Communication Service for the Deaf Names Kari Cooke Vice President of CSD Neighborhood

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Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) announced today the selection of Kari Cooke as its new Vice President of CSD Neighborhood - Cooke will be responsible for developing and furthering the innovative educational, employment and community-building elements of CSD. CSD is one of the world’s largest nonprofits dedicated to inspiring and cultivating greater opportunity for millions of Deaf people worldwide.

Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) announced today the selection of Kari Cooke as its new Vice President of CSD Neighborhood. Cooke will oversee CSD Neighborhood’s efforts to share resources, build coalitions, and support collaborations between agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and the Deaf community.

CSD CEO Christopher Soukup said, “Kari’s list of achievements is considerable and it became clear to us very early on that she possessed the qualifications and demeanor to provide CSD Neighborhood the leadership it deserves. CSD Neighborhood’s direct service and work with the Deaf community is designed to uplift every individual, something that is at the core of everything we do at CSD. We know that Kari has the same values at heart as evidenced by the impact that she has had throughout her career.”

Cooke’s advocacy work started with her appointment by Governor Cuomo to the New York State Independent Living Council. She also has been a Policy Analyst for the Center for Disability Rights, and received a federal appointment to the Obama Administration's FCC Disability Advisory Council. Cooke is the former Director of Policy and Government Affairs for National Black Deaf Advocates, where she worked with the executive team on policy advocacy and strategic partnerships. Most recently, she was the Assistant Dean in the office of Pluralism and Leadership at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

“I am excited to work with CSD to create spaces for us to find one another, support one another, and enhance one another's visions and goals towards community liberation,” said Cooke, a long-time community leader. "My passion is for connectedness and ensuring that we as a community move beyond the survival through individual access towards thriving in communal liberation. What that looks like varies for each person.”

Cooke has been recognized for her work in the community by the Center for American Progress as one of the Top 15 Inspiring Young Female Activists, lauded by Deaf Women United as A Deaf Woman Making History, and was selected as a U.S. Delegate at the United Nation's International Young Leaders Assembly.

Cooke holds an undergraduate degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and master’s degrees from Northern Illinois University and the University of Pennsylvania. A special interest in community outreach and coalition building has meant she’s become involved in many local community and governmental groups such as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Women's Media Center, Senator Gillibrand Symposium on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and New Leaders Council as a fellow.

“My vision for my time with CSD,” said Cooke, “is to deepen our connection with the U.S. Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, and Cochlear Implant using communities; to create spaces for members of our communities who are isolated, mainstreamed, or disconnected so that they may find one another and build community; and to address the needs in our communities through technology, community support services, organizational development training, and advocacy. The team here is brilliant and talented, and I’m so honored to be part of their story.”

Soukup added, “We’re incredibly proud of the work we do at CSD, and are even more proud to be able to bring in talented individuals like Kari who are already aligned with our mission values and goals. We look forward to all the good work she will do, both for the organization and for the Deaf community.”

For more information please visit CSD and CSD Neighborhood.


Brandi Rarus
VP of Public Relations, Engagement, and Policy

The Durkin Agency

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Karen Durkin
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