Press Releases


Salt Lake City – April 4, 2022

CaptionCall Parent Company, Sorenson Announces Change in Ownership

Salt Lake City, April 4, 2022 – Sorenson (or “the Company”), the leading U.S. communications provider for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing, announced today that private investment firm Ariel Alternatives, LLC has completed an acquisition of 52.5% of the Company’s common equity from existing shareholders, including Blackstone Credit, a fund managed by Franklin Mutual Advisers, and private credit accounts managed by KKR at an enterprise valuation of $1.3 billion. The selling shareholders will continue to own a minority interest in the company. Ariel Alternatives is the private equity subsidiary of global asset manager Ariel Investments, LLC, the first Black-owned investment firm in the U.S.

Sorenson has been the leader for over 20 years in delivering accessible communications, technology and services to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities in the U.S. and, more recently, in the United Kingdom. Sorenson’s Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) for people with hearing loss, video, in-person American Sign Language and British Sign Language interpreting have modernized the way people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing communicate. This acquisition will not affect Sorenson’s current services.

Today, Sorenson processes more than 140 million conversations annually, and is one of America’s largest private employers of Deaf people. Ariel Alternatives’ investment is expected to enable Sorenson to connect even more people worldwide using the Company’s accessible and inclusive services, by expanding those services to additional 21st century communications platforms. Sorenson’s existing presence in Europe includes a flagship customer in France, and its United Kingdom affiliate, Sign Language Interactions. Sign Language Interactions was recently named by the U.K.’s Office of Communications as the official provider for the U.K.’s new Emergency 999 Video Relay Service (VRS).

This transaction is the first of Ariel Alternatives’ strategic initiative “Project Black,” its mission to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses. Through this effort, Ariel Alternatives seeks to transform portfolio companies like Sorenson into minority business enterprises (MBEs) and position them as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies, supporting business diversity. Ariel Alternatives also aims to help portfolio companies generate jobs, economic growth, and equality within underrepresented populations. These impact objectives include but are not limited to: increasing the accessibility of products to underserved communities; the hiring of diverse people from entry level to the boardroom; the purchasing of contracts with minority-owned vendors and suppliers; and philanthropic partnerships with organizations supporting civil rights.

Sorenson Chief Executive Officer Jorge Rodriguez commented: “We are thrilled to partner with Ariel Alternatives. Their investment will enable us to optimize our capabilities, evolve our systems, platforms and approaches to improve the overall Deaf and hard-of-hearing communication experience, and accelerate R&D and next-generation technology investments to promote functional equivalency across the diverse communities we serve. I couldn’t be happier that we have closed such a monumental transaction, given our thesis of accessibility, inclusion and economic opportunities as underlying tenets of our mission to support underserved and underrepresented groups.”

Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Credit and Sorenson board member David Posnick added: “Sorenson has done a phenomenal job of serving the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. I am confident the Ariel Alternatives partnership will extend Sorenson’s service reach, providing communication language access to broader populations.”

Ariel Alternatives has leveraged its extensive network of minority executives to introduce Sorenson to recently appointed CEO Jorge Rodriguez and new board members, including Chairman Paget Alves, and directors Vonya McCann, Colonel J. Carlos Vega and Maria Teresa Lensing. In addition to being people of color, these executives bring critical product, security, and regulatory expertise to Sorenson’s leadership team as the Company evolves and enhances its focus on innovation, consumer protection, and compliance.

  • Mr. Rodriguez (Sorenson CEO) was previously the President and CEO of multiple America Movil companies and brings more than thirty years of telecommunications and management experience.
  • Mr. Alves (Sorenson board Chairman) most recently served as the Chief Sales Officer and President of Business Markets Group for Sprint Corporation. He is a board member of Assurant, Inc.; International Game Technology, PLC; Synchrony Financial; and Yum! Brands, Inc. He is also on the advisory board for Ariel Alternatives’ Project Black initiative.
  • Ms. McCann (Sorenson board director) will provide increased regulatory expertise and a dedicated, board-level focus on ensuring strong compliance at Sorenson. She was a Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Sprint Corporation, following a long career in both communications and government. Ms. McCann was nominated by President William J. Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Ambassador and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Communications and Information Policy.
  • Col. Vega (Sorenson board director) is an experienced cybersecurity professional and a retired U.S. Army Colonel with over three decades of security leadership experience and two decades specializing in cybersecurity operations. With demonstrated capability leading large and small-scale organizations to achieve difficult IT, security, and operational objectives, Col. Vega has led teams in high-stress environments characterized by demanding standards and intense operational schedules. He has led professional operations, research, and technology teams in preparation for demanding missions that include combat and support missions in the most hostile environments.
  • Ms. Lensing (Sorenson board director) currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for engineering, infrastructure, and operations at McKesson, where she is strongly focused on engineering design and operational excellence to optimize performance levels. Previously, she held various leadership positions with AT&T and Rockwell Collins. Ms. Lensing is the recipient of numerous business awards and has served on the Hispanic IT Executive Council for the HITEC 100 – 100 Most Influential Hispanic Leaders in Technology.

