Current IRID Board



Will Lee, President (NIC)

Will has worked as an interpreter for more than 25 years.  After graduating from a two-year ITP in Iowa, he has worked in educational, medical, legal, mental health, DeafBlind, business, performance and technical settings.  Will has served as a staff interpreter, freelance interpreter, interpreter evaluator, interpreter educator and interpreter manager. 

After returning to school in 2001 for his BS degree in computer science from Purdue University, Will has worked to develop and maintain websites for various non-profit agencies.

Will currently focuses his energies and skills in giving back to the interpreting field by serving on the IRID Board and as the IRID webmaster.  He has served IRID on the Communications Committee, as Membership Chair, Secretary, and currently as President. 

In his spare time, what little there is, Will enjoys reading, having a glass of wine, and spending time with his partner of 16 years and their family including a son, a daughter and a grandson.

President IAD

Corey Axelrod, President, Illinois Association of the Deaf

Hard of hearing since birth and fourth generation with deafness in his family, Corey Axelrod is an experienced marketing and sales professional. Axelrod currently serves as a senior account executive with Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD). Prior to CSD, he started Synergetic Business Solutions, a digital marketing communications firm. Corey has also served as a digital marketing coordinator for Purple Communications, director of marketing and business development for Hager Productions and senior field sales manager for Vector Marketing.

Corey is also active in numerous civic and rights advocacy organizations. He currently serves as President of the Illinois Association of the Deaf and Chair of the National Association of the Deaf Outreach Committee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing and sales management from the Rochester Institute of Technology.


Vice President

Amanda Grazian, Vice President (NIC)

As a CODA, Amanda has been signing and immersed in the Deaf community her entire life. In 2006, she began her professional interpreting career in Chicago, Illinois. She chose to further her career by supplementing her experience in 2012 by obtaining her degree from Gallaudet University in American Sign Language, minoring in Linguistics. While in Washington, DC, Amanda worked as a freelance interpreter, as well as a staff interpreter for Access Interpreting. Amanda relocated to the Midwest in 2013 and began mentoring students at Columbia College, along with teaching part-time at Moraine Valley Community College. She participated in the 2013 IRID Conference Level Interpreting Mentorship Program and was a conference interpreter and mentor for the 2014 and 2015 IRID Annual Conference. Amanda enjoys fostering a supportive and collaborative work environment for hearing, Deaf and interpreting team members to allow for successful interpreting experiences. Amanda looks forward to volunteering with Illinois RID in many ways to encourage professional growth for interpreters across the state of Illinois. While Amanda is not working, she loves spending time with her husband, Chris and their two dogs, Mila and Gino. Amanda loves running, yoga and watching the Chicago Blackhawks.



Suzanne Stafford Salerno, Treasurer (CI/CT)

Suzanne left the bustling trading pits of the Chicago Board of Trade to become an interpreter, and has supported the Chicago Deaf community in that role for 13 years. Her training in financial matters started young since her father owned an accounting firm, and continued in her academic and professional life. Numbers have always been in her blood! She has stayed connected to that realm by developing expertise in interpreting technical content. Currently Suzanne is the Cookie Mom of her daughter’s girl scout troop handling thousands of dollars’ worth of deliciousness. (Let her know if you need a box.) Her organizational skills are also brought to bear as the secretary of LeCOBDA, Chicagoland’s DeafBlind association.



Jennifer Maulding, Secretary (CI/CT)

Jen graduated with high honors from Waubonsee Community College’s ITP in 1999.  Jen’s interpreting work began at her alma mater Hinsdale South High School.  After receiving her national RID certification in 2003, she began working in the VRS indusrty at Purple Communications, Inc. where she was a Video Relay Interpreter as well as the Center Manager for Purple’s VRS Call Center in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.   These days Jen enoys her interpreting journey in the freelance setting.  Jen was on the IRID Board for six year serving as IRID Secretary then took a few years off and is now back again as Secretary.  You can often find her running the registration table at IRID conferences.  When not interpreting she enjoys the love and company of her best friend and husband, Jason, children Olivia and Kole, and two Bichon Frise dogs, Howie and Lawson. When not at home or working, Jen’s hobbies include family time and watching the Chicago Blackhawks!


