Helping people hear and be heard is the best way to describe Benjamin Lachman’s mission. Ben is one of the country’s leading advocates for Cued Speech, a visual communication system that utilizes basic hand signals called cues, which in tandem with mouth shapes, help deaf or hearing-impaired individuals understand an existing language. He is a co-founder of the website Cue Everything and his school, Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School in Wheeling, is a leader in Cued Speech education. In April, Lachman and fellow Cued Speech advocates worked with the rapper Twista to create the world’s first Cued Speech rap video.
“Through [Ben’s] compassion, leadership and perseverance, more families of deaf children will learn and recognize the value of Cued Speech, so they can communicate more effectively with the hearing world,” said Lynn Sanders, Ben’s friend and nominator.
Ben is also a top-notch investor and philanthropist. He is passionate about helping fledgling entrepreneurs and businesses working on information technology and life science ventures, and through his work with the Ronald and Mary Ann Lachman Foundation, he helps channel funds into projects that benefit special education, the Jewish community and more.
Director of development for Alexander Graham Bell Montessori School-Alternatives in Education for the Hearing Impaired
On the side:
Investment analysis for Lachman Goldman Ventures, Cued Speech /deaf education advocate, new media content producer for Cue Cognatio, trustee for Ronald and Mary Ann Lachman Foundation
How do you give back?
- Expand national and local Cued Speech programming in order to work towards raising the expectations of deaf educational achievement to peer levels.- Develop an investment strategy in order to leverage and implement impactful life science oriented research findings- Create opportunities for all my best friends and family members to create and execute projects near and dear to them- Find the perfect marriage between technology and nonprofits- Do whatever my wife tells me to do- Attend all 162 Cubs games
Describe yourself in 10 words or less:
Devoted to advocacy-oriented storytelling with family and friends nearby.
Celebrity doppelganger/who would play you in a movie:
Tom Cruise (plus 15 pounds)
How do you Jew in Chicago?
I belong to and was bar mitzvah-ed at Beth Emet, was married in Saugatuck by Rabbi Robert J. Marx, and often attend events at Beth Shalom, Temple Jeremiah, and Anshe Emet. Shabbat dinner at my grandparents' place in Wilmette is a regular event.
Deaf education and communication, Cued Speech, family and friends, storytelling, entrepreneurship, life science investments and philanthropy.
Chicago's Jewish community in 10 years:
Will be quite similar to the community today. Our parents have done an amazing job of conveying their Jewish values to our generation. Reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated and many more Jewish families will be initiated at the annual Matzo Bash, which will at this point include a lot more multivitamins and wheatgrass smoothies.
Me in 10 years:
Working closely with a highly passionate and brilliant team of enthusiastic storytellers and go-getters who seek to make the world a better place based on a shared value system.