Board Members

HLAA NYSA Board Officers for 2022-2023

Kassey Granger, President (2022-24)         
Co-Leader of the 2022 HLAA NYSA State Conference

Kassey first learned she had hearing loss when she was in first grade.  She didn’t do anything about it until she was in her 20’s.  At that time she only wore one hearing aid because the other ear lost most of its word recognition.  Being fitted with a hearing aid in that ear didn’t help.  In 2010, she received her first cochlear implant.  The cochlear implant was such a success that she loved it and wish she had done it sooner.  In 2014, the second ear was implanted.  Since her first implant, she had such a strong desire to help others understand that cochlear implants has improved so much that she worked with Cochlear America to help start a support group in Albany.  To this day she still is a volunteer for Cochlear America.  Also in 2010 she started teaching sign language to adults and children.   She has decided to devote some of her time in other areas so she no longer teaches ASL.  She also is a volunteer at her local Lions Club and Lions Club Hearing Conservation Society.   Her full-time job is with CapTel captioning telephone.  She is the outreach person for New York State and parts of Vermont.  She grew up with CapTel captioning telephones in the household because of her mother and grandmother both used CapTel and so did she. So it was a perfect fit when CapTel offered her a job 9 years ago.  She looks forward to serving as the incoming President of the HLAA New York State Association!

Pete Fackler, Vice President (2022-2024)

Pete graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and from the University of Michigan with an MBA. Following a five-year tenure with the audit staff of Price Waterhouse & Co. (now, PwC) he embarked on a 30-plus year career in higher education executive positions. While he is now retired, Pete takes on occasional interim management appointments at colleges in transition to new financial or presidential leadership. His ongoing professional interests include capital markets and investment decision-making.

Pete has been a community advocate working on behalf of people with hearing loss. He was a part of the original team of the HLAA Board of Directors working under the leadership of Board Chair Anne Pope to introduce the Walk4Hearing in support of HLAA. Working with the HLAA Rochester, New York, Chapter, Pete played a leadership role in bringing closed captions to live theater productions in the region. He served two terms on the HLAA Board of Directors, from 2006 to 2013 and then rejoined the board in 2017. Pete is past treasurer and past chair of the HLAA Board of Directors.

Mary Kate Owens, Secretary (2022-24)

Mary Kate serves currently as President of the Albany Chapter of HLAA and is also the Newsletter Editor.  She retired several years ago from the NYS Office of Court Administration as a Budget Analyst with 30 years of service.  She wears a BAHA for single sided deafness.

Tom Corteville, Treasurer (2022-24)

Tom was born and raised in Palmyra, NY and now resides in Penfield, NY.  He has a wife named Holly.  Together they have two children.  The oldest is Bennett, age 19, and he is freshman in college.  Their youngest is Haley, age 15, and she is a sophomore in high school.  Some of Tom’s favorite pastimes are gardening and camping.  Professionally Tom is a licensed CPA and has an extensive wealth of experience.  He is currently working as a consultant for various firms.  He also serves on the board of directors of the HLAA Rochester Chapter as the Treasurer.  He also is a committee leader of the Rochester Chapter Finance Committee Group.  He does not have hearing loss but has a strong desire to help those with hearing loss and volunteer his expertise.

Daniel Brooks, Immediate Past President (2022-24)
Co-Leader of the 2022 HLAA NYSA State Conference

