Washington, D.C., June 8, 2022 – Gallaudet University and Sorenson announced today a new strategic partnership that aims, through a series of progressive initiatives, to inspire and facilitate collaboration between people who are Deaf as well as the prospective government, education, and Fortune 500/1000 companies who engage them. The short- and long-term goals of this partnership support a universal understanding of Deaf culture and the unique, diverse insights and experiences Deaf and hard of hearing people add to organizations – and to the world.
The partnership begins with an endowment gift from Sorenson that will support the growth of the Center for Black Deaf Studies, founded and directed by the renowned Black Deaf scholar, Dr. Carolyn D. McCaskill. The $3 million endowment will honor Kenneth Miller, a Black Deaf man who, as a child, attended a segregated school on the Gallaudet campus until his mother, Louise B. Miller, filed suit against the District of Columbia Board of Education to force integration of Black Deaf and White Deaf children. This case, unheralded at the time, today is widely considered to be a precursor to the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
This strategic partnership will feature an Accelerate Inclusive Excellence Symposium at Gallaudet on September 23, 2022, the International Day of Sign Languages. Gallaudet and Sorenson also will collaborate on additional strategic initiatives that will drive significant impact with a diversity focus, as well as job and career opportunities.
Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano praised Sorenson’s commitment to education, innovation, health care, and community, and commended Sorenson’s ongoing efforts to improve the lives of people from every walk of life. “Sorenson Communications has long supported Gallaudet University, and we could not be more grateful. It is heartwarming for the entire Gallaudet community to experience first-hand that kindness and generosity prevail, and that we can all work together to make people and places better than we found them. We are especially pleased that Sorenson has chosen to support our Center for Black Deaf Studies, which, in just two years, has become a vibrant hub for education, research, and support for our Black Deaf students and the greater community.”
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Gallaudet. Sorenson’s focus on advancing human connection between Deaf and hearing people and our commitment to equal communication access, diversity, and inclusion aligns with the overall purpose of this partnership,” said Sorenson Chief Executive Officer Jorge Rodriguez. “Through collaborative discussions with key professionals and industry thought leaders, we intend to demonstrate how integrating these values is mutually beneficial for everyone – students, employees, customers, suppliers, philanthropic supporters, and partners. We are fully invested in training the Deaf leaders of tomorrow.”
Dr. Carolyn D. McCaskill, Founding Director of the Center for Black Deaf Studies and professor of Deaf Studies, and Dr. Elizabeth A. Moore, Interim Chief Diversity Officer and professor of Social Work, are leading the creation of the Louise B. Miller Pathways and Gardens: A Legacy to Black Deaf Children, which honors the students and teachers of Kendall School Division II, a segregated school program of the early 1950s. Drs. McCaskill and Moore expressed their appreciation of the Sorenson donation, noting the company’s long-standing support of Gallaudet University
About Gallaudet University
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English. The university enrolls over 1,600 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors and many master’s and doctoral programs. It also conducts research in various fields, including accessible technology, Deaf history and culture, Black Deaf history and culture, brain imaging, educational neuroscience, education, linguistics, and psychology. For more information, visit www.gallaudet.edu.
About Sorenson Communications
Sorenson Communications taps the power of language for human relationships to thrive. As one of the world’s leading language services providers and the world’s leading provider of accessible communication for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, Sorenson combines patented technology with human-centric services to connect signed and spoken languages. Sorenson offers caption and video relay services, over-video and in-person sign language and spoken language interpreting, real-time event captioning services, and post-production language services. For more information on how Sorenson advances human connection, visit www.sorenson.com or es.sorenson.com.
Director of Public and Media Relations
Director of Public Relations
Deaf community celebrates a win for inclusive communication
SALT LAKE CITY – (May 19, 2022) Every day, the Xbox team streams on the channel on Twitch, the latest and greatest titles from the world of Xbox. Now, in partnership with Sorenson, the world’s leading provider of inclusive communication services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, Xbox has launched a new channel – Xbox ASL – that features American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for original livestreams.