Sorenson has recently hired and will continue to engage additional ethnic minority, Deaf and hard-of-hearing leaders, advisors, and directors. In addition, the Company is establishing a Deaf Advisory Council that will recommend ongoing best practices for conducting business in the community it serves.

Sorenson was advised by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Credit Suisse. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as lead legal counsel to Ariel Alternatives, with Greenberg Traurig LLP serving as co-counsel.


SALT LAKE CITY – March 10, 2022

Sorenson Communications Rallying Support for Ukrainian Deaf Community

Accessible communications provider to match $50,000 in donations

SALT LAKE CITY – (March 10, 2022) – Today, Sorenson Communications announced a partnership with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) to drive support for Deaf people in Ukraine and for Deaf refugees fleeing the Russian invasion to relocate in neighboring Eastern European countries. Many Deaf Ukrainians, like their fellow citizens, are displaced and without basic supplies but also lack access to information and communication in sign language.

Sorenson, the world’s leading provider of inclusive communication services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, is launching a campaign to drive significant financial support for Deaf in the Ukraine and provide an avenue for Deaf and hard-of-hearing to help from abroad. 

Visit the Sorenson Donation Site to contribute.

WFD is coordinating support for Deaf Ukrainians through the Ukrainian Society of the Deaf (UTOG), an advocacy organization that networks with local associations throughout the country and that is currently working to ensure Deaf people are included in humanitarian aid and evacuation support and have access to sign language interpreting services. All donations made on the WFD’s Sorenson page will assist UTOG’s work.

This commitment is personal to Sorenson. Born in the Ukraine and now living in the U.S., Yuliya Novosad, who is Deaf, works as a graphic designer for Sorenson. “I am so lucky to work for such an amazing and thoughtful company,” she says. “Thank you, Sorenson, for creating a way to help and support Ukrainian people during this difficult time especially the Deaf community there. My family and I and my friends back in Ukraine are extremely grateful!”


SALT LAKE CITY – March 8, 2022

Sorenson Named a World’s Most Innovative Company by Fast Company

Fast Company recognizes Sorenson for revolutions in communication between Deaf and hearing.

SALT LAKE CITY – (Mar. 8, 2022) Today, Sorenson Communications was named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2022.

Sorenson, the world’s leader in accessible communications for Deaf and hard-of-hearing, was thrilled to join the list of other mission-driven businesses that are making the biggest impact on their industries and culture as a whole—ultimately thriving in today’s ever-changing world. Sorenson is among inventive companies, including Canva, Microsoft, and SpaceX, creating the future today with some of the most inspiring accomplishments of the 21st century.

“Sorenson is honored to be named on this preeminent list of forward-thinking companies,” says Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications. “We leverage the insight and creativity of our diverse people – brilliant and committed, ‘whole brain’ teams who deeply understand our customers’ unique needs – as a catalyst to disrupt our industries and to deliver inclusive next-generation platforms and services. Our focus on diversity both within our company and in the communities we serve informs everything we do as we innovate new ways to connect people across languages and cultures.”

Sorenson was recognized for accessible technologies, like Lumina, the company’s Deaf-designed videophone, which provides unmatched clarity, cutting-edge innovation, and exceptional design. Additionally, Sorenson’s revolutionary technology, Wavello, was acknowledged as a crucial tool for communication between Deaf and hearing people during the pandemic. Wavello created new possibilities for connection by showing a Deaf caller, ASL interpreter, and a hearing caller on the same Video Relay Service (VRS) call for the first time.

