About the Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees consists of up to 21 elected members (excluding ex officio members). Board seats are filled by HLAA members who shall be elected by two-thirds of the members of the Board at any official meeting of the Board. At least two-thirds of the trustees shall be people with hearing loss.
Ex officio members of the Board of Trustees include the executive director, one member of the founding family, the immediate past president (for one year), and others appointed by the Board.
Board members are the fiduciaries who steer the organization toward a sustainable future by adopting sound ethical and legal governance, setting policy, as well as making sure HLAA has adequate resources to advance its mission. A not-for-profit board helps to establish the mission and purpose of the organization; ensures effective planning; monitors and supports major programs/activities; builds and maintains a competent Board in support of the mission; ensures that management acts in a prudent and ethical manner; and, enhances the organization‘s public standing.
There are five standing committees that are responsible for the regular operations for the organization: Executive Committee, Development Committee, Nominating Committee, Finance Committee and the Audit Committee. Other committees include the Member Engagement and the Rocky Stone Humanitarian Award Committees.
The Board shall endeavor to meet in the months of October or November (the fall meeting); the months of March or April (the spring meeting) and at the HLAA Convention in June of each year. Annual Board meetings, with the exception of executive sessions, are open to members of the organization or any interested individuals.
For further details, please see the HLAA Bylaws.
Become a Board Member
From: James C. Saunders, Ph.D.
Chair, Nominating Committee
Maintaining the strength of our governing Board is a never-ending process. In that connection, I am asking your help in identifying good prospects for service as future HLAA board members.
Members of the HLAA Board of Trustees are responsible for policy development and oversight, for establishing long-range plans, and for assuring that the organization has the financial resources to carry out its mission.
The hallmark of strong not-for-profit organizations is that they have an effective, dedicated governing board. For an organization like the HLAA to survive and thrive, it is critical that a strong Board presence be developed and sustained.
We seek a diverse Board in terms of race, age, gender, and constituency representation. Constituencies include people with hearing loss, family members of people with hearing loss, parents of children with hearing loss, hearing loss service providers, and HLAA Chapter leaders. Hearing loss is not a requirement for membership, but members with hearing loss must represent two-thirds the Board.
Qualities sought in candidates include experience in the corporate and nonprofit worlds. Know-how in finance and accounting, media technology, advocacy, fundraising, senior level corporate experience, human resources, government relations, legal, management, marketing, development, public relations, medical, and strategic planning are desirable skills.
Here is how you can help. Please forward information concerning prospects for HLAA Board service to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, send information by mail to: 417 Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004.
The candidate must be someone you personally know and vouch-for in terms of integrity. An inquiry of the candidate should be undertaken to assure an interest in serving on the Board of Trustees. Prepare a brief statement about why you think the candidate would be a good Board member for HLAA. Provide the name, address, phone number, and email address. It would be helpful if you include your own contact information so that, if we have questions, we can be in touch.
Interested individuals may also self-nominate. Please forward the form and additional material (electronically or via mail) to the Nominating Committee Chair.
Don Doherty – Chairperson
Don Doherty is a retired Marine Corps combat veteran (1965-1987) who lost his hearing during his 1965-1966 tour in Vietnam. He has worn hearing aids since June 1970. Mr. Doherty is retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs after 25 years of service. He was the education specialist for the National Chaplain Training Center which served more than 1,000 Department of Veterans Affairs Chaplains at over 153 Veterans Affairs Medical Centers nationwide. His specialties included education, curriculum development, instruction, technology and hearing loss.
Mr. Doherty has many years of experience working with different boards and organizations in Virginia. He is the former American Academy of Medical Administrators state director for the states of Virginia and West Virginia; two term Commandant, Senior State Vice Commandant, and State Judge Advocate for the Marine Corps League; former Chair of the Virginia State Standards of Practice Committee; former member of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Council on Alcoholism; and former member of the Virginia Attorney General’s Task Force to Combat Illegal Drug Use in Virginia. Don received the Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award in 1997 in recognition of his record of community service. He also is a recipient of the Hearing Loss Association of America Keystone Award in 2016 for his work with hearing loss.
Mr. Doherty is a member of Hamilton CapTel’s “Heroes with Hearing Loss” program; he serves as president of the HLAA-Virginia Beach Chapter and as the HLAA-Virginia State Coordinator. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Alvernia College in Reading, PA. He also holds a master’s degree in education and human development and an education specialist degree in higher education, both from George Washington University. He also completed the two-year Peer Mentorship Program at Gallaudet University and is a Certified Peer Mentor.