The partnership delivers gaming to a larger audience as well as first-looks, specific tips, interviews, and strategies to Deaf gamers – in their natural language – to support their gaming craft and winning! For Xbox, it’s an opportunity to spotlight classic and indie games that never received captioning .
“Gaming with Twitch is a very communal experience for fans and gamers as celebrities. With ASL interpretation, Deaf gamers can join and fully participate in that community,” notes Lance Pickett, Sorenson Chief Relationship Officer, who is Deaf. “Seeing ourselves in all aspects of life and across all industries gives us equal grounds to compete!”
The announcement comes on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, dedicated to learning about digital access and the inclusion and support of people with disabilities. And now, for Deaf gamers, digital accessibility support in gaming includes ASL.
Currently, the ASL Xbox channel provides sign language interpretation for approximately 25 hours of livestreams each week.
“As a company known for revolutionizing communication access via technology, we offer huge kudos to Xbox. Gaming is an open community, and we are proud to partner with any opportunity that provides Deaf gamers with improved experiences through direct engagement and ASL accessibility. We urge others within and beyond the industry to follow,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson, which interprets more than 140 million conversations each year and remains the industry leader in accessible communications, services, and technology for Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities throughout the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Sorenson services include ASL interpretation for Teams, events, livestream, and Video on Demand needs.
“We are excited to partner with Sorenson and bring the power of play to even more people with the new Xbox ASL Twitch channel,” shared Anita Mortaloni, Director of Accessibility at Xbox. “At Xbox, we understand the importance of continuing to innovate when it comes to accessibility, and this partnership with Sorenson is another step toward ensuring everyone can experience the joys and connection of gaming.”
Sorenson taps the power of language for human relationships to thrive. As one of the world’s leading language services providers and the world’s leading provider of accessible communication for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, Sorenson combines patented technology with human-centric services to connect signed and spoken languages. Sorenson offers caption and video relay services, over-video and in-person sign language and spoken language interpreting, real-time event captioning services, and post-production language services. For more information on how we advance human connection, visit www.sorenson.com or es.sorenson.com.
Director of Public Relations
Gaming for Everyone, for Xbox
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.
Sorenson and Canary Speech Forge Strategic Partnership
SALT LAKE CITY – (May 17, 2022) Sorenson, the company that revolutionized communication between Deaf, hearing, and hard-of-hearing people, today announced a key strategic partnership and investment in Canary Speech, the company that uses digital biomarkers to analyze consumers’ vocal information to explain or predict energy levels and health-related outcomes.
Both Sorenson and Canary Speech create value-oriented, next-generation language and speech technology. The companies intend to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to leverage their unique strengths and connections to their respective communities to create new synergies.
“We create highly reliable, large-scale audio and video streaming systems that connect people and help relationships thrive,” notes Sorenson Chief Technology Officer Rick Kreinfeldt. “And Canary creates cutting-edge speech analysis technology. Our combined expertise has implications to change the way diagnoses are made and the potential to be incredibly valuable for telemedicine providers, clinicians, and solution partners.”
With Canary’s patented technology, health can be monitored in a fast, non-invasive, and accurate way. The technology has the potential to track the presence and severity of a variety of targeted diseases, such as anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. The resulting Vocal Scores can replace subjective measurements with objective, actionable care solutions.
Canary Speech CEO and Co-founder Henry O’Connell says, “We are thrilled to join with language services leader Sorenson to continue our important work of improving our health, one voice at a time. Canary’s new approach captures and measures critical data and has the potential to improve how certain conditions are diagnosed.”
Sorenson CEO Jorge Rodriguez adds, “We’re at the forefront of language technology. We look forward to collaborating with Canary to create new AI-based solutions that combine our natural language technology with Canary’s innovative vocal biomarker work for those who matter most – patients and consumers.”
