Board Members

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Board Members

Kevin H. Franck, Ph.D., CCC-A

Kevin Franck has worked in the clinical, academic, corporate, entrepreneurial and non-profit environments pertaining to bionic and hearing medical devices. As a clinician, Dr. Franck worked for patients who use cochlear implants at the University of Michigan and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. As an academic, he did his post-doc at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, was Assistant Professor of Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine studying and teaching psychoacoustic and clinical practice innovations, and regularly lectures at Dartmouth College and Wharton.  In the corporate environment, Kevin was the Head of Clinical Products and Strategy at bionic ear maker Cochlear Ltd. and worked at Artisan Healthcare Consulting, a boutique healthcare management consultancy to big pharma and medical device companies, and now works for Bose Corporation.  As an entrepreneur, Dr. Franck was the Director of Clinical and Health Economic Research at bionic ankle maker BiOM and was co-owner of Ear Machine LLC, an NIH grant funded pre-commercial start-up.  He serves on the boards of the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech and the Alexander Graham Bell Association.

Kevin received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Dartmouth College.  He has two master’s degrees in biomedical engineering and business administration from Johns Hopkins University and Wharton, respectively, and his doctorate in hearing sciences and clinical certification in Audiology from the University of Washington.  He has lived on three continents and now resides with his spouse and two daughters in Concord, Massachusetts.

Kevin was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in April 2015.

Patrick Holkins, Esq.

Patrick Holkins is a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, Harvard University (B.A.), and the University of Arizona (J.D.). Before joining the Department of Justice, Patrick served as a law clerk to Justice John Pelander at the Arizona Supreme Court.

Patrick has had a hearing loss since early childhood. He first connected with HLAA—then SHHH—in 2004, when he served as a policy intern at the national office. He returned to HLAA in 2008, again as an intern, to spearhead a young adult outreach effort. In 2009, while at Harvard, Patrick co-founded the first HLAA chapter for young adults with hearing loss. Building on that experience, in 2010 Patrick started a nonprofit organization that provided hearing health services to rural communities in South Africa. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Patrick was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2016. 

Toni Iacolucci

Toni Iacolucci currently works part-time in donor services at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. She worked for several years as a social work administrator, supervising adolescent group facilities in New York City. As a second career, Ms. Iacolucci produced and managed non-profit dance companies and was a founding partner of Orbis Design Group, an event design company based in Manhattan. 

Toni joined the HLAA-Manhattan Chapter after becoming profoundly deaf in 2006. She has served on the Manhattan Chapter Planning and Advocacy Committees and was recently appointed NY Downstate Chapter Coordinator. She co-chaired the NYC Walk4Hearing for two years, and has served as team coordinator since the first NYC Walk in 2008. Toni has worked to bring CART to city agencies and captioning to outdoor film festivals in New York City.

Toni holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Adelphi University and a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College. She is also a graduate of the Gallaudet University Peer Mentoring program. 

She was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in March of 2012.

Kristen “KR” Liu

KR Liu is the head of Sales and Marketing Strategy at Doppler Labs, the company behind Here Active Listening. Over the last 18 years, she has worked at both large consumer tech companies and early-stage startups (Speck Products, SOL Republic, Pebble), where she’s held various executive positions leading both marketing and sales strategy. During this time, KR has launched some of the most disruptive hardware lifestyle tech brands on the market, from iPhone cases, portable power, wireless headphones and speakers, smartwatches, and now, augmented audio devices.

Diagnosed with severe hearing loss at the age of three, KR has made it her life's work to be a strong advocate and voice championing new products that enhance the way we hear the world. She has been awarded a U.S. Congressional award; Silicon Valley's Top 40 Under 40; and 2015 Women on the Move by Women's Business Journal for her advocacy work in hearing health and technology.

Beyond her work at Doppler Labs, KR is also actively involved with industry organizations that are working toward tech innovation in hearing accessibility. Currently, she is a member of the Consumer Technology Association’s Standards Committee on PSAPs.

KR was appointed to the Hearing Loss Association of America Board of Trustees in May 2016.

Sebastian Pawlowski

For nearly 20 years, Mr. Pawlowski has been fortunate to work in a myriad of private sector and non-profit industries and has focused extensively on digital technologies and building 1:1 relationships with communities his organizations served.

Having specialized in information technologies and how they benefit people in everyday life, Mr. Pawlowski as a keen interest in HLAA’s Hearing Solutions (formerly Consumer Technology Initiative). Through outreach and engagement, Mr. Pawlowski assists HLAA by incorporating strategies that help advance organizational effectiveness that align with HLAA’s mission, vision and objectives.

