Guide Regions & Bios

Minnesota Hands & Voices trained Parent Guides are a dedicated group of individuals available in all areas of the state. Read on to learn more about our staff.

All MN Regions

Laura Godfrey

Program Manager (651) 265-2372 LauraG@lifetrack-mn.org

Laura Godfrey has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since November of 2006, overseeing daily operations as new families are referred. She enjoys collaborating with other people and organizations. She believes that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing will do better when we help one another more.

Laura lives in the southwestern metro with her son who has had a high frequency hearing loss that was identified at three months of age.

She enjoys yoga, scrapbooking, and playing with her many animals (dogs, bunny, gerbil, bearded dragon, hedgehog, and tree frog). She has a background in animal behavior and was a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo for several years. She has taken coursework in Audiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

Carina Figueroa

Communications Coordinator (651) 265-2420 CarinaF@lifetrack-mn.org

Carina Figueroa began working for Minnesota Hands & Voices/Lifetrack in 2012. As Communications Coordinator, she provides support to the team in a number of ways, including event planning, providing clients with information, the marketing of events, and managing content for Minnesota Hands & Voices’ website and social media.

Carina has a passion for the diversity found in the Minnesota Hands & Voices community. She believes in the program and the families they serve. She also has an interest in the various communication modalities and technologies available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is always trying to expand her knowledge of them.

Carina has family members who are deaf or hard of hearing on both sides. Her younger brother was identified as hard of hearing when she was very young. Growing up with a sibling who is hard of hearing has made Carina a more caring, accepting, and patient person.

She works out of the Metro office location and supports team members in all areas of the state. She also assists part-time in a deaf and hard of hearing program preschool classroom. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Hearing Science. Carina loves to draw, paint, travel, and use her creativity to support Minnesota Hands & Voices.

Brenda Hommerding

Guide by Your Side Coordinator (320) 828-6786 BrendaH@lifetrack-mn.org

Brenda Hommerding has been working with Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She started as a Parent Guide and took on the addition role of Lead Regional Guide in 2015. In 2017 Brenda moved onto a different role in the organization as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator. She specializes in educational advocacy, language development, and community access.


Brenda lives in Central Minnesota. She has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993, and is the parent of twin girls, Amanda and Ashley, who were born in 2001 and are both hard of hearing in different degrees. Brenda herself is also hard of hearing.

Brenda has served on the St. Cloud Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in collaborating with community stakeholders to hold events for families locally. Brenda continues to represent MNHV at National Conferences and was recently awarded the Miss Congeniality Award for her patience, kindness, and an all around good natured person (received 2017). Her mother always wanted Brenda to be a teacher, so being a part of Minnesota Hands & Voices allows her to share and learn with a unique group of people.

Brenda loves to cross-stitch, read, paint, dance, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde

Upper Northwest Parent Guide (218) 902-0148 LeslieC@lifetrack-mn.org

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since 2011. She is the Parent Guide for the Upper Northwest region of the state, and has special interest in audiology and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).

Her teenaged daughter Shawnae, has Microtia/Atresia in her right ear, with severe- to profound deafness in that ear. She has a younger daughter, Sheyenne. They live in Norman County.

Leslie enjoys traveling and visiting local state parks and lakes. She enjoys flower gardening and seeing movies. She studied Commercial Art, which has become an outlet for stress.

Shannon Hohrman

Northwest Parent Guide (218) 350-0771 ShannonH@lifetrack-mn.org

Shannon Hohrman has been the Northwest Parent Guide for Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She helps families connect with other families and help them get the services they need. She is involved in the O.U.R. (Observe, Understand, and Respond) Project through Hands & Voices HQ, dedicated to addressing neglect, abuse, and bullying. Shannon is committed to helping families advocate for their child.

Shannon lives in Fergus Falls and has two wonderful boys. Her son Thomas is a Naval officer, and her son Nicholas, a high school student, is profoundly deaf.

She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and has participated on several committees, including the school district curriculum, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).

Shannon enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and spending time in the mountains and at the beach. She loves doing triathlons with her Minnesota Hands & Voices coworkers.

Marie Pank

Northeast Parent Guide (218) 343-1207 MarieP@lifetrack-mn.org

Marie Pank started with Minnesota Hands & Voices on her birthday in 2012. She is the Northeast Parent Guide and has a special interest in the large variety of technology available and how it can be used in everyday situations.

Marie lives in St. Louis County. She has low vision and albinism and her twin daughters have special needs. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and is a national delegate and Gold Award committee member for her Girl Scout Council. She is also a member of Lions Clubs International and is a LEO youth club advisor.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and has completed coursework for her Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology.

Krista Blood

Southwest Parent Guide (507) 720-2999 KristaB@lifetrack-mn.org

.

Anne Barlow

Metro Parent Guide/Event Coordinator Direct: (651) 265-2400 AnneB@lifetrack-mn.org

Anne Barlow has been a Metro Parent Guide with Minnesota Hands & Voices since December of 2013. She loves the family education events held by Minnesota Hands & Voices, and has enjoyed creating literacy information packets. An important part of Anne’s role is fostering connections between families that help them know that they are not alone; they are part of a warm community.She values her role as Event Coordinator where she supports all Guides as they create and hold family events so that parents can receive additional information as well as connect with other families and expand their support network.

Anne lives in the northwest Metro area. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children, the older of whom is profoundly and bilaterally hard of hearing, and are grandparents to a KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult). They are also “staff” to one cat.

She is a “retired” OTR (Occupational Therapist), and has also worked as a para and/or volunteer in special education at the elementary level for many years. She loves to read mysteries, bake, bike, swim, and swing in a hammock. She tries to learn something new every day.

A note from Anne: “Because Minnesota Hands & Voices did not exist when we were learning about our son’s hearing loss, I had deep feelings of isolation and anxiety about how to proceed. I feel honored to be able to help support new parents on their own journey to find information and resources as quickly as possible so that they feel empowered and confident to make choices that work for their children.”

Robin Coninx

Metro Parent Guide Direct: (651) 265-2334 Toll Free: (866) 346-4543 RobinC@lifetrack-mn.org

Robin Coninx started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in June of 2010. She is a Metro Parent Guide, and enjoys collaborating with various audiologists, educational staff, and individual parents.

Robin has four children – three adult boys and one adult daughter. Her daughter is her third child and was identified deaf at 14 months old. She has had numerous medical appointments since birth due to medical conditions.

She is a 1998 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a governor’s council on disability training. From 2004-2006, she worked for Minnesota Hands & Voices and then returned in June of 2010. In 2007, Robin was a parent rep at the Emergency Medical Services Regularity Board Tri-State Conference. In 2015, she attended the Family Leadership Institute of PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition of Educational Rights) and is a Family Voices graduate. She has received additional training through PACER as well.

She enjoys travel, raising German Shepard dogs, riding horses, and reading non-fiction. She is a football and basketball fan, both college and pro.

Sonya Giridhar

Southeast Parent Guide (507) 696-7550 SonyaG@lifetrack-mn.org


Sonya has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since January 2018 as the Southeast Parent Guide. She has a background in neuroscience and has an interest in communication strategies and language acquisition.


Sonya is in Rochester, MN and lives with her husband and two young children.Her 5-year-old daughter has a profound unilateral hearing loss. In her free time, Sonya enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Sonya’s background is in computational neuroscience.

She is passionate about brains, research, and making science more accessible to non-scientists.Previously, she created child-specific educational resources for families to explain their child’s hearing profile and communication access needs.She has also published a children's book and the main character is a child with hearing loss.

Saida Mohamed

Parent Guide for Northeast African Communities (651) 265-2351 SaidaS@lifetrack-mn.org

Saida Mohamed, Parent Guide for the Northeast African Communities, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since July of 2015.

She lives in Hennepin County and has five children. Her daughter is hard of hearing.

Saida works at a school with kids with special needs, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Mai Houa Lor

Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities (651) 265-2350 MaiH@lifetrack-mn.org

Mai Houa Lor started with Minnesota Hands & Voices as the Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities in December of 2015. She enjoys helping and working with families that are from different cultural backgrounds.

Mai has two children. Her son is in college and her young daughter, who was born premature at 25 ½ weeks, is hard of hearing. They live in Dakota County.

She has many years of experience volunteering with families that are new to the country. Some areas of need for these families are interpreting, social service, housing, health, and medical. Mai has more than ten years of professional interpreting and translation experience in medical clinics and hospitals for diagnostic appointments, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ranging from newborns to adults.

Suzanne Iwainat

Central Parent Guide (320) 428-4323 SuzanneI@lifetrack-mn.org

Suzanne started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in August of 2017. She has been connected with MNH&V for the past 11 years. She is the Central Parent Guide and has a special interest in the planning of events. She would like to connect families and educate parents as much as possible during events and provide useful information they can take with them.

Suzanne lives in Morrison County with her husband and two children, both of whom have hearing loss. Her son is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. Her daughter is almost 12 years old and is in 6th grade. They also have three cats and one dog.

She volunteers at the DHH Winter Camp in Brainerd. Both of her children attend and enjoy this camp very much. She is also on the Special Education Advisory Council at their school district. She is on her second year at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and will graduate in the spring from the Child & Adult Care Education Program. She also serves on the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Advisory Board for their program.

Suzanne loves spending time with her family. They enjoy camping and going to waterparks. She loves bike riding and chrocheting.

Elena Miranda

Parent Guide for Spanish Speaking Community (651) 265-2383 ElenaM@lifetrack-mn.org

Elena, Parent Guide for the Spanish Speaking Community, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since August of 2017. Through resources and connections with other families she hopes to help families feel less isolated and lonely.

Elena was born and raised in Mexico. She currently lives in Washington County with her husband and 3 children. Their oldest child was adopted when he was 2½ years old. Elena and her husband then relocated to Texas where they lived for many years before coming to Minnesota.

Elena loves to walk, bike, cook, make handcrafts & decorations (specifically the Christmas tree).