Sorenson taps the power of language for human relationships to thrive. As one of the world’s leading language services providers and the world’s leading provider of accessible communication for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, Sorenson combines patented technology with human-centric services to connect signed and spoken languages. Sorenson offers caption and video relay services, over-video and in-person sign language and spoken language interpreting, real-time event captioning services, and post-production language services. For more information on how we advance human connection, https://www.sorenson.com/.
Director of Public Relations
About Canary Speech
Canary Speech is the global leader in the speech digital biomarker industry by achieving real time vocal analysis on as little as 40 seconds of speech using smart devices. Canary Speech is seeking to advance speech and language applications for the hospital, health and wellness, and pharmaceutical markets, the Utah-based company enhances patient care and outcomes by improving quality of care and quality of life with its patented AI speech technology. Canary Speech technology also provides the opportunity to enhance telemedicine and remote medical services. For more information, visit www.canaryspeech.com
SALT LAKE CITY – (May 12, 2022) Today, Sorenson, the world’s leading provider of inclusive communication services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, announced a new Spanish language option for ntouch® mobile for iOS® users. This localization feature means users who have their iOS device language set to Spanish will now see ntouch mobile text in Spanish.
“This new option for our Spanish language community is another important step in expanding our accessible communication offerings. We strive to ensure the highest quality of services and products for our customers by creating true functional equivalency,” said Sorenson CEO Jorge Rodriguez.
To use the Spanish version of ntouch mobile for iOS, users should first download or update the ntouch mobile app on their iPhone or iPad. Users will also need to ensure their device’s default language setting is Spanish in order to see the Spanish text in ntouch mobile.
The announcement follows Sorenson’s commitment to an expanded presence in Puerto Rico , which includes the hiring of American Sign Language (ASL) and Spanish interpreters on the island. Sorenson processes more than 140 million conversations each year and remains the industry leader in accessible communications, services and technology for Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities throughout the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Sorenson’s sign language interpretation and captioning services help relationships thrive by leveraging the power of language.
“Diversity of language is in Sorenson’s roots, and that diversity remains key to our innovation,” continued Rodriguez. “We are dedicated to providing ubiquitous communications capabilities for Deaf and hard-of-hearing customers and driving sustainable impact across our communities, one conversation at a time.”
Sorenson taps the power of language for human relationships to thrive. As one of the world’s leading language services providers and the world’s leading provider of accessible communication for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, Sorenson combines patented technology with human-centric services to connect signed and spoken languages. Sorenson offers caption and video relay services, over-video and in-person sign language and spoken language interpreting, real-time event captioning services, and post-production language services. For more information on how we advance human connection, visit www.sorenson.com or www.es.sorenson.com.
Director of Public Relations
Sorenson and Nos Entendemos are proud to partner to support the 2022 Summer Deaflympics in Brazil! This international sporting event brings together thousands of Deaf athletes to show their competitive spirit and share their passion with the global Deaf community. Alongside Nos Entendemos, Sorenson looks forward to providing interpreting resources and supporting communication access for Deaflympics athletes and staff. We will also be sharing special content, interviews, and updates from the Deaflympics events, so check out our social media pages to follow along and learn more about this exciting cultural event!
SALT LAKE CITY – (April 26, 2022) Today, Sorenson announced it has been named to the Forbes list of Best Employers for Diversity 2022. Sorenson is the world’s leading provider of inclusive communication services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. This prestigious award is presented by Forbes and Statista Inc., the world-leading statistics portal and industry ranking provider.
“We are honored to be included on this important list of employers embracing diversity,” said Sorenson CEO Jorge Rodriguez. “As a provider of language services and accessible communications, we understand what it means to create a diverse workforce. In an effort to best serve our various communities, we proactively engage employees from diverse experiences who enrich our culture and company.”
