deaf themes, the struggles and successes of Deaf individuals and their experiences. It’s now a recognized genre and that’s a big step! Often everything we do gets lumped together as “Deaf How do you define success? Art” but there are so many facets within that larger category. How do I define success? Setting a goal – however large or

Sometimes it’s just making it through the day – YESS!

photo courtesy of the author


oday, we find deaf people in a plethora of occupations – health care, management, law, teaching…. But that hasn’t always been the case; as a matter of fact, it’s a fairly recent occurrence. What’s changed? Let me tell you about my father-in-law… My father-in-law was brilliant.

His name was Leo. He was Deaf. He was born in 1914, a time when deaf children weren’t viewed as having great potential…at least not academically. He was sent to a mental institution, at that time referred to as the Minnesota State Asylum for the Feeble-Minded. It was his good fortune that superin-

tendent at the Asylum knew the Superintendent of the Minnesota Institute for the Deaf, Dumb and Blind*. The two of them were able to figure out that this young man was not mentally retarded, but rather couldn’t hear – quite a difference This serendipitous friendship not only moved Leo to a new


CHANGED environment, it also changed his label from “imbecile” to deaf. He blossomed at the School for the Deaf, learned a way to communicate (later recognized as a formal language now called American Sign Language), made lifelong friends, and met Deaf adults who served as role models. At that time in our history,

curricula in deaf schools were not the same as those in hearing schools. Deaf kids were channeled into coursework and careers that didn’t require being able to hear, but rather hands-on kinds of labor: keypunch, sewing, type setting, carpentry, etc. Leo managed to put himself through college, but job opportunities

by Marty Barnum

were limited. He found work as a typesetter at a large newspaper company, and that became his career. He excelled at his job. He could spell better than most hearing people. I tell Leo’s story in order to compare it to the stories of young deaf people today. Their education and career opportu-

*The school went through a series of names beginning with the Minnesota Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, then the Minnesota Institute for Defectives, the Minnesota School for the Deaf and finally its current name, The Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf (MSAD).

nities, as well as the perceptions society has of deaf people, have changed dramatically. Today we see deaf people who are doctors, presidents of companies and universities, nurses, lawyers, managers, sales people, engineers…you name it, they can do it! Deaf people had what it took all along – society didn’t. So what changed?

complex, orderly, grammatical system – it was a language! Research began, and soon there was copious proof and documentation that this little understood form of communication was a bona fide language. Today it is recognized as among the top languages used in the United States and parts of Canada. ASL is now accepted and respected, and learned by many non-deaf people. It is even taught in colleges and universities as a foreign language.

The second “moment.” Technology.

The invention of the telephone, in the late 1800’s, was life-changing for most people. Deaf people, unfortunately, could only benefit by proxy. That is, someone else had to make the call for them. Sometimes this was a neighbor, friend or co-worker, but most often it was a family member, and most often that was a hearThere have been some pivotal ing child. Leo’s hearing children moments in the history of deaf recall talking with insurance people in America and in the agents, school officials, doctors’ world which brought about this change. This article will touch on The advent of professional ASL/ offices…all on behalf of their parents. One can imagine the poEnglish interpreters paralleled two of these “moments.” tential for frustration and misunthe recognition of ASL as a The first happened in the 1950s language. This opened doors derstandings! and 1960s. Prior to that time, for deaf people. Interpreters deaf people were presumed to were available in schools, places Robert Weitbrecht, a deaf scientist, is credited with the develhave no language. Their commu- of work and worship, political opment of TTYs in the 1960s. nication was described as, “wav- caucuses, health care settings, ing their hands,” “abbreviated courtrooms…. Deaf people still TTYs were old teletype machines used by the military; by English,” and some other even couldn’t catch the opening of a less complimentary terms. new film, talk with a police offi- the ‘60s, no longer useful to the cer at the scene of an accident, or military, they were relegated to In the ‘50s and ‘60s, linguists take a job that required using the junk yards or museums. Weitbegan to recognize that the brecht and his cohorts cabled phone. But that was coming. “hand-waving” was actually a acoustic couplers to the TTYs,

enabling the AT&T standard Model 500 telephone to fit into rubber cups on the coupler, allowing the device to transmit and receive a unique sequence of tones generated by the different corresponding TTY keys. A little techy, I know. Bottom line? Deaf people (and others) could now “call” each other on their TTYs by typing back and forth. The message would print out on teletype paper. TTYS were large – the size of a small refrigerator – army green, and they shook. They were fondly referred to as big green machines. In 1990, Federal law mandated relay services, so that deaf people could call the relay and place calls to anywhere they wanted. Deaf people were able to make their own doctor appointments, call their kids, or order a pizza. As technology is wont to do, communication systems improved rapidly. Today the big green machines, and even the smaller versions of the TTY that

