Getting Real about Workforce Diversity

Speech transcript on “Real About Diversity” first delivered to the Tri-State Human Resource Management Association Diversity Program (October 26, 2012). Learn more about this keynote & view presentation slides here.

Until I did it for me

I ponder the numbers a lot these days. —25 years of service in human resource management, overseeing employment of thousands of people.  Yet I never came across a job candidate who was deaf or hard of hearing that was apparent or known to me.  And I never, not even once, directed workplace accommodations or otherwise assisted an employee who I knew to be deaf or severely hard of hearing. Of that great honor, I had zero experience.

Until I did it for me! Since losing hearing in June 2010, I served as Vice President of Human Resources and lived the experience in the workplace.  Oh what humble paradox that this was my stock-in-trade!

Read more


God’s Precious Audio

Pondering on and on

It was early in my hard of hearing adventure. I was still reeling from being suddenly stricken. I was queasy and despondent, trudging each day with ever fading hope that my hearing would somehow miraculously return. The doctors already assured me that it would not.

Holding on to false hope when you know it is false is a terrible place to be.

But I kept waiting.  Holding on to false hope when you know it is false is a terrible place to be.  I was physically whipped, having suffered multiple bouts of vertigo that rendered me ever off balance and, it seemed, perpetually nauseous from the spins. So strange. Motion sickness without the motion.  Ugh. I felt so sick. So defeated. Read more


You Speak So Well!

Hard to Hear Compliments

Whenever I meet someone new face-to-face, the introduction inherently requires a preemptive mention that I am profoundly hard of hearing. The goal is to put the person at ease and offer reassurance that the conversation between us will optimally flow just fine.

Inevitably, my newfound fellow observes with genuine goodwill how impressed he is: “Deaf, really?” he marvels. “You would never know it.”  And then, as if my ability to convey intelligible information were a huge surprise, he exclaims, “You speak so well!”

Of course, my new acquaintance and infinite hearing-others mean it as a compliment.  But in my shoes, excuse the pun; it’s hard to hear it that way. Read more