The Best Employers for Diversity were selected based on Statista’s innovative methodology, guaranteeing unbiased results and providing reliable insights. Over 60,000 U.S. employees were surveyed in companies with a minimum of 1,000 employees to identify The Best Employers for Diversity.
The evaluation was based on four different criteria:
Earlier this month, Sorenson announced that private investment firm Ariel Alternatives, LLC, a subsidiary of Ariel Investments, the first Black-owned asset manager in the United States, completed an acquisition of the majority of the Company’s common equity. With the support of Ariel Alternatives, Sorenson has an enhanced strategic focus on and commitment to underserved and underrepresented communities. “Expanding to additional populations aligns with our focus on of equity, inclusion, and accessibility for diverse communities in very tangible ways – through job growth, economic development, and increased opportunities for underrepresented people,” added Rodriguez. “In this new chapter at the Company, we reaffirm our commitment to expand to further our mission of leveraging the power of language to help relationships thrive.”
As part of the strategic investment from Ariel Alternatives, Sorenson intends to transform into a minority business enterprise (MBE) and become a leading supplier to Fortune 500 companies, supporting business diversity. The Company also plans to significantly increase its mandates with minority-owned businesses in its own supply chain.
“At Sorenson, we celebrate and seek diversity in culture, thought, backgrounds, perspective and experiences,” said Brian Breinholt, Chief Human Resources Officer. “As one of America’s largest private employers of people who are Deaf, we see daily how diversity enriches teams and departments and makes a positive difference in our workplace and in our services.”
La empresa reafirma su compromiso con la comunidad sorda y con el desarrollo económico invirtiendo en un nuevo centro de operaciones en Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico 20 de abril de 2022. Sorenson, el proveedor líder de servicios inclusivos de comunicaciones para la comunidad sorda e hipoacúsica (sordera parcial), anunció hoy la expansión de sus servicios de español y de lenguaje de señas americano (ASL). La empresa estará contratando intérpretes de lenguaje de señas americano para trabajar desde su casa o desde un centro de interpretación en Puerto Rico.
“Para nosotros en Sorenson, es un placer renovar nuestro enfoque en los servicios de interpretación en español y en lenguaje de señas americano porque sabemos que este trabajo es fundamental para conectar a nuestras comunidades”, afirmó Jorge Rodríguez, director ejecutivo de Sorenson.
De acuerdo con Rodríguez, al expandir sus servicios, estimularán la creación de empleos en la Isla y ofrecerán más oportunidades a las comunidades. “Consideramos que Puerto Rico es el lugar ideal para materializar nuestra misión de fomentar el poder de las lenguas con el fin de impulsar el avance de las relaciones de esta importante comunidad”, puntualizó Rodríguez.
Con el propósito de satisfacer las necesidades de los intérpretes, Sorenson ofrecerá puestos para trabajar desde el hogar y planifica abrir, durante este año, un nuevo centro de interpretación. El objetivo inicial es contratar a cien intérpretes de lengua señada y hablada, con la intención de incorporar más personal, a medida que la presencia de Sorenson crezca en Puerto Rico. Esto no sólo brindará más opciones de conexión y de comunicación para la comunidad sorda, sino que también promoverá el desarrollo económico local y generará un mayor número de oportunidades para diversas comunidades.
Un socio clave para lograr la expansión de Sorenson ha sido Claro PR, empresa que proveerá los servicios de telecomunicaciones y garantizará una conectividad a Internet segura para el nuevo centro de interpretación.
“Es un honor para Claro ser parte de esta alianza colaborativa que favorece a la comunidad sorda e hipoacúsica de Puerto Rico. En Claro, buscamos continuamente facilitar las comunicaciones usando nuestra tecnología”, aseveró Enrique Ortiz de Montellano, presidente y director ejecutivo de Claro.