He resides with his wife Melanie in Moyock, NC.
Mr. Doherty began his term as Chairperson of the HLAA Board of Trustees in June 2017.
Richard Einhorn – Vice Chairperson
Richard Einhorn is a composer whose unique music has been described as “hauntingly beautiful,” “sensational,” and “overwhelming in its emotional power.” Richard Einhorn graduated summa cum laude in music and has written opera, orchestral and chamber music, song cycles, multimedia events, film music, and dance scores. Voices of Light, described as an “opera with silent film” has been hailed as “a great masterpiece of contemporary music” and “a work of meticulous genius.” The piece has been performed more than 200 times, selling out such venues as Avery Fisher Hall; Kennedy Center (with the National Symphony); National Cathedral of Washington; and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his music.
Mr. Einhorn brings an extensive background in all aspects of audio technology to the Board of HLAA. During the course of his career, Mr. Einhorn has produced 30 classical recordings with artists such as the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Murray Perahia. His recording of the Bach Cello Suites with Yo-Yo Ma was awarded a Grammy.
Since losing much of his hearing overnight in 2010, Mr. Einhorn has also become a passionate advocate for people with hearing loss and been the subject and/or author of numerous articles and other media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and international medical and audiology journals. A compelling public speaker, Mr. Einhorn has given dozens of presentations on hearing loss to conferences in both the United States and England, including the keynote at the Hearing Loss Association of America Convention 2014 in Austin, Texas. He is also active as a consultant on hearing loss issues for both individuals and companies.
Mr. Einhorn was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2014.
Katherine Bouton – Secretary
Katherine Bouton is the author of “Shouting Won’t Help,” a memoir of adult-onset hearing loss, published in 2013 by Sarah Crichton/Farrar Straus & Giroux, and “Living Better with Hearing Loss” (2015). She is a former editor at The New York Times, where she was deputy editor of the Sunday Magazine for ten years. She also held senior editing positions on Science Times, the Sunday Book Review, and Culture. Her nonfiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and elsewhere.
Ms. Bouton has had progressive bilateral hearing loss since 1978, and in September 2009 received a cochlear implant. Her writing and speaking engagements focus on hearing loss and other disability issues. She is the president of the HLAA-New York City Chapter, and writes the popular blog “Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss, Hearing Help,” at katherinebouton.com (https://katherinebouton.com/).
She has been a member of HLAA since 2010 and was appointed to the Board of Trustees in October 2013.
Michael H. Stone, Esq. – Treasurer and Stone Family Representative
Michael Stone is employed by Donatelli Development. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Wheeling Jesuit, a master’s degree in International and Strategic Affairs from Georgetown University, a law degree from Antioch, and an L.L.M. in securities regulation from Georgetown University. He started his career on Capitol Hill as the legislative director to Representative James L. Oberstar (D-MN). He later became a Washington lobbyist representing Fortune 500 companies. He has worked as deputy counsel for the Federal Asset Disposition Association (renamed the Resolution Trust Corporation) which is a part of the administrative branch of government. In 1990 he entered private practice and co-founded Mobile Communications Holdings, Inc., which received a license to provide satellite-based telecommunications service. In 1995 he co-founded Eagle Eye, Inc., a company which provides satellite-based tracking services. He has also taught history at a private school and served as an advisor to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Mr. Stone has written numerous book reviews for Best Sellers magazine, has been an adjunct professor of law at George Mason University and has served on numerous corporate boards of directors. As the Rocky Stone Family representative to the Board he brings a unique historical perspective of the organization’s history and a passion for people with hearing loss to the Board. In addition he also brings legal experience and problem-solving skills.
Mr. Stone served on the first Board of the organization, then known as Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH). He has served his current term since 2005.
Committees: As treasurer, Mr. Stone serves as chair of the Finance Committee, and serves on the Executive, Membership, and the Rocky and Ahme Stone Endowment Fund Committees.
Margaret Wallhagen, Ph.D. – Immediate Past Chairperson
Margaret Wallhagen is a professor of gerontological nursing and a geriatric nurse practitioner at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Nursing. She received her initial nursing degree from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing in New York, her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCSF, and her doctoral degree in nursing from the University of Washington in Seattle. Since joining the faculty at UCSF in 1988, she has taught gerontological nursing at both the master’s and doctoral levels, and works as a geriatric nurse practitioner.