came later, have been replaced by video phones. Video phones allow deaf people to call one another and communicate using their native language, ASL. Video Relay Systems (VRS) provide intermediary interpreter services 24/7. Deaf people can now call anywhere, anytime, to anyone. They can work at jobs that require the use of telephones. A deaf hospital worker can call patients to confirm appointments; and call supply companies to order medical supplies. Or a deaf business owner can call customers to discuss their services and rates. Families can easily and quickly communicate with one another. A deaf parent can call their child’s school to say their child is home sick or that they will be picking their child up after school. And hearing children can call mom to ask what they should bring to the potluck. And 911 calls are now just as easy and quick for deaf people as they are for hearing people.

graphics courtesy of Matt Daigle

All of this is available on a person’s stand-alone videophone, a computer, laptop, notebook, or a cell phone. Deaf people can use a videophone for services like FaceTime. They can text or make video calls on their cell phones. As you are reading this article, many of these modes of communication are becoming possible on wristwatches! Technology and interpreting services have evened the playing field for deaf people. Ease of communication has become the great equalizer. It has allowed deaf people to pursue their goals in education and work, manage their lives independently, and be the people they always were or could have been - we just didn’t know it. I think Leo would be a college professor, or perhaps the editor at the newspaper he worked for if he were alive today, or if he had been born in 1970 instead of 1914.


sat next to 24-year-old Rachel on the plane who shared that her dad was a fan of QBQ! Just a complete coincidence—if there are coincidences, that is. When QBQ! came up and she exclaimed, “Really? Wow, my dad talks about ‘the QBQ’ all the time!” I naturally stayed as humble as possible. I responded, “That’s terrific. Thanks for saying

that. I’m honored.” And, I meant it. But I wonder if it was really a “coincidence” because it turned out she needed to hear something from me that I needed to hear when I was a twentysomething. In late 1985, when I was lamenting to an older friend about my corporate “8 to 5” desk

job that I’d held since graduating from Cornell in 1980, he said, “Well, if you don’t like your life, why don’t you change it?” Um, gee, Bob, that sounds awfully deep. I thought. You mean, while I’m still young, I should grasp these truths?: My decisions have defined my destination.

Life is based on choice not chance.

needed someone to nudge her a bit toward truly embracing the truth that she does not have to keep working where she is So, back to Rachel, who told me mistreated by a lousy, unskilled, about her work at a blue chip self-centered supervisor. Said insurance firm—and her boss: differently, she doesn’t have to pay the price for the mistake this “I think that I might have the organization has made retaining absolute worst manager in the world. She plays favorites, doesn’t and promoting this manager. talk to those she doesn’t like, is I told her, even in a tough grumpy, always in her office with the door closed, and appears to be on the narcissistic side.” The truth is I choose to pay my taxes because I don’t like the alternatives. :)




The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life I am not a victim. In the light of these truths, I have come to understand that “I have to” is a lie. People say “I have to go to work” and “I have to go to class,” but the reality is … IT’S NOT TRUE! You see, everything is a choice. I don’t have to go to my job; I don’t have to go to school; I don’t evenhave to pay my taxes.

Now, I know someone might think that Rachel is playing the victim or is a millennial who believes she’s entitled to a super nice manager-friend who tells her 24/7 how wonderful she is. But after I asked a few follow-up questions, I surmised she is not in a good situation. I also learned that her manager is pushing 50 and has been there over twenty years. Thus, she ain’t gonna change, nor is she going anywhere.

economy outstanding organizations are almost always looking foraccountable, high-integrity, hard-working individuals with a heart of service. “If that’s you, Rachel—GET. OUT. NOW!”

So as Rachel was chatting away, Now, are there times we do I rudely interrupted her and said things that we don’t want to do, one word: don’t enjoy, or just aren’t much fun? Of course. But the message Quit. to my young seatmate was this: After a long pause she said, There’s nothing you have to do. “Thank you. I needed to hear We all have the power to make a that.” decision that will direct us to a new She had been freed. destination. Each of us can make a choice that will change our life. Of course, she was almost there anyway before we sat down in And it can all happen today. seats 19C and 19D. She just

artwork by Martin Pyper @

Anastasia Lekontseva part 2

Recently, we visited the men's US Deaf Basketball team as they prepared for the World Deaf Basketball Chapmpionship Tournament in Taiwan. This event brought together talented players from very different parts of the Deaf community. Two of those men were Joshua McGriff and Jeremias Valencia. This is their story...