Sorenson continúa liderando la industria proporcionando tecnología, servicios y comunicaciones accesibles para la comunidad sorda e hipoacúsica en los Estados Unidos, en el Reino Unido y en Canadá. A través de sus servicios de lenguaje de señas y de telefonía por Internet con subtitulado [Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service, IP CTS] para las personas con pérdida auditiva, Sorenson procesa más de ciento cuarenta millones de conversaciones al año.
“En Sorenson, sabemos que el acceso a las comunicaciones y a la tecnología es crítico para la comunidad sorda e hipoacúsica, por eso nos complace brindar nuestros servicios al Colegio San Gabriel y al resto de la comunidad en Puerto Rico. Esperamos que esta sea una relación sólida y duradera”, manifestó Lance Pickett, gerente de relaciones de Sorenson.
Las personas interesadas en solicitar un puesto de trabajo en Sorenson pueden encontrar información adicional en https://www.sorenson.com/careers/ o comunicarse por correo electrónico a firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reaffirms commitment to community with enduring investment
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – (April 20, 2022) Sorenson, the world’s leading provider of inclusive communication services for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, announced today an expansion of its Spanish language and American Sign Language (ASL) services. The company is hiring ASL interpreters who will be based in Puerto Rico, working either from home or from an interpreting center.
“Sorenson is pleased to renew our focus on our Spanish and ASL interpretation services, and we recognize how integral this work is to connect our communities,” said Jorge Rodriguez, CEO of Sorenson. “Expanding our services means we can support job creation and opportunity growth for underrepresented people, and we believe Puerto Rico is the right place to continue our mission of leveraging the power of language to help relationships thrive.”
To support interpreter needs, Sorenson is offering work-from-home interpreting positions and plans to open an interpreting center later this year. The initial hiring goal is 100 signed and spoken interpreters, with plans to increase with additional staff as Sorenson’s presence in Puerto Rico grows. These roles will not only offer connection and communication options for the Deaf community, but they will also support local economic development and create increased opportunities for diverse communities.
A key partner to support Sorenson’s expansion is Claro PR, which will be the company’s telecommunications provider, committed to providing reliable internet connectivity for the upcoming interpreting center.
“It is an honor for Claro to be part of this collaborative alliance which supports the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community in Puerto Rico. In Claro, we are continuously looking to facilitate communication through the use of our advanced technologies,” said Enrique Ortiz de Montellano, president and chief executive officer of Claro.
Sorenson continues to lead the industry in delivering accessible communications, technology and services to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities in the U.S., U.K. and Canada. Through its sign language services and Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) for people with hearing loss, Sorenson processes more than 140 million conversations annually.
“We understand how critical access to communication and technology is for all Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and Sorenson is pleased to commit our services to Colegio San Gabriel and the broader community in Puerto Rico. We look forward to a strong and enduring relationship,” said Lance Pickett, Sorenson Chief Relationship Officer.
First C-level Deaf executive brings real-world experience to diverse communities
SALT LAKE CITY – (April 12, 2022) – Today, Sorenson announced the appointment of Lance Pickett as its new Chief Relationship Officer (CRO). Mr. Pickett is the first Deaf executive to serve in the company’s C-suite since the company’s founding 20 years ago.
Born Deaf into a family with both Deaf and hearing members, Mr. Pickett has spent his life negotiating both cultures, communication and communities. His personal experience, combined with his thorough understanding of Sorenson products and services and the needs of the people who use them, uniquely qualify him to lead corporate efforts to seek mutual understanding and collaboration between diverse people.
“Lance is the right leader to nurture new and established relationships as Sorenson evolves to connect even more people worldwide using Sorenson’s accessible and inclusive services,” said Sorenson CEO Jorge Rodriguez. “Lance brings historical industry perspective and understands our renewed focus on innovation, consumer protection and compliance. We welcome him to the leadership team.”
In his new role, Mr. Pickett will draw upon his extensive, first-hand experiences in the Deaf, hearing and hard-of-hearing communities as well as his expertise developed over years serving in various Sorenson roles. He is pioneering and will lead Sorenson’s new Ambassador program.
