SOMERSET, NJ—During an otherwise quiet month in the hearing health care world, a flurry of honors were handed out in August, including a dozen to the winners of Oticon’s 18th annual Focus on People Awards. During an August 14 ceremony at Oticon, Inc.’s US headquarters in New Jersey, the company paid tribute to 12 people “whose courage, vision, and commitment are helping to change the perception of what it means to have a hearing loss.”
People from around the U.S. cast over 10,000 votes to help select from the 12 finalists the first-, second-, and third-place winners in the Adult, Student, Practitioner, and Advocacy categories.
Joyce Edmiston of Mount Joy, PA, who grew up with hearing loss, received top honors for the advocacy she provides through her popular blog Xpressive HandZ.
First-place winner in the Student category was 14-year-old Vako Gvelesiani of Brooklyn, NY, whose hearing loss has not stopped him from pursuing his passion for dance and music. He has appeared in a music video for Michelle Obama’s Move Your Body Campaign and recently won a coveted spot on the Brooklyn Nets Kids dance team.
Despite a profound hearing loss, Susie Cambre of Hammond, LA, is director of elderly services and community education for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office. She is also founder and former director of the Louisiana Hearing Dog Association, and has created more than 40 nationally honored safety and awareness programs.
Growing up with a deaf sibling has given Susie Ternes, AuD, an audiologist in Wichita, KS, insights into the day-to-day life of families of children with hearing loss. She was honored in the Practitioner category for her caring work at Via Christi Hospital and her numerous volunteer endeavors.
Further information on the honorees is available online.
In presenting the Focus on People Awards, Peer Lauritsen, president of Oticon, Inc., said that the winners “have taken their unique circumstances and accomplished goals well beyond what many may have thought possible. We are pleased to recognize their contributions to making the world a better place for others with hearing loss.”
ROYAL HONOR FOR PEER LAURITSEN
NEW YORK–Just two days earlier, Peer Lauritsen was an award recipient. His Royal Highness Prince Henrik’s Medal of Honor was bestowed on the Oticon president at a ceremony held August 12 at the New York residence of the General Consul of Denmark. The royal honor recognizes Lauritsen’s leadership in helping Oticon, Inc., which is owned by the Danish company William Demant, to secure a strong market position and continued growth in the North American market for hearing devices.
Lauritsen, who was also awarded the Diploma of the Danish Export Association, has been with Oticon for 40 years and been president in 2005.
Jarl Friis-Madsen, the Ambassador and Consul General of Denmark in New York, noted, “Under the leadership of Peer Lauritsen, Oticon has created and executed a long-term strategy for the U.S. market, which has secured the company profitable growth.” Friis-Madsen added, “There is much to be learned for other companies from Oticon’s performance in the North American market.”
A&E AUDIOLOGY NAMED #1 WOMAN-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS
LANCASTER, PA–A&E Audiology & Hearing Aid Center, founded and owned by Kamal Elliot, AuD, was honored on August 21 by the SCORE Foundation as the Outstanding Woman-Owned Small Business in the country. The business, which has grown to 20 employees, including five doctors of audiology, and now has three locations, was recognized for its “vision, innovation and achievement.”
The SCORE Foundation is the philanthropic wing of SCORE, a 50-year-old non-profit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow, and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.