Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Welcome From the New National Chapters and States Coordinator - March 2010

In This Issue:
• Hello From New National Chapters and States Coordinator
• New HLAA/Chapter Membership Brochure Available
• Awards Nominations Deadline Extended to April 10
• Chapter Delegate Convention Registration Due May 1

Hello, Chapters and States!

First, I want to say “thank you” to all of you that have sent me greetings and best wishes. I am delighted to serve in this newly-created capacity at HLAA headquarters. I understand that we – you and I – have a lot of work ahead of us. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you and learning how we can work together best for the benefit of people with hearing loss.

As I explained to several of you that have emailed me already, thanks for your patience as I get acquainted with the organization. I have worked with Chapters in the past 20 years that I have been in association management and find it is one of the most rewarding aspects of my career. You are the ones that people see and turn to for support, camaraderie and friendship. The national office provides support for the work that you do. I view our partnership as a body: the national association provides an overall framework that acts as a sort of spine, if you will. You are in the field representing the national organization, providing the limbs, feet, hands, and eyes that the national office could never do. You will hear much more about that partnership in the coming weeks and months as I work with you to strengthen the bond between all of our organizations.

I feel blessed to be counted in your number, having experienced hearing loss in my forties. My father became deaf at about the same age as did his father. My dad now wears two, in-the-ear hearing aids and I (perhaps the vain one in the family!) wear the behind-the-ear style hearing aids. My hearing loss became an issue when I was unable to hear what my toddler was saying from the back seat of the car and so I sought the advice of my physician who referred me to an audiologist. I am amazed at how well I hear now, and what I had been missing for several years. I am only now beginning to appreciate what all of you know so well, that adapting to hearing loss is an on-going process.

Enough about me. I want to learn about you. I plan to contact all of you over the course of the next month or two to get your ideas for services that we/I can offer to support you and help your organization thrive. I will also, of course, attend all of the Chapter and State functions at the upcoming convention and look forward to meeting many of you then.

Speaking of convention, we want –and need – your input for the Awards. (We’ve even extended the deadline to next Saturday, April 10.) We also need to know whom you have chosen as a delegate to represent your Chapter at convention. Please see more about these two, important items below.

I am also continuing our drive to get all Chapters covered under our national IRS tax exemption and for each Chapter to get their own Employer Identification Number (EIN) and registration with their state IRS for tax exemption. For more information about what’s required please click on this link. and select "Does your chapter need Group Exemption? Click here....."

Hot off the press – in response to your request, we have a brand-new membership brochure with more space to promote your chapter. Please click to see a copy of the brochure. We plan to mail a packet of 25 copies to each Chapter president. The brochure is also available unfolded (flat) for Chapters that want to use a printer to imprint their chapter information. They are also available for order; we ask that your chapter pay for shipping and handling. Please discard any old HLAA membership brochures you have.

Lastly, I want to thank my colleagues here at the HLAA for their encouragement, particularly Brenda Battat, Toni Barrient, Barbara Kelley and Nancy Macklin. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the hearing loss community in this role and look forward to getting to know you. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to call me (301-657-2248) or send me an email me at I look forward to working with you.


Elizabeth LeBarron
National Coordinator
for States and Chapters


Award Nominations – Deadline April 10 (ahead a week for your convenience!)
Find the Awards nomination information on the Wiki home page. Please nominate those individuals who have worked so hard to make their Chapter and community a better place!

Chapter Delegate Registration – Deadline May 1
Find the information you need about qualifications and how to register on the Wiki in the National Convention Section:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Last Chapter News from Toni and Important Reminders

Last Chapter News from Toni

It was bound to happen. Things needed to change and indeed they have. Because of the layoffs in 2002, the national office staff has been kept very, very lean. While many of you have been aware that I wear many hats at the national office I also know many of you have not been aware of the situation. In addition to chapters, my job has been to oversee membership, the computer network, database management, and to supervise volunteers and variety of other projects and tasks. Many of you got replies to your emails at night and on weekends because I was trying to cover all the bases. So you can see that my work with chapters was only part of what I did. This really needed to change. Then Elizabeth came to us to fill a temporary assignment and when we discovered that she has experience in many areas that were valuable to HLAA, we put on our thinking caps and started thinking of restructuring the workloads in the National office. We were able to restructure the workload so that we could bring Elizabeth in to work with States and Chapters full time without increasing the number of staff members. Last week you should have received the News Release about Elizabeth LeBarron, who is now the new National Chapter and State Coordinator.

