“It is abuse if people make you feel unworthy, unwanted and hurt. Deaf women need to stay strong, never give up and do what they love.”
Tessa, a self-proclaimed ‘mompreneur’ was born deaf and is the founder and CEO of two magazines.

Challenges she faces

“I have a hard time because people and society don’t understand deafness. It is extremely hard to communicate without help. People don’t realize that our hardships can be fixed by providing better services to help deaf people communicate.”
Not only has Tessa faced challenges in her personal life, but also in her business – something she started because she struggled to land a job with her graphic design degree.
“There are tough times where I try to network at events and people don’t really understand me very well. I honestly feel that sometimes people turn away from my business because of my deafness,” Tessa said.

Her support system

Once Tessa’s parents found out she was deaf (at age one) they immediately enrolled in sign language classes at a local college.
Today, her family including her parents, sister, husband and two adorable daughters – aged five and fifteen months – do sign language. She cannot say enough about the support she receives from her family.

“They make phone calls for me when I need to, such as appointments or conversations. They help me with anything that I need such as interpreting and they always back me up no matter what happens,” she said.

Looking forward

“It is harder being a deaf owner, yes, but at the same time it might be a good thing. I do find that I attract a lot of people with my energy and my lifestyle because I am showing people that I can do what I want to do without anything stopping me,” she said.

Q: What advice do you have for other deaf women?

“My advice is to surround yourself around the right people. I have gone through so many friends and relationships – some good and some bad. I find that if you find the right people, it makes your life better. If you are around people that hurt you, it is not okay, it is not worth it – get rid of them.”

Tessa’s recommended resources:

Deaf Life Magazine
Deaf Mompreneur Chronicles (her personal blog)

Follow her Magazine – Standout Publications in Print and Online https://www.facebook.com/fashionsignezine

Follow On The Record Women!

http://ontherecordwomen.com/2014/11/18/tessa-lerbekmo-joyes-i-am-a-deaf-mompreneur/

Photos by Zev Abosh

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