Staff

Emma Faye Rudkin
Founder | Executive Director (deaf)
Emma Faye went profoundly deaf at the age of three and has spent her life turning a disability into an ability. Emma Faye is an internationally-known role mode and public speaker for the (D)deaf and hard-of-hearing (HOH) community and founder of Aid the Silent. She was crowned Miss San Antonio 2015 & 2017 and placed Top 4 in Miss Texas 2017. She was named 2018 San Antonio’s Woman of the Year by the San Antonio Business Journal (SABJ), and appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve on the Texas Governor’s Committee on people with Disabilities until 2020. Aid the Silent and Emma Faye were honored by the SABJ and The Najim Family Foundation Corporate Philanthropy & Nonprofit Awards for Nonprofit CEO & Senior Manager two years in row as well as Nonprofit of the Year for small to midsize. Aid the Silent’s Good Vibrations Music & Arts Festival, a completely deaf accessible festival, won Best of Fest for Charity Music Festival in Santa Barbara, CA presented by Jeff Bridges, Kenny Loggins, TBone Burnett and the Coen Brothers. Morgan’s Wonderland placed Emma Faye on their Wall of Fame as an individual who has gone above and beyond to do great things for people with special needs.

Today, Emma Faye travels all around the country speaking at business conventions, ministries, churches and deaf conferences sharing her story and letting others know about the programs Aid the Silent offers to the deaf/hard-of-hearing community. It is because of her ability to communicate via sign language and orally that she is able to unify the Deaf community with the hearing world. Emma Faye is the primary fundraiser and spokesperson for Aid the Silent as well as Executive Director. She also serves as Mission Staff for Deaf Young Life. Emma Faye graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio Honors College with Highest Honors (1 of 5) and Cum Laude with a BA in Communications and a minor in Non-profit Management.


Kathy Rudkin
Co-Founder | CFO
Kathy graduated with a BA in Advertising and a minor in marketing from University of Central Oklahoma. With a degree in hand, Kathy started Rudkin Productions, an advertising agency in Boerne, Texas. For the last 22 years, Rudkin Productions has been the exclusive design and production firm for some of the nation’s most well renowned ministries, churches and businesses giving veteran insight to marketing strategies for nonprofits. One in particular, Aid the Silent, which she would cofound with her profoundly deaf daughter, Emma Faye Rudkin.

Kathy is the lead marketing and advertising director for the nonprofit overseeing all design, strategies and general advertising of the organization. Kathy works with the executive director and development director to develop and implement plans for Aid the Silent’s short and long-term goals. She oversees the nonprofit’s large fundraisers and acts as a spokesperson between the community and Aid the Silent.

 


Melissa Sullivan
Awareness Manager | Events Director

Growing up in a military family Melissa had the opportunity to travel the world and experience many different cultures and lifestyles. She attended Southwest Texas State University for a degree in Theater Arts with an emphasis in Acting and Directing. Melissa has been involved in theater in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Germany and Italy. She pursued a career in the hospitality industry, specifically event planning and food and beverage. In addition, Melissa has spent over 30 years working in the non-profit arena globally with extensive volunteering including the Miss Texas Organization, Wounded Warriors, Susan G Komen, Any Baby Can, March of Dimes, Military/Civilian Organization, Fort Riley Historical Society, PTO, Girl Scouts of America, Boy Scouts of America and Youth Sports Recreation Organization.

Melissa coordinates and manages all the contracts, travel and logistics of all speaking engagements and news programming for Aid the Silent. In 2018 – Aid the Silent reached 17,000 people in their awareness events and over 500,000 with news interviews, national programming, PSA announcements and podcasts. Melissa organizes, coordinates and handles the logistics of all Aid the Silent’s large fundraising events including planning, day-of execution and post-event operations. She recruits, trains and manages volunteers.

 


Magdalena Puente
Development Coordinator

Magdalena comes to Aid the Silent as an accomplished manager with three years of specialized experience in leadership, effective communication, and excellent customer service in a national large chain restaurant and retail business. She led a team of 30 employees maintaining high levels of customer service while developing action plans and directly motivating and instructing the store team to implement them to meet operational and organizational objectives. Magdalena long-term goal is to become a certified sign language interpreter and she is currently working towards this goal on staff at Aid the Silent. Magdalena has a heart for the deaf and hard-of-hearing to have equal access and inclusion and has come to love advocating for this community and working side-by-side in active role. She has years of volunteer experience in other non-profit areas such as Refuge Church, Texas State Aquarium, Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation and the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Magdalena serves in a caseworker position with the applicants of Aid the Silent. She and the Executive Director work together in reviewing and processing all applications, acquiring all necessary applicant paperwork, working with insurance companies, audiologists, doctors, hearing industry specialists and the Aid the Silent families and educators to ensure applicants are receiving the correct resources to help them succeed. She assists in supporting the implementation and execution of Aid the Silent’s fundraising events as well as facilitates engagement and donor retention through tracking, follow up and outreach.

