Vice President, Government and Community Relations
Q: Please describe your role in the company and why it is important.
A: I have a history of working in the CaptionCall Marketing group, and before that with Sorenson Marketing. We have the best customers on the planet and the services we provide are just fantastic! For the past couple of years, I’ve been helping with our company’s engagement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), consumer groups, and our competitors. Educating the FCC about the industry is vital to their understanding of our customers and the company. I also work with consumer groups to make sure high-quality Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) is available to people with hearing loss. In addition, I’m working with our competitors to establish appropriate quality measures for IP CTS.
Q: What do you bring to your role that adds value to the company?
A: In my role, I get to build and maintain relationships with members of Congress and their staff in order to help them provide appropriate oversight of the FCC on issues related to our business. It is an absolute privilege to introduce these lawmakers to our business by hosting them as guests at one of our centers, or simply by talking with them about what we do. Without exception, they are amazed at the impact our technologies and services have to keep people connected. Not long ago, a U.S. senator and his wife visited our headquarters. At the end of the visit, the senator’s wife was so impressed that she turned to her husband and asked him how he was going to make sure Sorenson continues to succeed.
Q: What does the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) provide for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing?
A: The ADA is unique in all the world and provides a structure that ensures that people with disabilities have equal access to public spaces, including the telephone network. The framework focuses on the requirement for “functionally equivalent” access for everyone. That means that as technology improves, services continue to improve for people who are Deaf and for people with hearing loss.
Q: Please describe how regulations (the government rules) impact what we do as a company.
A: Government regulations impact all businesses, but ours even more so. Where most companies rely on markets, competition, and technology to determine whom they serve and what they are paid, the FCC sets the rates we are paid, defines eligibility requirements of customers who can use our services, sets guidelines for how we market, as well as other requirements. In addition, the FCC sets many of the guidelines that govern how we work, and the company is zealous about understanding and aligning with all FCC rules. It is every employee’s job to make sure we are compliant. Sometimes this might feel like extra work that other businesses don’t worry about, but it is core to our ongoing success, and it is something we do well. For example, the Marketing team makes sure that our engagement with new and potential customers clearly outlines eligibility requirements, the Outreach team trains each trainer, outreach manager, account manager, customer service representative –everyone – to make sure they understand and adhere to all applicable rules. The Operations group spends countless hours ensuring the delivery of the highest-quality captions, and Engineering and IT incorporate the FCC rules into all our operations. The compliance team actively engages with every facet of the company, so everyone is touched by our compliance efforts.
Q: What is the greatest challenge you have overcome – or are still overcoming – in your work?
A: Managing the details of so many important items that impact Sorenson’s business is made easier with the great teammates, attorneys, and consultants who all help with these efforts. We have bright minds and solid strategies to guide our activities. One of the great challenges, outside of the technical aspects of the work, is managing perceptions and preconceived notions of who we are and what we do. We’ve had good success here by connecting decision-makers and influencers at the FCC with the great people in our company. Connecting our interpreters, or operations management professionals, to people at the FCC whose jobs include creating and enforcing regulations for our businesses is powerful. Our best ambassadors are the high-caliber people at CaptionCall and Sorenson who do their work with passion.
Q: What is the best part of your work?
A: All the issues I deal with are ultimately connected to customers. This fall, I participated in all of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) virtual Walk4Hearing events, which gather people with hearing loss and their families and friends in a celebration of their relationships and their common experience of living well with hearing loss. Participants share their stories and encourage one another. The sentiment at these events has been poignant and sincere and is at the heart of what we do. CaptionCall and Sorenson have always been an important part of the success of people keeping connected and living well.