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Local Advocate Hired for Community Engagement

Jessalyn Akerman-Frank will lead civic engagement, complex projects

7/27/2017 9:52:41 AM

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The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind & Hard of Hearing Minnesotans has hired Jessalyn Akerman-Frank to be the Director of Community Engagement and Project Management.

In this role, Akerman-Frank will oversee complex projects, lead civic engagement education, events, and outreach efforts as well as support communication with public policy leaders to ensure that the Commission's strategic goals are achieved. 

One of Akerman-Frank's most important duties is to implement two-way communication strategies in order to ensure that a wide range of deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing individuals from all walks of life, including those with multiple disabilities and members from diverse racial, ethnic, indigenous and LGBTQ communities are at the table. 

"Jessalyn's strong history of respectfully engaging diverse communities and her leadership in civic engagement made her a natural fit for this position," said Deputy Director Emory David Dively. "Her reputation for the inclusion of all stakeholders is stellar." 

Most recently, Akerman-Frank taught American Sign Language (ASL) at North High School, in North St. Paul, MN. Prior to that, Akerman-Frank has held leadership positions with Communications Services for the Deaf (CSD) where she negotiated changes in public policy. She is an experienced advocate for Survivors of Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault (DV/SA). She has presented numerous times on issues related to Deaf Adult Basic Education (ABE), health education programs, and domestic violence/equal rights. Akerman-Frank has been a contractor with the Commission as a Civic Engagement & Outreach Specialist for the past 2 years. 

Akerman-Frank is currently the acting president of the Minnesota Association of Deaf Citizens (MADC), taking over when the previous president, Adan Burke, relocated to another state for a great employment opportunity. A new president will be elected during MADC's election in October 2017. 

We are excited to have her here as a full-time employee of the Commission. Today is her first day on the job. Please join us in warmly welcoming her in her new role. 


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