Dana Apruzzese

Regional Director – East

Q: Please describe your role in the company and why it is important. 

A:  My primary role in the company is to find individuals with hearing loss that need captioning to understand telephone conversations. I lead, manage, and support a team of roughly 50 employees across the eastern half of the country. We identify areas of opportunity for new user acquisition, and we find eligible customers through our outreach efforts. Over the years, we have found that, in addition to working with audiologists and hearing instrument specialists, our best opportunities to acquire new customers are when we are face-to-face with the individuals who need our service. It’s essential to our business! We are constantly building and growing a participating customer base.

Q: What do you bring to your role that adds value to the company?

A: I have been at the company for almost 10 years (it’s hard to believe it!), and I’m as passionate about our mission now as I was on day one. I came to CaptionCall with little professional leadership experience and was given an opportunity to build and manage one of the first trainer/installer teams in the northeast, which led to the opportunity to do the same for a team of account managers, which led to my current role. I believe in working hard and having fun while doing it. In my role, I think strategically and make decisions with our business needs at the forefront. Yet, I also take into great consideration the impact and needs of our customers and employees. I do my best to lead with compassion, gratitude, agility, and integrity each day.

Q: What does the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) provide for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing? 

A: I think the most important thing that the ADA provides is independence and freedom. People with hearing loss no longer need to rely on others to make phone calls. The ADA also brings accessibility and critical funding to those who otherwise could not afford Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) – or who may not even be aware of the services. Since the cost of hearing aids and other assistive devices can be expensive, and many people cannot afford them, it is wonderful that cost isn’t a barrier to communication with the support of relay services.

Q: Please describe how regulations (the government rules) impact what we do as a company.

A: Regulations are central to everything we do. We have to be mindful of regulations whenever we communicate with customers, potential customers, and provider groups. These regulations are important because they protect the relay services fund and make sure that only eligible people gain access to these services. We share the government’s interest in protecting the fund so that our services will always be available to qualified individuals who need them. 

Q: What is the greatest challenge you have overcome – or are still overcoming – in your work?

A: I think the greatest challenge came when COVID-19 hit in March 2020. Our field teams used to spend five days a week on the road meeting with medical professionals and presenting live to senior groups. They had to quickly transition to an “at-home” environment while the company was still relying on us to grow our customer base. Our outreach efforts became more “grassroots” focused, and we had to seek new opportunities to find and educate customers who need IP CTS about CaptionCall. Because provider offices were temporarily closed and we were not allowed to visit senior centers and senior living communities, the field teams had to pivot to uncover new areas of opportunity. I am constantly in awe of the teams’ resilience and creativity through these challenging times. Field employees rapidly adjusted to their “new normal,” and we began finding other avenues for new customer acquisition, often in environments that seemed outside of our comfort zones. As an outreach team, are we coming out of this national crisis stronger and savvier than ever? Challenge is a familiar occurrence in a sales environment but, as someone once said, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” 

Q: What is the best part of your work?

A: I am incredibly grateful for the people that I get to work – and “sail” – alongside each day. We share a real drive and passion for what we do. In addition, I cannot imagine a more rewarding job. Getting into the field, meeting our newest customers, and educating eligible individuals who never knew a service like ours was available to them is the BEST part!