She has many years experience volunteering in Mexico at "Casa del Nino Poblano". She is now also working with the Spanish Community in 2 programs:

1. Warming with Love
2. Luminarias Guatemaltecas

and a work in progress, "Books for Africa"


Metro MN

Laura Godfrey

Program Manager (651) 265-2372 LauraG@lifetrack-mn.org

Laura Godfrey has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since November of 2006, overseeing daily operations as new families are referred. She enjoys collaborating with other people and organizations. She believes that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing will do better when we help one another more.

Laura lives in the southwestern metro with her son who has had a high frequency hearing loss that was identified at three months of age.

She enjoys yoga, scrapbooking, and playing with her many animals (dogs, bunny, gerbil, bearded dragon, hedgehog, and tree frog). She has a background in animal behavior and was a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo for several years. She has taken coursework in Audiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

Carina Figueroa

Communications Coordinator (651) 265-2420 CarinaF@lifetrack-mn.org

Carina Figueroa began working for Minnesota Hands & Voices/Lifetrack in 2012. As Communications Coordinator, she provides support to the team in a number of ways, including event planning, providing clients with information, the marketing of events, and managing content for Minnesota Hands & Voices’ website and social media.

Carina has a passion for the diversity found in the Minnesota Hands & Voices community. She believes in the program and the families they serve. She also has an interest in the various communication modalities and technologies available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is always trying to expand her knowledge of them.

Carina has family members who are deaf or hard of hearing on both sides. Her younger brother was identified as hard of hearing when she was very young. Growing up with a sibling who is hard of hearing has made Carina a more caring, accepting, and patient person.

She works out of the Metro office location and supports team members in all areas of the state. She also assists part-time in a deaf and hard of hearing program preschool classroom. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Hearing Science. Carina loves to draw, paint, travel, and use her creativity to support Minnesota Hands & Voices.

Brenda Hommerding

Guide by Your Side Coordinator (320) 828-6786 BrendaH@lifetrack-mn.org

Brenda Hommerding has been working with Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She started as a Parent Guide and took on the addition role of Lead Regional Guide in 2015. In 2017 Brenda moved onto a different role in the organization as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator. She specializes in educational advocacy, language development, and community access.


Brenda lives in Central Minnesota. She has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993, and is the parent of twin girls, Amanda and Ashley, who were born in 2001 and are both hard of hearing in different degrees. Brenda herself is also hard of hearing.

Brenda has served on the St. Cloud Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in collaborating with community stakeholders to hold events for families locally. Brenda continues to represent MNHV at National Conferences and was recently awarded the Miss Congeniality Award for her patience, kindness, and an all around good natured person (received 2017). Her mother always wanted Brenda to be a teacher, so being a part of Minnesota Hands & Voices allows her to share and learn with a unique group of people.

Brenda loves to cross-stitch, read, paint, dance, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde

Upper Northwest Parent Guide (218) 902-0148 LeslieC@lifetrack-mn.org

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since 2011. She is the Parent Guide for the Upper Northwest region of the state, and has special interest in audiology and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).

Her teenaged daughter Shawnae, has Microtia/Atresia in her right ear, with severe- to profound deafness in that ear. She has a younger daughter, Sheyenne. They live in Norman County.

Leslie enjoys traveling and visiting local state parks and lakes. She enjoys flower gardening and seeing movies. She studied Commercial Art, which has become an outlet for stress.

Shannon Hohrman

Northwest Parent Guide (218) 350-0771 ShannonH@lifetrack-mn.org

Shannon Hohrman has been the Northwest Parent Guide for Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She helps families connect with other families and help them get the services they need. She is involved in the O.U.R. (Observe, Understand, and Respond) Project through Hands & Voices HQ, dedicated to addressing neglect, abuse, and bullying. Shannon is committed to helping families advocate for their child.

Shannon lives in Fergus Falls and has two wonderful boys. Her son Thomas is a Naval officer, and her son Nicholas, a high school student, is profoundly deaf.

She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and has participated on several committees, including the school district curriculum, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).

Shannon enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and spending time in the mountains and at the beach. She loves doing triathlons with her Minnesota Hands & Voices coworkers.

Marie Pank

Northeast Parent Guide (218) 343-1207 MarieP@lifetrack-mn.org

Marie Pank started with Minnesota Hands & Voices on her birthday in 2012. She is the Northeast Parent Guide and has a special interest in the large variety of technology available and how it can be used in everyday situations.

Marie lives in St. Louis County. She has low vision and albinism and her twin daughters have special needs. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and is a national delegate and Gold Award committee member for her Girl Scout Council. She is also a member of Lions Clubs International and is a LEO youth club advisor.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and has completed coursework for her Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology.

Krista Blood

Southwest Parent Guide (507) 720-2999 KristaB@lifetrack-mn.org

.

Anne Barlow

Metro Parent Guide/Event Coordinator Direct: (651) 265-2400 AnneB@lifetrack-mn.org

Anne Barlow has been a Metro Parent Guide with Minnesota Hands & Voices since December of 2013. She loves the family education events held by Minnesota Hands & Voices, and has enjoyed creating literacy information packets. An important part of Anne’s role is fostering connections between families that help them know that they are not alone; they are part of a warm community.She values her role as Event Coordinator where she supports all Guides as they create and hold family events so that parents can receive additional information as well as connect with other families and expand their support network.

Anne lives in the northwest Metro area. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children, the older of whom is profoundly and bilaterally hard of hearing, and are grandparents to a KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult). They are also “staff” to one cat.

She is a “retired” OTR (Occupational Therapist), and has also worked as a para and/or volunteer in special education at the elementary level for many years. She loves to read mysteries, bake, bike, swim, and swing in a hammock. She tries to learn something new every day.

A note from Anne: “Because Minnesota Hands & Voices did not exist when we were learning about our son’s hearing loss, I had deep feelings of isolation and anxiety about how to proceed. I feel honored to be able to help support new parents on their own journey to find information and resources as quickly as possible so that they feel empowered and confident to make choices that work for their children.”

Robin Coninx

Metro Parent Guide Direct: (651) 265-2334 Toll Free: (866) 346-4543 RobinC@lifetrack-mn.org

Robin Coninx started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in June of 2010. She is a Metro Parent Guide, and enjoys collaborating with various audiologists, educational staff, and individual parents.

Robin has four children – three adult boys and one adult daughter. Her daughter is her third child and was identified deaf at 14 months old. She has had numerous medical appointments since birth due to medical conditions.

She is a 1998 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a governor’s council on disability training. From 2004-2006, she worked for Minnesota Hands & Voices and then returned in June of 2010. In 2007, Robin was a parent rep at the Emergency Medical Services Regularity Board Tri-State Conference. In 2015, she attended the Family Leadership Institute of PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition of Educational Rights) and is a Family Voices graduate. She has received additional training through PACER as well.

She enjoys travel, raising German Shepard dogs, riding horses, and reading non-fiction. She is a football and basketball fan, both college and pro.

Sonya Giridhar

Southeast Parent Guide (507) 696-7550 SonyaG@lifetrack-mn.org


Sonya has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since January 2018 as the Southeast Parent Guide. She has a background in neuroscience and has an interest in communication strategies and language acquisition.


Sonya is in Rochester, MN and lives with her husband and two young children.Her 5-year-old daughter has a profound unilateral hearing loss. In her free time, Sonya enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Sonya’s background is in computational neuroscience.

She is passionate about brains, research, and making science more accessible to non-scientists.Previously, she created child-specific educational resources for families to explain their child’s hearing profile and communication access needs.She has also published a children's book and the main character is a child with hearing loss.

Saida Mohamed

Parent Guide for Northeast African Communities (651) 265-2351 SaidaS@lifetrack-mn.org

Saida Mohamed, Parent Guide for the Northeast African Communities, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since July of 2015.

She lives in Hennepin County and has five children. Her daughter is hard of hearing.

Saida works at a school with kids with special needs, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Mai Houa Lor

Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities (651) 265-2350 MaiH@lifetrack-mn.org

Mai Houa Lor started with Minnesota Hands & Voices as the Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities in December of 2015. She enjoys helping and working with families that are from different cultural backgrounds.

Mai has two children. Her son is in college and her young daughter, who was born premature at 25 ½ weeks, is hard of hearing. They live in Dakota County.

She has many years of experience volunteering with families that are new to the country. Some areas of need for these families are interpreting, social service, housing, health, and medical. Mai has more than ten years of professional interpreting and translation experience in medical clinics and hospitals for diagnostic appointments, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ranging from newborns to adults.

Suzanne Iwainat

Central Parent Guide (320) 428-4323 SuzanneI@lifetrack-mn.org

Suzanne started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in August of 2017. She has been connected with MNH&V for the past 11 years. She is the Central Parent Guide and has a special interest in the planning of events. She would like to connect families and educate parents as much as possible during events and provide useful information they can take with them.

Suzanne lives in Morrison County with her husband and two children, both of whom have hearing loss. Her son is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. Her daughter is almost 12 years old and is in 6th grade. They also have three cats and one dog.

She volunteers at the DHH Winter Camp in Brainerd. Both of her children attend and enjoy this camp very much. She is also on the Special Education Advisory Council at their school district. She is on her second year at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and will graduate in the spring from the Child & Adult Care Education Program. She also serves on the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Advisory Board for their program.

Suzanne loves spending time with her family. They enjoy camping and going to waterparks. She loves bike riding and chrocheting.

Elena Miranda

Parent Guide for Spanish Speaking Community (651) 265-2383 ElenaM@lifetrack-mn.org

Elena, Parent Guide for the Spanish Speaking Community, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since August of 2017. Through resources and connections with other families she hopes to help families feel less isolated and lonely.

Elena was born and raised in Mexico. She currently lives in Washington County with her husband and 3 children. Their oldest child was adopted when he was 2½ years old. Elena and her husband then relocated to Texas where they lived for many years before coming to Minnesota.

Elena loves to walk, bike, cook, make handcrafts & decorations (specifically the Christmas tree).

She has many years experience volunteering in Mexico at "Casa del Nino Poblano". She is now also working with the Spanish Community in 2 programs:

1. Warming with Love
2. Luminarias Guatemaltecas

and a work in progress, "Books for Africa"


Central MN

Laura Godfrey

Program Manager (651) 265-2372 LauraG@lifetrack-mn.org

Laura Godfrey has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since November of 2006, overseeing daily operations as new families are referred. She enjoys collaborating with other people and organizations. She believes that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing will do better when we help one another more.

