First deaf ROTUS (Receptionist of the United States)
Leah Katz-Hernandez is a leading expert on disability and diversity issues, public communication strategy, and civil rights.
Currently serving as a Manager of Special Projects at Gallaudet University President’s Office, Leah is arguably best known as the celebrated ROTUS, Receptionist of the United States, for President Obama. The first ever deaf person to hold the position, Leah was appointed in the West Wing after serving in First Lady Michelle Obama’s communications office and for the Obama campaign during the 2012 election cycle. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Leah’s groundbreaking grassroots digital communications resulted into an award-winning blog and received international attention. Throughout her career at the White House, in the non-profit sector, political campaigns, and on Capitol Hill, Leah has consistently used her specialty knowledge to urge equal access for the deaf, disability and Latina communities.
In 2017, Leah joined as a Board Member to the American Association of People with Disabilities and as an advisor with the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation Advisory Committee. Leah earned her MA in Strategic Communication from American University and a BA in Government from Gallaudet University.