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VOLATIA gets mention in Entrepreneur article about co-working spaces

June 06, 2017 Media

"Coworking is growing at a dizzying pace," according to an article this month by Entrepreneur .

The Volatia Language Network team works largely in coworking spaces, including the Roanoke CoLab. The Entrepreneur post points out four advantages of coworking, including recruiting and employment, and discusses how VOLATIA is a part of that ecosystem at its coworking space in Richmond:

"Similarly, Kate Ayers with ReEstablish Richmond, a non-profit that connects refugees to services and aids in their transition, has referred several of her clients to [Senior Account Executive] Andrew Crotts with Volatia, a company that supplies interpreters in more than 280 languages. As Kate said, ‘Our clients need jobs. This is a win for our clients and both organizations."

Read the rest of the article.


Language access conference spotlights mental health services

May 21, 2017 Events

Mental health and medical professionals, first responders and language services providers gathered at the South County Library earlier this month to share experiences and discuss challenges and opportunities that arise when providing mental health services to those with limited English proficiency.

Del. Sam Rasoul opened the Second Annual Language Access Conference with words of support for the efforts of the participants. He also introduced Diane Kelly, former executive director of Mental Health America of Roanoke Valley, and presented her with an award for her career-long dedication to promoting a community response to mental illness.

VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasongo was one of many conference presenters who offered ideas and solutions. Kasongo discussed the role of technology, such as the VOLATIA Rover, which provides instant, on-demand video access to remote interpreters.

Conference sponsors included Roanoke Refugee Mental Health Council: Mental Health America of Roanoke Valley, New Horizons Healthcare, Family Service of Roanoke Valley, Roanoke County, Office of Newcomer Services VA Department of Social Services, and Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

Photo by Alan Hale


VOLATIA featured in Roanoke Times special section

May 21, 2017 Media

VOLATIA is among 10 Roanoke-area businesses featured in a Roanoke Times special section, Business Briefing, on May 28. The section was produced to commemorate Virginia Business Appreciation Month.

Reporter Sandra Brown Kelly writes this about the company:

"Volatia, headquartered in Grandin Village, supports 280-plus languages and has become a strong competitor in one of the country's fastest-growing industries. The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics has projected a 29 percent growth rate for the industry from 2014 to 2024."

The article features VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasango, who told Kelly about his early experience starting the company:

"The best business advice I ever received was to hire professionals … hire the right person. You have to pay the price."

Read the rest of the article.

Photo by The Roanoke Times


Entrepreneur article explores cultural differences in talking about failure

April 25, 2017 Media

Talk to an entrepreneur in the United States, and you'll likely hear about his or her biggest failures. After all, failure comes with the territory.

But in entrepreneurial circles across Africa, failure has long been stigmatized and not discussed, according to an April article by Entrepreneur. This lack of communication causes detriment to individuals, businesses and communities.

VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasongo talked to Entrepreneur about the difference in cultures:

"You'll find this common thread through any third world country,' says Baraka Kasongo, CEO of an on-demand translation company called Volatia, who's originally from Rwanda. "We're taught to not let anyone see you complaining, to have a positive outlook and be grateful."

According to the article, conversations among African entrepreneurs about their struggles are just beginning, teaching business owners that in failure is resilience.

Read the rest of the article.


Volatia CEO named RBTC Entrepreneur of the Year

April 25, 2017 Events

Talk to an entrepreneur in the United States, and you'll likely hear about his or her biggest failures. After all, failure comes with the territory.

But in entrepreneurial circles across Africa, failure has long been stigmatized and not discussed, according to an April article by Entrepreneur. This lack of communication causes detriment to individuals, businesses and communities.

VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasongo talked to Entrepreneur about the difference in cultures:

"You'll find this common thread through any third world country,' says Baraka Kasongo, CEO of an on-demand translation company called Volatia, who's originally from Rwanda. "We're taught to not let anyone see you complaining, to have a positive outlook and be grateful."

According to the article, conversations among African entrepreneurs about their struggles are just beginning, teaching business owners that in failure is resilience.

Read the rest of the article.


Health and Wellness Interpreters program grows rapidly

March 20, 2017 Media

A new partnership among Roanoke-area organizations to provide interpreters for victims of domestic violence has already assisted dozens of residents with limited English proficiency.

Health and Wellness Interpreters of the Roanoke Valley has worked with more than 30 people since the program began in November through Family Service of Roanoke Valley. The interpreters come from VOLATIA.

"It helps refugees that come to the United States, much like my family did. … Having equal access to public information, and to be heard is truly the ingredient of communication in any culture," VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasonga said about the service.

Watch the segment by WSLS (Channel 10).


VOLATIA CEO named inspiring leader by WFXR

February 27, 2017 Media

VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasongo was named February's inspiring leader during the Feb. 27 edition of WFXR's Virginia at Work segment.

Cortex Leadership Consulting CEO Lynda McNutt Foster explained why, despite his relatively young age, Kasongo an example of strong, inspiring leadership:

"What separates him [Kasongo] is a lot of leaders are confident and then there are other leaders who are competent. He's confident and competent. He's been learning leadership from the time he was going to college, and he never stops learning."

Kasongo said he was humbled by the honor but said it reinforced the importance of connecting people and building relationships. His advice for other young leaders is to focus on those relationships.

"Sometimes we get lost in the transactions instead of focusing on the relationships that we are building with people. … Always focus on the relationship and never sacrifice that to get a transaction," he said.

See the rest of the segment.

Read the companion piece:Virginia at Work: Young leader survives refugee camps to become successful CEO

Screenshot from virginiafirst.com..


VOLATIA to provide interpretation services for crime victims

November 22, 2016 Media

Four Roanoke Valley organizations have joined in an effort to provide interpreters to Roanoke-area crime victims with limited English proficiency.

Family Service of Roanoke Valley,Salvation Army's Turning Point,TAP Domestic Violence Services and Sexual Assault Response and Awareness received a $280,000 grant from the Department of Criminal Justice to provide interpreters for refugees who need services, including counseling and crisis intervention.

The interpreters for Health and Wellness Interpreters of the Roanoke Valley will come from Volatia Language Network.

"There has always been the need," VOLATIA CEO Baraka Kasongo said in an interview. "And we certainly, all of us, have recognized the diversity of our region, but at the same time we are getting to the point where organizations are realizing that this requires a collaborative effort."

Roanoke is home to more than 100 nationalities, and area agencies will now have access to interpreters in more than 280 languages.

"We are making a commitment to not make any victim of a crime feel isolated or hopeless because they are not able to access services in their primary language," Sharon Thacker, president and CEO of Family Service, said Tuesday in announcing the initiative.

Read the story from The Roanoke Times

Watch the segment by WDBJ (Channel 7)

Watch the segment by WSLS (Channel 10)

Listen to coverage from WFIR (960 AM)

Screenshot from wdbj7.com.



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