Mr. Pickett began his career with Sorenson as a trainer, installing videophone equipment in customers’ homes, then rapidly advanced to director of technical support for Sorenson relay service. After 13 years, he was promoted to marketing vice president, where he was responsible for all consumer acquisition and retention marketing, branding, corporate communications, B2C marketing and sales support and product development. He spearheaded initiatives that drove record social media and community engagement; lobbied Sorenson’s positions to the FCC, political representatives and community advocacy groups; and consulted and collaborated with product development and design teams to ensure optimal user experiences across all of Sorenson’s modern, customer-focused platforms and hardware.
“I am pleased to join Sorenson’s leadership,” notes Mr. Pickett. “I am excited about our plans to expand our communication services to better serve Deaf, hard-of-hearing, diverse and underrepresented communities. I want to support the growth that takes Sorenson to the next level.” Mr. Pickett is a graduate of Utah Valley University with a bachelor’s degree in multimedia communications technology.
Salt Lake City – April 9, 2022
We are devastated to report that on Fri., April 8, 10 Sorenson employees who were in Austin, Texas preparing to attend a DeafNation Expo were injured when two vehicles collided at an intersection, sending one vehicle into the Sorenson group which had gathered near a food truck. The injured employees were transported to two local hospitals and treated for varying degrees of serious injuries.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event. Our hearts are with those in the Sorenson family who sustained injuries and with those impacted by the event,” said Sorenson CEO Jorge Rodriguez. “We continue to support them on their road to recovery and healing.”
Sorenson, el proveedor líder de servicios accesibles de comunicación en los Estados Unidos, anuncia transacción estratégica
Ariel Alternatives, LLC concreta la adquisición del paquete mayoritario de Sorenson.
Una asociación con el fin de expandir las opciones de comunicación inclusiva para la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica, y para diversas poblaciones a nivel mundial.
Un nuevo director general y una nueva junta directiva le aportan al equipo directivo pericia adicional en temas relacionados con productos, seguridad y regulaciones.
Salt Lake City, 4 de abril de 2022. Sorenson (o “la empresa”), el proveedor líder de comunicaciones para la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica en los Estados Unidos, anunció hoy que la firma de inversión privada Ariel Alternatives, LLC ha concretado la adquisición del 52,5 % del capital ordinario de los accionistas existentes, esto incluye a Blackstone Credit, un fondo gestionado por Franklin Mutual Advisers, y cuentas financieras privadas gestionadas por KKR, en una transacción de USD 1 300 millones. Los accionistas vendedores continuarán poseyendo una participación minoritaria en la empresa. Ariel Alternatives es la empresa privada filial de la firma gestora de activos globales Ariel Investments, LLC, la primera empresa de inversión de propietarios afroamericanos en los Estados Unidos.
Durante más de veinte años, Sorenson ha sido el proveedor líder de tecnología, de servicios y de comunicaciones accesibles para la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica en los Estados Unidos, y más recientemente, en el Reino Unido. El servicio de telefonía por Internet con subtitulado de Sorenson [Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service, IP CTS] para las personas con pérdida auditiva y la interpretación por video y en persona en lenguaje de señas americano y británico han modernizado la manera en que las personas Sordas e hipoacúsicas se comunican. Esta adquisición no afectará los servicios existentes de Sorenson.
En la actualidad, Sorenson procesa más de ciento cuarenta millones de conversaciones al año, y es una de las empresas privadas que emplea a más individuos Sordos en los Estados Unidos. Se espera que la inversión de Ariel Alternatives le permita a Sorenson conectar a más personas alrededor del mundo a través de sus servicios accesibles e inclusivos, y continuar expandiéndose para modernizar sus servicios comunicativos hacia las plataformas del siglo XXI. La presencia de Sorenson en Europa incluye a un prestigioso cliente en Francia y a su afiliada en el Reino Unido, Sign Language Interactions. Recientemente, la Oficina de Comunicaciones del Reino Unido nombró a Sign Language Interactions como el proveedor oficial del nuevo servicio de video relevo (VRS) para las llamadas a Emergencias al 999.