For nearly two decades, Sorenson has been the leader in accessible communication, technology and services for the Deaf community, and today, Sorenson enables over 140 million conversations a year through its ASL interpreting services and its CaptionCall captioned telephone service. In the past three years, the company earned top accolades as an exemplary employer, with additional recognition for its efforts to support women and diversity in its workforce.

“The world’s most innovative companies play an essential role in addressing the most pressing issues facing society, whether they’re fighting climate change by spurring decarbonization efforts, ameliorating the strain on supply chains, or helping us reconnect with one another over shared passions,” said Fast Company Deputy Editor David Lidsky.

“Sorenson is dedicated to driving functional equivalency,” said Mr. Rodriguez. “We will continue to push the envelope with next generation technology and capabilities across our video and captioning platforms to deliver a superior customer experience.”


SALT LAKE CITY – Feb. 22, 2022

Ivonne Valdes Named Sorenson Communications Chief Product Officer and Executive VP of Business Development 

Seasoned Silicon Valley executive committed to responding to customer needs 

SALT LAKE CITY – (Feb. 22, 2022) – Today, Ivonne Valdes was named Sorenson Communications’ Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President of Business Development. Valdes’ experience spans international sales, cybersecurity oversight, go-to-market strategies and includes a continual focus on enhancing the customer experience. 

“Ivonne is a transformative business leader, with a proven track record of advancing strategic product and business initiatives,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications, the leading provider of American Sign Language interpreting and phone captioning services. “Ivonne’s vision supports our efforts to connect people through accessible and inclusive communication as we continue to expand internationally. We welcome her to our executive team.”

Prior to joining Sorenson and since 2016, Valdes was the global senior vice president of accounts for Schneider Electric, where she oversaw strategic sales and customer experience for the Global Data Center Segment and synced business models across multiple business units. Under her leadership, the company experienced double-digit growth. As the leader responsible for global enterprise customers, including the Fortune 100, she managed more than $1 billion in annual revenue globally. 

From 2010 to 2016, Valdes served in various vice presidential roles and divisions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She worked cross functionally to define, implement, and execute new services and go-to-market strategies, and was responsible for datacenter care, infrastructure automation and infrastructure as a service.

Prior to Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Valdes held senior sales leadership positions at Oracle Corporation and Sun Microsystems. 

”I am honored to join a company that aims to change the world, one conversation at a time – and to be part of the transformation,” said Ms. Valdes. “I’m excited to support the development of next-generation technology and services that give new and existing communities advanced options for communication.”  

Valdes joins Sorenson with an array of awards, which include the 2020 Silicon Valley Women of Influence Award, the 2020 HITEC Hall of Fame, and the Infrastructure Masons 2019 Global Diversity and Inclusion Champion award. 

Valdes chairs the HITEC Foundation and serves on the sales advisory board for Virtual Power Systems and Kloudspot. 

Valdes received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Caldwell University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She holds a CERT Certification in cybersecurity oversight from Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute.


SALT LAKE CITY – Feb. 11, 2022

Mark E. Sparger Named Chief Revenue Officer of Sorenson Communications 

Executive brings deep experience to mission of serving diverse communities 

SALT LAKE CITY – (Feb.11, 2022) – Today, Sorenson Communications announced the appointment of Mark E. Sparger as the company’s first Chief Revenue Officer, a position that will draw upon his vast experience in advancing employee and company-wide performance – all with the ultimate goal of optimizing service to new and existing customers.  

“We welcome Mark to our executive team,” says Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications, the leading provider of interpreting and Video Relay services. “Under Mark’s direction, we aim to identify business opportunities and challenges and work nimbly and collaboratively to better serve our existing and underrepresented communities. We look to him to enhance our teams’ capabilities and to introduce systems and structures that will help us continue to excel in today’s fast-paced business world.”

Prior to joining Sorenson, Mr. Sparger was head of corporate aftermarket partnerships for CARFAX, where he provided leadership to sales and customer success teams that implemented go-to-market strategies and effective end-to-end customer experiences.

Mr. Sparger served as a board advisor to Aerial UAS Solutions as well as Chief Operating Officer for Fiber Prime Telecommunications, where he constructed business development growth strategies for international markets, focusing on Latin America, Europe, and North America. 