Laura lives in the southwestern metro with her son who has had a high frequency hearing loss that was identified at three months of age.

She enjoys yoga, scrapbooking, and playing with her many animals (dogs, bunny, gerbil, bearded dragon, hedgehog, and tree frog). She has a background in animal behavior and was a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo for several years. She has taken coursework in Audiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

Carina Figueroa

Communications Coordinator (651) 265-2420 CarinaF@lifetrack-mn.org

Carina Figueroa began working for Minnesota Hands & Voices/Lifetrack in 2012. As Communications Coordinator, she provides support to the team in a number of ways, including event planning, providing clients with information, the marketing of events, and managing content for Minnesota Hands & Voices’ website and social media.

Carina has a passion for the diversity found in the Minnesota Hands & Voices community. She believes in the program and the families they serve. She also has an interest in the various communication modalities and technologies available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is always trying to expand her knowledge of them.

Carina has family members who are deaf or hard of hearing on both sides. Her younger brother was identified as hard of hearing when she was very young. Growing up with a sibling who is hard of hearing has made Carina a more caring, accepting, and patient person.

She works out of the Metro office location and supports team members in all areas of the state. She also assists part-time in a deaf and hard of hearing program preschool classroom. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Hearing Science. Carina loves to draw, paint, travel, and use her creativity to support Minnesota Hands & Voices.

Brenda Hommerding

Guide by Your Side Coordinator (320) 828-6786 BrendaH@lifetrack-mn.org

Brenda Hommerding has been working with Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She started as a Parent Guide and took on the addition role of Lead Regional Guide in 2015. In 2017 Brenda moved onto a different role in the organization as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator. She specializes in educational advocacy, language development, and community access.


Brenda lives in Central Minnesota. She has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993, and is the parent of twin girls, Amanda and Ashley, who were born in 2001 and are both hard of hearing in different degrees. Brenda herself is also hard of hearing.

Brenda has served on the St. Cloud Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in collaborating with community stakeholders to hold events for families locally. Brenda continues to represent MNHV at National Conferences and was recently awarded the Miss Congeniality Award for her patience, kindness, and an all around good natured person (received 2017). Her mother always wanted Brenda to be a teacher, so being a part of Minnesota Hands & Voices allows her to share and learn with a unique group of people.

Brenda loves to cross-stitch, read, paint, dance, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde

Upper Northwest Parent Guide (218) 902-0148 LeslieC@lifetrack-mn.org

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since 2011. She is the Parent Guide for the Upper Northwest region of the state, and has special interest in audiology and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).

Her teenaged daughter Shawnae, has Microtia/Atresia in her right ear, with severe- to profound deafness in that ear. She has a younger daughter, Sheyenne. They live in Norman County.

Leslie enjoys traveling and visiting local state parks and lakes. She enjoys flower gardening and seeing movies. She studied Commercial Art, which has become an outlet for stress.

Shannon Hohrman

Northwest Parent Guide (218) 350-0771 ShannonH@lifetrack-mn.org

Shannon Hohrman has been the Northwest Parent Guide for Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She helps families connect with other families and help them get the services they need. She is involved in the O.U.R. (Observe, Understand, and Respond) Project through Hands & Voices HQ, dedicated to addressing neglect, abuse, and bullying. Shannon is committed to helping families advocate for their child.

Shannon lives in Fergus Falls and has two wonderful boys. Her son Thomas is a Naval officer, and her son Nicholas, a high school student, is profoundly deaf.

She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and has participated on several committees, including the school district curriculum, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).

Shannon enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and spending time in the mountains and at the beach. She loves doing triathlons with her Minnesota Hands & Voices coworkers.

Marie Pank

Northeast Parent Guide (218) 343-1207 MarieP@lifetrack-mn.org

Marie Pank started with Minnesota Hands & Voices on her birthday in 2012. She is the Northeast Parent Guide and has a special interest in the large variety of technology available and how it can be used in everyday situations.

Marie lives in St. Louis County. She has low vision and albinism and her twin daughters have special needs. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and is a national delegate and Gold Award committee member for her Girl Scout Council. She is also a member of Lions Clubs International and is a LEO youth club advisor.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and has completed coursework for her Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology.

Krista Blood

Southwest Parent Guide (507) 720-2999 KristaB@lifetrack-mn.org

.

Anne Barlow

Metro Parent Guide/Event Coordinator Direct: (651) 265-2400 AnneB@lifetrack-mn.org

Anne Barlow has been a Metro Parent Guide with Minnesota Hands & Voices since December of 2013. She loves the family education events held by Minnesota Hands & Voices, and has enjoyed creating literacy information packets. An important part of Anne’s role is fostering connections between families that help them know that they are not alone; they are part of a warm community.She values her role as Event Coordinator where she supports all Guides as they create and hold family events so that parents can receive additional information as well as connect with other families and expand their support network.

Anne lives in the northwest Metro area. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children, the older of whom is profoundly and bilaterally hard of hearing, and are grandparents to a KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult). They are also “staff” to one cat.

She is a “retired” OTR (Occupational Therapist), and has also worked as a para and/or volunteer in special education at the elementary level for many years. She loves to read mysteries, bake, bike, swim, and swing in a hammock. She tries to learn something new every day.

A note from Anne: “Because Minnesota Hands & Voices did not exist when we were learning about our son’s hearing loss, I had deep feelings of isolation and anxiety about how to proceed. I feel honored to be able to help support new parents on their own journey to find information and resources as quickly as possible so that they feel empowered and confident to make choices that work for their children.”

Robin Coninx

Metro Parent Guide Direct: (651) 265-2334 Toll Free: (866) 346-4543 RobinC@lifetrack-mn.org

Robin Coninx started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in June of 2010. She is a Metro Parent Guide, and enjoys collaborating with various audiologists, educational staff, and individual parents.

Robin has four children – three adult boys and one adult daughter. Her daughter is her third child and was identified deaf at 14 months old. She has had numerous medical appointments since birth due to medical conditions.

She is a 1998 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a governor’s council on disability training. From 2004-2006, she worked for Minnesota Hands & Voices and then returned in June of 2010. In 2007, Robin was a parent rep at the Emergency Medical Services Regularity Board Tri-State Conference. In 2015, she attended the Family Leadership Institute of PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition of Educational Rights) and is a Family Voices graduate. She has received additional training through PACER as well.

She enjoys travel, raising German Shepard dogs, riding horses, and reading non-fiction. She is a football and basketball fan, both college and pro.

Sonya Giridhar

Southeast Parent Guide (507) 696-7550 SonyaG@lifetrack-mn.org


Sonya has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since January 2018 as the Southeast Parent Guide. She has a background in neuroscience and has an interest in communication strategies and language acquisition.


Sonya is in Rochester, MN and lives with her husband and two young children.Her 5-year-old daughter has a profound unilateral hearing loss. In her free time, Sonya enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Sonya’s background is in computational neuroscience.

She is passionate about brains, research, and making science more accessible to non-scientists.Previously, she created child-specific educational resources for families to explain their child’s hearing profile and communication access needs.She has also published a children's book and the main character is a child with hearing loss.

Saida Mohamed

Parent Guide for Northeast African Communities (651) 265-2351 SaidaS@lifetrack-mn.org

Saida Mohamed, Parent Guide for the Northeast African Communities, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since July of 2015.

She lives in Hennepin County and has five children. Her daughter is hard of hearing.

Saida works at a school with kids with special needs, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Mai Houa Lor

Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities (651) 265-2350 MaiH@lifetrack-mn.org

Mai Houa Lor started with Minnesota Hands & Voices as the Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities in December of 2015. She enjoys helping and working with families that are from different cultural backgrounds.

Mai has two children. Her son is in college and her young daughter, who was born premature at 25 ½ weeks, is hard of hearing. They live in Dakota County.

She has many years of experience volunteering with families that are new to the country. Some areas of need for these families are interpreting, social service, housing, health, and medical. Mai has more than ten years of professional interpreting and translation experience in medical clinics and hospitals for diagnostic appointments, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ranging from newborns to adults.

Suzanne Iwainat

Central Parent Guide (320) 428-4323 SuzanneI@lifetrack-mn.org

Suzanne started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in August of 2017. She has been connected with MNH&V for the past 11 years. She is the Central Parent Guide and has a special interest in the planning of events. She would like to connect families and educate parents as much as possible during events and provide useful information they can take with them.

Suzanne lives in Morrison County with her husband and two children, both of whom have hearing loss. Her son is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. Her daughter is almost 12 years old and is in 6th grade. They also have three cats and one dog.

She volunteers at the DHH Winter Camp in Brainerd. Both of her children attend and enjoy this camp very much. She is also on the Special Education Advisory Council at their school district. She is on her second year at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and will graduate in the spring from the Child & Adult Care Education Program. She also serves on the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Advisory Board for their program.

Suzanne loves spending time with her family. They enjoy camping and going to waterparks. She loves bike riding and chrocheting.

Elena Miranda

Parent Guide for Spanish Speaking Community (651) 265-2383 ElenaM@lifetrack-mn.org

Elena, Parent Guide for the Spanish Speaking Community, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since August of 2017. Through resources and connections with other families she hopes to help families feel less isolated and lonely.

Elena was born and raised in Mexico. She currently lives in Washington County with her husband and 3 children. Their oldest child was adopted when he was 2½ years old. Elena and her husband then relocated to Texas where they lived for many years before coming to Minnesota.

Elena loves to walk, bike, cook, make handcrafts & decorations (specifically the Christmas tree).

She has many years experience volunteering in Mexico at "Casa del Nino Poblano". She is now also working with the Spanish Community in 2 programs:

1. Warming with Love
2. Luminarias Guatemaltecas

and a work in progress, "Books for Africa"


Upper NW MN

Laura Godfrey

Program Manager (651) 265-2372 LauraG@lifetrack-mn.org

Laura Godfrey has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since November of 2006, overseeing daily operations as new families are referred. She enjoys collaborating with other people and organizations. She believes that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing will do better when we help one another more.

Laura lives in the southwestern metro with her son who has had a high frequency hearing loss that was identified at three months of age.