Dr. Wallhagen has conducted a number of research projects in gerontology and chronic care management. Her research and publications focus on studies of: the experience of control in caregivers and in persons with diabetes; successful aging for persons with chronic conditions; self-care and symptom management; cross-cultural interventions to support family caregivers with dementia; and the impact of hearing impairment on older adults. She recently completed a four-year longitudinal study of the experience of hearing impairment in older adults and their partners. In January 2006, Dr. Wallhagen became the director of the UCSF/John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence as it entered its second five years of funding.
Dr. Wallhagen was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in June 2010.
Committees: Dr. Wallhagen serves as the Chair of the Development Committee and also serves on the Executive and Strategic Planning Committees.
Diana D. Bender, Ph.D.
Diana Bender is a graduate of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in organic chemistry at the University of Munich, in Germany. In her professional career she worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware, followed by 21 years as a research chemist and product manager at a Philadelphia area specialty chemicals company. She was first diagnosed with a progressive hearing loss at the age of 10 and received a cochlear implant in 2004.
Dr. Bender has been a member of HLAA since 1995 and served as chairperson of the HLAA Board of Trustees from 2012-2014. She served as the chapter president of the Montgomery County (PA) Chapter from 1997 to 2001 and is a former editor of the chapter’s newsletter. Dr. Bender has been a member of the HLAA-PA Advisory Council since the state office originated in 2001 and has served as the state director of HLAA-PA since 2004. From 2004-2006 she represented HLAA on the Courthouse Access Advisory Committee, a committee convened by the U.S. Access Board. She has served on several state advisory committees in Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the Gallaudet University Peer Mentoring Program.
Jan Blustein, M.D., Ph.D.
Jan Blustein is a professor of health policy and medicine at New York University, where she teaches courses in statistics, program evaluation, and research methods. Health service equity, chronic illness, and the Medicare program are some of her longstanding interests. Ensuring financial access to health care services has been a consistent theme in her research, which has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, British Medical Journal, Health Affairs, and other leading journals.
Dr. Blustein is interested in raising awareness of age-related hearing loss in the medical community, and making hearing screening a routine part of primary care. She works on issues related to insurance coverage for hearing health care and hearing technologies. She holds a medical degree from the Yale School of Medicine, and a Ph.D. from New York University.
Dr. Blustein was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in October 2015.
Mary Miskimen Clark
Mary Clark has had a lifelong hearing loss and began wearing a hearing aid when she was five years old. One of her sisters, who also has a hearing loss, was the one who introduced her to HLAA (then SHHH) when she became a member in 1990. Ms. Clark has a degree in medical technology and she has worked in hospital labs and academic research labs, but most of her career was in the medical device industry. She retired in 2010 and moved from California to New Mexico. She has volunteered extensively for HLAA at the local, state and national levels. An experienced trainer and facilitator, Ms. Clark has given workshops related to hearing loss since 2000.
Since her retirement, Ms. Clark has been teaching classes through the OSHER program under the University of New Mexico Continuing Education curriculum. Her courses on Living with Hearing Loss and Hearing Loss 102 (or I Have a Hearing Aid – Now What?), have been well received and continue to be popular with students. She has served as an officer at the chapter and state level in California and currently serves on the board of the HLAA-Albuquerque Chapter. As a result of the leadership development classes offered through HLAA in California and Bethesda, Maryland, she has become an advocate for chapter and state organizations.
Ms. Clark was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in December 2015.
Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer and avid Bikram yogi. She is the founder of livingwithhearingloss.com where she blogs about her experiences living with hearing loss and tinnitus. She has served on the board of Hearing Loss Association of America since October 2015 and is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation (2012-2015).
Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues. Her bylines include The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Healthy Living Magazine, Psychology Today, Audiology Practices and The Hearing Journal.
Prior to her advocacy work, Shari had a 20-year career on Wall Street, serving as Associate Director of U.S. Equity Research for JPMorgan and as a ranked Equity Research Senior Analyst covering retail companies. She holds a BS in Psychology from Duke University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
She is also on the board of Lincoln Center Theater. Shari lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Peggy Ellertsen, M.Ed., C.C.C.-S.L.P.
Peggy Ellertsen completed training as a speech pathologist in the graduate program at Northeastern University in 1970. She earned the Certificate of Clinical Competence in speech/language pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 1971 and a Certificate of Advanced Study in reading and human development from Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 1979. Ms. Ellertsen has worked as a speech/language pathologist and reading and language specialist in clinic, public school and private practice settings for more than 30 years.
