Hands & Voices HQ DHH Advisory Council

The purpose of the Hands & Voices Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Council is to bring together DHH Leaders with a rich diversity of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, varying types and degrees of hearing status, communication mode and language, age of onset, educational and family background, to advise on HQ and Chapter specific needs, and to increase partnerships at the national level between parents of DHH children and the DHH community. The DHH Advisory Council is facilitated by Hands & Voices HQ’s DHH Infusion Coordinator(s).

Meet the Advisory Council

Camille and baby

Camille Ouellette

My name is Camille Ouellette. I was born to deaf parents in South Korea and adopted by a hearing family in Illinois. My severe-to-profound deafness was identified at 15 months old and fortuitously, my adoptive mother already knew ASL, so I had immediate access to language through ASL and hearing aids. I grew up using simultaneous communication (sim-comm) and today I use spoken English, sim-comm, and ASL on a daily basis. I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Science of Mathematics at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, one of the eleven colleges of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. In my job, I teach biology and health science courses to deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) students. I also provide tutoring support for DHH students taking courses with hearing professors to increase their access to the course content. As such, I work with students with a wide range of communication preferences and I am fortunate to have the communication abilities to accommodate many of them. In 2023, I became a first time mother to a beautiful son Owen, who is also deaf. Our journey together has been such an eye-opening experience, and even as someone with as many resources and knowledge about the Deaf community as I have, it has still been challenging. I hope to share my experience with others and provide support to families regardless of where they are on their journey and empower them to make the most loving decisions for their families.


Carrie Spangler

My name is Carrie Spangler and I am a deaf/hard of hearing educational audiologist and use a cochlear implant and hearing aid. Additionally, I am a wife, mother of two amazing young adults, dog lover, blogger, and podcaster. I have been deaf since birth and attended my neighborhood school. Growing up, I never met another individual who was deaf/hard of hearing, and my parents were not connected to other families like ours, which was isolating. When I was about to enter college, I met another d/hh individual and it changed me. Meeting someone my age who was also d/hh was a transformative experience for me, providing me a much-needed role model. This pivotal moment has purposefully influenced my life, fueling my passion for parent-to-parent connections and peer mentorship. I am grateful to be a part of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing AdvisoryCouncil and serve as a resource, support, and leader.


Chad Ludwig

In the summer of 2017, Chad founded Bridges Oregon and dedicated his time to building this nonprofit organization into a thriving entity serving Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Oregonians. Over the last three years, Chad has expanded Bridges' annual budget from $150,000 to $2.17 million and increased the staff size from one to 14 employees.

A native of California, Chad graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and earned a Master of Social Work from East Carolina University. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Social Work Practice with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. In November 2015, Chad received certification as an Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator through the ADA Coordinator Training Certification Program at the University of Missouri. With over 20 years of experience primarily in DeafBlind interpreting, Chad earned the Oregon Health Care Interpreter credential in September 2020. By December 2022, he achieved Certified Deaf Interpreter credentials with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Currently, Chad serves on the advisory boards of Friends of Oregon School for the Deaf, Oregon’s Early Hearing Detection & Intervention, and the national Hands & Voices Deaf/Hard of Hearing Advisory Council. He is an active legislative educator with the Oregon Legislature and a member of the Oregon Association of the Deaf, Oregon Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, National Association of the Deaf, and Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Chad enjoys his newly married life with his wonderful husband, Jack. He also loves gardening, bicycling, hiking, cooking, canning, traveling, and caring for his live-in mother.


Emilie Mulholland

I am a deaf adult with bilateral cochlear implants, an early interventionist in Fairfax County, VA as a teacher for the D/HH. I work with families who have a child who is deaf or hard of hearing and am committed to providing families objective information to support their choice of modalities. I grew up using Cued Speech, specifically Cued American English, use it with my husband and our 3 children, and also use Cued Language Transliterators (CLTs) at work. Of our 3 children, 1 is also deaf with bilateral cochlear implants. We currently reside in Springfield, VA and love the community that we have around us. I enjoy being able to share my experience and journey with parents as I feel D/HH adults are able to give a unique perspective that others may not think about. I enjoy sharing my experiences with children and teens as well. I hope to continue to show support to families and their children as they continue on their journey for finding the right fit for their own family.