She enjoys yoga, scrapbooking, and playing with her many animals (dogs, bunny, gerbil, bearded dragon, hedgehog, and tree frog). She has a background in animal behavior and was a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo for several years. She has taken coursework in Audiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

Carina Figueroa

Communications Coordinator (651) 265-2420 CarinaF@lifetrack-mn.org

Carina Figueroa began working for Minnesota Hands & Voices/Lifetrack in 2012. As Communications Coordinator, she provides support to the team in a number of ways, including event planning, providing clients with information, the marketing of events, and managing content for Minnesota Hands & Voices’ website and social media.

Carina has a passion for the diversity found in the Minnesota Hands & Voices community. She believes in the program and the families they serve. She also has an interest in the various communication modalities and technologies available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is always trying to expand her knowledge of them.

Carina has family members who are deaf or hard of hearing on both sides. Her younger brother was identified as hard of hearing when she was very young. Growing up with a sibling who is hard of hearing has made Carina a more caring, accepting, and patient person.

She works out of the Metro office location and supports team members in all areas of the state. She also assists part-time in a deaf and hard of hearing program preschool classroom. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Hearing Science. Carina loves to draw, paint, travel, and use her creativity to support Minnesota Hands & Voices.

Brenda Hommerding

Guide by Your Side Coordinator (320) 828-6786 BrendaH@lifetrack-mn.org

Brenda Hommerding has been working with Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She started as a Parent Guide and took on the addition role of Lead Regional Guide in 2015. In 2017 Brenda moved onto a different role in the organization as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator. She specializes in educational advocacy, language development, and community access.


Brenda lives in Central Minnesota. She has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993, and is the parent of twin girls, Amanda and Ashley, who were born in 2001 and are both hard of hearing in different degrees. Brenda herself is also hard of hearing.

Brenda has served on the St. Cloud Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in collaborating with community stakeholders to hold events for families locally. Brenda continues to represent MNHV at National Conferences and was recently awarded the Miss Congeniality Award for her patience, kindness, and an all around good natured person (received 2017). Her mother always wanted Brenda to be a teacher, so being a part of Minnesota Hands & Voices allows her to share and learn with a unique group of people.

Brenda loves to cross-stitch, read, paint, dance, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde

Upper Northwest Parent Guide (218) 902-0148 LeslieC@lifetrack-mn.org

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since 2011. She is the Parent Guide for the Upper Northwest region of the state, and has special interest in audiology and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).

Her teenaged daughter Shawnae, has Microtia/Atresia in her right ear, with severe- to profound deafness in that ear. She has a younger daughter, Sheyenne. They live in Norman County.

Leslie enjoys traveling and visiting local state parks and lakes. She enjoys flower gardening and seeing movies. She studied Commercial Art, which has become an outlet for stress.

Shannon Hohrman

Northwest Parent Guide (218) 350-0771 ShannonH@lifetrack-mn.org

Shannon Hohrman has been the Northwest Parent Guide for Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She helps families connect with other families and help them get the services they need. She is involved in the O.U.R. (Observe, Understand, and Respond) Project through Hands & Voices HQ, dedicated to addressing neglect, abuse, and bullying. Shannon is committed to helping families advocate for their child.

Shannon lives in Fergus Falls and has two wonderful boys. Her son Thomas is a Naval officer, and her son Nicholas, a high school student, is profoundly deaf.

She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and has participated on several committees, including the school district curriculum, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).

Shannon enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and spending time in the mountains and at the beach. She loves doing triathlons with her Minnesota Hands & Voices coworkers.

Marie Pank

Northeast Parent Guide (218) 343-1207 MarieP@lifetrack-mn.org

Marie Pank started with Minnesota Hands & Voices on her birthday in 2012. She is the Northeast Parent Guide and has a special interest in the large variety of technology available and how it can be used in everyday situations.

Marie lives in St. Louis County. She has low vision and albinism and her twin daughters have special needs. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and is a national delegate and Gold Award committee member for her Girl Scout Council. She is also a member of Lions Clubs International and is a LEO youth club advisor.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and has completed coursework for her Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology.

Krista Blood

Southwest Parent Guide (507) 720-2999 KristaB@lifetrack-mn.org

.

Anne Barlow

Metro Parent Guide/Event Coordinator Direct: (651) 265-2400 AnneB@lifetrack-mn.org

Anne Barlow has been a Metro Parent Guide with Minnesota Hands & Voices since December of 2013. She loves the family education events held by Minnesota Hands & Voices, and has enjoyed creating literacy information packets. An important part of Anne’s role is fostering connections between families that help them know that they are not alone; they are part of a warm community.She values her role as Event Coordinator where she supports all Guides as they create and hold family events so that parents can receive additional information as well as connect with other families and expand their support network.

Anne lives in the northwest Metro area. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children, the older of whom is profoundly and bilaterally hard of hearing, and are grandparents to a KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult). They are also “staff” to one cat.

She is a “retired” OTR (Occupational Therapist), and has also worked as a para and/or volunteer in special education at the elementary level for many years. She loves to read mysteries, bake, bike, swim, and swing in a hammock. She tries to learn something new every day.

A note from Anne: “Because Minnesota Hands & Voices did not exist when we were learning about our son’s hearing loss, I had deep feelings of isolation and anxiety about how to proceed. I feel honored to be able to help support new parents on their own journey to find information and resources as quickly as possible so that they feel empowered and confident to make choices that work for their children.”

Robin Coninx

Metro Parent Guide Direct: (651) 265-2334 Toll Free: (866) 346-4543 RobinC@lifetrack-mn.org

Robin Coninx started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in June of 2010. She is a Metro Parent Guide, and enjoys collaborating with various audiologists, educational staff, and individual parents.

Robin has four children – three adult boys and one adult daughter. Her daughter is her third child and was identified deaf at 14 months old. She has had numerous medical appointments since birth due to medical conditions.

She is a 1998 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a governor’s council on disability training. From 2004-2006, she worked for Minnesota Hands & Voices and then returned in June of 2010. In 2007, Robin was a parent rep at the Emergency Medical Services Regularity Board Tri-State Conference. In 2015, she attended the Family Leadership Institute of PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition of Educational Rights) and is a Family Voices graduate. She has received additional training through PACER as well.

She enjoys travel, raising German Shepard dogs, riding horses, and reading non-fiction. She is a football and basketball fan, both college and pro.

Sonya Giridhar

Southeast Parent Guide (507) 696-7550 SonyaG@lifetrack-mn.org


Sonya has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since January 2018 as the Southeast Parent Guide. She has a background in neuroscience and has an interest in communication strategies and language acquisition.


Sonya is in Rochester, MN and lives with her husband and two young children.Her 5-year-old daughter has a profound unilateral hearing loss. In her free time, Sonya enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Sonya’s background is in computational neuroscience.

She is passionate about brains, research, and making science more accessible to non-scientists.Previously, she created child-specific educational resources for families to explain their child’s hearing profile and communication access needs.She has also published a children's book and the main character is a child with hearing loss.

Saida Mohamed

Parent Guide for Northeast African Communities (651) 265-2351 SaidaS@lifetrack-mn.org

Saida Mohamed, Parent Guide for the Northeast African Communities, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since July of 2015.

She lives in Hennepin County and has five children. Her daughter is hard of hearing.

Saida works at a school with kids with special needs, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Mai Houa Lor

Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities (651) 265-2350 MaiH@lifetrack-mn.org

Mai Houa Lor started with Minnesota Hands & Voices as the Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities in December of 2015. She enjoys helping and working with families that are from different cultural backgrounds.

Mai has two children. Her son is in college and her young daughter, who was born premature at 25 ½ weeks, is hard of hearing. They live in Dakota County.

She has many years of experience volunteering with families that are new to the country. Some areas of need for these families are interpreting, social service, housing, health, and medical. Mai has more than ten years of professional interpreting and translation experience in medical clinics and hospitals for diagnostic appointments, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ranging from newborns to adults.

Suzanne Iwainat

Central Parent Guide (320) 428-4323 SuzanneI@lifetrack-mn.org

Suzanne started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in August of 2017. She has been connected with MNH&V for the past 11 years. She is the Central Parent Guide and has a special interest in the planning of events. She would like to connect families and educate parents as much as possible during events and provide useful information they can take with them.

Suzanne lives in Morrison County with her husband and two children, both of whom have hearing loss. Her son is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. Her daughter is almost 12 years old and is in 6th grade. They also have three cats and one dog.

She volunteers at the DHH Winter Camp in Brainerd. Both of her children attend and enjoy this camp very much. She is also on the Special Education Advisory Council at their school district. She is on her second year at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and will graduate in the spring from the Child & Adult Care Education Program. She also serves on the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Advisory Board for their program.

Suzanne loves spending time with her family. They enjoy camping and going to waterparks. She loves bike riding and chrocheting.

Elena Miranda

Parent Guide for Spanish Speaking Community (651) 265-2383 ElenaM@lifetrack-mn.org

Elena, Parent Guide for the Spanish Speaking Community, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since August of 2017. Through resources and connections with other families she hopes to help families feel less isolated and lonely.

Elena was born and raised in Mexico. She currently lives in Washington County with her husband and 3 children. Their oldest child was adopted when he was 2½ years old. Elena and her husband then relocated to Texas where they lived for many years before coming to Minnesota.

Elena loves to walk, bike, cook, make handcrafts & decorations (specifically the Christmas tree).

She has many years experience volunteering in Mexico at "Casa del Nino Poblano". She is now also working with the Spanish Community in 2 programs:

1. Warming with Love
2. Luminarias Guatemaltecas

and a work in progress, "Books for Africa"


Northwest MN

Laura Godfrey

Program Manager (651) 265-2372 LauraG@lifetrack-mn.org

Laura Godfrey has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since November of 2006, overseeing daily operations as new families are referred. She enjoys collaborating with other people and organizations. She believes that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing will do better when we help one another more.

Laura lives in the southwestern metro with her son who has had a high frequency hearing loss that was identified at three months of age.