In 2003, with the progression of her own sensorineural hearing loss, Ms. Ellertsen began to expand her professional focus to include aural rehabilitation for adults with acquired hearing loss and has studied best practices in aural rehabilitation through membership in ASHA’s Special Interest Group for Aural Rehabilitation and Its Implementation and The Academy of Rehabilitative Audiology (ARA.) In 2013, her paper on the implementation of aural rehabilitation in hearing loss treatment was published in the Journal of the Academy of Rehabilitation Audiology, and she presented a program, The Use of Patient Stories in Hearing Loss Treatment to the ARA’s 2012 Institute. Ms. Ellertsen is a certified peer mentor for hearing loss through the certificate program at Gallaudet University.
Ms. Ellertsen continues to maintain a small private practice, consulting to persons with hearing loss around active management of communication. As a member of the HLAA Boston Chapter, she has coordinated the chapter’s Speaker and Workshop Series and its outreach initiative to audiology practices throughout Massachusetts. She developed the chapter website as an information station where people with hearing loss and their families can find resources and information about evidence-based practices in hearing loss management.
Ms. Ellertsen was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in January 2015.
Pete C. Fackler
Pete Fackler graduated from Duke University with an bachelor of arts degree in economics and from University of Michigan with an MBA. Following a five-year stint with the audit staff of Price Waterhouse & Co. (now, PwC) he embarked on a 30-plus year career in higher education financial management. While he is now “retired,” Mr. Fackler takes on occasional interim management appointments at colleges in transition to new financial leadership.
Pete has been a community activist working in behalf of people with hearing loss. He previously served on the board of trustees of the Hearing Loss Association of America where he was elected treasurer and, later, board president. Mr. Fackler’s current professional interests are capital markets and investment decision-making.
Mr. Fackler was nominated to the Board of Trustees in June 2017.
Kevin H. Franck, Ph.D., CCC-A
Kevin H. Franck has worked in the clinical, academic, corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit environments pertaining to bionic and hearing medical devices. As a clinician, Dr. Franck worked for patients who use cochlear implants at the University of Michigan and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. As an academic, he did his post-doc at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, was Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and regularly lectures at Dartmouth College and Wharton. In the corporate environment, Dr. Franck was the Head of Clinical Products and Strategy at bionic ear maker Cochlear Ltd., worked with pharmaceutical and diagnostic medical products at Artisan Healthcare Consulting, was the Director of Clinical and Health Economic Research at bionic ankle maker BiOM. As an entrepreneur, he was co-owner of Ear Machine LLC, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant-funded pre-commercial start-up. He worked as the head of marketing at Bose Corporation and in October 2017 joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School Department of Otolaryngology and is the Director of Audiology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston.
Dr. Franck received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Dartmouth College. He has two master’s degrees in biomedical engineering and business administration from Johns Hopkins University and Wharton, respectively, and his doctorate in hearing sciences and clinical certification in audiology from the University of Washington. He has lived on three continents and now resides Concord, Massachusetts.
Patrick Holkins, Esq.
Patrick Holkins is a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
He is a graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, Harvard University (B.A.), and the University of Arizona (J.D.). Before joining the Department of Justice, Patrick served as a law clerk to Justice John Pelander at the Arizona Supreme Court.
Mr. Holkins has had a hearing loss since early childhood. He first connected with HLAA, known as Self Help for Hard of Hearing in 2004, when he served as a policy intern at the national office. He returned to HLAA in 2008, again as an intern, to spearhead a young adult outreach effort. In 2009, while at Harvard, Mr. Holkins co-founded the first HLAA chapter for young adults with hearing loss. Building on that experience, in 2010 Patrick started a nonprofit organization
that provided hearing health services to rural communities in South Africa. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Holkins was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2016.
Kristen “KR” Liu
Kristen Liu is the head of sales and marketing strategy at Doppler Labs, the company behind Here Active Listening. Over the last 18 years, she has worked at both large consumer tech companies and early-stage startups (Speck Products, Sol Republic, Pebble), where she held various executive positions leading both marketing and sales strategy. During this time, she launched some of the most disruptive hardware lifestyle tech brands on the market, from iPhone cases, portable power, wireless headphones and speakers, smartwatches, and now, augmented audio devices.
Diagnosed with severe hearing loss at the age of three, KR has made it her life’s work to be a strong advocate and voice championing new products that enhance the way we hear the world. She was awarded a U.S. Congressional Award; Silicon Valley’s Top 40 Under 40; and 2015 Women on the Move by Women’s Business Journal for her advocacy work in hearing health and technology.
