Hello! I want to thank all of our members for their involvement and support during the CEO search process. At the same time, we would like to apologize for the amount of time that has lapsed since the start of the process. We understand many people feel frustrated and that this process has taken so long. Please know that many things have to happen during this phase of the process before we can make our announcement: there was a great deal of discussion, paperwork, developing contracts with assistance from our attorneys, negotiations and signatures. All of this must be completed prior to the announcement. That part of the process took longer than we anticipated, but most importantly, the Board is ready to announce at this time the new CEO for RID.
We are thrilled to announce that our new CEO for RID is Joey Trapani.
During the hiring process, we identified many strong traits that Joey will bring to RID. He has many years of experience in leadership. Even though his specific experience is in running businesses in a for-profit environment, we know that many of his qualities are transferable to a non-profit environment. We can utilize his expertise to continue to grow RID.
When we developed the job description, we used many of the same objectives that were created during the Salt Lake City Conference. At this conference, our members shared their ideas for the strategic plan, addressing where RID needed to go as an organization. These included governance and leadership, especially the inclusion of groups of underrepresented and marginalized communities. We also received specific suggestions on improving customer service, and improving support for our affiliate chapters and other groups in RID and in the community. We need to improve awareness of the profession of interpreting, and we want to work on our partnerships, both new and existing, developing new partnership agreements between them and RID that are effective for both organizations.
In regards to finance, the Board has been working hard towards achieving a balanced budget. We are not there yet, but we are working on it and we are getting closer and closer. To assist the the financial recovery of RID, we listened to the members that, for many years, have expressed a need for RID to increase revenue in ways other than just membership dues and fees.
These are some of the areas where the Board feels Joey has strengths that can help the Board and Headquarters – which will ultimately result in our serving the Deaf community better, through the growth of RID.
I’d also like to discuss the concept of culture as it relates to RID. There was a comment on social media, where a person mentioned the importance of the culture of organizations.
In the past, interpreters were grown from the Deaf community. They could be Coda, they could be members of a church congregation that served Deaf people, they could be neighbors, or they could be friends of the children of Deaf people. These people become fascinated with Deaf people, with ASL, and ultimately become interpreters. My point is that these interpreters were taught by the Deaf community. As these Deaf-grown interpreters became leaders in their town, state, or on a national level – they carried the trust of the Deaf community, because they had been taught by Deaf people. Deaf people knew who they were, they’d been interacting for years; Deaf people were confident in the interpreter’s ability to work for the Deaf community, and to represent what they had been taught.
Today in 2018, that culture has changed. The bond has been broken. This has occurred because the onramp to the interpreting profession has changed. In the past, interpreters were heavily involved with the Deaf community. With the current paradigm of attending college to become an interpreter, the level of involvement in the Deaf community varies widely – from those who seek out a constant immersive experience, to those who only superficially interact with the Deaf community on a limited basis.
That lack of involvement at the community level has significantly changed RID, and it has changed us in a negative way. The bond has been broken. This has caused distrust in the Deaf community – they are unsure if RID seeks to serve and represent the interests of Deaf people, or if they only represent the interests of interpreters. Is it all about the paycheck, or is it about advocating and advancing the rights and opportunities of Deaf people? I agree, our priorities are not clear. We need the Deaf community involved with RID again. We need to restore the bond that was broken.
That can only be achieved by involving Deaf people and the Deaf community, and in letting Deaf people take the lead within RID in different ways.
When Joey starts, the first thing he will do is attend the Regional conferences; the first one he is attending is the Region I Conference with NAD (and two other organizations). He will seek out opportunities to engage with people there – not just members of RID, but with the Deaf community as well. In order for RID to strengthen, we must learn how to engage and involve these organizations and individuals.
The disconnect between RID and the Deaf community must stop.
Today is June 4, and we are announcing Joey as the new CEO. Today also would have been my dad’s 80th birthday; he passed away in 2016. Because it’s today, that leads me to reflect on him, and his involvement in the Deaf and interpreter communities. Over the years, I have been approached by many interpreters who tell me, “I love your Dad. He was so patient with me, he really helped me a lot and taught me so much.” We need to recognize the importance of the Deaf community in the interpreting profession. We want to see RID shift back to that.
Over the past several years, RID has been internally focused, working on making the organization stronger. In doing that, we have left out an important part of our heritage – the Deaf community. We now need to focus on how to include the Deaf community, and allow their leadership to take on their appropriate role in the interpreting profession. We as interpreters, as professionals, as RID – we need to recognize our privilege and our status within the Deaf community. We need to make sure we are using our power to empower those who should be leading.
With the turmoil of the last several years, our Board has always been comprised of good people. However, there are a number of things we have been unable to achieve because we have been focused on repairing internal difficulties. We have not been building new things, just struggling to fix existing things.
Now, however, with a new CEO in place, the Board can shift its focus to governance, instead of operations – this is an important step forward for RID.
So, now I’ll let Joey have the floor, and introduce himself, explain his vision, and share what he hopes to accomplish. He’ll also talk about the partnerships that he is looking to forge across the United States.
Again, I want to thank the membership for their support. Your patience and your involvement is very important for the success of RID. I hope to see many of you at our Regional Conferences!
CEO Joey Trapani:
Hello, I’m Joey Trapani, the new CEO of RID. I would like to start by thanking the CEO selection committee and the Board for their diligent work, professionalism and consistent communication throughout the recruitment and interview process. I’d also like to thank the membership and the Deaf community for their feedback. Throughout this process, I have clearly seen the expectations you have for RID, and the high standard you have set for your organization.
I appreciate your feedback, both positive and negative – please continue to share your thoughts with myself and the RID Board so we can continue to implement strategies to improve our organization.
As CEO, it is important that I communicate my initial 90-day action plan. There are three key areas that I will be focusing on: Assessment, Outreach, and Strategic Planning.
Assessment and Analysis of an operation is the key to the development of a successful strategy. In my first months as CEO, I will spend time evaluating RID’s historical successes and hardships, as well as our current key indicators and strategies for maximizing outcomes. I will explore, and work to enhance, the relationship with our membership, and evaluate the efficacy of our community outreach. Additionally, I will work with RID staff to evaluate our financial stability, develop specific financial goals, and identify opportunities for improvement and sustainability.
The second area of focus is Outreach. I understand the importance of effective communication, and agree with your feedback. Improving RID’s outreach is my number one goal. Within the first 90 days, it is my plan to contact Deaf stakeholder organizations, interpreter organizations, and communicate frequently with the staff at RID and the RID Board of Directors. I’ll also be contacting the Affiliate Chapters and their Presidents.
That brings me to the third priority for my first 90 days – every organization must have a strategic plan. I’ll work closely with the RID Board and the staff at Headquarters, incorporating feedback from key experienced professionals in the field, working to develop the strategic plan for RID for the next 1 to 5 years.
It is my goal to attend upcoming regional conferences and meet the membership. I will also be setting up town hall meetings to share our plan and provide updates on our progress as well as our setbacks should they arise.
I hope that you will continue to provide feedback and ideas as we move forward. Your continuous contributions are crucial to our success.
Thank you for this opportunity, I am excited to get started. I look forward to meeting each of you.
Thank you, and have a great day!