Deaf Inc.

DEAF, Inc. Welcomes Darian Burwell Gambrell as its New Executive Director

New Executive Director Selected

DEAF, Inc. is embarking on an exciting new chapter. Founded in 1977, DEAF, Inc. has selected its new Executive Director, effective September 2021. Darian Burwell Gambrell succeeds Sharon Applegate, who will retire at the end of this month after 18 years of service to DEAF, Inc.

The organization is the only Massachusetts community-based, multi-service nonprofit run by and for Deaf (Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, and Late-Deafened) adults. DEAF, Inc. is founded on the principle of self-determination and the rights of Deaf people to identify their own goals and follow through on achieving them, taking increasingly independent charge of their lives.

“A True Champion of the People”

The search, which was first announced in March 2021, was led by a search committee of staff members and Board representatives and facilitated by Innivee Strategies, Inc., a Deaf-owned and led organizational and leadership development company.

“The search process attracted a group of excellent candidates who brought various experiences and visions for the organization. After significant consideration, we are excited to welcome Darian Burwell Gambrell as DEAF, Inc.’s new Executive Director,” said Wesley Ireland, Board President. “Darian is a true champion of the people. She impressed the search committee and the Board with her transformative leadership approach and the depth of experience she brings with it.”

About Gambrell

“DEAF Inc. has had an amazing impact on the Massachusetts community over the past 40 years through its educational and human services,” said Gambrell. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the many people and groups who have been impacted by and supported DEAF, Inc. so far, and building a shared vision for the organization’s future together.”

Since 2017, Gambrell has been a manager at the Raleigh regional center of the North Carolina Division of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, which has seven regional centers across the state. Prior to this role, Gambrell was well-known at Gallaudet University for her student-centered management; she oversaw the Office of Student Success and had a leadership role in the university’s JumpStart and Peer Mentoring programs for incoming students. Gambrell has worked in several positions in non-profit, colleges, and state agencies throughout her career. She is a current member on the Board of Trustees at Gallaudet University and a former board member for Arts Access, Inc. Gambrell hosts community conversations and workshops and has since cultivated a reputation as an engaging facilitator on diversity and inclusion dialogues. 

“Leadership and Vision the Organization & Community Want”

“The DEAF, Inc. Executive Director Search Committee did an incredible job over the past five months,,” said Shane Feldman, CEO of Innivee Strategies, Inc.. “Their efforts resulted in the selection of Darian Burwell Gambrell, whose qualifications, leadership, and vision parallel what the organization and community want from DEAF, Inc. as it continues to grow and thrive.”

DEAF, Inc. and Innivee Strategies, Inc. wish to extend their appreciation to all individuals who applied for the role and to the DEAF, Inc. community members who contributed to the search process. 

About DEAF, Inc.

Founded in 1977, DEAF, Inc. is a Massachusetts community-based, multi-service nonprofit run by and for people who are Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard of Hearing, and Late-Deafened. Our mission is to inspire people to achieve personal and professional goals through accessible programs and services. We build bridges across communities by increasing communication access and awareness.

About Innivee Strategies, Inc.

Innivee Strategies, Inc. provides organizations with systemic frameworks that enable them to build a strong strategic direction toward their desired vision. We engage leaders and stakeholders in collaborating together to choose the best governance model, set leadership, staff, and volunteer expectations, align and optimize resources, and manage change. Innivee Strategies is a leading search firm in the recruitment and placement of executives and leaders of organizations that serve the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Our services also include Effective Governance, Organizational Assessment, Strategic Planning, Change Management, Executive Support Systems, Leadership Development, and Guided Facilitation. Please visit to learn about our clients and their testimonies about how our services have benefited their organizations.