Her daughter was teased for having a Deaf mom — so she created a business to build inclusive connections | Women of Influence

Andrea Zackary grew up hard of hearing. Born in Jamaica, the Brampton, Ontario-based entrepreneur and mother of five relied on hearing aids and amplifiers for many years of her life. She studied Hotel and Hospitality Management and worked in hotels as a front desk agent. 

At the age of 25, her entire world went silent. 

“I grew up part of the hearing world and my signing skills weren’t great, so finding out my hearing was gone completely was extremely hard,” Andrea recalls. “And then I lost my job.” 

Since she was young and had never had a hard time getting a job before, Andrea assumed she’d find another one. “I didn’t know the challenges I was about to face as a Deaf person looking for work,” she recalls. Having filled out countless resumes and interviewing for many jobs she didn’t get, Andrea says she began putting the pieces together. “No one would hire me.”  

With a young daughter at home and her entire career ahead of her, Andrea knew giving up wasn’t an option. She made what would be her first pivot — going back to school and studying to be a PSW (Personal Support Worker). Upon completion of her studies, she quickly found employment with the Bob Rumball Organization working with Deaf seniors. 

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