Hearing Loss Association of America, California State Association Elects Three New Trustees and New Secretary

The Hearing Loss Association of America, California State Association, Inc. (HLAA-CA) elected three new trustees and a new secretary in the annual meeting.

Thibault Duchemin, Marjorie Iller, and Rachel Otto were elected by the HLAA members in California during the winter 2015 elections.  Trustee Zina Jawadi was also reelected.  The new trustees started their terms during the HLAA-CA Board of Trustees annual meeting on March 19, 2016, in Los Angeles, California.  Rachel Otto was appointed and elected by the Board as secretary.

As the only hearing person in his family, Thibault Duchemin advocated for his parents and sister and helped them overcome communication challenges associated with hearing loss.  Engineer by training, with a Masters degree from UC Berkeley, Thibault has devoted years to creating hearing loss accessibility solutions, founding the first speech recognition enabled group captioning system, named Ava, to help people with hearing loss follow group conversations and business meetings.  Thibault was named one of Inc.'s 2015 Top 50 Emerging Global Impact Entrepreneurs to Watch.

Marjorie (Maggie) Iller was diagnosed at the age of four with severe, bilateral hearing loss.  Maggie has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Gallaudet College.  She worked for 20 years as an instructional aide for hearing-impaired/deaf children and blind children.  Maggie has been an active member of the HLAA Silicon Valley Chapter, serving since 2004 as president, vice president, and secretary.  Maggie has also worked with the HLAA-CA board on several state conferences and has done extensive outreach and volunteering related to hearing loss.

Dr. Rachel Otto is an audiologist with a B.Sc. from DePaul University and an AuD from Northwestern University.  Her doctoral research project focused on maximizing the perception and enjoyment of music for hearing aid users.  She was awarded the grand prize in the Academy of Doctors of Audiology Student Business Plan Competition in 2014.  She completed her clinical externship at the University of Chicago Hospital.  Rachel works for Pacific Hearing Service in Los Altos, California.  Rachel has also volunteered in HLAA's Walk4Hearing and in an overseas mission trip, fitting needy people with hearing aids.

Jim Montgomery is retiring from the HLAA-CA board.  Jim cofounded HLAA-CA and has been active with HLAA-CA since its establishment in the late 1980s.  He has been an HLAA-CA trustee since 1997, and he was reelected multiple times.  He served as Deputy Northern California Chapter Coordinator from 1989 to 1992, Northern California Chapter Coordinator from 1993 to 1996, and President from 1997 to 1998 and again from 2011 to 2014.  Jim also cofounded the HLAA Diablo Valley Chapter in 1984, where he served as trustee and President multiple times.

Zina Jawadi, HLAA-CA President

HLAA-CA is 501(c)(3) tax exempt, nonprofit organization.  HLAA-CA is an affiliate of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).