Deaf Person of the Month
Receptionist of the White House's West Wing
Leah Katz-Hernandez is already familiar to our readers as the March 2009 "Deaf Person of the Month." She took an active role in political activism, spearheading a voter-registration drive at Gallaudet University and the Potomac-Tidewater region. And that was even before she graduated from Gallaudet in 2010. Since then, she has continued her active involvement in politics.
She moved to Chicago in 2012 to work for President Obama's re-election campaign. Then she worked on the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "This position led to a job in the First Lady's Press Office. Working there was an amazing experience and also helped me grow professionally to the point where I was qualified and could competitively interview for the West Wing Receptionist job when it became available."
During her first week in the Press Office job, she experienced a thrill. A fellow staffer introduced Katz-Hernandez to First Lady Michelle Obama, who fingerspelled her name.
In her current post as West Wing Receptionist, Katz-Hernandez says, "My job is making sure the West Wing is a very welcoming and inviting place for guests who arrive at the White House and for guests who have appointments with the President and senior staff. Sometimes, this includes foreign leaders. I also maintain and book the West Wing meeting rooms—the Roosevelt Room and the Ward Room. I also coordinate the White House Guest Book for official foreign leader arrivals."
She has especially enjoyed brining in Deaf schoolchildren—elementary, midde-school, and high-schoolers—for tours and events.
And when President Obama's term ends, she'll be busy: "No matter what I do, I always want to make life better for deaf people."