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:

 Wendi Washington

Wendi Washington,
President - Steering Committee

I am honored to be a member of the steering committee for the second time. I joined the Los Angeles chapter of HLAA in 2007, after meetng up with some of the members at the Long Beach Walk4Hearing. They were a friendly group and I felt comfortable right away. This chapter has made a tremendous difference in my life. I’ve gotten support, information, a convention scholarship and enjoyed many social occasions. I have also made some lifelong friends.
My bilateral sensorineural hearing loss started in elementary school as a mild loss. Over the years it got progressively worse. I started wearing one analog hearing aid when I began college. I now wear two BTE digital hearing aids to combat my severe to profound hearing loss. I am grateful that they are a huge help. I am also grateful for this chapter.
Tim Browning

Tim Browning,
Steering Committee

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 loss, moderate to severe, so the years growing up were challenging and set some assumptions in my mind regarding whom I thought I was and my worth. Through this chapter, I got more than I could imagine. Not just to hear the support and talk to people who “get it”, but just the profoundly wonderful individuals I’ve met. 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.
Sandy Blake

Sandy Blake,
Steering Committee

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.
Georgia Fleischer

Georgia Fleischer ,
Steering Committee

Hello everyone! I have been a member of HLAA-LA since it's inception 15 years ago. I grew up with a hearing loss and wore hearing aids for 30 years. In 1994 & 2006, I received a cochlear implant so I am now a bi-lateral user. This chapter has been a ground breaker for me. I have made many life-long friends. The support & love shown is beyond measure. We are all at different levels of hearing loss. However, each and everyone is embraced. We are here for you! I was on the Steering Committee a few years ago for 4 years as Advocacy Chairman. I am now back on the Steering Committee doing just that, once again. I love advocating for our rights and accessibility!
Jackie Gayer

Jackie Gayer,
Steering Committee

I went to my first HLAA-LA meeting at the advice of my ear surgeon in 2020. I am a latent deaf person due to side effects from radiation treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer in 2010. In 2015 I had a Baha-bone conduction device implanted which worked for 5 years until my hearing rapidly deteriorated at the end of 2019. In early 2020, I completely lost my hearing, leading to me getting bilateral cochlear implants. I was very nervous to get a cochlear implant but thankfully I had recently found the HLAA-LA group, and everyone in this group was AMAZING. The supportive I received from this group made my surgery so much easier for me to go through. I became part of the steering committee in 2022 and I am also the co-chair for Walk4Hearing-Long Beach. I am a RN, and I worked in the NICU for over 20 years in Detroit and LA. Unfortunately, I am unable to work now due to vestibular disfunction, another side effect of radiation treatment. I am often asked if I would do radiation treatment again knowing it would lead to deafness. The answer is YES, ABSOLUTELY! I’m alive and have learned through this group that there is hope and support for those with hearing loss. I hope to now offer the same support to others with hearing loss. In my spare time, I love traveling and spending time with my husband and my two dogs.
Rizwana Jmari

Rizwana Jmari,
Steering Committee

I am a normal hearing parent trying to raise my three years’ old daughter who has recently been diagnosed hard of hearing. In an arena which is totally new to me and often overwhelming, I have no choice but to swiftly become knowledgeable and understand the unique needs of my child. In her silent world, all I can ask is patience for I have so much more to learn. In a world made for the hearing, I cannot hide my fears for I know the journey won’t be easy. My joining HLAA-LA is a priceless experience, not only because it opens up my mind to a whole new reality but it also gives me the opportunity to contribute to it. I have been leading corporate marketing and communications for companies across diverse sectors. I hold a BSc (Hons) in Communication Studies with specialization in Journalism and an MBA. My family consists of my bicultural kids, husband and Xena, the chameleon.
Valecia Adams

Valecia Adams,
Steering Committee

Valecia Adams is an entrepreneur, content creator, and hearing loss activist based in Los Angeles, CA. As the founder of Empower and Hear, a non-profit that advocates and provides resources for Women of Color affected by hearing loss, her goal is to raise awareness around hearing loss and its community members. Empower and Hear aims to improve livelihoods by confronting the challenges, stigmas and stereotypes of hearing loss through acceptance and education, resources, self-advocacy and most importantly, confidence building.
Valecia is a Certified Peer Mentor, graduating from Gallaudet University, an Emerging Leader Initiative Certificate as recognized by the Small Business Administration, and has been nominated for a HearStrong Champion award. When not coaching and creating content for hearing loss advocacy, Valecia is serving her community in various capacities and supporting her loving family of 4.