She enjoys yoga, scrapbooking, and playing with her many animals (dogs, bunny, gerbil, bearded dragon, hedgehog, and tree frog). She has a background in animal behavior and was a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo for several years. She has taken coursework in Audiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

Carina Figueroa

Communications Coordinator (651) 265-2420 CarinaF@lifetrack-mn.org

Carina Figueroa began working for Minnesota Hands & Voices/Lifetrack in 2012. As Communications Coordinator, she provides support to the team in a number of ways, including event planning, providing clients with information, the marketing of events, and managing content for Minnesota Hands & Voices’ website and social media.

Carina has a passion for the diversity found in the Minnesota Hands & Voices community. She believes in the program and the families they serve. She also has an interest in the various communication modalities and technologies available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is always trying to expand her knowledge of them.

Carina has family members who are deaf or hard of hearing on both sides. Her younger brother was identified as hard of hearing when she was very young. Growing up with a sibling who is hard of hearing has made Carina a more caring, accepting, and patient person.

She works out of the Metro office location and supports team members in all areas of the state. She also assists part-time in a deaf and hard of hearing program preschool classroom. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Hearing Science. Carina loves to draw, paint, travel, and use her creativity to support Minnesota Hands & Voices.

Brenda Hommerding

Guide by Your Side Coordinator (320) 828-6786 BrendaH@lifetrack-mn.org

Brenda Hommerding has been working with Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She started as a Parent Guide and took on the addition role of Lead Regional Guide in 2015. In 2017 Brenda moved onto a different role in the organization as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator. She specializes in educational advocacy, language development, and community access.


Brenda lives in Central Minnesota. She has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993, and is the parent of twin girls, Amanda and Ashley, who were born in 2001 and are both hard of hearing in different degrees. Brenda herself is also hard of hearing.

Brenda has served on the St. Cloud Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in collaborating with community stakeholders to hold events for families locally. Brenda continues to represent MNHV at National Conferences and was recently awarded the Miss Congeniality Award for her patience, kindness, and an all around good natured person (received 2017). Her mother always wanted Brenda to be a teacher, so being a part of Minnesota Hands & Voices allows her to share and learn with a unique group of people.

Brenda loves to cross-stitch, read, paint, dance, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde

Upper Northwest Parent Guide (218) 902-0148 LeslieC@lifetrack-mn.org

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since 2011. She is the Parent Guide for the Upper Northwest region of the state, and has special interest in audiology and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).

Her teenaged daughter Shawnae, has Microtia/Atresia in her right ear, with severe- to profound deafness in that ear. She has a younger daughter, Sheyenne. They live in Norman County.

Leslie enjoys traveling and visiting local state parks and lakes. She enjoys flower gardening and seeing movies. She studied Commercial Art, which has become an outlet for stress.

Shannon Hohrman

Northwest Parent Guide (218) 350-0771 ShannonH@lifetrack-mn.org

Shannon Hohrman has been the Northwest Parent Guide for Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She helps families connect with other families and help them get the services they need. She is involved in the O.U.R. (Observe, Understand, and Respond) Project through Hands & Voices HQ, dedicated to addressing neglect, abuse, and bullying. Shannon is committed to helping families advocate for their child.

Shannon lives in Fergus Falls and has two wonderful boys. Her son Thomas is a Naval officer, and her son Nicholas, a high school student, is profoundly deaf.

She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and has participated on several committees, including the school district curriculum, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).

Shannon enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and spending time in the mountains and at the beach. She loves doing triathlons with her Minnesota Hands & Voices coworkers.

Marie Pank

Northeast Parent Guide (218) 343-1207 MarieP@lifetrack-mn.org

Marie Pank started with Minnesota Hands & Voices on her birthday in 2012. She is the Northeast Parent Guide and has a special interest in the large variety of technology available and how it can be used in everyday situations.

Marie lives in St. Louis County. She has low vision and albinism and her twin daughters have special needs. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and is a national delegate and Gold Award committee member for her Girl Scout Council. She is also a member of Lions Clubs International and is a LEO youth club advisor.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and has completed coursework for her Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology.

Krista Blood

Southwest Parent Guide (507) 720-2999 KristaB@lifetrack-mn.org

.

Anne Barlow

Metro Parent Guide/Event Coordinator Direct: (651) 265-2400 AnneB@lifetrack-mn.org

Anne Barlow has been a Metro Parent Guide with Minnesota Hands & Voices since December of 2013. She loves the family education events held by Minnesota Hands & Voices, and has enjoyed creating literacy information packets. An important part of Anne’s role is fostering connections between families that help them know that they are not alone; they are part of a warm community.She values her role as Event Coordinator where she supports all Guides as they create and hold family events so that parents can receive additional information as well as connect with other families and expand their support network.

Anne lives in the northwest Metro area. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children, the older of whom is profoundly and bilaterally hard of hearing, and are grandparents to a KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult). They are also “staff” to one cat.

She is a “retired” OTR (Occupational Therapist), and has also worked as a para and/or volunteer in special education at the elementary level for many years. She loves to read mysteries, bake, bike, swim, and swing in a hammock. She tries to learn something new every day.

A note from Anne: “Because Minnesota Hands & Voices did not exist when we were learning about our son’s hearing loss, I had deep feelings of isolation and anxiety about how to proceed. I feel honored to be able to help support new parents on their own journey to find information and resources as quickly as possible so that they feel empowered and confident to make choices that work for their children.”

Robin Coninx

Metro Parent Guide Direct: (651) 265-2334 Toll Free: (866) 346-4543 RobinC@lifetrack-mn.org

Robin Coninx started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in June of 2010. She is a Metro Parent Guide, and enjoys collaborating with various audiologists, educational staff, and individual parents.

Robin has four children – three adult boys and one adult daughter. Her daughter is her third child and was identified deaf at 14 months old. She has had numerous medical appointments since birth due to medical conditions.

She is a 1998 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a governor’s council on disability training. From 2004-2006, she worked for Minnesota Hands & Voices and then returned in June of 2010. In 2007, Robin was a parent rep at the Emergency Medical Services Regularity Board Tri-State Conference. In 2015, she attended the Family Leadership Institute of PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition of Educational Rights) and is a Family Voices graduate. She has received additional training through PACER as well.

She enjoys travel, raising German Shepard dogs, riding horses, and reading non-fiction. She is a football and basketball fan, both college and pro.

Sonya Giridhar

Southeast Parent Guide (507) 696-7550 SonyaG@lifetrack-mn.org


Sonya has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since January 2018 as the Southeast Parent Guide. She has a background in neuroscience and has an interest in communication strategies and language acquisition.


Sonya is in Rochester, MN and lives with her husband and two young children.Her 5-year-old daughter has a profound unilateral hearing loss. In her free time, Sonya enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Sonya’s background is in computational neuroscience.

She is passionate about brains, research, and making science more accessible to non-scientists.Previously, she created child-specific educational resources for families to explain their child’s hearing profile and communication access needs.She has also published a children's book and the main character is a child with hearing loss.

Saida Mohamed

Parent Guide for Northeast African Communities (651) 265-2351 SaidaS@lifetrack-mn.org

Saida Mohamed, Parent Guide for the Northeast African Communities, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since July of 2015.

She lives in Hennepin County and has five children. Her daughter is hard of hearing.

Saida works at a school with kids with special needs, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Mai Houa Lor

Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities (651) 265-2350 MaiH@lifetrack-mn.org

Mai Houa Lor started with Minnesota Hands & Voices as the Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities in December of 2015. She enjoys helping and working with families that are from different cultural backgrounds.

Mai has two children. Her son is in college and her young daughter, who was born premature at 25 ½ weeks, is hard of hearing. They live in Dakota County.

She has many years of experience volunteering with families that are new to the country. Some areas of need for these families are interpreting, social service, housing, health, and medical. Mai has more than ten years of professional interpreting and translation experience in medical clinics and hospitals for diagnostic appointments, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ranging from newborns to adults.

Suzanne Iwainat

Central Parent Guide (320) 428-4323 SuzanneI@lifetrack-mn.org

Suzanne started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in August of 2017. She has been connected with MNH&V for the past 11 years. She is the Central Parent Guide and has a special interest in the planning of events. She would like to connect families and educate parents as much as possible during events and provide useful information they can take with them.

Suzanne lives in Morrison County with her husband and two children, both of whom have hearing loss. Her son is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. Her daughter is almost 12 years old and is in 6th grade. They also have three cats and one dog.

She volunteers at the DHH Winter Camp in Brainerd. Both of her children attend and enjoy this camp very much. She is also on the Special Education Advisory Council at their school district. She is on her second year at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and will graduate in the spring from the Child & Adult Care Education Program. She also serves on the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Advisory Board for their program.

Suzanne loves spending time with her family. They enjoy camping and going to waterparks. She loves bike riding and chrocheting.

Elena Miranda

Parent Guide for Spanish Speaking Community (651) 265-2383 ElenaM@lifetrack-mn.org

Elena, Parent Guide for the Spanish Speaking Community, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since August of 2017. Through resources and connections with other families she hopes to help families feel less isolated and lonely.

Elena was born and raised in Mexico. She currently lives in Washington County with her husband and 3 children. Their oldest child was adopted when he was 2½ years old. Elena and her husband then relocated to Texas where they lived for many years before coming to Minnesota.

Elena loves to walk, bike, cook, make handcrafts & decorations (specifically the Christmas tree).

She has many years experience volunteering in Mexico at "Casa del Nino Poblano". She is now also working with the Spanish Community in 2 programs:

1. Warming with Love
2. Luminarias Guatemaltecas

and a work in progress, "Books for Africa"


Northeast MN

Laura Godfrey

Program Manager (651) 265-2372 LauraG@lifetrack-mn.org

Laura Godfrey has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since November of 2006, overseeing daily operations as new families are referred. She enjoys collaborating with other people and organizations. She believes that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing will do better when we help one another more.

Laura lives in the southwestern metro with her son who has had a high frequency hearing loss that was identified at three months of age.

She enjoys yoga, scrapbooking, and playing with her many animals (dogs, bunny, gerbil, bearded dragon, hedgehog, and tree frog). She has a background in animal behavior and was a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo for several years. She has taken coursework in Audiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

Carina Figueroa

Communications Coordinator (651) 265-2420 CarinaF@lifetrack-mn.org

Carina Figueroa began working for Minnesota Hands & Voices/Lifetrack in 2012. As Communications Coordinator, she provides support to the team in a number of ways, including event planning, providing clients with information, the marketing of events, and managing content for Minnesota Hands & Voices’ website and social media.

