Third Generation Deaf Person Running Nonprofit Serving Deaf Community

Summarized by Juli Holbert, staff writer

Chris Soukup is the CEO of Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), a nonprofit that focuses on solving the issues of communication, representation and support in the deaf community. Soukup, a third generation member of the deaf community, has personal ties to the work that he does.

CSD was started by Soukup’s father, Ben Soukup, more than 40 years ago. The Soukup family was often confronted with injustices on the basis of their deafness. Chris Soukup’s grandfather lost his farm when a banker explained to him that he didn’t believe a deaf person could run a farm.

Though the younger Soukup didn’t seem like he was bound to follow his father’s path, he joined the company after finishing graduate school. He joined the executive management team in 2007, was appointed president in 2011 and then named CEO in 2014.

Soukup manages a $38 million operating budget and over 1,000 employees in all 50 states, as well as New Zealand. The company helps provide educational resources and job training in ASL for the deaf community.

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