Heidi Klomhaus

Heidi Klomhaus is the parent of three children ages 28, 14, and 11. She holds a Certificate in Deaf Studies, an AAS in Sign Language Interpretation and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies-Public Administration. Being late identified as Hard of Hearing herself with severe hearing loss led her to attending college and pursuing studies in the Deaf world. During that time, her youngest was born Hard of Hearing, giving Heidi a new direction in life. Knowing there were opportunities to make a difference in her own daughter’s journey led her to Arizona Hands & Voices where she is now making a difference in the lives of Deaf or Hard of Hearing children and their families. Heidi is a 2022 graduate of the Hands & Voices Leadership to Leadership (L2L) program. She serves as Executive Director and Guide By Your Side Coordinator of Arizona Hands & Voices.


Janna Rovniak

Janna is originally from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She is moderate to profoundly deaf since birth and has used hearing aids since the age of 2. Janna has two daughters, ages 8 and 5, who are also deaf/hard of hearing.

Janna is a business owner who put that business aside at the start of the pandemic to focus on her kids, who were 4 and 1 at the time. This started Hard of Hearing Mama on Instagram, where she wrote about growing up, navigating being deaf/hard of hearing, and the internal conversations that we have with ourselves. Janna also shares stories about raising her kids and navigating their hearing loss both as a parent advocate and role model. Her goal is to educate the public about various deaf and hard of hearing issues, promote self-advocacy and help challenge stigmas that exist around hearing differences for all age groups. Now, she works with others to help them come to terms with their hearing loss, as well as helping hearing parents come to terms and learn about their children’s hearing loss.


Janna is a graduate of Gallaudet University and is a Certified Peer Mentor for the deaf and hard of hearing. She currently resides in Orange County, California.


Jonathan Berger

My name is Jonathan Berger. I am a partner at Levisohn Berger LLP and am of counsel to Bruce J. Gitlin, P.C.. I reside and work in New York and am the proud father of two children. I am a bilateral cochlear implant user and have had a severe to profound hearing loss since at a young age. My younger child was born with a hearing loss due to Microtia Atresia, and she wears bilateral bone anchored hearing aids. We also have a Havanese-Bolognese mixed breed dog named Ferris, who is named after the character, Ferris Bueller, in the movie FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF. I have known about this wonderful organization and am excited to be part of its vision.

Karla and family

Karla Giese

Dr. Karla Giese has served in a variety of roles, currently in training and online learning. Karla’s background in Deaf Education as an instructor, administrator, educational consultant, and Deaf advocate puts her in a unique position to provide professional development trainings and online learning on numerous Deaf Awareness and Accessibility topics. She is passionate about effective communication and equitable access within the home, school, and community for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing children, youth, and adults. Karla is personally and professionally active in the Deaf Community and enjoys sharing her experiences with others. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and attending her kid's sports events.


Laura Gramer

Laura Gramer and her husband, Brendan, transplants from Chicago, reside in north Seattle. They are deaf parents to two deaf sons. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. Laura is involved with WA Hands & Voices and the DHH community here in Seattle/Washington state.  Laura is a former commissioner on the Seattle Commission for People with Disabilities. She joined WA Hands & Voices to meet other parents with children who are DHH for social events and advocacy to make sure our children have access to education and socialization with peers regardless of their communication methods.  Laura also likes to track legislation  that has an impact on DHH in all areas of life.


Sara Robinson

My name is Sara Robinson. I am hard of hearing and work as a speech language pathologist and D/HH family consultant for Children's Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs. My hearing difference was first identified when I was 6 years old, after a school hearing screening and before the days of newborn hearing screening. I was identified with mild hearing levels, which have been slowly progressive over time. I currently wear hearing aids and love my sparkly purple and blue earmolds. At work, I enjoy connecting and sharing my hearing difference and experiences with kids and families. Honoring family choice is important to me and it's a privilege for me to walk alongside a family in their journey. For fun, I enjoy running, gardening, reading, doing puzzles and drinking coffee. I'm thrilled to be a part of the DHH Advisory Council!


Thomas Horejes

Thomas Horejes, Ph.D. has decades of academic, professional, and personal experience in early intervention including advocacy, legal analysis, and program development/assessment.  He takes great passion doing research & development on local/state/national EHDI efforts.  He was former Keynote plenary presenter for the 2018 EHDI Conference. 

He is current Director for Legal Compliance & Advocacy for Convo Communications and former Executive Director of Deaf Empowerment Awareness Foundation (DEAF, Inc.), a non-profit organization dedicated to empower, raise Awareness, and bridge a sustainable Foundation of advocacy, communication and accessibility for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, and the Hearing communities.  Tommy currently serves on the Board for Deaf Youth Sports Foundation (dysf.org) and Vice Chair of Maryland Department of Health’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Advisory Council.

More information about DHH Infusion at Hands & Voices, as well as DHH Infusion resources can be found at: https://www.handsandvoices.org/dhh-infusion/index.html