The timing could not have been more perfect. I am thrilled and personally feel that these changes are a win-win situation for all of us. You get a full-time, dedicated States and Chapter Coordinator and I get my nights and weekends back. I have loved working with all of you through the ups and downs, ins and outs and of course most of you all remember the name change. :) While I will miss working with you on a day to day basis, I will still be in the national office and look forward to seeing you in Milwaukee in June and future conventions.

Don’t hesitate to contact me regarding any issues or questions you may have about membership(s). Please contact Elizabeth for anything related to States or Chapters. Elizabeth’s email is

Important Reminders:

Deadline for Award Nominations is April 5
Find the Awards nomination information on the Wiki home page

Chapter Delegate Registration – Deadline May 1
Find the information you need about qualifications and how to register on the Wiki in the National Convention Section

Chapter taxes Webinar
The chapter Webinar by Sean Smith is available for playback.

March 1, 2010 Webinar Playback:

Download the transcript 3-1-2010-GroupExemption- Taxes.rtf

Warmest regards to each and every one you.


Toni Barrient | Director of Member Services
Hearing Loss Association of America
7910 Woodmont Ave Ste 1200
Bethesda, MD 20814

Friday, March 19, 2010

HLAA Hires National Coordinator for States and Chapters


Contact:Brenda Battat, MA,
Executive Director
Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)

The Hearing Loss Association of America Hires
National Coordinator for States and Chapters

The Hearing Loss Association of America® (HLAA) is pleased to announce that they have created and filled a full-time staff position solely charged with supporting and developing the network of HLAA affiliates throughout the United States. HLAA selected Elizabeth LeBarron to fill the position of HLAA chapter and state coordinator.

HLAA created the position after the Board of Trustees named states and chapter organizations as one of their key strategic priorities. Board members emphasized support for the existing state and chapter organizations as the grassroots network to reach people with hearing loss on a personal level.

Executive Director Brenda Battat commented, “Chapters are the grassroots of HLAA, where self-help thrives. We are delighted to have Elizabeth on board to focus on supporting our chapters and state organizations. She brings a wealth of experience in working with chapters and will bring a fresh look at how we can all work together as one organization to further our mission.”

Ms. LeBarron brings a depth of experience in strengthening local organizations. From 1990 – 2001, she worked with 20-plus state chapters as membership manager at the National Glass Association in McLean, Virginia. During her tenure there she transformed the national-chapter relationship from adversarial to a partnership of mutual respect and cooperation.

From there Ms. LeBarron moved to the Association for Conflict Resolution in Washington, D.C., where she served for over a year as director of membership and development. Since then she has worked for the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Gastroenterological Association in the membership and education fields, respectively.
“I am delighted to be working with HLAA staff and volunteers to reestablish the close ties between the national office and the local affiliates. I am looking forward to continuing Founder Rocky Stone’s legacy in working with states and chapters. I appreciate the opportunity learning how our organizations can support each other as we help people with hearing loss.”

Ms. LeBarron experienced hearing loss herself as a toddler when doctors discovered impacted wax in her ear canals. The surgery left her left eardrum loose and her hearing continued to decline when, in her mid-forties, she sought help from her primary care physician who referred her to an audiologist. Citing vanity and denial as the main reasons for not pursuing treatment previously, she was amazed how much she had not been hearing.

“When I could not understand what my toddler was saying to me from the back seat of the car, I decided to seek help. Right after getting my hearing aids, I could hear the turn signal tone in my car for the first time since buying the car months earlier.” Ms. LeBarron then learned that her own father had sustained a hearing loss at the same point in his life. (At age 80 he wears two, in-the canal hearing aids, while Ms. LeBarron wears two, behind-the-ear hearing aids.)

HLAA’s Toni Barrient, who previously served as chapter coordinator, will continue in her capacity as director of member services. In addition Ms. Barrient is also the national office’s business manager to oversee its expanding technology and information systems operations. Lise Hamlin, who previously coordinated states, will continue to serve in her capacity as HLAA public policy director and advise states on advocacy issues.

Ms. LeBarron’s first opportunity to meet with state and chapter leaders will be during the HLAA annual convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin June 17 – 20, 2010. Ms. LeBarron will oversee the chapter development tract and will conduct the chapter delegate meeting on Saturday, June 19 at 9a.m. She can be reached at

About Hearing Loss Association of America
The Hearing Loss Association of America® (HLAA), founded in 1979, opens the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, advocacy and support. HLAA publishes the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine, holds annual conventions, produces the national Walk4Hearing™, hosts online learning with the Hearing Loss Academy, holds monthly webinars, and advocates for the rights of people with hearing loss. HLAA has more than 200 chapters and 14 state organizations. The national headquarters is located at 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 1200, Bethesda, MD 20814. Phone: 301.657.2248 or visit