Carina has a passion for the diversity found in the Minnesota Hands & Voices community. She believes in the program and the families they serve. She also has an interest in the various communication modalities and technologies available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is always trying to expand her knowledge of them.

Carina has family members who are deaf or hard of hearing on both sides. Her younger brother was identified as hard of hearing when she was very young. Growing up with a sibling who is hard of hearing has made Carina a more caring, accepting, and patient person.

She works out of the Metro office location and supports team members in all areas of the state. She also assists part-time in a deaf and hard of hearing program preschool classroom. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Hearing Science. Carina loves to draw, paint, travel, and use her creativity to support Minnesota Hands & Voices.

Brenda Hommerding

Guide by Your Side Coordinator (320) 828-6786 BrendaH@lifetrack-mn.org

Brenda Hommerding has been working with Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She started as a Parent Guide and took on the addition role of Lead Regional Guide in 2015. In 2017 Brenda moved onto a different role in the organization as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator. She specializes in educational advocacy, language development, and community access.


Brenda lives in Central Minnesota. She has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993, and is the parent of twin girls, Amanda and Ashley, who were born in 2001 and are both hard of hearing in different degrees. Brenda herself is also hard of hearing.

Brenda has served on the St. Cloud Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in collaborating with community stakeholders to hold events for families locally. Brenda continues to represent MNHV at National Conferences and was recently awarded the Miss Congeniality Award for her patience, kindness, and an all around good natured person (received 2017). Her mother always wanted Brenda to be a teacher, so being a part of Minnesota Hands & Voices allows her to share and learn with a unique group of people.

Brenda loves to cross-stitch, read, paint, dance, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde

Upper Northwest Parent Guide (218) 902-0148 LeslieC@lifetrack-mn.org

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since 2011. She is the Parent Guide for the Upper Northwest region of the state, and has special interest in audiology and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).

Her teenaged daughter Shawnae, has Microtia/Atresia in her right ear, with severe- to profound deafness in that ear. She has a younger daughter, Sheyenne. They live in Norman County.

Leslie enjoys traveling and visiting local state parks and lakes. She enjoys flower gardening and seeing movies. She studied Commercial Art, which has become an outlet for stress.

Shannon Hohrman

Northwest Parent Guide (218) 350-0771 ShannonH@lifetrack-mn.org

Shannon Hohrman has been the Northwest Parent Guide for Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She helps families connect with other families and help them get the services they need. She is involved in the O.U.R. (Observe, Understand, and Respond) Project through Hands & Voices HQ, dedicated to addressing neglect, abuse, and bullying. Shannon is committed to helping families advocate for their child.

Shannon lives in Fergus Falls and has two wonderful boys. Her son Thomas is a Naval officer, and her son Nicholas, a high school student, is profoundly deaf.

She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and has participated on several committees, including the school district curriculum, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).

Shannon enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and spending time in the mountains and at the beach. She loves doing triathlons with her Minnesota Hands & Voices coworkers.

Marie Pank

Northeast Parent Guide (218) 343-1207 MarieP@lifetrack-mn.org

Marie Pank started with Minnesota Hands & Voices on her birthday in 2012. She is the Northeast Parent Guide and has a special interest in the large variety of technology available and how it can be used in everyday situations.

Marie lives in St. Louis County. She has low vision and albinism and her twin daughters have special needs. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and is a national delegate and Gold Award committee member for her Girl Scout Council. She is also a member of Lions Clubs International and is a LEO youth club advisor.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and has completed coursework for her Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology.

Krista Blood

Southwest Parent Guide (507) 720-2999 KristaB@lifetrack-mn.org

.

Anne Barlow

Metro Parent Guide/Event Coordinator Direct: (651) 265-2400 AnneB@lifetrack-mn.org

Anne Barlow has been a Metro Parent Guide with Minnesota Hands & Voices since December of 2013. She loves the family education events held by Minnesota Hands & Voices, and has enjoyed creating literacy information packets. An important part of Anne’s role is fostering connections between families that help them know that they are not alone; they are part of a warm community.She values her role as Event Coordinator where she supports all Guides as they create and hold family events so that parents can receive additional information as well as connect with other families and expand their support network.

Anne lives in the northwest Metro area. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children, the older of whom is profoundly and bilaterally hard of hearing, and are grandparents to a KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult). They are also “staff” to one cat.

She is a “retired” OTR (Occupational Therapist), and has also worked as a para and/or volunteer in special education at the elementary level for many years. She loves to read mysteries, bake, bike, swim, and swing in a hammock. She tries to learn something new every day.

A note from Anne: “Because Minnesota Hands & Voices did not exist when we were learning about our son’s hearing loss, I had deep feelings of isolation and anxiety about how to proceed. I feel honored to be able to help support new parents on their own journey to find information and resources as quickly as possible so that they feel empowered and confident to make choices that work for their children.”

Robin Coninx

Metro Parent Guide Direct: (651) 265-2334 Toll Free: (866) 346-4543 RobinC@lifetrack-mn.org

Robin Coninx started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in June of 2010. She is a Metro Parent Guide, and enjoys collaborating with various audiologists, educational staff, and individual parents.

Robin has four children – three adult boys and one adult daughter. Her daughter is her third child and was identified deaf at 14 months old. She has had numerous medical appointments since birth due to medical conditions.

She is a 1998 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a governor’s council on disability training. From 2004-2006, she worked for Minnesota Hands & Voices and then returned in June of 2010. In 2007, Robin was a parent rep at the Emergency Medical Services Regularity Board Tri-State Conference. In 2015, she attended the Family Leadership Institute of PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition of Educational Rights) and is a Family Voices graduate. She has received additional training through PACER as well.

She enjoys travel, raising German Shepard dogs, riding horses, and reading non-fiction. She is a football and basketball fan, both college and pro.

Sonya Giridhar

Southeast Parent Guide (507) 696-7550 SonyaG@lifetrack-mn.org


Sonya has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since January 2018 as the Southeast Parent Guide. She has a background in neuroscience and has an interest in communication strategies and language acquisition.


Sonya is in Rochester, MN and lives with her husband and two young children.Her 5-year-old daughter has a profound unilateral hearing loss. In her free time, Sonya enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Sonya’s background is in computational neuroscience.

She is passionate about brains, research, and making science more accessible to non-scientists.Previously, she created child-specific educational resources for families to explain their child’s hearing profile and communication access needs.She has also published a children's book and the main character is a child with hearing loss.

Saida Mohamed

Parent Guide for Northeast African Communities (651) 265-2351 SaidaS@lifetrack-mn.org

Saida Mohamed, Parent Guide for the Northeast African Communities, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since July of 2015.

She lives in Hennepin County and has five children. Her daughter is hard of hearing.

Saida works at a school with kids with special needs, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Mai Houa Lor

Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities (651) 265-2350 MaiH@lifetrack-mn.org

Mai Houa Lor started with Minnesota Hands & Voices as the Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities in December of 2015. She enjoys helping and working with families that are from different cultural backgrounds.

Mai has two children. Her son is in college and her young daughter, who was born premature at 25 ½ weeks, is hard of hearing. They live in Dakota County.

She has many years of experience volunteering with families that are new to the country. Some areas of need for these families are interpreting, social service, housing, health, and medical. Mai has more than ten years of professional interpreting and translation experience in medical clinics and hospitals for diagnostic appointments, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ranging from newborns to adults.

Suzanne Iwainat

Central Parent Guide (320) 428-4323 SuzanneI@lifetrack-mn.org

Suzanne started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in August of 2017. She has been connected with MNH&V for the past 11 years. She is the Central Parent Guide and has a special interest in the planning of events. She would like to connect families and educate parents as much as possible during events and provide useful information they can take with them.

Suzanne lives in Morrison County with her husband and two children, both of whom have hearing loss. Her son is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. Her daughter is almost 12 years old and is in 6th grade. They also have three cats and one dog.

She volunteers at the DHH Winter Camp in Brainerd. Both of her children attend and enjoy this camp very much. She is also on the Special Education Advisory Council at their school district. She is on her second year at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and will graduate in the spring from the Child & Adult Care Education Program. She also serves on the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Advisory Board for their program.

Suzanne loves spending time with her family. They enjoy camping and going to waterparks. She loves bike riding and chrocheting.

Elena Miranda

Parent Guide for Spanish Speaking Community (651) 265-2383 ElenaM@lifetrack-mn.org

Elena, Parent Guide for the Spanish Speaking Community, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since August of 2017. Through resources and connections with other families she hopes to help families feel less isolated and lonely.

Elena was born and raised in Mexico. She currently lives in Washington County with her husband and 3 children. Their oldest child was adopted when he was 2½ years old. Elena and her husband then relocated to Texas where they lived for many years before coming to Minnesota.

Elena loves to walk, bike, cook, make handcrafts & decorations (specifically the Christmas tree).

She has many years experience volunteering in Mexico at "Casa del Nino Poblano". She is now also working with the Spanish Community in 2 programs:

1. Warming with Love
2. Luminarias Guatemaltecas

and a work in progress, "Books for Africa"


Southwest MN

Laura Godfrey

Program Manager (651) 265-2372 LauraG@lifetrack-mn.org

Laura Godfrey has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since November of 2006, overseeing daily operations as new families are referred. She enjoys collaborating with other people and organizations. She believes that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing will do better when we help one another more.

Laura lives in the southwestern metro with her son who has had a high frequency hearing loss that was identified at three months of age.

She enjoys yoga, scrapbooking, and playing with her many animals (dogs, bunny, gerbil, bearded dragon, hedgehog, and tree frog). She has a background in animal behavior and was a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo for several years. She has taken coursework in Audiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

Carina Figueroa

Communications Coordinator (651) 265-2420 CarinaF@lifetrack-mn.org

Carina Figueroa began working for Minnesota Hands & Voices/Lifetrack in 2012. As Communications Coordinator, she provides support to the team in a number of ways, including event planning, providing clients with information, the marketing of events, and managing content for Minnesota Hands & Voices’ website and social media.

