The AFB Leadership Conference (AFBLC) is an essential event for leaders committed to creating an inclusive, accessible society for people with vision loss. Established and emerging leaders gathered April 5-7 in Oakland, California, for this year's conference, which kicked off with AFB's annual Helen Keller Achievement Awards Gala on April 4.

The Helen Keller Achievement Awards were once again a celebration of diversity and inclusion. The award recipients—Jenny Lay-Flurrie, chief accessibility officer at Microsoft, Jeff Wieland, director of accessibility at Facebook, and Haben Girma, a disability-rights advocate and global inclusion leader who is deafblind—all gave extremely moving speeches. The room was filled with AFB staff, trustees, and guests of our generous sponsors.

More than 400 attendees from over 40 states and four countries and territories joined us for the AFBLC, which featured informative sessions and exhibitor booths, inspirational keynotes, and affirming award presentations.

Each year, we conduct a post-conference survey. A quick snapshot of responses this year found:

  • 100% are interested in attending again next year
  • 98% felt the conference met or exceeded their expectations
  • 87% would recommend the conference to a colleague
  • 86% learned something that will make a difference where they work

Attendees told us…

"I was able to network with leaders in the accessibility field and my company is now working on connecting with people to share ideas, make presentations, etc."

"This was one of the most informative and generally best conferences I have attended in a long time. It was well organized and the presenters were knowledgeable and personable. Lots of great ideas were shared and learned."

"One of the best conferences I have attended in a long time. The presenters were engaging and informative, and the topics had new and up to date information."

If you would like to attend this flagship conference, please mark your calendars now for the 2019 HKAA gala and AFBLC, which will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA. The gala will take place on February 27. For more information, visit

Two women and a man holding up their awards