Ku Mei

Embracing Diversity: Navigating ADA and DEIA Perspectives

This presentation offers valuable insights from diverse perspectives on the impact and history of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and DEIA (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility). It will include stories of cross-cultural mediation between deaf and hearing individuals, racial perspectives, and the complexities of sign language interpreting. Participants will gain a better understanding of their decision-making processes and how those decisions affect minority populations. They will also receive tips for improved communication and application of these new insights.

Date + Time: Thursday @ 3:00p – 3:45p

Venue: Geonetric Building – Foundry


Ku Mei’s life and career has centered around understanding the intricacies of cross-cultural communication. With two deaf parents, one an immigrant from Hong Kong, she interpreted in sign language and quickly learned that communication involves much more than words or signs. Her first community interpreting job was her own parent-teacher conference in kindergarten and was an absolute failure. Since then, she has sought to understand what factors impact successful communication. Ku Mei holds degrees in Human Services Management, Deaf Education, and ASL Teaching.

Her passion to improve understanding between hearing and deaf communities and the interpreters who serve it has led to a unique mix of careers. This has included teaching deaf children, teaching ASL, mentoring interpreters, running her own interpreting agency, and training interpreter trainers and ASL teachers across the US and internationally. The past few years she has focused her efforts on the relationships between businesses and interpreters, taking on roles in account management, sales, and marketing. She also serves on the board for the Center for Assessment of Sign Language Interpreters (CASLI), the certifying branch of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID).

Interlaced in her work with the Deaf community, are her experiences as a BIPOC individual. From not knowing what it meant, to identifying and eventually owning her place in the mixed society we live in, she now feels the freedom to share those stories with the intention of bringing to light how our own understanding of intersectionality lives in every conversation.

She is currently the VP of Sales & Outreach at Hands Up CommunicatIons, leading a team of professionals who are passionate about removing barriers and creating connectIons for businesses and organizations that serve Deaf/HH and limited English proficient populations. That initiative has grown to encompass access in all languages via interpreting and translatIon services.

Her core belief is that by bridging communication gaps, we can create a sense of belonging for everyone.