TORONTO, March 7, 2018 /CNW/ - The Canadian Hearing Society is marking International Women's Day by highlighting the inspirational stories of two female role models for women who are Deaf. Gail Brunsdon and Veronica Bickle are Canadian Hearing Society staff members who have overcome challenges and broken-down barriers in their pursuit of meaningful careers and fulfilling personal lives.
"We are proud and fortunate to work with strong and inspirational women everyday at the Canadian Hearing Society," said Julia Dumanian, President and CEO. "Gail and Veronica embody dedication, compassion, and strength in the face of adversity. They inspire and motivate us all on International Women's Day."
Gail's Story – Mom, Youth Worker, Entrepreneur
For the past fourteen years, Gail Brunsdon has served as a Community Support Worker with the Canadian Hearing Society. Gail is a certified child and youth worker and, as a member of the CONNECT Counselling Services team in the Waterloo region, she provides professional counselling services to Deaf and hard of hearing individuals of all ages, and their families.
Gail is also a Deaf parent and raised four children who are also Deaf while working, pursuing her own education, and managing a crocheting and knitting business on the side. She faced many challenges early in her career, including access to quality education, employment opportunities, and facing employer stigmas around hiring Deaf employees.
"Job interviews are often challenging and can be a barrier for deaf women who are looking for meaningful employment opportunities," said Gail. "Employers lacking knowledge or training related to deaf culture is a huge issue."
Veronica's Story – Counsellor, Student, Advocate
Veronica Bickle has worked at the Canadian Hearing Society for the past thirteen years. First, as a General Support Counsellor and currently as a CONNECT Counsellor serving Durham, Peterborough, City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton and Northumberland Counties.
Outside of her work Veronica volunteers her time to support Deaf community leaders and advocate for improved accessibility for the Deaf and hard of hearing community on a range of issues.
Veronica holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Windsor which she earned while working full-time and maintaining her commitment to community service. When accessibility issues presented additional challenges – such as poor captioning for video material and language barriers in the classroom – Veronica worked with her professors and found ways to overcome them.
Advice on International Women's Day
Gail's advice for women who are Deaf on International Women's Day?
"Don't give up. Dream and get what you want. Set goals and believe in yourself, be an advocate for yourself and for what is right. Being Deaf doesn't mean you can't do anything – we can all do it!"
Veronica agrees. "I'm forever grateful that I didn't quit or give up on graduate school. Looking back, I think to myself, 'did I actually do that?' I ended up having a great experience with my fellow students. In some cases, they were better than the instructors in making sure I had access in class."
She adds, "If we don't do anything proactive, very little will change. We have to push and advocate to see the change that we need. This is particularly true of women dealing with minority issues everyday – such as marginalization, ignorance, and the culture of low expectations."
The Canadian Hearing Society is proud to work alongside role modes like Gail and Veronica who are breaking down barriers and proving that women who are Deaf are fully capable of achieving their goals and realizing their ambition.
If you or someone you know is Deaf or hard of hearing, the Canadian Hearing Society offers a variety of support – such as counselling, accessibility, and employment services – to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams. Visit www.chs.ca today to learn more about our services and support.
About the Canadian Hearing Society
Trusted since 1940, the Canadian Hearing Society provides industry-leading services and products that enable Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians to overcome barriers to participation. It is an independent, registered non-profit organization that reinvests proceeds from product and program sales back into community services, the focus of the organization. For more information about the Canadian Hearing Society's services visit www.chs.ca.
SOURCE The Canadian Hearing Society
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