Previously, as senior director of global operations and fulfillment for Equifax/IXI, he led sales support and operations. Prior to Equifax/IXI, and for eight years, he served as Sprint’s Head of Americas, Americas Network Services, where he led operations and global business development. There, he enhanced operations, identified strategic markets, competitive advantages, sales/marketing opportunities, and areas of potential cost savings. In addition, he provided guidance and financial governance for global operations and served as executive sponsor to key global clients.

“I am pleased to join Sorenson,” notes Mr. Sparger. “I look forward to being part of an agile and progressive team that, in an effort to better serve people, addresses challenges and seizes opportunities to grow in new and exciting ways.” 

Mr. Sparger earned an M.B.A. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, which designates advanced competence in the areas of data analysis, operational efficiencies, and cost management.  A vision-driven and goal-focused leader, Mr. Sparger understands how to implement, perform, interpret, and apply these principles at a high level of proficiency.


SALT LAKE CITY – Feb. 10, 2022

CaptionCall Parent Company Named One of America’s
Best Employers by Forbes

SALT LAKE CITY – (Feb. 10, 2022Sorenson Communications, the global leader of sign language interpreting and captioned phone services, has been named to the Forbes list of America’s Best Employers 2022. This prestigious award is presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider.

“We are honored to be recognized as one of America’s best employers,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson Communications. “Our commitment to providing an engaging, dynamic, and inclusive workplace is unwavering. Our employees are the heartbeat of our organization, and their dedication to excellence and commitment to connecting people through communication are what drive our success.”

Earlier this year, Sorenson announced initiatives to increase support for its workforce of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, including adding educational opportunities, compensation adjustments, and hiring additional interpreters. Sorenson continues to lead the industry in training ASL interpreters and set a record of providing nearly 40,000 hours of education in 2021. Additionally, Sorenson continues to offer flexible schedules and remote work opportunities.

“This award is a testament to our outstanding workforce,” said Brian Breinholt, Sorenson Chief Human Resources Officer. “We are excited for this recognition of our teams and their unparalleled efforts to support connection and communication.” 

Forbes and Statista selected the America’s Best Employers 2022 through an independent survey applied to a vast sample of approximately 60,000 American employees working for companies with more than 1,000 employees in America. Sorenson is one of 1,000 employers awarded across 25 industry sectors. The evaluation was based on direct and indirect recommendations from employees that were asked to rate their willingness to recommend their own employers to friends and family. Employee evaluations also included other employers in their respective industries that stood out either positively or negatively.To see open positions with Sorenson, visit the careers page.


SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 27, 2022

CaptionCall Extends Audiology Scholarship Deadline

For release: Jan. 27, 2022

CaptionCall Extends Audiology Scholarship Deadline 

Scholarship supports audiology students in advancing their education

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 27, 2022 – Today, CaptionCall, the leading provider of captioned telephone service for hard-of-hearing people who need captions to use the telephone, announced a deadline extension for applications for its annual audiology scholarship. The new deadline to apply is Feb. 15. Now in its sixth year, the scholarship program supports audiology students in pursuing their educational goals.

“We are pleased to continue the CaptionCall scholarship program for audiology students,” said CaptionCall CEO Jorge Rodriguez. “We are committed to investing in the next generation of audiologists who will serve people experiencing hearing loss. Audiology services are an important piece of communication accessibility.”

To be eligible for the CaptionCall audiology scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be a current undergraduate student planning to pursue full-time graduate studies in audiology
  • Be a current graduate student in an audiology program
  • Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0

CaptionCall will select up to eight students to receive the scholarship. Recipients must enroll in a full-time graduate-level course of study in audiology at an accredited school in the United States.

“According to the National Institute on Deafness and Communication Disorders, more than 48 million Americans experience some form of hearing loss and, as a result, they often have difficulty maintaining social connections,” said audiologist Steve DeMari, who also serves as CaptionCall’s director of business development and education. “We look forward to supporting audiology students as they continue their education and service to the hard-of-hearing community.”

For more information about the scholarship, visit the CaptionCall website.

About CaptionCall, LLC 

CaptionCall is the industry leader in the provision of captioned-telephone service that is available at no-cost to anyone who has hearing loss that necessitates the use of captions to use the phone. While hearing loss affects millions of people for many different reasons – age, illness, injury, loud working conditions, and military service – it doesn’t have to limit the quality of their phone conversations. With CaptionCall, it’s easy to communicate confidently with friends, family, and colleagues.  