Beyond her work at Doppler Labs, KR is also actively involved with industry organizations that are working toward tech innovation in hearing accessibility. Currently, she is a member of the Consumer Technology Association’s Standards Committee on PSAPs.
Ms. Liu was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2016.
Cheri Perazzoli is a longtime hearing loss advocate. As founder of Loop Washington and an HLAA-Washington trustee, she’s led hearing advocacy and access efforts across Washington state. A natural collaborator and relationship builder, she’s helped craft successful advocacy teams both at HLAA-Washington and with the HLAA Get in the Hearing Loop campaign.
Her accomplishments include securing looping for the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle’s Town Hall, Volney Auditorium at Virginia Mason Medical Center, and many other venues. Cheri also managed HLAA-WA’s legislative work, helping to pass hearing loss education requirements for Washington’s long-term care workers and restoring hearing aid coverage for adult Medicaid beneficiaries. In 2015, her efforts helped bring about a City of Seattle Resolution (31641) to improve hearing access in city-run facilities and install hearing loops in Seattle Council chambers and a large public meeting room.
Ms. Perazzoli’s hearing loss was diagnosed when she was in the second grade, and she started wearing hearing aids when she was a sophomore in college. She credits HLAA (when it was known as SHHH) for helping her thrive with hearing loss. Her background includes extensive community engagement, board service, and leadership in organizations such as Overlake Friends of the Arts, Girl Scouts, and Cancer Lifeline. She holds a bachelor of science in marketing education from Auburn University.
The recipient of the 2016 Get in the Hearing Loop and the 2017 Keystone Award, Ms. Perazzoli was nominated to the HLAA Board of Trustees in March 2018.
James C. Saunders, Ph.D.
James Saunders is professor of research otolaryngology, physiology and neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor’s in psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University; a master’s in experimental psychology from Connecticut College; and his doctorate in sensory psychology from Princeton University in 1968. He has held appointments at Monash University, Australia, and the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1973 he joined the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Human Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and served as director of auditory research until 2007. He serves on the Editorial Board of Hearing Research, and is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the National Organization for Hearing Research and the Council of Scientific Trustees of the Hearing Health Foundation.
Dr. Saunders has published extensively on topics in hearing research that range in scope from the mechanics of middle ear function, the consequences of exposure to intense sound, the structural organization and micro-mechanics of hair cell stereocilia, and most recently the properties of neural coding in the peripheral and central auditory pathways. Recognition of his research efforts includes the Claude Pepper Award for research excellence from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr. Saunders is currently professor emeritus.
He was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in November 2011.
Nancy Lelewer Sonnabend
Nancy Lelewer Sonnabend first became acquainted with Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH), now known as Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) through her parents as her mother had a profound hearing loss and served on the HLAA Board of Trustees for nine years. This brought her in contact with Founder Rocky Stone and his wife Ahme, and she also attended several of the early conventions. She later became deaf in her left ear and with profound hearing loss in her right ear. She has a cochlear implant on the left side and wears a Phonak hearing aid in her right ear.
Ms. Sonnabend graduated Sarah Lawrence College in 1957 and was a member of the Smith College exchange program in Madrid from 1955-1956. Her diverse background includes inventor; researcher at MIT and Harvard Medical School; founding director of Permobil of America (today renamed USA Permobil), the world’s leading computerized wheelchair company; lecturer; writer and specialist in dyslexia and other learning differences. She currently has three books on the market: SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT: One family’s struggle with learning disabilities, THE LELEWER LEGACY, Traditions of a Loving Family, and she edited, annotated and published her great-Grandfather’s autobiography: The Autobiography of David Lelewer. In addition Nancy has two chapters in AGING WISELY . . . Wisdom of Our Elders published by Jones & Bartlett LEARNING in June 2017.
She has served on several boards and chaired two of them.
Ms. Sonnabend was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in June 2010.
Committees: Ms. Sonnabend serves on the Nominating Committees.
Kelly Tremblay, Ph.D.
Kelly Tremblay is a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has a 30-year history of serving and advocating for people with hearing loss. As an audiologist and educator, she teaches graduate students how to prevent, assess and treat hearing loss. As a scientist, she studies the effects of hearing loss and hearing prosthesis on the brain in addition to the public health benefits of intervention for our aging society. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is published in top-tier medical journals.
As an advocate, her list of activities is long, but some recent examples include: presenting on hearing loss with the HLAA Washington State Association at the Washington State Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging and Disability, and serving on Guideline Development Committees for the World Health Organization.
Dr. Tremblay was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2016.