About Joyful Signing
We are a recognized leader in providing language access.
We passionately serve the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. From day one, Joyful Signing has been committed to quality in all regards.
Together we are greater than the sum of each part. By focusing on the community at large, we further our impact and achieve more.
We go above and beyond with the goal of providing equal access to all.
Joyful signing was founded by Joi Bannister in 2009 to provide ASL interpretation to the DC region in a freelance capacity. Around 2016, Joi began receiving requests from customers to provide additional services and transitioned Joyful Signing into a full-service agency. She also had her daughter in 2016 so her husband, Novell Bannister, quit his job to stay home and Joi put him to work helping run Joyful Signing.
It took a few years of diligently growing the interpreter pool and gaining the trust of our customers and then the pandemic struck. No one was certain what the future would hold, discussions were held about whether Joyful Signing could survive, but not only did we survive we grew. In 2020, we began receiving more requests from universities and brought on Elle Langevin as Chief Operating Officer and Greg Archambault as Chief Financial Officer.
Since 2009, Joyful Signing has provided thousands of hours of accessibility services throughout the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area and beyond. As the needs of our community and world at large have shifted, we have also strengthened our capacity for virtual services, allowing us to service even more individuals and organizations throughout the nation.
We are committed to excellent customer service for our customers and D/deaf and Hard-of-Hearing consumers through clear and accurate communication.
The question we ask ourselves most often is, “What is right?”. We believe in doing the right thing, always. We strive to set our interpreters up for success so they may provide the best service and communication access to the Deaf Community we all serve.
In Joi’s earlier days, she was a Disney Cast Member, Medieval Times Bar Wench, and a Summer Camp Counselor. All these experiences along the way have helped solidify her belief that providing the best overall customer experience and being an advocate for integrity is how we can have the most impact.
TO OUR DEAF AND HARD OF HEARING COMMUNITY:
- Provide qualified interpreters that match your skill and language needs.
- Provide excellent customer service.
- Provide pro-bono services when appropriate to support the community.
- Listen to your feedback and be open to making improvements.
- Advocate for your rights to communication access.
TO OUR INTERPRETERS AND THE INTERPRETING COMMUNITY:
- Provide transparency and complete assignment details for all assignments.
- Pay fairly and quickly based on your skills, certification(s), and expertise.
- Advocate for the interpreting profession.
- Give back by serving as a mentor to the local Interpreter Training Program interpreters.
- Provide opportunities to grow and develop.
TO OUR CLIENTS:
- Provide top quality interpreting services at an affordable price.
- Customize interpreting services tailored to all parties.
- Provide quality customer service during every interaction.
- Invoice timely.
- Listen to feedback and make improvements when needed.
Get to know our experienced team.
CEO & Founder
Joi Bannister, CEO & Founder
Joi first became interested in sign language in high school with [so and so program]. Although she now has significant experience in the Department of Defense setting, she has always been interested in entrepreneurship and set a goal of starting and building an agency early on. She believes by setting interpreters up for success, they are positioned to service and provide high quality communication access to the Deaf Community we serve.
When she’s not interpreting, running Joyful Signing, serving on the CCBC Alumni Board and being a mentor for the CCBC Interpreter Preparation Program, Joi enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering with the Miss America Organization, traveling, and cheering on the Miami Dolphins.
Chief Operating Officer
Elle Langevin, COO
Elle Langevin has been interpreting for 16 years, after graduating from the University of Southern Maine in 2006 with a degree in Linguistics. After working in Maine for 4 years she moved to Washington DC in 2011, and worked as both agency staff and freelance interpreter. In her time as staff she developed and led an internship program that successfully mentored 8 cohorts of interns from graduation to professional work. She has continued to mentor and learn about supervision in the interpreting profession, working towards narrowing the knowledge gap for new interpreters who have started working but are not yet experienced. In her time as an interpreter she has worked in K-12 and post secondary education, government, private entities, recreation, dedicated interpreting teams, emergency medical and coordination.
Business Development Manager
Novell Bannister, Business Development Manager
Novell has a multi-facet background from the leadership roles in the restaurant and hospitality industry, contractor IT support to the federal government and a really talented Chef. If you ever meet him, ask him about his smoker and prefered pellets for flavoring in any cuisine.
Novell is always a friendly face for your accessible needs. His 15 years hospitality experience gives Novell an exceptional perspective on what our clients need and how Joyful Signing can be the solution.
He spends most of his time looking for new opportunities, attending networking events, and sharing opportunities that Joyful Signing has with the community. In his spare time he enjoys cheering on his Miami Dolphins, providing exceptional customer service to his cats Bella and Starr and guinea pig Brownie and watching Yellowstone.
Mikela Nolin, Administrative Manager
Mikela helps ensure everything runs smoothly at Joyful Signing by constantly working behind the scenes to organize, facilitate, and support daily operations. She spent time in Massachusetts and Central America earning her B.A./M.S. in Environmental Science & Policy and working in the nonprofit sector before transitioning to a more transient lifestyle and remotely joining the JS team. She is now based in Missoula, Montana and loves having the wide open space to ski, bike, raft, hike, travel, and drink endless cups of coffee while staring blissfully at the mountains.
Shameka Garrick, Staff Interpreter
Hi! I’m Shameka
I grew up in Louisville, KY, but I call Maryland home now. I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Interpreting (Go Colonels)! I now have the honor and privilege to work here at Joyful Signing as a Staff Interpreter. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my son and being pleasantly surprised by Netflix recommendations.
Theodore Langston, Staff Interpreter
Theodore Logan is an ASL Interpreter who is just as proud of his identities as a queer and neurodiverse Black man as he is of his hometown of Baltimore, MD. He graduated from the Community College of Baltimore County in late 2018 and spent several years as a freelance interpreter before becoming RID certified in early 2022.
Theodore enjoys swimming, reading, and playing board games either solo or with his husband and three children. He enjoys learning new things, acquiring new skills, and all things Halloween and/or spooky.
Clara Lamberti, Scheduling Coordinator
Hi I’m Clara Lamberti (soon-to-be Mann in July of 2023!)
I was born and raised in Maryland, and have been a Scheduling Coordinator at Joyful Signing since August 2022. I received Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Studies from Towson University in May 2020 and am a CCBC ITP Graduate as of December 2022.
I am a new ASL Interpreter- my experience includes performing arts, business meetings, and dance/activity classes. I have a passion for accessibility and advocacy throughout all communities and strive to help create a no-barriers world one day 🙂
My hobbies are dancing, playing video games, taking care of my 3 pets, and spending time with my friends and family.
Kristin Williams, Scheduling Coordinator
Hi I am Kristin Williams! I live in southern Maine with my husband and beloved dog Gilbert. I have been an ASL interpreter since 2008 and work largely in education and medical. For the most recent part of my career I have been coordinating services and scheduling interpreters. I have enjoyed getting to know the DMV area community over the past year. When I’m not working you can find me dog sitting, going on long walks, and I haven’t met a brunch I don’t enjoy. I feel privileged to be a part of both the Maine and DMV communities.