Member At Large

Cathy L. Silvern, Member at Large (Illinois BEI Intermediate)

Cathy has worked as a freelance Interpreter since 2011 in the Chicagoland area. Her current experience includes VRS, community, religious/life cycle events, social services and educational interpreting. Cathy was elected to the IRID Board as Member-at-Large in November 2015 and for the past three years she helped to coordinate conference logistics. Education and interpreter training includes a BA from Grinnell College, NTID’s Interpreter Training Program, National Theatre of the Deaf, Harper College and DCI.  From 1976-1986, Cathy’s first interpreting career was in Minneapolis, MN where she worked as a freelance theatre interpreter.  

Between interpreting careers, Cathy was an arts manager with the Children’s Theatre Company, Guthrie Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Museum of Photographic Arts, Wisconsin Public Radio, Carnegie Mellon University’s Master of Arts Management Program, Business Volunteers for the Arts and Kohl Children’s Museum. In addition, she is a certified Teacher of English as a Foreign Language and has experience teaching English abroad as well as in the States working with refugees, recent immigrants and international students.

Cathy resides in Skokie and is a “rescue Mom” to her beloved cat, mehitabel.

Member At Large

Mary Kocsis, Member At Large

Mary began signing at Waubonsee Community College in 1992. Her interest came as a result of watching an interpreter in her math class. Her grade in the math class suffered but she found a career she would enjoy for many years to come. She hung around with the deaf students and learned to sign in class and at the deaf club in Aurora.

Her interpreting career started in 1996 at Illinois State University. She has a BS in Deaf and HOH education (1996) and an MS in Learning and Behavior Strategies (2000). She worked for many years as both an educator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and as an American Sign Language educator.

Since 2013 Mary had dedicated her professional life to freelance interpreting, especially in the areas of 12 step, college, and employment. She is married with two boys, ages 8 and 13. 

Member At Large

Susan Sotnick, Member at Large (NIC)

Susan has been interpreting professionally for 12 years. She is both a graduate of Columbia College Chicago’s ASL/English Interpretation Department and an adjunct faculty member where she has taught both interpreting skills classes and in the practicum program. Susan designed and implemented the first theatrical interpreting IEP curriculum in the state of Illinois and developed Columbia’s “Theatrical Interpreting Project,” where students mounted supervised interpreted performances in collaboration with Columbia School of Performing Arts. Susan is a full-time onsite interpreter for Goodwill Great Lakes where she provides daily interpreting services for over 65 Deaf individuals on the Navy base. Susan is proud to serve as an IRID Member-At-Large and board liaison for the Entry-to-Practice Committee.


ITP Student Rep

Billy Burke, Student Representative (Columbia College Chicago)

I began learning American Sign Language at Waubonsee Community College in 2012. At Waubonsee I took several courses in various areas of interests, including sign language.  I enjoyed learning about Deaf culture and ASL so much I changed my major and pursued a degree in Sign Language Interpreting.  In 2014, during my last semester, I took the EIPA, passed, and began working as an interpreter in the educational setting that fall!  In May of 2015, I received my Associate’s degree.  Although I enjoyed working as an educational interpreter, I realized I wanted to continue improving my skills and provide interpreting services within the Deaf Community. In the Fall of 2016, I enrolled at Columbia College in Chicago.  I believe Columbia College’s rich ASL-English Interpreting program will assist me on my journey, build upon and strengthen the interpreting skills I acquired at Waubonsee, and help me to achieve my professional goal of National Certification from RID.  I am on the right track. I anticipate graduating from Columbia in May of 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in ASL-English Interpreting.
I am extremely honored and humbled to be chosen as IRID’s ITP Student Rep. As the Student Rep, it is my intention to assure all ITP students are aware of IRID, can access professional developments and feel comfortable attending workshops as well as contributing and being active participants in the interpreting community early on in their interpreter training programs. I am looking forward to working with you over these next several months and further developing our profession.