It’s been a couple of weeks since I started working here at RID, so I wanted to take a couple of minutes to sit down and share with you what I’ve been asked to do. As you know, I’m Charity Warigon, the interim CEO hired by the RID Board of Directors. When they hired me, the Board gave me a specific list of objectives to start working on. I want to share this list with you, so you know what’s on our agenda.
It’s important that all of us – all the communities that are involved in RID – know what is going on, and what is on the calendar for the months ahead. There are a lot of exciting things coming up, and I’m excited to be on this journey with you. This is truly a time of transformation and growth. So, let’s look at the priorities that we will be working on.
First, the Board has asked me to start the search for RID’s next – and permanent – CEO. We’ve put together a fantastic search committee with strong community credentials and representation from diverse groups. The committee will work together on developing a rubric to ensure that the next CEO is what RID needs to lead all of its communities – consumers who need interpreting services, non-signing consumers, and interpreters who are members of RID and are out there every day with their hands up. We expect the call for applications to open after the RID National Conference, with a transition scheduled for late fall.
Second, the Board has asked me to improve engagement with RID’s various communities. This includes the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind communities, the consumer communities, and the interpreter community – all of whom are stakeholders in RID. I will also be working to restore existing relationships and forge new relationships with various stakeholder organizations.
One of the relationships I seek to restore is with the National Association of the Deaf. The relationship between Deaf people and interpreters works best when there is synergy. When Deaf people thrive, interpreters will thrive. I’m really happy to report that last week I met with Howard Rosenblum, the CEO of NAD, and then Howard and I together met with Melissa Draganac-Hawk, the President of the NAD Board. We talked about a number of issues, including our joint work on the NAD-RID Code of Professional Conduct Review Task Force (CPCRTF) and the NAD’s work on agency accreditation, the result of our joint efforts within the NAD-RID Reputable Agency Task Force. It was a great meeting which began the process of restoring our relationship; I look forward to more productive conversations which can help us achieve what we both want – better interpreters, more interpreters, and better access for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind people. I will continue to share our progress.
Our search for more formalized relationships does not stop with NAD. I will be reaching out to other Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind organizations to discuss how we can all work together to improve services and involve them in the strategic direction of RID. I’ll also be spending time with interpreter organizations such as NDI, NAOBI, NAIE, CIT, Mano a mano, and others. All of these organizations serve a necessary role in the community and in the profession. We need to work together more, and have fewer silos among thought leaders in the field. Each organization should have its own space – that is important – but we also need to collaborate on our shared mission. We all want the same thing – improved interpreting services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind people.
Diversity and Inclusion Plan
The third major task on the scope of work given to me by the Board of Directors is to promote inclusion of under-represented and marginalized communities in ALL the roles that exist within RID – from the Board of Directors, to HQ staff, to volunteer leaders, and throughout the RID membership. It is important that our diversity and inclusion plan be woven into everything RID does and into all of the tasks the Board has asked me to do. We seek to increase and improve diversity and inclusion at all levels – in the various governance bodies of RID, the working groups, the volunteer leadership, the outward facing materials, and more.
The fourth item on my to-do list from the RID Board is conference assessment. Ongoing professional development is a critical part of RID certification and in the past, the RID national conference has been a major event in the professional development of RID’s interpreters. It’s also when we host the biennial business meeting, where the priorities of the organization for the next two years are discussed and decided by the membership. The staff here at HQ and a huge team of volunteer leaders have been working hard on building an amazing program for this summer in Providence, Rhode Island. I’m definitely going to be there, and I hope you are, too.
But times are changing. More and more options for professional development are becoming available every day – webinars, Affiliate Chapter workshops, and regional conferences, to name a few. There are a number of independent organizations and companies with a wide variety of high-quality professional development offerings. We – RID HQ, the Board, AND the membership – need to look at the situation holistically and see if our present conference format is what best serves our needs going into the future.
The fifth major item the Board has asked me to take on is the improvement of the effectiveness and relevance of the national organization’s support to Affiliate Chapters (AC) and subgroups. Affiliate Chapter volunteer leaders are the link between the members in the field and the RID National Board. I am eager to hit the ground running and explore ways we can foster a culture of active participation among leadership at all levels. I will share more with you in the near future as information becomes available.
One of the ways I seek to improve engagement and to gather your input for these various topics is through a scheduled series of town halls. These will be held in different locations and live-streamed. We are currently figuring out how we can best make these engaging and informative. Our goal is to harness the experience and knowledge of those in the field, the “boots on the ground,” and incorporate specific milestones and objectives as part of RID’s overall strategic plan. These town halls will start after the national conference. This will give us time to find locations, set up moderators, and solve technical details to allow remote people to view and participate in the discussion. We’ll share details as plans become more solid.
Recent announcement from CASLI
I hope you had the chance to see my recent announcement about CASLI’s efforts. We will continue to support their work as they transition toward the new testing platform. We’re excited about their amazing work, and look forward to the new tests coming out in January of 2020.
In closing, I want to emphasize a few things.
- I came to RID because I recognize the importance of the work that happens here. The work that RID interpreters do every day impacts my life, the lives of my family, and the lives of my friends and colleagues. I am honored to be a part of this amazing organization, even briefly.
- The plans I am initiating are not all designed to be finished before I depart. Instead, my goal is to get things started and to prepare for the arrival of the new CEO. There will be strategic priorities decided at this summer’s conference that will outlast my time at RID; also, some of the specific priorities given to me by the Board may not come to fruition quickly. My objective is to begin conversations, get the ball rolling, and start designing the multi-month and multi-year project plans that will carry RID into a strong future. I want to help set up the new CEO for success – because that, in turn, sets up the organization for success in the years and decades to come.
- Lastly, I want to say thank you. Thank you for the warm welcome you have given me. Thank you to the Board for the trust they have put in me. Thank you to the HQ staff for their commitment to excellence. Thank you to the interpreters that show up every day and put their hands up. Thank you to the volunteer leaders who keep this organization running. And thank YOU for joining me on this journey to make RID the best organization possible for fulfilling the needs of Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind consumers of interpreting services.
Till next time,