How long have you been a member of CHHA and what network are you a member of?
I joined CHHA in May of 2013. I am associated with the Edmonton Branch
What motivated you to join CHHA?
What motivated me to join is that I was the Western Canadian Representative for a national company that distributed AV equipment to end sellers. Among the various products that sold was hearing assistive products. The National Convention was in Edmonton, and I had a customer that was showing some assistive listening equipment and wanted to see his display and at the trade show, and the only way Karla Wilson would let me in was to join CHHA, so I did. I didn’t know anything about CHHA, and while I was aware that I had some hearing loss, I didn’t know how much loss I had. I went to a presentation, and as it was captioned, I discovered that my hearing loss was significant.
What’s your current position and how long have you been in this position?
My current position is President and I have held that position since May of 2017.
What is your favourite part about volunteering?
CHHA Edmonton is fortunate in that Cindy Gordon and Marilyn Kingdon founded it, and our branch is very active thanks to their efforts and vision. CHHA Edmonton has had a member sit on the Alberta Safety Code Council as part of the Barrier-Free Sub Council, which is a policy-driven sub-council and provide input to the Government of Alberta to make our province as safe as possible. We have made a difference, and one example of that is thanks to Cindy’s input, visual fire alarms became mandatory when she sat on this board. CHHA Edmonton has been influential in raising awareness of hearing in public areas, and as a result, we are seeing an increase in barrier-free hearing solutions across the province and the Administrator for the Alberta Safety Council has been working with NRC to change the building code
In what capacity do you currently volunteer for your network?
Aside from being the President, my volunteer work is centred around barrier-free hearing solutions. I do presentations at public events and advise organizations on how to provide barrier-free hearing solutions and, when requested, design solutions that include hearing loops ( our favourite system), IR systems, audio streaming to cell phones and sometimes FM solutions.
What is your vision for CHHA?
CHHA Edmonton has a social enterprise and designs solutions and sells products. In addition when an installation is required, I become the project manager for these projects. Our branch has developed a great working relationship with the City of Edmonton and as a result, there are many places where barrier free hearing is now in place. The City of Edmonton has hearing loops in many places and the Edmonton Business Tower, City Hall (meeting rooms, Council Chambers and service counter), all recreation centres and the Public Libraries. We have managed to loop a number of live theatres and a number of churches.
What would you like to see the organization achieve in one year? Three years?
My vision for CHHA is to be recognized in the same way that CNIB and the Heart and Stroke Foundations are. As a collective group, we represent a large population yet we struggle to be recognized as our issue is an invisible challenge.
Do you have a message you wish to share with the membership?
My message to all members across Canada is to ask for barrier free hearing solutions and wherever possible to ask for a hearing loop. These devices should be installed in all critical care facilities including hospitals, pharmacies and ambulances. Other places includes transportation depots, buses, trains, police stations, and point of sale stations.
CHHA is indeed fortunate to have someone as dedicated as Lee to be part of our ranks. Thank you for all you do!