#DeafSpotlight: Leah Katz-Hernandez - Hearing and Speech Agency

#DeafSpotlight: Leah Katz-Hernandez

Leah Katz-Hernandez, a Connecticut native, was born Deaf to two Deaf parents. Her mother was a Jewish social worker and her father was a Mexican-American who put himself through college to earn his PhD. So, Katz-Hernandez knew from a young age that she wanted to go to college. She earned her BA in Government from Gallaudet University, and then went on to earn her MA in Strategic Communication from American University.

 

In 2010, Leah became an intern at the White House, in the Office of Public Engagement. In 2012, she got a job working for Obama’s re-election campaign. After Obama was re-elected, Michelle Obama hired Leah onto her staff as a press assistant and research associate. Three years later, in 2015, she became the Receptionist of the United States (or, ROTUS) in the West Wing of the White House. With her interpreter, Leah was usually the first person to meet anyone who came to see the President.

After her time ended working under the Obama administration, Leah continued to use her experiences and expertise to advocate for minority and disability communities. In 2017, she became a board member for the American Association of People with Disabilities, became an advisor for the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Advisory Committee, and was inducted into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Currently, Katz-Hernandez is the Communication Manager for Satya Nadella (who is the CEO of Microsoft)! Leah is still advocating for equality all over the world, especially for marginalized communities. Recently she became an author as well, writing a chapter for the book “WEST WINGERS: Stories from the Dream Chasers, Change Makers, and Hope Creators Inside the Obama White House”.

Leah Katz-Hernandez wants to show the world “that Deaf people can do anything." She is a great example of how just one person, through perseverance and involvement, can make a difference. Leah, as a Deaf Latina, has helped to positively change the world’s stereotypes and assumptions.

To learn more about Katz-Hernandez, read HERE

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