photo and video by Ezra Moore @


OLER is a term that was shared with me by a professor in my Introduction to Counseling course. It is an acronym that is easy to remember and speaks to the key tenets in building rapport with clients seeking therapeutic services. Entering therapy can be very challenging and it does, by design, cause heightened emotion, as difficult memories and stories are shared. Logically, we know that there is healing on the other side of the pain. Emotionally though, coming face to face with one’s

closed and open body language – maybe insert a comment: Can you spot the differences?) personal reality is tremendously daunting. With that in mind, a therapist first needs to build rapport, encouraging a client’s feeling of safety and security, as s/he embarks on a difficult yet rewarding journey. The relationship between therapist and client starts immediately, long before words are exchanged. That is where SOLER comes in. (would be good to insert some images of


it squarely (in front of the client, not at an angle or side by side)


pen body posture (no crossed arms or legs; convey openness to the client’s story)


isten (not hear but listen to what is said and how it is said, as well as to what isn’t said with no judgement)


ent or make the suffering that ye contact (let clients know that they are seen) my clients are experiencing go away, I can provide the right elax (no tense shoulspace and conditions for them ders, pursed lips, frown- to share their load. I can see ing brows; if the therapist and hear them, literally and is relaxed clients are more figuratively, and that is a gift. likely to relax) For people who have felt marginalized in some way, whether Following the SOLER script it is due to language, legal stawas very difficult at first betus, abuse, neglect, addiction, cause, like anything being practiced in a controlled envi- domestic violence – and the list goes on - being seen and ronment, it didn’t feel natural. Now, in my real-life, day-to-day practice, it comes naturally. I’ll tell you, I don’t always follow the “steps” exactly as they are laid out. People are different and, like anything, techniques need to be modified to fit the person and the situation. I get the bottom line though and that is to help my clients feel as comfortable with me as possible. Additionally, I need to make sure I am in the right frame of mind before inviting a client into my office. A few minutes to decompress and get focused can make all the difference. I remind myself that they are about to embark on telling me difficult stories about trauma, addiction and/or domestic violence, along with everything that typically comes with those tragic experiences.

and private lives. It is also my belief that we want to do right by others but, oftentimes, we don’t know how. That is the very moment to stop and think SOLER. It doesn’t take long but it does take effort. If we can hit the pause button for a just moment and remember that we don’t have to solve anyone’s issues (nor are we truly able to do that, despite what we may think). By allowing others the safe and open space to talk,

While I can’t make the stories,

different or make my clients are experiencing go away, I can provide the right space and conditions for them to share their load. themselves, the suffering that

we foster their ability to come to their own beneficial conclusions. That is the essence of a great relationship – empowerYou may be asking yourself, ing someone through our preshow does this relate to me? ence. As my clients are 100% mono- What does this have to do with anyone who is not a therapist? lingual, speaking only Spanish, I read somewhere that 90% of It is my belief that it has evit becomes all the more importcommunication is non-verbal. erything to do with each and If that is the case, SOLER is ant to let them know immedievery one of us, particularly just that, a powerful non-verbal ately that there is no language those in any type of human communication technique. It barrier that will prevent me service field. We are all faced says: I see you. I hear you. You from seeing them, figuratively with moments when we are are safe. speaking. While I can’t make asked to be present for anoththe stories, themselves, differ- er person, in our professional heard are powerful experienc es in the healing process.

Integrity is earned through your actions. When people trust you Ownership of an issue is leader- things can happen much quicker. ship 101. If your team didn’t ac- Do the harder right. complish the goal/mission there is Graded on your actions then your only one reason. The leader failed words to factor in some aspect of the problem or a team member didn’t People watch your actions then understand or carry through on figure out if they match up to their portion of the task. Regard- your words. And, yes, sometimes less, the leader owns the issue and you will need to explain the reais responsible. You’re going to fail. sons behind your actions. If you’re “Success is never permanent and afraid to, that tells you everything. failure isn’t forever” Be true to yourself and your team.


Owning the issue




The road to success is postmarked with failures. Learn from them and do better the next time. Do conduct a postmortem and figure out what happened, what went right, what worked and didn’t.


Crediting the team for achievement

When a goal is achieved, it was achieved by the collective efforts of the team. Always give them the credit, everyone wants to be part of a successful team. Successful teams can accomplish amazing things. Even when I complete a marathron, a very individual event, I was able to do it because of the support from my wife throughout my training and on race day.


Choosing the harder right

You’ll be presented with many ethical dilemmas. Always choose the right path, the harder right. If that means correcting an error even though it may cost your company money or maybe your bonus, do the right thing. It always pays off in the long run.


Praise in public, counsel in private

No one ever told me how public humiliation ever improved them. This is totally different from reviewing a project to find out what worked and what didn’t. If you can’t praise the team take the responsibility for the failure. That’s it, just do it and move forward.