CaptionCall uses advanced voice recognition technology, a transcription service, and human captioning agents to quickly provide written captions of what callers say on a large, easy-to-read screen. The CaptionCall phone works like a traditional telephone – callers simply dial and answer calls, as usual, and speak and listen using a phone handset. CaptionCall users see captions of what callers say.  

All eligible customers receive Red Carpet Service that includes professional installation, product training, and friendly customer support, enabling people everywhere to get more from their phone conversations – and more from life. 

CaptionCall is also committed to providing this essential service in a safe manner during the pandemic. Customers can choose self-guided, remotely guided, or in-person installation of phones by local CaptionCall representatives who follow current COVID-19 guidelines, including the wearing of masks. In addition, as many people with hearing loss read lips to better understand conversations, most CaptionCall representatives use clear plastic face masks. 

Press Contact 

Ann Bardsley 

Director of Public Relations 

CaptionCall 

801-287-9400 abardsley@sorenson.com


SALT LAKE CITY – Jan. 5, 2022

CaptionCall Announces Service Enhancements and Reaffirms Commitment to Accessible Communication for Callers

For release: Jan. 5, 2022

CaptionCall Announces Service Enhancements and Reaffirms Its Commitment to Accessible Communication for Callers 

No-cost service keeps eligible, hard-of-hearing callers connected to loved ones and associates 

SALT LAKE CITY – (Jan. 5, 2022) With the new year, CaptionCall reaffirms its commitment to providing critical communication services for people who experience hearing loss and need captions to use the telephone. CaptionCall’s continued commitment includes investments in new technology and user platforms that will improve customers’ captioning service experience.

“At CaptionCall, our mission is to help people with hearing loss stay socially connected for a longer, happier, healthier life,” notes CaptionCall CEO Jorge Rodriguez. “We are providing new, next-generation technology that enhances our customers’ overall experience. This includes adding a larger touch screen as well as investing in revolutionary captioning technology that offers excellent speed of answer due to our ability to offer live captioning agents in combination with automated speech recognition. This accomplishes little or no wait for captions. And, as always, our dedicated trainers and customer support teams stand ready to provide customers with the resources they need.” 

With CaptionCall’s captioning service, callers can hear and read what the other person is saying. A large, easy-to-read screen displays text that automatically scrolls during conversations. The phone dials, rings, and operates like a regular phone. In addition, callers can save Contacts and can also review the most recent conversation. CaptionCall offers mobile options, Spanish captioning service, and 911 emergency calling. CaptionCall also provides contactless installation, product training, as well as user guides and videos. 

Because CaptionCall service is funded by a federal government program made possible through the Americans with Disabilities Act, CaptionCall works seamlessly with phone service providers so there is no increase to eligible callers’ monthly bills.

“We are dedicated to providing an optimal experience for our callers,” says Jason Dunn, CaptionCall Chief Operations Officer. “Their satisfaction – and keeping them connected – is our priority.” 

CaptionCall has set up a special webpage for hard-of-hearing callers who currently may be using another phone captioning service – or for first-time users – who would like to experience CaptionCall. Please visit captioncall.com/apply. 

About CaptionCall, LLC

CaptionCall is the industry leader in the provision of captioned-telephone service that is available at no-cost to anyone who has hearing loss that necessitates the use of captions to use the phone. While hearing loss affects millions of people for many different reasons – age, illness, injury, loud working conditions, and military service – it doesn’t have to limit the quality of their phone conversations. With CaptionCall, it’s easy to communicate confidently with friends, family, and colleagues.

CaptionCall uses advanced voice recognition technology, a transcription service, and human captioning agents to quickly provide written captions of what callers say on a large, easy-to-read screen. The CaptionCall phone works like a traditional telephone – callers simply dial and answer calls, as usual, and speak and listen using a phone handset. CaptionCall users see captions of what callers say. Apps for iOS and Android are also available.

All eligible customers receive Red Carpet Service that includes professional installation, product training, and friendly customer support, enabling people everywhere to get more from their phone conversations — and more from life.

Press Contact

Ann Bardsley

Director of Public Relations

Sorenson Communications

801-287-9400

abardsley@sorenson.com

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