Mr. Pawlowski’s daughter, Katherine, was the Walk4Hearing’s first National Ambassador. He and his family have been active with the Walk4Hearing and HLAA for several years. As a parent of a child with a hearing loss, Mr. Pawlowski’s work is founded on his personal family experiences having spent years trying to understand how to better the life of his eldest daughter as she continues to mature and find solutions to her changing needs. This is why using technology to enable productivity so hearing loss is never a limitation is of concern to him and his family, as it is to thousands of others.

Mr. Pawlowski received his bachelor’s degree in political science from The Catholic University of America and his master’s degree in international affairs and master of business administration in information technology and marketing from The American University in Washington, DC. He has been teaching college and graduate-level courses in business administration, specializing in information systems, strategy and digital marketing since 2002.  He, along with his wife Megan and four children, reside in Virginia.

Mr. Pawlowski was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in December 2015.

James C. Saunders, Ph.D.

Dr. Saunders is Professor of Research Otolaryngology, Physiology and Neuroscience at the Perlman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.  He received his B.A. in Psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University; an M.A. in Experimental Psychology from Connecticut College; and  Ph.D. in Sensory Psychology from Princeton University in 1968.  He has held appointments at Monash University, Australia, and the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis.  In 1973 he joined the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Human Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and served as Director of Auditory Research until 2007. He serves on the Editorial Board of Hearing Research, and is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the National Organization for Hearing Research and the Council of Scientific Trustees of the Hearing Health Foundation (formerly the Deafness Research Foundation).

Dr. Saunders has published extensively on topics in hearing research that range in scope from the mechanics of middle ear function, the consequences of exposure to intense sound, the structural organization and micro-mechanics of hair cell stereocilia, and most recently the properties of neural coding in the peripheral and central auditory pathways. Recognition of his research efforts includes the Claude Pepper for research excellence from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). 

 Dr. Saunders is currently a Professor Emeritus and lives outside Philadelphia. He was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in November 2011.

Nancy Lelewer Sonnabend

Nancy Lelewer Sonnabend first became acquainted with SHHH (now HLAA) through her parents as her mother was profoundly hard of hearing and served on the national board of trustees for nine years. This brought Nancy in contact with founder Rocky Stone and his wife Ahme, and she also attended several of the early conferences. Later Nancy became deaf in her left ear and profoundly hard of hearing in her right ear. 

Nancy graduated Sarah Lawrence College in 1957 and was a member of the Smith College exchange program in Madrid from 1955-1956. Her diverse background includes inventor; researcher at MIT and Harvard Medical School; founding director of Permobil of America, (today renamed USA Permobil) the world’s leading computerized wheelchair company; lecturer; writer and specialty in dyslexia and other learning differences. She currently has two books on the market: SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT: One family’s struggle with learning disabilities and THE LELEWER LEGACY, Traditions of a Loving Family. Nancy has served on several boards and chaired two of them. For the past six years, Nancy has served as an advisor for her son's start-up data collection company. 

Nancy lives in Boston, MA, has four grown children and eight grandchildren. She was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in June 2010. 

Committees:  Ms. Sonnabend serves on the Development and Nominating Committees.

Kelly Tremblay, Ph.D.

Dr. Kelly Tremblay is a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. She has a 30-year history of serving and advocating for people with hearing loss. As an audiologist and educator, she teaches graduate students how to prevent, assess and treat hearing loss. As a scientist, she studies the effects of hearing loss and hearing prosthesis on the brain in addition to the public health benefits of intervention for our aging society. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is published in top-tier medical journals.

As an advocate, her list of activities is long, but some recent examples include: presenting on hearing loss with the HLAA Washington State Association at the Washington State Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging and Disability, and serving on Guideline Development Committees for the World Health Organization.

Dr. Tremblay was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2016.

Jack J. Wazen, MD, FACS

Jack J. Wazen, M.D., FACS, is a leading authority on hearing and balance disorders, pioneering new research that has expanded treatments for those with single-sided deafness and complex cases of hearing loss. An experienced otological/neurotological surgeon, he specializes in microsurgical procedures, acoustic neuromas, implantable hearing devices and treatment of dizziness and balance disorders.

Dr. Wazen has heavily contributed to otolaryngology community through research and publication of numerous articles, chapters, and books throughout his career. His experience includes training at the American University of Beirut, residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and a Fellowship at the Ear Research Foundation in Sarasota. He then spent 23 years as a researcher, professor and practitioner with Columbia University before returning to Florida in 2006. Dr. Wazen is currently a partner at the Silverstein Institute and the Director of Research at the Ear Research Foundation in Sarasota, Florida.  

Dr. Wazen was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in January, 2015.