Always two sides to an issue

Always take the time to learn both sides of the story. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn. Not only about the issue but also about the people involved and how they handle problems. Take in both sides before making your decision on the next step. I’ve found I make a better decision when I take the time, the decision isn’t always easier but better.


Have your team's back

You can only lead people because they believe in and will follow you. So, have their back, be ready to support and defend them even if it's difficult or may cost you.

•COVER - Photograph by Tate Tullier @ •pg 6 - Trudy Suggs is a writer and blogger. Of her passion for writing, she says " I want to make the world a better place for my family—I know that sounds all “I want world peace,” but it’s true. One way I do that—other than volunteering for different organizations, working at T.S. Writing Services, presenting workshops, and being the best mama I can be—is write." Find much more of her wonderful work at •pg 12, 54 - Anastasia Lekontseva is a Deaf photographer from Russia, currently living in Italy. See more of her great photography at https:// law_photographer/

QUESTIONS & COMMENTS to find out more about the magaZine

its host site GETAZLIFE.COM contact us at or click on the INTERPRETERS tab for informaton on jobs and education

•pg 22 - Jenny Locy works for ZVRS in Residential Sales and besides being a crossfit enthusiast, she enjoys ASL storytelling, public speaking, advocating, and much more. •pg 24 - Tate Tullier is a celebrated artist and photographer. He writes, "Basically I'm just a lover of pretty much anything visual and my to go to form of media is photography." For more of his work, go to www. •pg 32 - Mack Story: His story is an amazing journey of personal and professional growth. He began his career in manufacturing on the front lines of a machine shop. He grew himself into upper management and found his niche in lean manufacturing and along with it, developed his passion for leadership. He understands that everything rises and falls on leadership. John C. Maxwell is one of the world’s most recognized leadership experts. He has written over 85 books and trained leaders in every country. Mack’s experience with

credits Many thanks to the artists, designers, and authors who lent their time and talents to make this mgazine possible. Among them are the following: the John Maxwell Team includes teaching, speaking, coaching, and an international training event in Guatemala as part of the Cultural Transformation in Guatemala. Mack’s story is an amazing journey of personal and professional growth.

•pg 52 - John G. Miller, founder of QBQ, Inc. and author of several books, was born in 1958 in Ithaca, N. Y. Throughout a decade of selling and facilitating training to and with executives and middle managers, he discovered the incredible need for personal accountability. In 1995, he •pg 37, 64 - Martin Pyper is an artist who studied chose to become a keynote speaker, titling his in France and art school sessions “Personal in UK. He has lived in the Accountability and Netherlands since ’89, and the QBQ!”—even has worked for various though some design/advertising agencies people told him (& freelance) in The that “personal Netherlands & UK, amongst accountability isn’t a BECAUSE EVERY CONVERSATION MATTERS others. topic”!


•pg 38 - Rosa Lee Timm is a performance artist known mostly for her ASL Music Videos on YouTube, her work as a solo performer in The Rosa Lee Show (available on DVD from, and as a lead actor in ASL Films’s feature film Versa Effect. Since 1993, Rosa Lee has been involved with several stage productions, performance troupes, and has appeared in television, videos, DVDs, and CD-ROMs as an actress, sign model, and director. Currently, she is an ASL teacher, the managing editor of KISSFIST Magazine, and presenter and workshop leader. She is also a wife and a mother to two young children. She is available to come present as a featured speaker and give workshops/instruction in the art of ASL music, storytelling, and rhythm.

His speaking career took off and John soon began writing books, gaining the new title “author.” John and Karen have recently written Parenting the QBQ Way. Reach John by email at He responds to every email he gets! •pg 64 - All filming and photography was done by Ezra Moore @ For more information about US Men's Deaf Basketball, visit For more information about the World Deaf Basketball Championships, visit http://2015worlddeafbasketball.deafsports.

•pg 48 - Marty Barnum is an Operations Manger for ZVRS.

•pg 66 - Diane Mouradian is a bilingual psychiatric social worker with experience in public and private health organizations and 19 years in Personnel Management and Project Management.

•pg 50, 55, 66 - Artwork courtesy of Matt Daigle @

•pg 69 - William Cobb is the General Manager of Stratus Video.

culture you can think of has some form of music that uniquely Any

reflects their language and their culture. The

Deaf have this too! But we haven’t

had enough opportunities to this,


to come together


what’s truly

and not derivative. Once we boil to that we can



it down

essential element,

expand on it, and perhaps

make more YouTube videos about


- Rosa Lee Timm




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Tate Tullier, Rosa Lee Timm, Trudy Suggs, USA Deaf Basketball, and much more!

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