Oticon Focus on People Award 2018

Congratulations 2018
Oticon Focus On People
Award Winners

Celebrating 20 years of changing attitudes, opening doors

The Oticon Focus on People Awards recognize outstanding people who are helping to show that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a positive difference in their families, communities or the world.

They are a dedicated and diverse group who share one common goal:
To eliminate negative stereotypes of what it means to have a hearing loss. Meet our 2018 Oticon Focus on People Awards winners — remarkable individuals whose courage, vision and commitment are helping to change perceptions and open doors of opportunity for all, but especially for people with hearing loss.


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Special Award for Outstanding Achievement

Jonathan Hutcherson
Nashville, TN

Nineteen-year-old Jonathan Hutcherson is a singer and songwriter who gained national acclaim when he competed on Season 10 of The Voice. Jonathan was diagnosed with hearing loss at age 2. His mother said that on the drive home from the audiologist’s office, Jonathan sang "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine." And shine it has. The talented artist now lives in Nashville — Music City USA — where he proudly wears his hearing aids on stage, in studio and when he’s meeting fans. His appearance on national television made him a role model for other young people, but especially for people living with hearing loss. Today, he continues to drive awareness and inspire others with hearing loss to live their dreams.






Student — 1st Place

Celine Yang
Belmont, CA

Seventeen-year-old Celine, an editor for her school’s news website, realized her words held power when her articles on her experience with hearing loss sparked conversation among her peers. This was the start of a tremendous lesson in developing her voice, which she used to found the school’s Green Team. The club’s success in implementing a tri-bin waste system on campus began as an idea first generated by Celine’s involvement as an Environmental Education intern with her city’s waste facility. As club president, she and her club proposed the idea to school administrators, worked out logistics, and took on the challenge of educating others. For her trailblazing work, she was selected to present at the 2018 Youth for Environment and Sustainability Conference. This fall, she heads to UC Berkeley to pursue her interest in environmentalism.

2nd Place
John David Cobb
Knoxville, TN

3rd Place
Julio "James" Hernandez
Atlanta, GA






Adult — 1st Place

Clare Wolf
Rubicon, WI

A late diagnosed hearing loss is not keeping Clare from her goal to become a full time fire fighter and an emergency medical technician, both of which require acute hearing ability. Clare has embraced what hearing aid technology can do to keep her "in the game" and takes every opportunity to tell others. She said: "These devices can help me distinguish a baby crying from the crackles that wood makes when it burns — that ability could help me save a life!" Clare currently works as a volunteer firefighter near her small Wisconsin town and as a paid on-call firefighter in another Wisconsin district. She recently completed her Emergency Medical Technician training and this spring, participated in a Foreign Exchange Program in Germany for Fire and EMS students.

2nd Place
Frederick Brooke
Old Lyme, CT

3rd Place
Garth Baker
Twin Falls, ID






Advocacy — 1st Place

Jamie McClintic
Alpena, MI

Jamie, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, first noticed that she didn’t relate to most marketing messages as a pre-teen. The only place she saw other young people with hearing aids was at the audiologist. Today, she is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for the Changing the Face of Beauty, a national campaign to empower all people with disabilities by advocating for inclusive imagery in media and advertising. Through her work, Jamie hopes to help normalize the stigmas associated with individuals with hearing loss and all people with disabilities. For 17 years, she has worked with families and children through their initial disability and hearing loss diagnoses. In January 2019, she will release Grieving the Gift, a book to provide support for families when receiving the news of a life-altering diagnosis.

2nd Place
Rich Patterson
Cedar Rapids, IA

3rd Place
Mark Goldstein
Thousand Oaks, CA





Practitioner — 1st Place

Johnnie Sexton, AuD
Raleigh, NC

Johnnie has worked with children who are deaf and hard of hearing for almost four decades. In 2009, he created the nonprofit CARE Project for the advancement of family, professional and pre-professional training opportunities in emotional/adjustment counseling. Through multimedia counseling and instructional materials, the CARE Project helps to ease the emotional journey and grieving process observed in families who have learned their child is deaf or hard of hearing, with the ultimate goal being acceptance and advocating for the best life possible. With Johnnie as executive director, what started out as one retreat, has now become a national standard for family engagement and empowerment. The North Carolina Speech, Hearing and Language Association has twice recognized Johnnie for his pioneering work in educational audiology and emotional support for families.

2nd Place
Lena Kyman, AuD
Raleigh, NC

3rd Place
Carol Clifford, AuD
Albuquerque, NM


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