Dan Brooks was born with a severe to profound hearing loss and was not diagnosed until he was almost four (4) years of age.  He is the youngest of five (5) children and grew up in the countryside of Penfield, New York.   In the beginning parts of his life, he was put through the system to receive therapy in an effort to become mainstreamed so he could receive higher education and ultimately live a “normal” life in the hearing world.  With much support of his parents and others around him, he was able to achieve just that and graduated from S.U.N.Y at Buffalo with a Bachelor’s of Arts in 1996.  Throughout his life he learned how to use various assistive devices, public assistance, trial & error and other techniques to navigate everyday life both personal and professional.  Now he is sharing his struggles and successes with others with hearing loss so they too can learn to better cope with hearing loss in everyday life.  He is now the Vice President of Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) Rochester Chapter (President starting July 1st, 2022) and serves on its Board of Directors.  He is very active within the Rochester Chapter and is one of the trainers of the Demo Center.  He is also a Co-Chair of Healthy Living with Hearing Loss (HL2) with Mary Chizuk. There he is leading a research pilot study of the HL2 Workplace Tool-Kit.  A tool-kit created by a community based research group with hearing loss trying to help those working with hearing loss and/or find work.  His goal in life is to provide research, support, education and advocacy on the topic of hearing loss.  Hopefully with his efforts and others, he (WE) will play a major role in creating more awareness in all the communities statewide to help create a better tomorrow for those with hearing loss. 

HLAA NYSA Board of Directors Members for 2022-23

For 2022-2023

(Alphabetical order)

Peggy Bell                 
Leader of the Publicity & Website Committee

Peggy splits her time between south Florida and Long Island, NY.  She serves as Secretary of the Board for the South Palm Beach County Chapter of HLAA which has monthly meetings in Boynton Beach. She is also employed by Audio Directions, Inc. which is based in Hopewell, NJ.  Her role as marketing and outreach director involves delivering the right combination of assistive listening technology and staff training to places of public accommodation.  Prior experience includes Marketing & Communications Director roles at Boys & Girls Club of Martin County (FL) and The Green Vale School (NY), and as a group publisher of trade journals in healthcare, architecture/design and facilities management.  Her personal experience with hearing loss includes her father and, with auditory processing deficits, her son and grandson.  Her belief: We all thrive when effective communication is routinely practiced and it takes all of us, not just the hearing impaired, to make that possible.

Jerry Bergman
Past President & Leader of the Advocacy & Legislative Committee

Jerry Bergman is a retired public executive who experienced progressive hearing loss toward the end of his career. He has two cochlear implants. Jerry joined the Hearing Loss Association of America in 2009.  A member of the New York City Chapter, he is past chair of the Get in the Hearing Loop Committee. He founded the Hearing Accommodation Task Force of New York in 2011 to advocate for hearing accessibility.  His work led to the adoption in 2017 of a NYC law requiring major construction and renovation projects receiving City funds to include assistive listening technology.

Jerry helped found the New York State Coalition of the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Legislative Advocates to raise understanding of deafness among state officials and encourage policies and services needed by the three communities.  Jerry serves on New York State’s Hearing Aid Dispensing Advisory Board as the member with knowledge of hearing loss issues. He received the Hearing Loss Association’s Marcia Dugan Advocacy Award at HLAA’s 2019 National Convention.

Florence Butler         

Florence “Fluffy” Butler is a long time member of the Mid-Hudson Chapter. Fluffy served for many years on the New York State Hearing Aid Dispensing Advisory Board (HADAB) as the public member who is a hearing aid user.  As a HADAB member she often was in the face of the opposing views of the audiologists and hearing aid dispensers, she inspired others to join her in raising the voice of consumers in the board’s deliberations.

Jeanine Byrnes         

Jeanine Byrnes was born, raised and still lives in Poughkeepsie, NY.  When Jeanine’s mother was pregnant with her, she had the German Measles resulting in her hearing loss which was not detected until the age of 2.  Her hearing loss is moderate in one ear and severe in another to which she was fitted with one hearing aid, attended speech therapy and placed in mainstream school.

Jeanine started as an Advocate for both the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community at Mid-Hudson Interpreter Service, a program of Taconic Resources for Independence, Inc. in Poughkeepsie. She has since been promoted to Program Director and still enjoys advocating.  She not only advocates for sign language interpreters but for hearing loops, she has been successful in the following places to install hearing loops – a high school auditorium, community room in a senior housing building, town hall for town meetings, a library and more.  She will also make sure that entities that have hearing loops installed to put signage up for the public to know.  What’s the use of having it if it’s not advertised!  Jeanine believes that educating the public is the only way for them to understand hearing loss and does sensitivity presentations in regards Deaf/Hard of Hearing in Dutchess and neighboring counties.

