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Board Members

The Cochlear Awareness Foundation (CIAF) proudly presents its board members. These individuals give generously of their time and support to further the mission of CIAF.


Advisory Committee

Michelle Tjelmeland, Founder and Chairwoman
Profoundly deaf, Michelle received the gift of hearing through cochlear implant technology. Realizing the lack of information and support for the hearing impaired, Michelle founded the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation (CIAF) to provide hope and understanding for those individuals and families facing the challenges of hearing loss and seeking new opportunities for sound. Michelle is the owner of a business specializing in web and graphic design services – from Web sites to social media development.

Sheryl Klemm, Director
A skilled administrative assistant, Sheryl Klemm has years of experience providing administrative support to private firms. In addition to her role on the CIAF Board, she has volunteered weekly at District 23 since the shop’s opening, and never misses volunteering for a CIAF special event. Sheryl has lived nearly all her life in Taylorville, where she and her husband, Max, raised their two daughters. She has three beautiful granddaughters with whom she loves to spend time.

Max Klemm, Director
A life-long resident of Taylorville, where he and his wife raised their two daughters, Max Klemm brings his own unique brand of optimism and encouragement to CIAF. His positivity is absolutely infectious and any time spent around him makes it obvious why he’s been such a success in his 42 years in the car business. In addition to his position on the foundation board, Max rarely has missed a call to volunteer at a CIAF special event.

Brandy Lozosky, Director
Brandy Lozosky is the creative force behind District 23. She’s one of those people who can take anything ordinary and turn it into extraordinary. She enjoys building and creating things out of old junk, metal, wood and fabrics. In fact, it was Brandy who created CIAF's popular Socks for Sounds fundraiser. When she’s not volunteering for CIAF, Brandy is at home with her loving and supportive family – husband, Mike, and son, Reilly.

Laura Gehrs, Director
Laura Gehrs is an engineer by day and a District 23 buyer and merchandiser by night and on weekends. She works evenings and Saturdays each week at the shop and serves as a Director on the CIAF Board. A wife and mom of two, Laura has an incredible calming influence on those around her. While she loves tropical travel, she enjoys spending time in her own backyard paradise with family, friends, and her three fur babies, two Jack Russell Terriers and a Miki/Yorkie mix.

Lori Von Behren
Lori Von Behren grew up in the house where she lives today with her husband in Springfield, Illinois. Family and friendship are extremely important to her, as evidenced by all she does. In addition to working full time as Corporate Secretary and bookkeeper for her family’s business since 1979, Lori enjoys the camaraderie of volunteering at least two days a week with District 23 and always gives time to CIAF special events. On top of all this, she remains very active in the lives of her children and grandchildren.

Crista Gebhardt
Originally from the Chicago area, Crista Gebhardt has lived with her husband in Springfield, Illinois for almost 20 years. While raising four very active school-aged kids, she has been extremely involved in various roles with local volunteer organizations. This experience is a great asset to CIAF. Crista helps coordinate special events for the foundation and volunteers her time regularly, both at the events and by serving on the CIAF Board.

Dr. Michael Novak, Advisory Member
As director of the cochlear implant team for the Carle Foundation’s Expanding Children’s Hearing Opportunities (ECHO) program in Urbana, Illinois, Dr. Novak is regarded as a leader in the field of hearing loss and cochlear implant technology. Dr. Novak launched one of the first multi-disciplinary teams to support families of children with hearing loss.

Debra Nussbaum, Advisory Member
As coordinator for the Cochlear Implant Education Center at Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center for Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., Debra has spearheaded national efforts to study the combined roles of spoken and signed language in the education of children with cochlear implants.

Anthony Arnold, Advisory Member
With a gift for technological savvy, Anthony founded a business assisting medical device companies grow their business by developing marketing products that better meet the needs of their patients and clients. Anthony has a passion for working with the hearing impaired and continues to work with the American Academy of Otolaryngology and medical device manufacturers.

Terri Phelps, Advisory Member
Terri Phelps is a CPA and partner at Estes Bridgewater & Ogden.  She lends her expertise in accounting to CIAF, and advises the foundation on matters concerning its status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.



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Resources What is a cochlear implant?  What does insurance typically cover?  What are the ongoing costs?  Connect to our Resources page to view the only online clearinghouse of up-to-date cochlear implant information. CLICK HERE FOR RESOURCES
Recycling Have cochlear implant equipment or batteries that you can't use?  Could you use recycled equipment?  Connect to our Trash to Treasure page to learn about  your options. RECYCLE HERE
Reassurance Do you feel alone?  Do you want to communicate with people who understand?  Connect to our Community page, where cochlear-implant recipients and their families share stories and experiences. JOIN OUR COMMUNITY HERE
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