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Alison, CEO

Derby  |  Profoundly deaf  |  No hearing devices

My job

I am a CEO of a charity which involves me in doing all sort of things including managing a team, going out to network and promoting our services, liaising with the Deaf community to get their feedback and hearing their issues, Finances, HR, doing the paperwork for the Charity Commission,  planning for the future etc. I enjoy my job because every day is different. I like to provide a quality service to the Deaf community and the Hearing organisations as it is important that they are able to communicate with each other and it’s important Deaf people access services like hearing people do.  I like to break down barriers and look at the challenges to make things work.  I enjoy meeting people; they are so interesting to listen to as everyone has a different story to tell. 

My technology

I use Access to Work in my work.  I have British Sign Language interpreters a few hours a week for the meetings I go to and use the SignLive video relay service for telephone conversations when the interpreters are not there. The landlord has installed a flashing fire alarm in every room of the building I work in so it alerts me when the fire alarm goes off. 

Having interpreters when I go to meetings or meet hearing people helps to improve communication and we talk to each other more as it is an easy flow. People have said that sometimes they see the interpreter at the front and know I am at the meeting room somewhere so they look for me!

How I got here

I studied Business and Finance and then later went back to university to study part time for an MBA. Voluntary work has helped me to develop many skills including networking, meeting people, communication skills, thinking outside of the box when something needs to be done and the traditional method doesn't work. 

My advice

I would encourage young people to consider doing voluntary work as it helps to build your work ethics, develop your skills and try to do different things to see if you like it before doing it in your paid work. Be prepared to work hard and don't let anyone say you cannot do something because you are deaf.