Esta transacción es la primera de la iniciativa estratégica “Project Black” de Ariel Alternatives, cuya misión es expandir las empresas sostenibles propiedad de minorías. A través de este esfuerzo, Ariel Alternatives busca transformar las empresas de cartera como Sorenson en empresas dirigidas por minorías y ubicarlas como prestadores líderes entre las empresas Fortune 500, respaldando así la diversidad comercial. Ariel Alternatives también apunta a ayudar a las empresas a generar empleos, igualdad y crecimiento económico dentro de las poblaciones subrepresentadas. Sus objetivos de alto impacto incluyen, sin limitación: acrecentar el acceso a productos para las comunidades desatendidas, contratar a personal diverso para cubrir puestos desde el nivel inicial hasta el nivel ejecutivo, obtener contratos de comerciantes y proveedores minoritarios, y forjar asociaciones filantrópicas con organizaciones que respalden los derechos civiles.
Jorge Rodríguez, director ejecutivo de Sorenson comentó: “Nos entusiasma enormemente asociarnos con Ariel Alternatives. Su inversión nos permitirá optimizar nuestro potencial, y desarrollar nuestros sistemas, nuestras plataformas y nuestro alcance para mejorar la experiencia comunicativa de la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica. Además, podremos acelerar la investigación y el desarrollo, y ampliar las inversiones para ofrecer tecnología de vanguardia, lo que nos permitirá promover la equivalencia funcional para las diversas comunidades a las que servimos. Me complace que hayamos concretado esta transacción de envergadura que respalda nuestra tesis de accesibilidad, inclusión y oportunidad económica, los principios subyacentes de nuestra misión para respaldar a los grupos desatendidos y subrepresentados”.
David Posnick, director ejecutivo sénior de Blackstone Credit y miembro de la junta directiva de Sorenson, añadió: “Sorenson ha hecho un trabajo excepcional proveyendo servicios a la comunidad Sorda e hipoacúsica. Confío en que la asociación con Ariel Alternatives ampliará el alcance de los servicios de Sorenson, proporcionando el acceso lingüístico para las comunicaciones a poblaciones más extensas”.
Ariel Alternatives ha aprovechado su amplia red de ejecutivos minoritarios para colaborar con Sorenson nombrando, recientemente, a Jorge Rodríguez como director ejecutivo, y designando una nueva junta directiva que incluye a Paget Alves como su presidente, a Vonya McCann, al coronel J. Carlos Vega y a María Teresa Lensing como sus directores. Además de ser personas de color, estos ejecutivos le aportarán al equipo directivo de Sorenson pericia crítica en temas regulatorios, de productos y de seguridad a medida que la empresa evoluciona y amplía su enfoque en la innovación, en el cumplimiento y en la protección de los consumidores.
Sorenson recientemente ha contratado, y continuará contratando, a personal de minorías étnicas y a personas Sordas e hipoacúsicas para ocupar puestos de liderazgo, asesoría y dirección. Asimismo, la empresa planea establecer un Consejo de Asesoría Sordo que recomendará prácticas óptimas de manera continua con el fin de garantizar la debida conducción de la empresa en la comunidad a la que servimos.
Sorenson recibió la asesoría de Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP y Credit Suisse. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP actuó como el principal asesor legal para Ariel Alternatives. Greenberg Traurig LLP proporcionó asesoría jurídica adicional.