Mary C. Chizuk, RN MS Ed
Leader of the Event & Fund Raising Committee

Mary has hearing loss that started in her late twenties. At first, it was one-sided. Three years later, it affected her other ear and was severe enough to require hearing aids.  After that, there were countless episodes of hearing loss and retrieval.  Her Otolaryngologist sent her to Yale New Haven, a private doctor clinic, for a diagnosis; then University of Iowa for additional treatment plans; Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard for new test. This was over a period of 20 years. The diagnosis was Autoimmune. Who Knew?! Treatment for this was high dose, long term Prednisone & Cytoxan. 

In1988, she attended the “SHHH” Convention in Rochester, NY and was wowed by the available accessibility. At that time she was teaching at SUNY Brockport and Nursing at Unity Health System. Soon after she joined the Rochester Chapter as Board Member, President, NYSA Board Member and attended 10+ HLAA Conventions.

In 2003, a letter of support was requested to be sent to the CDC to establish the Prevention Research Center at UR focusing on hearing loss, primarily deafness. The center was named NCDHR (National Center for Deaf Health Research).  She persisted: What about us? The People with hearing loss (Pw/HL)? Why is this important?  It is the only research driven by community based participation, “It’s Us.” A Grassroots Committee morphed into HL2 (Healthy Living with Hearing Loss) She partnered with Don Bataille to serve as Co-Chairs.  A survey 100+ Pw/HL asking for information on their health priorities. Nine health priorities were identified including Communication with Healthcare Providers, Ability to Work and Anxiety, Frustration/Anger and Depression. The current focus is a pilot program using a HL2 Tool Kit to assist Pw/HL who are having difficulty working. Now she Co-Chairs HL2 with Dan Brooks where he is the Research Coordinator for the HL2 Tool-Kit Pilot.

In 2008, began work at VA (Veterans Affairs.) It was a refreshing experience due to people being more receptive to her hearing loss especially her nurse manager who worked to provide Mary with assistive equipment and a CapTel caption phone for work.  Mary has since retired as Geriatric Care Manager. Currently active with the Rochester Chapter including BOD, Strategic Planning, Scholarship and PAC Chairperson.           -Mary always tells everyone, “There is no better time to have a hearing loss than now!

Dan Farfaglia                  

Dan Farfaglia was previously the Oswego County Legislator. Dan Farfaglia grew up in the Fulton/Volney area. He graduated from G. Ray Bodley High School in 1989 and SUNY Morrisville in 1993. A big part of his childhood was focused on scholastic wrestling and he was part of his school’s third State Championship Team during his senior year. As an adult, he is giving back to the Fulton wrestling program by volunteering his time assisting with media relations, fundraising and more.

Dan spent some time away from his home region and resided in the Albany area for more than a decade. During that time, he was a staff member for the New York State Assembly. He came back to Oswego County in 2008 when he began employment with the New York State Senate.  In 2011, he was hired by the New York State Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. That same year, he became the first Democrat to be elected to the 24th District seat in the Oswego County Legislature.  Also in 2011, Legislator Farfaglia completed the Leadership Oswego County Program.

Since returning to his native Oswego County, Dan has been extremely active in the community.

As a Legislator (he served for six years), Dan advocated for initiatives with goals that had long lasting, positive impacts. His proudest accomplishment, so far, was a tax break for home improvement projects. He worked on lowering taxes for people participating in the split payment option and some 911 upgrades. During the 2016 Legislative year, he ascended to the rank of Minority Leader.  

Last year in his capacity as Minority Leader, Dan was a member of the Upstate New York Energy Jobs Coalition. This was a group representing over 130 Community, Education and Labor Leaders throughout Upstate & Central New York whose goal was to keep the Nuclear Facilities open and operational for years to come.  Legislator Farfaglia is an inaugural board member of the Oswego County Land Bank Corporation which was formed in early 2016; this is a not for profit entity whose goal is to facilitate the return of vacant, abandoned and tax delinquent properties back to productive use.  

