Board of Directors
Helen Cotton-Leiser, Guide-by-Your-Side Coordinator of Hands & Voices Oregon, is a mom to two deaf girls, Ashlin and Mikaylin. When Ashlin was denied her bilateral cochlear implant, Helen led the charge on changing legislation in Oregon on bilateral cochlear implant coverage. Helen coordinates the Guide By Your Side program and is involved in various training programs for Hands & Voices national headquarters.
Debbie Biller, Past President of Hands & Voices Oregon, is the proud mom of 2 boys, one with “typical” hearing and the other who was born deaf. Debbie is thankful for the many people who have taught her to advocate effectively for her son, and she looks forward to the day when he has learned to confidently advocate for himself. She has been involved with Hands & Voices since 2009 and has been a commercial interior designer for 17 years.
Elijah Farrell, Treasurer of Hands & Voices Oregon, is a parent of twins. His son was born profoundly deaf. Eli is an attorney and CPA. He currently works for NIKE International, as a CPA. Eli has been the treasurer of H&V Oregon for 3 years ensuring funds are handled appropriately.
Esperanza (Espi) Pietrok was a founding member of the Oregon Chapter of Hands and Voices in 2007. She is the mother of 2 boys. The oldest, Chad, was born deaf in 1999. Her experience raising Chad has provided her day-to-day exposure of the administrative challenges of raising a deaf child. She has learned to effectively advocate for him in the realms of education, insurance and medical professionals. She is a valuable resource for families who face the same adversity.
Dr. Jennifer Ratigan, Au.D., moved to Oregon in 2011 bringing her expertise in Cochlear Implants to Legacy Hospital System and Ear & Skull Base Center. Jennifer completed her Doctorate degree at Gallaudet University and has specialized in Cochlear Implants, Pediatrics and Diagnostics, for 10 years at leading institutions including Georgetown Medical and Mayo Clinic Scottsdale. She has served as Associate Faculty for Arizona State University and is dual certified in Audiology and Special Education. Dr. Ratigan’s philosophy for medical intervention is to foster family centered, family specific and comprehensive clinical care. She and her husband, Mitch, are enjoying their introduction to the Northwest, with their three children, Mitch (6), Diane (5), and Ben (3).
Kristin Knight is a Pediatric Audiologist and is the Director of the Pediatric Audiology Program at the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Oregon Health and Science University. She is also an adjunct instructor at Portland State University in the Speech and Hearing Sciences Department. Her clinical work involves the evaluation and diagnosis of hearing loss in infants and children, and she is involved in clinical hearing research.
Sara Weiner-Collier was born profoundly deaf with a twin brother and has been involved in the deaf and hard of hearing community across the nation. She was mainstreamed throughout her childhood until she learned sign language while enrolling at Rochester Institute of Technology. Sara earned dual masters degree in Clinical Social Work and Public Health at Columbia University in New York City with a passion in community health. She moved to Oregon for her fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005. She wears a digital hearing aid in one ear and cochlear implant in the other. After having enriched personal and professional experiences far and wide, she has devoted her advocacy to the populations with disabilities.