 


Olivia Claire Hull
Outreach Coordinator

Olivia graduated SAC ITP (Interpreter Training Program) in 2017 with AAS in American Sign Language. She developed a love for sign language in 7th grade which continued into high school with four years of ASL. Her love for the language and the deaf and hard-of-hearing community shows in the years she has spent working with non-profits and ministries to bridge the gap of any communication barrier. Olivia has been a part of Aid the Silent volunteer team since 2016 and has been involved in all aspects of the organization from 5ks, Good Vibrations Music & Arts Festival, community events, middle school and high school camps to administration work. She has been a Deaf Young Life leader since 2017 and volunteers weekly to meet our deaf/HOH teens where they are at through building relationship by going into their world and spending time with them. Each week, Olivia gives of her time to Deaf Young Life by organizing a weekly club, meeting one-on-one with students and leading as well as interpreting for camps. She also volunteers for Significant U, A21 and is active in her church community at Alamo Community Church (ACC) where she is Child Care Director for a weekly Ladies Bible Class and as well as Resource Leader for ACC Group (Young Adult).

At Aid the Silent, Olivia works within our educators, school systems and audiologists to establish strong and collaborative bilateral partnerships. She assists in developing educational events, networking events, attends conferences and works with our educators and audiologists to help provide all the necessary tools and resources to our deaf/HOH children and teens. Olivia also works with our community business partners in fundraising and volunteer opportunities.

Olivia Claire is fluent in ASL and helps bridge communication barriers at Aid the Silent events and camps. Olivia walks along aside our deaf/HOH teens on weekly basis as well as serves throughout the ministry branch of Aid the Silent.

 


Sarah Pedraza
Community Engagement Manager

Sarah graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in advertising and business foundations certificate from McCombs School of Business. She coordinates the day-to-day social media advertising for Aid the Silent as well as social awareness campaigns and digital fundraising initiatives. Working with the nonprofit organization combines two of her biggest passions: her love for advertising and advocating for the community. Aid the Silent has brought forth the opportunity for Sarah to inform others about the deaf/HOH community, as well as share the stories of the children and teens whose lives have been impacted by the nonprofit organization.

 


Nicole Murray
Bookeeper

Over 20 years’ experience in the accounting field, Nicole is full charge bookkeeper, with A/R, A/R, HR and nonprofit experience. Nicole graduated with her bachelor’s in accounting from Liberty University. Nicole works hand-in-hand with Aid the Silent’s outside controller as well as CPA firm. Nicole’s vast booking experience, knowledge and expertise ensures Aid the Silent is accurate, timely, and in full compliance with state and federal accounting rules as well as restricted grant funding. Nicole works with our staff and board on budget planning and reporting.

 


Hank the Hearing Dog

“Hank the Hearing Dog” has been trained as the “ears” for his human, Emma Faye, who is deaf. Hank spent the first two years of his life at NEADs World Class Service Dogs training facility in Massachusetts. With over 40 years’ experience, NEADs Service Dogs for Hearing are specially trained canine assistants who help people who are deaf by alerting their partners to sounds around the home and in public such as door knocking, alarm clocks, fire and intruder alarms, traffic approaching, horns honking, the handler’s name being called out, tea kettles and just general sound awareness.

Service Dogs for Hearing are especially sensitive to noises, and Emma Faye can learn a lot about her environment just by watching Hank’s visual cues. Hank notices when someone approaches from behind and tries to get her attention to communicate with Emma Faye by making physical contact with her and then leading her to the location of the sound. Hank seeks out Emma Faye’s hand with his nose to make contact about sounds she needs to know.

Emma Faye waited almost two years for Hank. Hank had to have extra special abilities to work with Emma Faye’s crazy lifestyle of being a public speaker, running a non-profit, working with children and traveling around the country.  Hank’s super laid back demeanor means he casually rolls with Emma’s whirlwind days like the super hero. He is especially good with children and very gentle as well as playful.

Hank is actually an International ADA approved Service Dog – which means he can go anywhere in the world with Emma Faye. He has been specifically trained to make long international flights. Hank the Hearing Dog can be seen daily hanging out at the Aid the Silent offices and always Emma Faye’s permanent sidekick wherever she goes.  Hank is the ultimate professional when he is dressed for work with his Service vest and gentle leader and when Hank is working – he has to stay focused so the “no petting” policy is in place. When Hank takes off his work clothes, he becomes a pretty cool dog and that when lots of petting and loving can commence.