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For President

Brianne Burger

Brianne Burger has led an illustrious career in the federal government, marked by a series of prominent roles that exemplify her unwavering commitment to public service. Presently, she serves as Director/Liaison at the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) within the U.S. Department of Education. Her remarkable journey includes prior tenures at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), where she has continuously demonstrated her value to colleagues and supervisors. Notably, she was entrusted with a crucial detail last year at the Department of Transportation, where her invaluable contributions significantly influenced disability policy.

I’m honored to announce my candidacy for DIG President. Since joining the organization in 2007, I’ve dedicated myself to serving our community in various roles, from being part of the National Training Conference planning committee twice in 2011 and 2013 to being appointed Advanced Learning Director in 2020, being elected Member at Large in 2021, and now serving as the Communications Manager after the recent December 2022 election. During my tenure as Advanced Learning Director, I helped launch DIG’s successful webinar program, which has since held over 50+ webinars in collaboration with numerous federal agencies, companies and deaf organizations and led to the growth of DIG’s sponsorship base. My tenure as the Communications Manager has seen DIG’s social media presence grow to include not just Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but also LinkedIn, expanding our reach and influence beyond our subscriber emails. DIG is now an official member of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advisory Network (DHHCAN), a proud milestone reflecting this hard work. In my role as Vice Chair of DHHCAN, a position to which I was unanimously elected, I represent DIG among a coalition of national deaf and hard of hearing organizations, thus expanding our advocacy efforts. As a result of my tireless networking and efforts to exponentially increase DHHCAN’s (and by extension DIG’s) visibility, I fostered a vital and indispensable working relationship with White House officials, yielding remarkable outcomes such as repeated invitations extended to DIG and other DHHCAN member organizations for prestigious events and consequential policy meetings held at the White House. In addition to my current role as Communications Manager, I serve as the Co-Chair of the National Training Conference, cultivating over 12 sponsors and 21 exhibitor relationships. I’m proud of our successes, and in this next term should you elect me as President, I’m committed to continuing our policy advocacy with federal/state agencies and the White House, further elevating DIG’s profile, and increasing sponsorship opportunities for our organization. With your support, we can take DIG to even greater heights.

Kirsten Poston

I have over 30 years of leadership experience on the local, state and national levels, and have coordinated, led, managed and facilitated non profit organizations that specialize in serving the deaf, deaf blind, late deafened and hard of hearing community. I am very passionate about elevating our community. I support and believe in transparency and community engagement and will pledge to bring this organization to the next level so that it becomes a household name not just here in Washington DC but throughout the nation. My leadership experience started off as the president off my agency’s employee resource group. I held that role for more than 10 years. Among many accomplishments we were instrumental in establishing the department’s first Disability Resource Center. This shift included centralizing reasonable accommodation program throughout our department. We also got our first centralized sign language interpreting service contract. I also collaborated with Gallaudet University and had ore than 100 students participated in Mock Interviews with prospective employers at my agency. I received many awards for my accolades for my many contributions to the deaf community. I am a team player and always aim for solutions to employment barriers affecting deaf, hard of hearing, deaf blind and late deafened community. People know me as a go-getter.

My favorite quote by the late Edward Kennedy, “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”

For Vice President

Paige Thompson

I am Paige Thompson. I’ve been involved with Deaf in Government since August 2020 helping with webinars. Since then, I’ve been active with the organization doing various technology aspects as well as the websites. I work for a state-level company, the University of Arkansas, as a system analyst. I have been an officer for various organizations since 2004 giving back to the Deaf Community. If I am selected as Vice President, I will be available to help internally with the officers and make sure Deaf In Government runs smoothly and efficiently.

For Member-At-Large (MAL)

Cassie Mae Blomquist

My name is Cassie Blomquist, currently from New Jersey and I commute to Philadelphia for work at Navsup wss. My position as a logistics management specialist focuses on one aircraft which is a C-130 to support the fleet and all military branches. I have to come up with a forecast plan by calculating data. All of this experience has taught me both leadership and teamwork. I have identified some areas that need to improve with disability access. This is a good opportunity for me to advocate for accessibility through DIG. My experience and fresh ideas will benefit DIG members.

