Current IRID Board



Teri Hedding, MA works at Sinai Health System as the Sinai Deaf Community Relations and Research Coordinator.  Her previous experience includes management of interpreter and healthcare access for Deaf and hard of hearing patients, statewide coordination of delivery of mental health services for Deaf and hard of hearing consumers, counseling, case management, crisis intervention and advocacy.  She is also a certified deaf interpreter (CDI) and has interpreted in various situations in medical, mental health, government, business, and legal settings. 

Past President

Will Lee, President (NIC, BEI Master)

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.



Student Rep

Mark McWilliams has completed his first BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and will be completing his second BA in ASL-English Interpretation from Columbia College Chicago in the Winter of 2017. Both at SAIC and Columbia, Mark has been involved in student advocacy, organization, and collaboration. Working within Columbia’s ASL Department as a student worker has allowed him the opportunity to bring a variety of skillsets from his previous degree to projects within Columbia and in support of Columbia’s “ASL Club” student group. These opportunities continued when Mark joined IRID’s Communications Committee to assist with the documentation and marketing of IRID events. Mark dreams of utilizing his previous degree by interpreting in an artistic field and a handful of other areas of interest (such as medical and mental health interpreting).


Member At Large

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

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

Olivia began learning American Sign Language in her high school while growing up in Jacksonville, Illinois.  She was fortunate to have taken some of her ASL classes among Deaf and Hard of Hearing peers on the campus of the Illinois School for the Deaf.  Olivia then attended Columbia College Chicago to study ASL/English Interpreting.  She took a brief break from Columbia to spend one semester at Gallaudet University as a Visiting Student in 2011.  Olivia graduated with her BA from Columbia College in December of 2013.  Her education continued at Sorenson’s VRSII School-to-Work program in Salt Lake City, Utah; where she took part in a three-month intensive internship.  Olivia has been a member of both IRID and RID since 2013.
In early 2014, Olivia began working as a Community and VRS Interpreter in the Chicagoland area.  She also worked as a full-time K-12 interpreter in a high school for one year before returning back to freelance work.  Since moving back to Central Illinois in mid 2016, she continues to work in a variety of settings as a community interpreter; substituting in K-12 settings, and still occasionally working in VRS.  She currently lives in Jacksonville with her dog Copper.  In her free time, she enjoys traveling, eating, reading, and being taken on walks by her dog.