He is also part of the Oswego County and City of Fulton Democratic Committees, Fulton Sunrise Rotary Club (Dan is currently Vice-President and is scheduled to become its President in June of 2018), Granby’s Lake Neatahwanta Reclamation Committee, and Friends of Fulton History. He was also previously involved with Oswego County Habitat for Humanity for Humanity. A decade ago Dan served on the New York State Board for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) from 2006-2010.

Legislator Farfaglia was also selected as one of the six 24th Congressional District Delegates for Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2016 Presidential Election.

In 2012, he created and privately funded a public service website called Oswegocountygovernments.com. Its main purpose is to make government as accessible as possible. It makes it easier for the people of Oswego County to identity all of their elected officials, along with their contact information and more. It contains some educational information and is used in some classrooms in the local high schools.

Dan resides in Fulton with his son Avery.

Eric Matson               

Eric Matson represents the Rochester Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America, where he is an active member of both their Education & Outreach and Technology Committees.  Before retiring, he was the Principal Engineer of Carrier Corp.’s Global Operations Group, tasked with technology application at 106 factories and 30 major distributorships all around the globe.  He’s a former Million Mile Flier on 4 different airlines, and has lived in England and Singapore for over 12 years.  Eric had to retire when his hearing loss prevented proper telephone use, and he has since become much attuned to the affliction’s forms, causes and technology-based “solutions”.  Eric is NOT an audiologist, but he works alongside of several, has a lot of personal experience, and perhaps best of all… he doesn’t sell anything!

Gloria Matthews

Gloria has been hard of hearing since the age of four (30+ years). She understands the ups and downs of mainstream education and has firsthand experience of the IEP process. As a life-long self-advocate, she has stood up for herself while educating those she came into contact with to better understand how to communicate with her best.  Currently, she is the Director of Community Outreach at VuSpeech (Vu LLC.), a smart technology start-up based at the University of Buffalo’s Incubator in Amherst, NY. Before she joined VuSpeech, she previously worked at Deaf Access Services, an affiliation of People Inc. as Community Education and Outreach Coordinator. She is originally from Ossining, NY and has been living in WNY for 20 years. She graduated from The College of Westchester (White Plains, NY), with an Associate Degree in Business Administration-Accounting/Computer Applications in 2005 Magna Cum Laude with Honors. Gloria plans on finishing her bachelor degree in Business Administration with a minor in Community and Human Services at Empire State College to better help serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Communities. Gloria has been recognized as a HearStrong Champion (2014), a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, a current board member for the Buffalo Implant (cochlear) Group, Buffalo’s Walk4Hearing Treasurer and 2022 Walk Chair, Certified Mental Health First Aid responder, Certified First Aid/CPR/AED, a social media manager, a breast cancer survivor and an avid self-advocate/advocate for those with hearing loss. Gloria enjoys walking, jogging, art, writing and reading. She is experienced in website development & organization, content, social media, event planning, educational programming, blogging, marketing, bookkeeping and more.

Susan Miller
Leader of the Chapter Development Committee

Sue (HLAA-NYSA Upstate Chapter Coordinator) is a member of the Rochester Chapter and has been involved with SHHH/HLAA since September of 1983, when she first met Rocky Stone.  Nine hard-of-hearing Rochesterians met at her house on November 1, 1983, to discuss forming an SHHH group and all agreed it was a great idea.  Sue has also been active at the State and National level of HLAA since the beginning of its existence.  She has worn behind-the-ear hearing aids for sixty years, and considers them to be miracle workers.  On a personal level, she attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  While there, she met her husband, Scott, and in April of 2021, they celebrated their 61th anniversary!  They have three adult sons and daughters-in-law, a fabulous bunch of grandchildren, and their 10th great-grandchild was just born on September 15th!  And of course, she thinks they are all adorable.  Sue loves to read, attend church, and volunteer at a local hospice on Fridays.  She and her husband also enjoy traveling and seeing the world.  In addition to her family, she has an incredible passion for HLAA and has always been a firm believer in advocacy!  Sue is excited about the growing efforts of the State Association’s Legislative and Advocacy Committee to improve understanding of hearing loss among policy makers and to promote greater accessibility in places of public accommodation. She says if we each help inform and educate our legislators we’ll all benefit.

