Meet Kellie Gillespie, the owner of Voices Off Lounge by Visually Speaking in Downtown Seattle.

Visually Speaking was founded in 2002. Kellie took over in 2012, creating a supportive and inclusive space for learning American Sign Language. With a team of passionate and dedicated Deaf instructors, the center is committed to teaching American Sign Language (ASL) to students of all ages and levels and promoting an understanding of Deaf culture.

Turn off your voice and immerse yourself using alternative modes of communication at the Voices Off Lounge by Visually Speaking. Voices Off Lounge is a participant in the Seattle Restored activation, and where a number of events, classes, and socials take place. From one-on-one sessions for personalized instruction to ASL classes tailored for workplaces and community sign language classes, Visually Speaking ensures accessibility to ASL for everyone, regardless of age or hearing status.

Learn more about Kellie and the Voices Off Lounge in this week’s Business Spotlight.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

What’s your favorite part about the community your business is in & why?

Being a part of the Deaf/ASL community is truly special for me. One of my favorite aspects is the immediate transformation that occurs when I meet individuals who rely on ASL for their livelihood. It’s like stepping into a realm of magic and connection.

What stands out even more is how this community exudes trust and safety. We gauge each other’s presence with a deep understanding, instantly recognizing the shared language and culture we hold dear. It’s like spotting a rainbow or a unicorn in a world that truly comprehends and appreciates our uniqueness.

Moreover, safety is a cornerstone of this community. In this space, we not only share our language but also create an environment where everyone feels secure, valued, and understood. It’s a place where we can be ourselves without fear, fostering a sense of belonging that’s truly irreplaceable.

Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?

#SpendLikeItMatters – This concept urges conscious spending, understanding that every purchase holds deeper implications. For Visually Speaking, it’s more than just ASL classes; it’s a journey of empowerment and change.

Sustainable Growth: #SpendLikeItMatters participants directly fuel growth of the business. The investment supports hiring Deaf instructors and enhancing education quality.

Empowerment: By employing Deaf instructors, they are empowered to share real life insights and enrich student experiences, fostering a true learning exchange.

Impactful Lives: ASL classes are life-changing, fostering belonging and enhancing communication skills, leading to better social connections and opportunities.

Safe Spaces: The Voices Off Lounge and ASL Lounge are sanctuary’s for growth and community, breaking down barriers.

Cultural Exchange: Visually Speaking goes beyond language, promoting cultural understanding and empathy, broadening perspectives.

As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?

Diving into the wild world of entrepreneurship, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and decided to pursue what some might consider my craziest idea yet – the audacious venture of bringing “Voices Off” spaces to life.

Why “Voices Off”? Well, to me, a real safe haven is one where words take a backseat. Imagine a space where spoken language bows out, leaving the stage open for a symphony of non-verbal expressions. Call me crazy, but I’m convinced that meaningful connection doesn’t always need words to bridge the gap.

My personal journey has led me to this unique endeavor – a mission to craft environments that cater to those seeking solace in silence. “Voices Off” spaces are designed with a purpose – to create a sanctuary for a diverse bunch. We’re talking about the Deaf community, those with hearing aids tuning in to a different frequency, the beautifully intricate minds of the neurodivergent, and even those who’ve realized that a visual feast beats a verbal tête-à-tête any day.

So here’s to the wild ride ahead – to crafting spaces that thrive on unspoken vibes, where dialogues resonate through gestures, visuals, and unfiltered expressions. Here’s to proving that sometimes, the craziest ideas are the ones that transform the way we connect and understand each other. Welcome to the “Voices Off” revolution!

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