Meet Corey Axelrod, Founder of 2axend

Corey Axelrod and Family

Meet Corey Axelrod, Founder of 2axend

Corey Axelrod grew up as a member of a multigenerational Deaf family and participated in the Deaf community. He was surrounded by Deaf peers and role models. For Axelrod, being Deaf was not different; being deaf was the way of life. However, being a social justice advocate and social entrepreneur has given Axelrod a different lens on the world.

Axelrod used to see the glass as half empty within his community as they faced disparate experiences in various elements of their lives. “I believe people want to do better – sometimes it’s simply a matter of being connected with the appropriate resources and know how to do better,” said Axelrod. He strives to connect people and organizations to these resources and tactical knowledge to optimize experiences for members of his community.

Axelrod finds the Deaf community comforting. There are many elements that Axelrod embraces, including the mutual understanding and experiences Deaf individuals have with each other. Yet, Axelrod is saddened when Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing children do not have access to the Deaf community. “They don’t know what they’re missing out on. Instead, many are solely immersed within the hearing community, sometimes not by choice, and never have that full sense of belonging,” said Axelrod.

Axelrod is the founder and CEO of 2axend. He’s often reminded of his father’s continuous challenge in accessing quality communication during his fight with Multiple Myeloma. “I founded 2axend to eliminate these barriers and guide organizations to create equitable experiences for members of my community,” exclaimed Axelrod.  2axend is a namesake that honors his father’s continued resilience in overcoming barriers and preserves the Axelrod family legacy of passionate advocacy for the Deaf and hard of hearing community.

At 2axend, they work with organizations to address critical elements impacting the Deaf and hard of hearing user-experience, including accessibility planning, inclusive organizational design, risk management and organizational compliance, as well as Deaf cultural awareness and responsiveness. Whether the emphasis is on the customer, employee, student, or patient experience, their work focuses on supporting organizations in creating and driving user-centered experiences.

A key is to position Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals in the driver seat of their accessibility experiences and interactions with organizations. 2axend’s goal is for Deaf, DeafBlind and hard of hearing individuals to experience optimal interactions because of the impact we have had on our clients.

Like many deaf leaders, Axelrod has been able to adapt on the fly to communication barriers. Axelrod improvises to come up with his own solutions. “The burden should never be placed on Deaf individuals to come up with these types of makeshift solutions. At the end of the day, it’s best to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to optimizing communication accessibility and one’s overall experience with an organization,” explained Axelrod.

Words of advice Axelrod has for others is to move beyond telling individuals and organizations they need to adhere to the letter of the law (ADA). Instead, it’s important to emphasize the spirit of the law – by this, it’s creating accessible and equitable experiences where everyone benefits. By taking this type of educational approach, we’ll be able to drive understanding and empathy.

Axelrod shares this story on the importance of accessibility:

“My wife and I had twin boys on April 1, 2020, right at the beginning of COVID-19. Because of COVID-19, everyone was required to wear facemasks and all hospital personnel were wearing non-transparent facemasks. However, knowing well in advance that she would be our interpreter during delivery and the subsequent days to follow, the interpreter ordered a couple of boxes of the Communicator Facemask. Fortunately, she had the boxes well before the mask mandates went into effect – as we all know, there were many shortages of masks at the beginning of COVID-19 and people made their own masks, etc.

While our interpreter was interpreting in the hospital, numerous hospital personnel kept commenting on how cool her mask was and asked where they could purchase the masks. She advised that she purchased the masks several months prior and that the masks were on backorder at that present time. Because both of our boys were in the NICU for an extended period of time, Ryder for 2 weeks and Jordan for a total of 36 days, the healthcare team ended up making their own clear masks.

While they weren’t perfect as many of them quickly fogged up, it was indicative of these providers wanting to do right by my wife and me. This act was much appreciated and is something I’ll never forget.

After everything was said and done, I wrote a letter to hospital administrators and shared that I believed it was prudent for their organization to be proactive and order masks with a clear window for their healthcare providers. I added that they’ll benefit not only Deaf and hard of hearing patients, but benefit patients of all ages. At the end of the day, everyone benefits from seeing a smile on their healthcare provider’s face,” exclaimed Axelrod!

For more information on 2axend, please visit: https://www.2axend.com

We salute all fathers like Corey who continuously advocate to create a better world for future generations!