Our Steering Committee

The Steering Committee Members are elected by the chapter members.  They are required to be members of HLAA National and typically serve a 2-year term but it can vary.
Among the shared responsibilities of the SC is the planning and leading of the monthly meetings, planning events and finding new and inventive ways for outreach.

The SC is responsible for using our resources (the membership and funds) to further our mission — to open the world of communication to people with hearing loss — through advocacy, education, information and support.

Steering Committee members come from every background and experience.  Members have various levels of hearing loss or no loss at all, and share the desire to “pay it forward”.

Here are our current Steering Committee members and a little bit about themselves:

Jennifer Nelson, President

Jennifer Nelson, President

Since 2014 I have been a member of HLAA-Los Angeles and am honored to now serve as President of the Steering Committee. Finding HLAA brought me together with like-minded people who were interested in working for a common goal, be it in advocacy, finding the newest trends in technology, or just overall support of one other. Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Commission on Disability, advocating for more initiatives for the hard of hearing community in Los Angeles. When I’m not out championing our cause, I’m writing, reading, or hanging with my husband and our saved-from-the-pound pup, Clancy.
Tim Browning, Vice-President and Webmaster

Tim Browning, Vice-President and Webmaster

I have been a member of HLAA-LA since August 2014 looking for people who have similar stories to mine regarding hearing loss and challenges. I was born with hearing less, moderate to severe, so the years growing up were challenging and set some assumptions in my mind regarding who I thought I was and my worth. Through this chapter, I got more than I could imagine. Not just to hear the support and talking to people who “get it”, but just the profoundly wonderful individuals I’ve meet. We are known as the “Party Group” after all! In my spare time I enjoy fitness, movies, making breakfast dishes and smoothies and spending quality time with family, friends and my wife.
Secretary

Diane Gross, Secretary and Social Media Chair

HLAA and I have been partners since the San Fernando Valley chapter was formed in 1981; we’ve grown up together! This organization has enhanced my life in more ways than I can mention. Over the years, I’ve served in a variety of roles at the local, state and national level, putting my journalism and library assistant training to good use. My progressive hearing loss is from a genetic condition called Usher Syndrome, which also contributes to a vision loss from retinitis pigmentosa. I’ve had bilateral Cochlear Americas implants since 2006 and 2008; another way my life has been enhanced due to my involvement with HLAA. Outside of this chapter, I spend time knitting; reading; and hanging out with family and friends, in person and online.
Sandy Blake, Steering Committee Member

Sandy Blake, Steering Committee Member

My hearing loss began in August 2009 with a bad case of tinnitus in my left ear . The doctors called it sensineural hearing loss and told me that it happened to people of all ages. Then in May 2017 I woke up feeling like someone had put a blanket over my head. I went back to the House Clinic and this time it was recommended to get hearing aids and possibly a cochlear implant.
The trauma, unknown future, and just plain shock was overwhelming and depressing. Finding the right audiologist made all the difference in the world. A few months after the surgery I discovered HLAA and found positive fun people who “got it”. My career as a singer and voice teacher is off the table right now but we’re working on that. I enjoy writing, cooking, entertaining friends, piano scales, rehabbing exercises, my husband, daughters, and rescue pups.
Sharon Swerdlow, Steering Committee Member

Sharon Swerdlow, Steering Committee Member

It took me having hearing loss for 25 years until I found out about HLAA. Once I did, I jumped right in to HLAA-LA and have benefited greatly from the meetings I have attended and the wonderful people I have met along the way. I am no longer alone! My hearing “disorder” is genetic. It is called cochlear otosclerosis and has been progressive. I have been a grateful cochlear implant recipient since 2015. After having worked in the corporate world for decades, I am FINALLY in acceptance of the need for accommodations in all aspects of my day-to-day life. Getting to this place has been very liberating.
I am the proud mother of three and enjoy the outdoors, cooking, the Dodgers and movies (with captions of course!) I look forward to working on the Steering Committee and sharing in our hearing journey together.