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Oticon Celebrates Winners of 2018 Focus on People Awards

SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY — On October 13, Oticon honored this year’s Focus on People Award winners at the OticonNext conference held in Orlando, Florida. The awards ceremony recognized 13 remarkable individuals in the Student, Adult, Advocacy and Hearing Practitioner categories “who are helping to change the perception of what it means to have a hearing loss”. According to the announcement, more than 10,000 votes cast by people across the United States to select this year’s winners. 

“In 20 years, the Oticon Focus on People Awards has honored more than 270 outstanding individuals with hearing loss. All Focus on People Award winners, like our 2018 honorees, share a determination to contribute that has enabled them to overcome challenges and achieved goals well beyond what many thought possible. In two decades, we never cease to be amazed and humbled by all that our Focus on People Award winners have accomplished.”

–Nancy Palmere, Director of Consumer Marketing and Public Relations for Oticon, Inc.


2018 First Place Winners


STUDENTCeline Yang, Belmont, CA

Celine led a plan to implement a tri-bin waste system on her high school campus, an idea first generated when she served as Environmental Education intern with her city’s waste facility. Celine and the student “Green Team” proposed the concept to administrators, managed logistics, and took on the challenge of educating others.

Now a first-year student at UC Berkeley, Celine is pursuing her interest in environmentalism.


ADULTClare Wolf, Rubicon, WI

A late diagnosed hearing loss isn’t keeping Clare from her goal to become a fulltime fire fighter and an emergency medical technician (EMT), both of which require acute hearing ability. She currently works as a volunteer firefighter and a paid on-call firefighter and recently completed EMT training. This spring, she participated in a Foreign Exchange Program in Germany for Fire and EMS students.


ADVOCACYJamie McClintic, Alpena, MI

Jamie, a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, is a passionate advocate/spokesperson for the Changing the Face of Beauty, a national campaign to empower people with disabilities by advocating for inclusive imagery in media and advertising.

Through her work, Jamie aims to normalize stigmas associated with individuals with hearing loss and all people with disabilities. Her book, Grieving the Gift (Jan. 2019), provides support for families when receiving a life-altering diagnosis.


PRACTITIONERJohnnie 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.

The CARE Project helps to ease the emotional journey and grieving process in families who learn their child is deaf or hard of hearing, with the ultimate goal being acceptance and advocating for the best life possible.



Jonathan Hutcherson, Nashville, TN – Jonathan is a singer and songwriter who gained national acclaim when he competed on Season 10 of The Voice. The talented artist now lives in Music City USA (Nashville), where he proudly wears his hearing aids on stage, in studio and when he’s meeting fans, driving awareness and inspiring others with hearing loss to live their dreams.

In addition to a $1000 prize, first place winners received a $1000 donation from Oticon, Inc. to the non-profit organization of their choice. First place winners in the Adult, Student and Advocacy categories also received a pair of advanced technology Oticon hearing aids.

In addition to this year’s first place winners, eight 2nd and 3rd place winners included:


  • 2nd place – John David Cobb, Knoxville, TN
  • 3rd place – Julio “James” Hernandez, Atlanta, GA


  • 2nd place – Frederick Brooke, Old Lyme, CT
  • 3rd place – Garth Baker, Twin Falls, ID


  • 2nd place – Rich Patterson, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • 3rd place – Mark Goldstein, Thousand Oaks, CA


  • 2nd place – Lena Kyman, AuD, Raleigh, NC
  • 3rd place – Carol Clifford, AuD, Albuquerque, NM


The 2018 Oticon Focus on People Awards: (l-r) First place winners Celine Yang (Student category); Clare Wolf (Adult); Oticon President Gary Rosenblum; Johnnie Sexton, AuD (Practitioner) and Special Achievement Award winner Jonathan Hutcherson. Not shown, Jamie McClintic, first place winner in the Advocacy category.


To read the full stories behind this year’s Focus on People Awards winners, visit Oticon’s website here.