Traveling, Listening, Rebuilding

Charity Warigon, Interim CEO

Interim CEO Report

When I was hired by the RID Board of Directors, I was given a very specific scope of work that included a list of things the Board wanted me to focus on.

First, the CEO Search. The call for applications for the CEO position will close by August 21st.  The Committee is already reviewing these. We are on track to narrow down the applicants and choose finalists, who will interview with the RID Board of Directors at their Face-to-Face meeting in October. That’s exciting!

I was also asked to look at improving engagement with individuals and organizations who serve Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind populations. This includes organizations of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind people, as well as other organizations in the interpreting profession who serve them. Finally, I was asked to look at the inclusion and influence of underrepresented and marginalized communities in various roles at RID.

It’s been a busy summer. I attended a number of different conferences:

  • National Association of Interpreters in Education (NAIE) – Greenley, Colorado
  • Deaf Interpreters Conference (DIC III) – Monmouth, Oregon
  • World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) – Paris, France
  • National Black Deaf Advocates Conference (NBDA) – Oakland, California

And of course the RID National Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. I am also attending the TDI conference in Washington, DC, August 15-17th.

At all of these conferences, I had the chance to interact with, and most importantly listen to, people. I want to summarize some of the things that I’ve seen, that I’ve learned, that I’ve been told, and that I’ve been taught.

First, I am grateful for all of the people who continue to be engaged in our community. Disengagement is the biggest obstacle to progress. As long as people are interacting and engaging, we will have improvement. RID is committed to both engagement AND improvement.

I (re)learned that the first step toward engagement is showing up. And RID is committed to showing up – at conferences, town halls, and at difficult discussions with people. We are committed to improving the profession – because the profession is how Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind people get their access. The status quo is not acceptable.

We are committed to a profession that serves all DHHDB people with equity. We are committed to the historically marginalized groups who have the skills and passion to become interpreters, but have not had equal opportunity. We are committed to community-building – encouraging our friends and colleagues in different communities to engage with one another and tear down the silos that prevent us from working together. We are committed to being more responsive to the needs of our members, so they can invest more of their time and energy into doing what they do best – interpreting. We are committed to showing up for the international community; we recognize that many things we take for granted here in the United States are things others are still struggling with. We can be allies and accomplices in improving the situation of DHHDB individuals in other countries. We can be examples and leaders in the international challenge of aiding DHHDB immigrants and refugees, who often fall through the cracks.

But all of this depends on all of us to show up, stay engaged, and keep the conversation going. I am working with the Board on some different options and dates for town halls – we’ll let you know more about those soon!

As always, it is an honor to serve as Interim CEO of RID. I am grateful for this opportunity.  Thank you.

Charity Warigon, grew up at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia where six generations of Deaf, oral deaf, hard of hearing, late-deafened, and deaf families used all kinds of “languages” to communicate. As a hard-of-hearing person growing up, Charity often provided informal interpreting when dire situations arose and there was no one available to assist deaf individuals in the area. She also pursued RID’s provisional Reverse Sign Communication (RSC) certificate in the early 1980s. Charity focused her career on bringing access and advocacy to Deaf people, including working in West Virginia (WV) in the late 1990s as the Executive Director of the WV Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.  She also worked for a number of years in a variety of middle- and senior management positions at Gallaudet University. She is currently serving as the Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Registry Interpreters for the Deaf (RID). Charity  lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Slemo.

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