Carina has a passion for the diversity found in the Minnesota Hands & Voices community. She believes in the program and the families they serve. She also has an interest in the various communication modalities and technologies available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is always trying to expand her knowledge of them.

Carina has family members who are deaf or hard of hearing on both sides. Her younger brother was identified as hard of hearing when she was very young. Growing up with a sibling who is hard of hearing has made Carina a more caring, accepting, and patient person.

She works out of the Metro office location and supports team members in all areas of the state. She also assists part-time in a deaf and hard of hearing program preschool classroom. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Hearing Science. Carina loves to draw, paint, travel, and use her creativity to support Minnesota Hands & Voices.

Brenda Hommerding

Guide by Your Side Coordinator (320) 828-6786 BrendaH@lifetrack-mn.org

Brenda Hommerding has been working with Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She started as a Parent Guide and took on the addition role of Lead Regional Guide in 2015. In 2017 Brenda moved onto a different role in the organization as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator. She specializes in educational advocacy, language development, and community access.


Brenda lives in Central Minnesota. She has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993, and is the parent of twin girls, Amanda and Ashley, who were born in 2001 and are both hard of hearing in different degrees. Brenda herself is also hard of hearing.

Brenda has served on the St. Cloud Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in collaborating with community stakeholders to hold events for families locally. Brenda continues to represent MNHV at National Conferences and was recently awarded the Miss Congeniality Award for her patience, kindness, and an all around good natured person (received 2017). Her mother always wanted Brenda to be a teacher, so being a part of Minnesota Hands & Voices allows her to share and learn with a unique group of people.

Brenda loves to cross-stitch, read, paint, dance, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde

Upper Northwest Parent Guide (218) 902-0148 LeslieC@lifetrack-mn.org

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since 2011. She is the Parent Guide for the Upper Northwest region of the state, and has special interest in audiology and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).

Her teenaged daughter Shawnae, has Microtia/Atresia in her right ear, with severe- to profound deafness in that ear. She has a younger daughter, Sheyenne. They live in Norman County.

Leslie enjoys traveling and visiting local state parks and lakes. She enjoys flower gardening and seeing movies. She studied Commercial Art, which has become an outlet for stress.

Shannon Hohrman

Northwest Parent Guide (218) 350-0771 ShannonH@lifetrack-mn.org

Shannon Hohrman has been the Northwest Parent Guide for Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She helps families connect with other families and help them get the services they need. She is involved in the O.U.R. (Observe, Understand, and Respond) Project through Hands & Voices HQ, dedicated to addressing neglect, abuse, and bullying. Shannon is committed to helping families advocate for their child.

Shannon lives in Fergus Falls and has two wonderful boys. Her son Thomas is a Naval officer, and her son Nicholas, a high school student, is profoundly deaf.

She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and has participated on several committees, including the school district curriculum, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).

Shannon enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and spending time in the mountains and at the beach. She loves doing triathlons with her Minnesota Hands & Voices coworkers.

Marie Pank

Northeast Parent Guide (218) 343-1207 MarieP@lifetrack-mn.org

Marie Pank started with Minnesota Hands & Voices on her birthday in 2012. She is the Northeast Parent Guide and has a special interest in the large variety of technology available and how it can be used in everyday situations.

Marie lives in St. Louis County. She has low vision and albinism and her twin daughters have special needs. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and is a national delegate and Gold Award committee member for her Girl Scout Council. She is also a member of Lions Clubs International and is a LEO youth club advisor.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and has completed coursework for her Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology.

Krista Blood

Southwest Parent Guide (507) 720-2999 KristaB@lifetrack-mn.org

.

Anne Barlow

Metro Parent Guide/Event Coordinator Direct: (651) 265-2400 AnneB@lifetrack-mn.org

Anne Barlow has been a Metro Parent Guide with Minnesota Hands & Voices since December of 2013. She loves the family education events held by Minnesota Hands & Voices, and has enjoyed creating literacy information packets. An important part of Anne’s role is fostering connections between families that help them know that they are not alone; they are part of a warm community.She values her role as Event Coordinator where she supports all Guides as they create and hold family events so that parents can receive additional information as well as connect with other families and expand their support network.

Anne lives in the northwest Metro area. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children, the older of whom is profoundly and bilaterally hard of hearing, and are grandparents to a KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult). They are also “staff” to one cat.

She is a “retired” OTR (Occupational Therapist), and has also worked as a para and/or volunteer in special education at the elementary level for many years. She loves to read mysteries, bake, bike, swim, and swing in a hammock. She tries to learn something new every day.

A note from Anne: “Because Minnesota Hands & Voices did not exist when we were learning about our son’s hearing loss, I had deep feelings of isolation and anxiety about how to proceed. I feel honored to be able to help support new parents on their own journey to find information and resources as quickly as possible so that they feel empowered and confident to make choices that work for their children.”

Robin Coninx

Metro Parent Guide Direct: (651) 265-2334 Toll Free: (866) 346-4543 RobinC@lifetrack-mn.org

Robin Coninx started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in June of 2010. She is a Metro Parent Guide, and enjoys collaborating with various audiologists, educational staff, and individual parents.

Robin has four children – three adult boys and one adult daughter. Her daughter is her third child and was identified deaf at 14 months old. She has had numerous medical appointments since birth due to medical conditions.

She is a 1998 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a governor’s council on disability training. From 2004-2006, she worked for Minnesota Hands & Voices and then returned in June of 2010. In 2007, Robin was a parent rep at the Emergency Medical Services Regularity Board Tri-State Conference. In 2015, she attended the Family Leadership Institute of PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition of Educational Rights) and is a Family Voices graduate. She has received additional training through PACER as well.

She enjoys travel, raising German Shepard dogs, riding horses, and reading non-fiction. She is a football and basketball fan, both college and pro.

Sonya Giridhar

Southeast Parent Guide (507) 696-7550 SonyaG@lifetrack-mn.org


Sonya has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since January 2018 as the Southeast Parent Guide. She has a background in neuroscience and has an interest in communication strategies and language acquisition.


Sonya is in Rochester, MN and lives with her husband and two young children.Her 5-year-old daughter has a profound unilateral hearing loss. In her free time, Sonya enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Sonya’s background is in computational neuroscience.

She is passionate about brains, research, and making science more accessible to non-scientists.Previously, she created child-specific educational resources for families to explain their child’s hearing profile and communication access needs.She has also published a children's book and the main character is a child with hearing loss.

Saida Mohamed

Parent Guide for Northeast African Communities (651) 265-2351 SaidaS@lifetrack-mn.org

Saida Mohamed, Parent Guide for the Northeast African Communities, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since July of 2015.

She lives in Hennepin County and has five children. Her daughter is hard of hearing.

Saida works at a school with kids with special needs, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Mai Houa Lor

Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities (651) 265-2350 MaiH@lifetrack-mn.org

Mai Houa Lor started with Minnesota Hands & Voices as the Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities in December of 2015. She enjoys helping and working with families that are from different cultural backgrounds.

Mai has two children. Her son is in college and her young daughter, who was born premature at 25 ½ weeks, is hard of hearing. They live in Dakota County.

She has many years of experience volunteering with families that are new to the country. Some areas of need for these families are interpreting, social service, housing, health, and medical. Mai has more than ten years of professional interpreting and translation experience in medical clinics and hospitals for diagnostic appointments, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ranging from newborns to adults.

Suzanne Iwainat

Central Parent Guide (320) 428-4323 SuzanneI@lifetrack-mn.org

Suzanne started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in August of 2017. She has been connected with MNH&V for the past 11 years. She is the Central Parent Guide and has a special interest in the planning of events. She would like to connect families and educate parents as much as possible during events and provide useful information they can take with them.

Suzanne lives in Morrison County with her husband and two children, both of whom have hearing loss. Her son is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. Her daughter is almost 12 years old and is in 6th grade. They also have three cats and one dog.

She volunteers at the DHH Winter Camp in Brainerd. Both of her children attend and enjoy this camp very much. She is also on the Special Education Advisory Council at their school district. She is on her second year at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and will graduate in the spring from the Child & Adult Care Education Program. She also serves on the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Advisory Board for their program.

Suzanne loves spending time with her family. They enjoy camping and going to waterparks. She loves bike riding and chrocheting.

Elena Miranda

Parent Guide for Spanish Speaking Community (651) 265-2383 ElenaM@lifetrack-mn.org

Elena, Parent Guide for the Spanish Speaking Community, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since August of 2017. Through resources and connections with other families she hopes to help families feel less isolated and lonely.

Elena was born and raised in Mexico. She currently lives in Washington County with her husband and 3 children. Their oldest child was adopted when he was 2½ years old. Elena and her husband then relocated to Texas where they lived for many years before coming to Minnesota.

Elena loves to walk, bike, cook, make handcrafts & decorations (specifically the Christmas tree).

She has many years experience volunteering in Mexico at "Casa del Nino Poblano". She is now also working with the Spanish Community in 2 programs:

1. Warming with Love
2. Luminarias Guatemaltecas

and a work in progress, "Books for Africa"


Southeast MN

Laura Godfrey

Program Manager (651) 265-2372 LauraG@lifetrack-mn.org

Laura Godfrey has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since November of 2006, overseeing daily operations as new families are referred. She enjoys collaborating with other people and organizations. She believes that families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing will do better when we help one another more.

Laura lives in the southwestern metro with her son who has had a high frequency hearing loss that was identified at three months of age.

She enjoys yoga, scrapbooking, and playing with her many animals (dogs, bunny, gerbil, bearded dragon, hedgehog, and tree frog). She has a background in animal behavior and was a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo for several years. She has taken coursework in Audiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Try to be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” ~ Maya Angelou

Carina Figueroa

Communications Coordinator (651) 265-2420 CarinaF@lifetrack-mn.org

Carina Figueroa began working for Minnesota Hands & Voices/Lifetrack in 2012. As Communications Coordinator, she provides support to the team in a number of ways, including event planning, providing clients with information, the marketing of events, and managing content for Minnesota Hands & Voices’ website and social media.

Carina has a passion for the diversity found in the Minnesota Hands & Voices community. She believes in the program and the families they serve. She also has an interest in the various communication modalities and technologies available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, and is always trying to expand her knowledge of them.