Sorenson, America’s Leading Provider of Accessible Communication Services, Announces Strategic Transaction
Ariel Alternatives, LLC completes purchase of majority stake in Sorenson
Partnership to enable the expansion of Sorenson’s inclusive communication options for Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and additional diverse populations worldwide
Newly appointed CEO and board directors bring enhanced product, security, and regulatory expertise to leadership team
Salt Lake City, April 4, 2022 – Sorenson (or “the Company”), the leading U.S. communications provider for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing, announced today that private investment firm Ariel Alternatives, LLC has completed an acquisition of 52.5% of the Company’s common equity from existing shareholders, including Blackstone Credit, a fund managed by Franklin Mutual Advisers, and private credit accounts managed by KKR at an enterprise valuation of $1.3 billion. The selling shareholders will continue to own a minority interest in the company. Ariel Alternatives is the private equity subsidiary of global asset manager Ariel Investments, LLC, the first Black-owned investment firm in the U.S.
Sorenson has been the leader for over 20 years in delivering accessible communications, technology and services to the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities in the U.S. and, more recently, in the United Kingdom. Sorenson’s Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) for people with hearing loss, video, in-person American Sign Language and British Sign Language interpreting have modernized the way people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing communicate. This acquisition will not affect Sorenson’s current services.
Today, Sorenson processes more than 140 million conversations annually, and is one of America’s largest private employers of Deaf people. Ariel Alternatives’ investment is expected to enable Sorenson to connect even more people worldwide using the Company’s accessible and inclusive services, by expanding those services to additional 21st century communications platforms. Sorenson’s existing presence in Europe includes a flagship customer in France, and its United Kingdom affiliate, Sign Language Interactions. Sign Language Interactions was recently named by the U.K.’s Office of Communications as the official provider for the U.K.’s new Emergency 999 Video Relay Service (VRS).
This transaction is the first of Ariel Alternatives’ strategic initiative “Project Black,” its mission to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses. Through this effort, Ariel Alternatives seeks to transform portfolio companies like Sorenson into minority business enterprises (MBEs) and position them as leading suppliers to Fortune 500 companies, supporting business diversity. Ariel Alternatives also aims to help portfolio companies generate jobs, economic growth, and equality within underrepresented populations. These impact objectives include but are not limited to: increasing the accessibility of products to underserved communities; the hiring of diverse people from entry level to the boardroom; the purchasing of contracts with minority-owned vendors and suppliers; and philanthropic partnerships with organizations supporting civil rights.
Sorenson Chief Executive Officer Jorge Rodriguez commented: “We are thrilled to partner with Ariel Alternatives. Their investment will enable us to optimize our capabilities, evolve our systems, platforms and approaches to improve the overall Deaf and hard-of-hearing communication experience, and accelerate R&D and next-generation technology investments to promote functional equivalency across the diverse communities we serve. I couldn’t be happier that we have closed such a monumental transaction, given our thesis of accessibility, inclusion and economic opportunities as underlying tenets of our mission to support underserved and underrepresented groups.”
Senior Managing Director of Blackstone Credit and Sorenson board member David Posnick added: “Sorenson has done a phenomenal job of serving the Deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. I am confident the Ariel Alternatives partnership will extend Sorenson’s service reach, providing communication language access to broader populations.”
Ariel Alternatives has leveraged its extensive network of minority executives to introduce Sorenson to recently appointed CEO Jorge Rodriguez and new board members, including Chairman Paget Alves, and directors Vonya McCann, Colonel J. Carlos Vega and Maria Teresa Lensing. In addition to being people of color, these executives bring critical product, security, and regulatory expertise to Sorenson’s leadership team as the Company evolves and enhances its focus on innovation, consumer protection, and compliance.
Sorenson has recently hired and will continue to engage additional ethnic minority, Deaf and hard-of-hearing leaders, advisors, and directors. In addition, the Company is establishing a Deaf Advisory Council that will recommend ongoing best practices for conducting business in the community it serves.
Sorenson was advised by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Credit Suisse. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP served as lead legal counsel to Ariel Alternatives, with Greenberg Traurig LLP serving as co-counsel.