Anne Pope                 

Anne is past chair and former member of the board of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA); a former member of the HLAA-NYS board; a former president and honorary board member of the HLAA New York City Chapter.

After experiencing major hearing loss more than thirty-five years ago, Anne authored “Hear: Solutions, Skills, and Sources for People with Hearing Loss,” published in 1997 by Dorling Kindersley. She was the lead author for a chapter on the benefits of support groups in “Adult Audiologic Rehabilitation,” a textbook for audiology doctoral students, published in 2009 and edited by Joseph Montano, Ed.D and Jaclyn Spitzer, Ph.D. She was a member of a holistic health panel that educated hearing health professionals about the impact of hearing loss in people’s lives and the need to consider more than the technical requirements of hearing aids. She served on a panel at Weill Cornell Medical School devoted to the education of medical students about the needs of people with hearing loss.

A former human resources executive, Anne holds a master’s degree in business policy from Columbia University Business School’s Executive Program. She has addressed consumers, health professionals, and corporations on the impact of hearing loss and the importance of treatment.

Don Porter                 

Don grew up in Texas, graduated from Rice University, and earned his PhD in math at Northwestern University, where I met my wife Lois – she was there studying audiology. We moved to this area in 1969, when I began teaching at the University at Albany. A few years later, I moved on to RPI as a computer programmer and then administrator. We both retired in 1999.

In 2002 at age 59, my mild hearing loss got worse. Two years later, I got my first hearing aids. Over the next few years speech understanding really became a problem. I began using a hearing loop at home in 2012, after learning about t-coils and loops from our excellent Albany HLAA chapter. The loss in my right ear continued downhill.

Lois and I are very active in our church, Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady. I convinced our church to install a loop in the sanctuary in 2013 and I helped with the installation. I also led an effort to improve the portable loop for our Albany HLAA chapter.

With hearing aids and other assistive technology, speech discrimination in my right ear approached zero by 2018. My aided left ear remained useful, despite a moderate-to-severe loss. I began to research cochlear implant (CI) possibilities for my right ear. Some of my Albany HLAA friends use CIs; they were very helpful to me (I served on the chapter board for three years). My lifelong amateur musician practice motivated me to look at the experiences of musicians with CIs. I found that Med El seemed to pay careful attention to the needs of musicians, by using longer electrode arrays to extend the frequency range to lower frequencies.

Don had a Med El Synchrony Flex 28 electrode array implanted in his right cochlea on July 22, 2020. On August 29, the implant was activated and suddenly, he could hear on his right side. HIs wife Lois sounded like herself! Without the left ear hearing aid, using only the CI, he could understand Lois speaking in the quiet office.  He had hoped to reach this level after weeks or months of rehab. Instead, it was instantaneous. Further improvement did come with rehab and practice over time. Every person receiving a CI has a unique situation and he says, “I am very lucky.”

Carolyn Tanen           

Carolyn was born with a severe to profound hearing loss and was diagnosed at age three. Her parents put her into years of speech therapy after being fitted with a hearing aid in her right ear.  The left side was not able to benefit with an aid.  Carolyn was mainstreamed in NYC Public School through sixth grade.  She spent two years at St. Philip & James Catholic School.  She graduated St. Catherine’s Academy High School.  She received her Associate Degree in Business from Westchester Community College.  She continued her studies and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies and her Master’s in Library Science from St. John’s University.

Carolyn received a cochlear implant in 2009 which resulted in complications and was re-implanted a year later.  Carolyn joined a cochlear support group and auditory therapy at the Center for Hearing and Communication which led her to the HLAA NYC chapter.  She helped in their first Walk4Hearing event in 2010.  Since residing in Westchester County she has been an active member of the HLAA Westchester Chapter for the past 11 years and is a Cochlear Americas volunteer as well.

