WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 20, 2021)—Travis Smith of Walker, LA, graduated from the Blind Leaders Development Program at the American Foundation for the Blind’s (AFB) virtual commencement ceremony on April 20, 2021.

Launched in 2020, the Blind Leaders Development Program was created by AFB to increase upward mobility and create meaningful leadership experiences for individuals who are blind or low vision, who are already employed and in the beginning stages of their careers.

While in the program, Travis and his fellow graduates received extensive training in leadership, networking, communication, and other key skills for advancing in their careers and improving their effectiveness as they achieve higher levels of authority and influence. Other facets of the program included following the Leadership Challenge curriculum, attending a series of webinars, and being paired with a successful blind or low vision mentor who could provide honest advice and feedback about what it takes to succeed in the workforce. That Travis successfully completed this rigorous program during the height of the coronavirus pandemic only makes his accomplishment all the more noteworthy.

Travis currently serves at the Lighthouse for the Blind of New Orleans, in their Baton Rouge facility as the customer service manager as well as accessibility analyst and accessibility adviser to the IT department. He is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a bachelor’s degree in General History, with an emphasis in ancient history, and a minor in English.

“These fifteen professionals, including Travis, have honed their knowledge and skills to take on greater authority and responsibilities in their professional fields,” said Kirk Adams, Ph.D., AFB president and CEO. “Thanks to their hard work and the work of their mentors, for whom we are all grateful, Travis and his fellow graduates now have the imperative to create and sustain a more inclusive workforce. Their accomplishments augur well for both their own careers and the world at large.”

For more information, visit AFB.org/BLDP.