Amra Hrnjez

I have over 20 years’ experience in Accounting and Finance. Currently, I work for USAID as Budget Analyst, where I manage funds overseas for ASIA. Besides that role, I am an active participant with two groups: Employee with Disabilities (EWD) and Women@Aid Board at USAID.

I am excited to run for the Member at Large position on the Deaf in Government Committee. With a strong commitment to inclusivity, I will actively advocate for the rights of the deaf community and drive positive change within the government. Together, let’s create an inclusive government that amplifies the voices of the deaf community.

Thank you for considering me for this role!

Rita Owens

I have been working for the federal gov’t for over 30 years and have been involved in a variety of committees at GSFC including accessibility, DEIA, GESTA, women network, etc. I have leadership experience with committees and would welcome an opportunity to contribute to an organization for deaf professionals outside my workplace.

Florence Rapozo

I, Deaf and Asian, live in Honolulu, Hawaii and work in the College of Security Studies Operations at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (DKI APCSS) which is a U.S. Department of Defense institute in Honolulu, Hawaii. In my experiences, I had done managing the DIG’s track and also assisted several of the other 80 workshops at the NAD Conference in Orlando, Florida 2022. Moreover, I was in charge of organizing and coordinating with chairs for the Pacific Rim and DIG conference in Honolulu, Hawaii this past March 2023. As a co-chairperson, I am in charge of organizing the big upcoming DIG National Training Conference in Washington, D.C. June 2023 with a mission to provide a full accessibility, employment, education, leadership development, professional training, and innovations that develop the needs of the public sector’s deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing communities. Since I was appointed as DIG Special Program Director last year, DIG has taught me to acquire remarkable opportunities to meet influential, intelligent, and well-connected people. There is a reason why I am interested in this position because serving on a board will help me to strengthen a variety of professional skills and is highly beneficial for my career advancement and also develop my ability to collaborate with motivated people and contribute to DIG’s strategic direction rather than managing day to day operations. Collaborating with them can also be energizing and result in inspiration, connection, and engagement.

I have excellent, professional interpersonal, leadership, and organizational skills as an enthusiastic DoD government employee both independently and collaboratively with an outgoing personality. With a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information System (CIS) and Business Administration from Gallaudet University, I began my first career as an Administration Support at the College Operations under the Department of Defense in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I am motivated to announce my candidacy for Member-At-Large for the Deaf in Government (DIG) organization. I recognize the fact that DIG board members allow me to gain knowledge and skills I might not have within my day-to-day role such as Learn from colleagues or professional leaders, hear about different points of view, and develop my knowledge and Gain skills like communication skills, leadership experience, event planning, project management and execution.

I have the ability to compromise, show respect to the Government employees and contractors, and listen to the needs of my teammates. While I can be elected, I can also play an equal role on the team when the situation values. Thank you for considering me for this Member at Large position.

Linda Whitmore

Linda Whitmore works as a Management Analyst for Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) in Washington, DC. Her knowledge, skills, and abilities are in program management and program administration, including public administration, logistics management, and program analysis. She has several internal US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and external community roles in addition to her full-time employment to advocate for equal access for the deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind employees. Linda is one of the founding members of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employee Association for USDA (DHHUSDA). She was elected the first Vice President and is currently the Secretary. Linda volunteered with Deaf In Government (DIG) to bring together a panel in October 2019 on “Empowering Deaf Women Federal Employees.” Over 110 attendees learned from women senior leaders about work-life balance, career advancement, and managing competing priorities. Linda serves as the Disability Special Emphasis Program Manager (SEPM) for FAS Office of Civil Rights and the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) Recruiter exchanging feedback and guidance with deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind college students through informational interviews. Linda was part of a behind-the-scenes team for USDA Secretary Vilsack’s roundtable discussion in February 2022 with the Department’s Disability Employment Special Emphasis Program Manager, as well as leaders and representatives from the DHHUSDA and Employee Resource Groups (ERG). She continues to ensure that agency-wide events are accessible for all employees. She takes part in the training held by the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

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2023 NTC/DIG