Carolyn is currently an Archives Librarian for the U.S. Court of Appeals Library for the Second Circuit in New York City. 

Jonathan Taylor        

Jonathan got his first hearing aids in 1992, he only wore them in the privacy of his home to protect his career as a free-lance musician. In 1997, when his hearing loss had progressed from mild to severe, and his pitch discrimination had deteriorated, he decided to stop performing and wear his hearing aids in public. During his career as a trombonist, he performed and recorded with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Paul Taylor Dance Company, NY Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Ensemble, Empire Brass Quintet, and others. His career also included performances with more than twenty Broadway shows and numerous ballet and opera companies.

After graduating from Harvard College in 1971, he earned an MS in developmental psychology from Yale. Jon returned to school in 2011 and earned a Ph.D. in developmental psychology at the Graduate Center of CUNY in 2015. His recent research, an analysis of the admissions test to NYC’s elite public high schools, was published in the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering and has been discussed in the NY Times and Wall Street Journal.

He is fortunate that his three children and two grandchildren all live in NYC. His wonderful wife, Mary Sano, a neuropsychologist, is director of the Mt. Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. HLAA has become an important part of his life since he joined in 2016. He is currently president of the Board of Directors of the NYC chapter

Trudie Walker

Trudie has been a long-time member of HLAA, although not active for many of those years. Originally, she was a member of the Huntington Chapter and later the North shore Long Island Chapter where she served on the planning board for a number of years.

Trudie finally gave in and started wearing hearing aids after graduating from Queens College, sans hearing aids, in order to start law school at Hofstra Law in 1973.  She “graduated” to one cochlear in 2009 as the hearing in one ear deteriorated.

Her legal career started when she went to work at a legal services plan, taught business law at NYIT and then started a private practice in order to raise her son, where she still works, something less than full time.

Trudie has served on the board of the Nassau-Suffolk Women’s Bar Association, the legislative committee of the NYS Women’s Bar Association and as chair of the intellectual property committee of the Suffolk County Bar Association, as well as still providing pro bono services.  Her community work included providing counsel to the Suffolk Youth Enhancement Program, member of the Advisory Board to the Huntington Housing Authority, and the county Executives Committee on Child Care.

Trudie and her husband Al love the Long Island coastlines; walking to the Fire Island Lighthouse and the board walk at Sunken Meadow State Park; exploring the beautiful Bayard Cutting Arboretum and having lunch on its porch overlooking the Connetquot River.  They also enjoy a variety of outdoor summer concerts, mostly tribute bands, all over Long Island where the poor hearing doesn’t interfere with the fun times.

Deborah Dolgin Wolfe 

Debbie is a long time member of the Westchester Chapter for 20 plus years.   I have served on the Westchester Board for 12 + years in different roles.  Served as Secretary, President and Vice President and Program Chairperson for the monthly meetings.  I am advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing community.  I serve on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Task Force in Rockland County. I also serve on the D.E.A.F. Board as Open Caption Coordinator for open captioned movies.  I recently retired from Jawonio, as Day Habilitation Instructor.  It is non for profit agency that specializes in People with Developmental Disabilities and Special Needs in Rockland County.  I am Hard of Hearing with bilateral Cochlear Implants.  I have an Associate in Arts Degree from Centenary College.

Steve Wolfert             

Steve is the current president of HLAA Westchester. He first became involved in the hearing loss community when his son Brendan was diagnosed with profound hearing loss 30 years ago – first as a member of HLAA Westchester and as chairperson for the Westchester Rockland/Walk4Hearing. He learned how important it is to advocate for yourself or a family member to secure professional help and accommodations at school and at work.

Steve earned a BA degree in Economics from American University and an MBA in Finance from Baruch College. Professionally, he has served as the head of marketing, advertising and communications for leading insurance and financial services organizations, and also practices in the commercial real estate field in New York City. Steve lives in Irvington, NY with his wife Andrea. His two sons, Brendan and David, live in White Plains and San Francisco respectively.

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