Board of Directors
Deann O’Lenick, PHD, CCC/SLP, MBA
Courtney Garcia, MS, CCC/SLP
Lisa Cook, PHD
Advisory Board Members
Deann O’Lenick, PhD, CCC/SLP, MBA is the owner of O’Lenick Consulting, LLC and the founding board member of Hear MY Voice- Language Through AAC, a nonprofit focused on the development of language skills using augmentative or alternative communication (AAC). Deann received her Bachelor of Science degree (Communication Disorders) from NDSU, her Master of Science degree (Speech-Language Pathology) from Texas Tech University, her MBA (Healthcare) from OLLU, and her Doctor of Philosophy from TWU.
Deann is currently active in augmentative and alternative communication providing evaluations, therapy, and consultations, as well as providing education and training through O’Lenick Consulting, LLC. She sees patients herself, and she collaborates with therapists who also see the patient at school, through another agency, and at local university speech/language and hearing clinics. She utilizes face-to-face interaction, review of video recording, and telepractice in order to interact with her patients and their caregivers. She is also utilizing alternative service delivery models like bursts of therapy intervention and bursts of therapy combined with telepractice follow-up in order to reach those who need access to services in remote areas of the state, the country, and the world.
Deann enjoys the challenge of looking at situations differently, and it was the combination of her doctoral work in development, combined with her career-long interest in augmentative communication that led her to re-consider how children and adults who were unable to communicate verbally actually developed a functional receptive and expressive language system. She describes the implementation of augmentative communication strategies from the time of exposure to her first voice output communication system in 1984 through the present speech generating devices that utilize eye gaze or are available on tablets, and the concerns for language development remain the same. In a quest to identify how and why the challenges remain the same, Deann focused in on theories of second-language learning, particularly the theory of immersion into the language that one is learning. If this theory were applied to AAC, how would that alter the expectations of family members, educators, and therapists? Is it possible to “immerse” the language learner in the language system that he/she is learning, and if so, what would it take to be able to do so? It was out of this quest that Hear MY Voice- Language Through AAC, a nonprofit established in January 2018 and focused on the education and training necessary to immerse the language learner in the language of augmentative communication. Deann had an additional vision, and that vision was to research the theory and the instructional strategies, learn from the participants in the trainings, and adjust the training in order to continue to improve the instruction so that all who need to use augmentative communication will have the opportunity to develop their language system to the fullest extent possible.
Deann’s husband, Dave O (why Dave O? Because there are a lot of Daves, but there’s only one Dave O.) has partnered with her in the development of Hear MY Voice. Dave O serves as one of the board members, demonstrating his unending support for the mission and vision of Deann’s work. Deann and Dave have two grown children- Lucy McLean (married to Tom McLean) and Fred O’Lenick. The family is completed by the fuzzy little Maltese named Espy, after Dave’s love of everything sports. They enjoy traveling together, laughing together, spending time with family, attending local arts and sports events, and dining out with friends and family.
Courtney Garcia is the Vice President of the Executive Board of Directors for Hear My Voice, whose mission is to equip others to promote the development of language through Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for children and adults who do not have a voice of their own. Courtney co-developed the theories and methodologies that form the foundation of Hear MY Voice, and she is actively involved in research of these theories and methodologies. Courtney co-developed curriculum for the Hear My Voice Experiential Learning Series (ELS), and she co-presents at ELS events and other conferences and conventions.
Courtney is a Speech-Language Pathologist in Weatherford Independent School District in Weatherford, Texas. She is a member of the Assistive Technology Team, and she treats students who are language learners through AAC. Courtney conducts AAC evaluations and implements device trials, and she provides consultative services to Speech Therapists and other professionals throughout the district. Courtney provides training related to AAC and language development, and she is implementing Dual Symbol Immersion in classrooms that have students who utilize AAC to communicate.
Courtney co-presents on AAC-related topics at various conventions. She has volunteered with TSHA since 2015; positions held include Executive Board Member, committee member, and committee chair. While attending school at TCU, Courtney founded A Chance to Dance, a prom for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The prom is hosted by TCU’s NSSLHA chapter annually on TCU’s campus. Courtney graduated with her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and her Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Child Development from Texas Christian University. She focused her studies on language development through AAC.
Courtney and her sister were raised by two incredible and loving parents in Las Vegas, Nevada (Go Knights Go). Courtney is a Christian and has dedicated her life to Jesus Christ; her faith is the most important thing in her life. She is currently a member of the Paradox Church in Downtown, Fort Worth, where she serves. Courtney enjoys spending time with friends, eating Cuban food, and dancing.
David O’Lenick, known to colleagues, friends, and family as “Dave O”, was born in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. He is the youngest of four boys, and he now resides in Fort Worth with his wife Deann and their Maltese Espy. Dave and Deann have two grown children, Lucy (husband Tom) and Fred, who are all successful adults, contributing their knowledge and skills to their community. Dave O is an avid sports FAN, especially football. He enjoys golfing, traveling with family, attending Christ Chapel Bible Church, watching movies, and reading motivational books.
Dave O is a Senior Sales Manager at the Sheraton Fort Worth Downtown Hotel, and he is a proven award-winning sales executive for the non-corporate and government markets. He consistently shows high-level performance and positive decision-making in his work.
Dave O served his country the United States Navy as a radioman aboard two different ships prior to entering college. He graduated from East Texas State University, now known as Texas A & M Commerce, with a BS in Radio/TV Marketing and Management. While at East Texas State he was the voice of the Commerce Tigers football and basketball teams on KETR Radio.
Service to the community is a priority for Dave O, and he currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce Action Ambassadors where he is in charge of new members. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl as the host of the “day before the game luncheon”. Over 825 people attend the luncheon, and the attendees include the two teams competing in the Bowl Game, area sponsors, and supporting corporations.
Dave O notes that he has followed the journey of his wife, Deann O’Lenick, who is the founding board member, CEO, and President of Hear MY Voice- Language Through AAC. He has supported her through the completion of her PhD, through her success with patients, and through her professional speaking and teaching.
“Watching her work with and help individuals with special needs to develop their communication skills and to be understood has been better than any Super Bowl touchdown or World Series home run. I serve on the board of Hear MY Voice in order to share in her dream, her passion, and her vision for continued improvement in the development of language through AAC for individuals now and in the future” noted Dave O.
Serving as the Secretary of a nonprofit provides Dave O with new challenges, learning about the establishment and operation of a nonprofit. He described that the dedication of the Board of Directors, combined with hope and prayer, promises a bright future for Hear MY Voice.
Marianna Bond, M.Ed., ATP holds a Master’s degree in special education with a focus on autism and completed additional post graduate work focusing on assistive technology (AT) and augmentative alternative communication (AAC), visual impairments, and special education curriculum and instruction while working toward her Ph.D. She also has had continuing education in transition and person-centered planning. She has been a nationally certified RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) Assistive Technology Professional since 2005 in private practice and now also as an AT specialist for Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD in northwest Tarrant County. She has worked throughout the state of Texas performing independent educational evaluations. She is also the mother of two adult children who were diagnosed on the autism spectrum as young children.