Carina has family members who are deaf or hard of hearing on both sides. Her younger brother was identified as hard of hearing when she was very young. Growing up with a sibling who is hard of hearing has made Carina a more caring, accepting, and patient person.

She works out of the Metro office location and supports team members in all areas of the state. She also assists part-time in a deaf and hard of hearing program preschool classroom. She graduated in 2016 from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Speech-Language Hearing Science. Carina loves to draw, paint, travel, and use her creativity to support Minnesota Hands & Voices.

Brenda Hommerding

Guide by Your Side Coordinator (320) 828-6786 BrendaH@lifetrack-mn.org

Brenda Hommerding has been working with Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She started as a Parent Guide and took on the addition role of Lead Regional Guide in 2015. In 2017 Brenda moved onto a different role in the organization as the Guide By Your Side Coordinator. She specializes in educational advocacy, language development, and community access.


Brenda lives in Central Minnesota. She has been married to her husband Lynn since 1993, and is the parent of twin girls, Amanda and Ashley, who were born in 2001 and are both hard of hearing in different degrees. Brenda herself is also hard of hearing.

Brenda has served on the St. Cloud Area Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) Advisory Board, and has been instrumental in collaborating with community stakeholders to hold events for families locally. Brenda continues to represent MNHV at National Conferences and was recently awarded the Miss Congeniality Award for her patience, kindness, and an all around good natured person (received 2017). Her mother always wanted Brenda to be a teacher, so being a part of Minnesota Hands & Voices allows her to share and learn with a unique group of people.

Brenda loves to cross-stitch, read, paint, dance, garden, and spend time with family and friends.

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde

Upper Northwest Parent Guide (218) 902-0148 LeslieC@lifetrack-mn.org

Leslie Carnegie-Hilde has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since 2011. She is the Parent Guide for the Upper Northwest region of the state, and has special interest in audiology and IEPs (Individualized Education Programs).

Her teenaged daughter Shawnae, has Microtia/Atresia in her right ear, with severe- to profound deafness in that ear. She has a younger daughter, Sheyenne. They live in Norman County.

Leslie enjoys traveling and visiting local state parks and lakes. She enjoys flower gardening and seeing movies. She studied Commercial Art, which has become an outlet for stress.

Shannon Hohrman

Northwest Parent Guide (218) 350-0771 ShannonH@lifetrack-mn.org

Shannon Hohrman has been the Northwest Parent Guide for Minnesota Hands & Voices since April of 2006. She helps families connect with other families and help them get the services they need. She is involved in the O.U.R. (Observe, Understand, and Respond) Project through Hands & Voices HQ, dedicated to addressing neglect, abuse, and bullying. Shannon is committed to helping families advocate for their child.

Shannon lives in Fergus Falls and has two wonderful boys. Her son Thomas is a Naval officer, and her son Nicholas, a high school student, is profoundly deaf.

She has a degree in Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education, and has participated on several committees, including the school district curriculum, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS), and Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).

Shannon enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, and spending time in the mountains and at the beach. She loves doing triathlons with her Minnesota Hands & Voices coworkers.

Marie Pank

Northeast Parent Guide (218) 343-1207 MarieP@lifetrack-mn.org

Marie Pank started with Minnesota Hands & Voices on her birthday in 2012. She is the Northeast Parent Guide and has a special interest in the large variety of technology available and how it can be used in everyday situations.

Marie lives in St. Louis County. She has low vision and albinism and her twin daughters have special needs. She is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and is a national delegate and Gold Award committee member for her Girl Scout Council. She is also a member of Lions Clubs International and is a LEO youth club advisor.

She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and has completed coursework for her Master’s of Arts in Educational Psychology.

Krista Blood

Southwest Parent Guide (507) 720-2999 KristaB@lifetrack-mn.org

.

Anne Barlow

Metro Parent Guide/Event Coordinator Direct: (651) 265-2400 AnneB@lifetrack-mn.org

Anne Barlow has been a Metro Parent Guide with Minnesota Hands & Voices since December of 2013. She loves the family education events held by Minnesota Hands & Voices, and has enjoyed creating literacy information packets. An important part of Anne’s role is fostering connections between families that help them know that they are not alone; they are part of a warm community.She values her role as Event Coordinator where she supports all Guides as they create and hold family events so that parents can receive additional information as well as connect with other families and expand their support network.

Anne lives in the northwest Metro area. She and her husband are the proud parents of two children, the older of whom is profoundly and bilaterally hard of hearing, and are grandparents to a KODA (Kid of a Deaf Adult). They are also “staff” to one cat.

She is a “retired” OTR (Occupational Therapist), and has also worked as a para and/or volunteer in special education at the elementary level for many years. She loves to read mysteries, bake, bike, swim, and swing in a hammock. She tries to learn something new every day.

A note from Anne: “Because Minnesota Hands & Voices did not exist when we were learning about our son’s hearing loss, I had deep feelings of isolation and anxiety about how to proceed. I feel honored to be able to help support new parents on their own journey to find information and resources as quickly as possible so that they feel empowered and confident to make choices that work for their children.”

Robin Coninx

Metro Parent Guide Direct: (651) 265-2334 Toll Free: (866) 346-4543 RobinC@lifetrack-mn.org

Robin Coninx started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in June of 2010. She is a Metro Parent Guide, and enjoys collaborating with various audiologists, educational staff, and individual parents.

Robin has four children – three adult boys and one adult daughter. Her daughter is her third child and was identified deaf at 14 months old. She has had numerous medical appointments since birth due to medical conditions.

She is a 1998 graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a governor’s council on disability training. From 2004-2006, she worked for Minnesota Hands & Voices and then returned in June of 2010. In 2007, Robin was a parent rep at the Emergency Medical Services Regularity Board Tri-State Conference. In 2015, she attended the Family Leadership Institute of PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition of Educational Rights) and is a Family Voices graduate. She has received additional training through PACER as well.

She enjoys travel, raising German Shepard dogs, riding horses, and reading non-fiction. She is a football and basketball fan, both college and pro.

Sonya Giridhar

Southeast Parent Guide (507) 696-7550 SonyaG@lifetrack-mn.org


Sonya has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since January 2018 as the Southeast Parent Guide. She has a background in neuroscience and has an interest in communication strategies and language acquisition.


Sonya is in Rochester, MN and lives with her husband and two young children.Her 5-year-old daughter has a profound unilateral hearing loss. In her free time, Sonya enjoys photography, hiking, and playing the ukulele. Sonya’s background is in computational neuroscience.

She is passionate about brains, research, and making science more accessible to non-scientists.Previously, she created child-specific educational resources for families to explain their child’s hearing profile and communication access needs.She has also published a children's book and the main character is a child with hearing loss.

Saida Mohamed

Parent Guide for Northeast African Communities (651) 265-2351 SaidaS@lifetrack-mn.org

Saida Mohamed, Parent Guide for the Northeast African Communities, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since July of 2015.

She lives in Hennepin County and has five children. Her daughter is hard of hearing.

Saida works at a school with kids with special needs, and enjoys spending time with her family.

Mai Houa Lor

Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities (651) 265-2350 MaiH@lifetrack-mn.org

Mai Houa Lor started with Minnesota Hands & Voices as the Parent Guide for Southeast Asian Communities in December of 2015. She enjoys helping and working with families that are from different cultural backgrounds.

Mai has two children. Her son is in college and her young daughter, who was born premature at 25 ½ weeks, is hard of hearing. They live in Dakota County.

She has many years of experience volunteering with families that are new to the country. Some areas of need for these families are interpreting, social service, housing, health, and medical. Mai has more than ten years of professional interpreting and translation experience in medical clinics and hospitals for diagnostic appointments, hearing tests, and hearing aid fittings for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, ranging from newborns to adults.

Suzanne Iwainat

Central Parent Guide (320) 428-4323 SuzanneI@lifetrack-mn.org

Suzanne started with Minnesota Hands & Voices in August of 2017. She has been connected with MNH&V for the past 11 years. She is the Central Parent Guide and has a special interest in the planning of events. She would like to connect families and educate parents as much as possible during events and provide useful information they can take with them.

Suzanne lives in Morrison County with her husband and two children, both of whom have hearing loss. Her son is in Kindergarten and is 5 years old. Her daughter is almost 12 years old and is in 6th grade. They also have three cats and one dog.

She volunteers at the DHH Winter Camp in Brainerd. Both of her children attend and enjoy this camp very much. She is also on the Special Education Advisory Council at their school district. She is on her second year at St. Cloud Technical & Community College and will graduate in the spring from the Child & Adult Care Education Program. She also serves on the St. Cloud Technical & Community College Advisory Board for their program.

Suzanne loves spending time with her family. They enjoy camping and going to waterparks. She loves bike riding and chrocheting.

Elena Miranda

Parent Guide for Spanish Speaking Community (651) 265-2383 ElenaM@lifetrack-mn.org

Elena, Parent Guide for the Spanish Speaking Community, has been with Minnesota Hands & Voices since August of 2017. Through resources and connections with other families she hopes to help families feel less isolated and lonely.

Elena was born and raised in Mexico. She currently lives in Washington County with her husband and 3 children. Their oldest child was adopted when he was 2½ years old. Elena and her husband then relocated to Texas where they lived for many years before coming to Minnesota.

Elena loves to walk, bike, cook, make handcrafts & decorations (specifically the Christmas tree).

She has many years experience volunteering in Mexico at "Casa del Nino Poblano". She is now also working with the Spanish Community in 2 programs:

1. Warming with Love
2. Luminarias Guatemaltecas

and a work in progress, "Books for Africa"


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About MN Hands & Voices

Minnesota Hands & Voices is a community of families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing.

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News

Mar 13, 2018

What does social-emotional health mean? The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2004, puts it simply as, “The core features of emotional development include the ability to identify and understand one’s own feelings, to accurately read and…[more]

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Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) refers to the practice of screening every newborn for hearing loss prior to hospital discharge. Infants not passing the screening receive diagnostic evaluation before three months of age and, when necessary, are enrolled in early intervention programs by six months of age. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) laws or voluntary compliance programs that screen hearing.

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