Revolutionizing Accessibility: My Journey to VP of Business Development at Aira

A grey background with a headshot of Jill Ratliff beside text that reads "Aira Welcomes Jill Ratliff, VP of Business Development."

Aira is thrilled to welcome Jill Ratliff to the team as VP of Business Development! Below, Jill shares her story and her leadership journey. 

I can remember at an early age being interested in understanding why and how the world wasn’t designed for my brother who is autistic. This interest and curiosity as a child became my passion as an adult and as it turns out, this passion led me to the forefront of a groundbreaking revolution in accessibility, not once but twice. 

Nearly 18 years ago, my leadership journey in the interpreting field began when I learned about Video Relay Services (VRS). There was a call center opening in Cincinnati and my fellow interpreter colleagues were all talking about it. The concept of enabling real-time communication for Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals via video interpreting was groundbreaking and I just knew I had to be part of it. Fast forward to the present day, history repeats itself as I am once again filled with that same sense of purpose and excitement joining Aira’s executive team. 

Aira’s approach to real-time visual interpreting through cutting edge video technology is changing the world and I’m thrilled to part of another revolution in accessibility. I have worked as a professional sign language interpreter for over 20 years, with the majority of that time serving as a VRS management leader for Sorenson Communications. My years in management eventually led to becoming a Senior Regional Director responsible for half of the US and Canada markets, 3,000+ interpreters, and their management teams. More recently, I’ve worked as a Senior Design Consultant supporting Enterprise Sales, Marketing, and Product Management in the development and delivery of Sorenson’s Express product line. I believe my experience in these areas align perfectly with the work Aira is doing and where they’re headed.    

Aira’s pioneering visual interpreting service has the power to transform the lives of millions by providing real-time visual information to their Explorers. The impact of this service goes beyond accessibility; it fosters independence, empowerment, and inclusion. In addition, businesses and organizations providing accessibility is not only necessary; it is also a smart business choice. With one billion disabled individuals comprising the largest minority community globally, catering to their needs represents a significant market opportunity for companies by tapping into an underserved demographic with an estimated $13 trillion in spending power. By embracing accessibility, organizations can foster a culture of diversity and inclusion for those they serve and benefit from reaching many more people. It’s a win-win! 

This is an exciting time for assistive technology and Aira is helping shape a movement towards a world where differences are celebrated, and everyone has equal access to opportunities. As I step into my new role as VP of Business Development, I am committed to driving forward Aira’s mission, forging partnerships, and expanding our reach to everyone who can benefit from Aira services. I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunity and I couldn’t ask for a more talented and passionate team to work alongside in this next revolution in accessibility.

–Jill Ratliff, VP of Business Development