20 of 31|AnnMarie Killian | Atlanta,Georgia | Deaf Women Herstory Month 2020

Image Description:  A light skin white Deaf woman with shoulder length reddish brown hair wearing a maroon sweater and silver dangling earrings standing in front of grey background. 

A native of Minnesota, AnnMarie was raised in a hearing family of seven siblings and by parents who did not know sign language.  She attended a public school for the first 15 years and was ready to drop out of school when she was encouraged to attend the Minnesota School for the Deaf.   Little did she know the tremendous impact this experience alone would have on shaping where she is today.  

During AnnMarie’s teen years, she went through a difficult journey of searching for her identity.  Am I Deaf? Am I hearing? Although she learned sign language, she believed having grown up oral and being raised in a hearing family that she did not qualify to be a part of the Deaf community.  She discovered through her experiences, trials and tribulations that one’s identity can only be defined and shaped by one’s own experiences, not by others.

AnnMarie has enjoyed a long and professional career both in and outside of the Deaf community.  She started her career with AT&T Relay Services and over the span of 12 years served in leadership roles supporting operations in various sectors of AT&T.  Later, she joined Communication Service for the Deaf in a variety of roles including their Chief Operating Officer. She went on to become a leader of Target Red Cards and eventually became a Store Manager of Target overseeing pharmacy, retail sales, guest services and merchandising Today, AnnMarie is the Vice President of Marketing & Culture at ZVRS and Purple Communications.

Last January, AnnMarie celebrated a huge milestone as a 12-year brain tumor survivor.  She shared this experience alone has significantly influenced her perspective on life and refers to the beautiful quote by Martin Luther King’s “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”   When you come to the end of life on this earth, it is not going to matter the square footage of your home, what type of car you drive, how many shoes you own or how many people you impressed-personally or professionally. She added when her day comes, she wants to leave this earth knowing she fulfilled His plan and made a difference as a mother, wife, friend and servant of God.

AnnMarie graduated from St. Cloud State University in Business and Communications and earned her MBA at University of St. Thomas. In her free time, she cherishes her time with her husband Kenny and daughter Skylar along with five fur babies Sophie, Sadie, Faith, Bandit and Willow.