Barbie Parker Greenwater, Founder and Director of LOTUSIGN and its nonprofit partner LOTUSIGN INstitute, has a unique perspective on the possibilities for human insight, understanding, communication, and satisfaction.
As a professional American Sign Language interpreter with more than twenty-five years experience, Barbie’s credits include organizing services at the 2013 Presidential Inauguration.
She also interpreted more than 1,200 live music events in the sometimes chaotic world of major music festivals, including SXSW, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits Music Festival, founding the programs where extensive pre-event planning, constant onsite attentiveness, and unusually creative and expressive interpretations served to meaningfully connect patrons with performing artists and the surrounding crowd.
A kind of charismatic fame in this high-stress world led to feature articles in the New York Times, Texas Monthly, PBS NewsHour, a segment on the Today Show, and many other media platforms. It also led to recognition of complications that can arise when interpreters attract personal attention.
A sabbatical from performance work and from management of LOTUSIGN allowed perspective on her history, created a deeper understanding of her influence and role within the profession, instilled work/life balance, and offered an unfolding path of real connections with those around her, the natural world, and the generosity of a forgiving and beautiful universe.
The foundation of effective interpreting is a gift for shared meaning, often in a multi-cultural setting. Barbie has long since generalized her gifts and applied them to the arts, business, public speaking, and working with men and women entering and staying in the interpreting field. Her training programs explore the inner world, outer circumstances, and practical measures to recognize, reinforce, and make visible the connections between them.
Barbie talks about beauty and love and an upward trajectory a lot. She still curses some, but for the most part now with good humor and native south Texas charm.