Person of the Month: Corey Axelrod
Corey Axelrod, MBA, is a passionate advocate and social entrepreneur committed to guiding organizations to become more accessible to and inclusive of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. As founder and CEO of 2axend, Corey is sought after as a consultant, thought leader, and trainer to organizations in educational, health care, language services, manufacturing and telecommunication sectors on issues of communication accessibility, inclusive organizational design, unconscious bias, risk management, and Deaf awareness
and cultural competency.
What is your educational background?
I was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Growing up, I always attended the school that hosted the Deaf and hard of hearing program, but was fully mainstreamed with interpreting support.
After graduating from Hersey High School, I attended Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and received my Bachelor’s degree in business management and, subsequently, my Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Sales Management.
What accomplishments are you most proud of, as a Deaf individual?
While I have many accomplishments I am very proud of, I don’t necessarily look at my accomplishments and say, “I did this as a Deaf person!”
However, being president of the Illinois Association of the Deaf, has given me numerous opportunities to ensure the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing community’s collective interests are represented among Illinois’ policy makers. Seeing systematic changes occur after relentless advocacy is something I hold dear to my heart.
How did ASL help you reach your goals?
As a 4th generation Deaf individual in my family, ASL was my first language. This established a strong language foundation from a very young age.
What is your all-time favorite sign? Why?
This sign translates into English as "Up to you." Not only is this sign indicative of the visual vernacular ASL is, it also incorporates the use of multiple classifiers in one sign.
How has being Deaf/HH helped you in life?
Being Deaf has impacted not only how I access the world, but how I perceive the world. I’m grateful for this because this has shaped my passion in being an advocate and social entrepreneur looking to create equitable experiences for members of my community.
How do you think technology is helping Deaf kids learn today?
Technology is opening more opportunities for Deaf children to be exposed to ASL, as well as Deaf peers and role models. This was vital to my education and upbringing, and I look forward to more Deaf children being afforded the same opportunities and experiences I was given.
What is some advice you have for young Deaf children?
Immerse yourself in the Deaf community. There are so many other people out there that are either currently or have already experienced what you are going through. Connect with them, you’re not alone!
Learn more about Corey and the important work his organization is doing at https://www.2axend.com/