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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

It Takes a Village to Make a Successful Conference

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The words Learn, Engage, Advance, Deliver appear in white on a blue background

We hope you found the 2019 AFB Leadership Conference to be inspiring, invigorating, and informative and that you left feeling better prepared to LEAD: Learn, Engage, Advance, and Deliver.

We had 40 distinct opportunities to LEAD at the conference. The National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC) at Mississippi State University hosted an all-day Older Individuals Who are Blind Program managers meeting on Wednesday, that attracted nearly 60 participants.

The three general sessions included an incredibly inspirational keynote address by Erik Weihenmayer, complete with thrilling video footage of his mountain climbing and Colorado River kayaking feats, which were live audio described, thanks to The Washington Ear.

Kirk Adams stands next to Erik Weihenmayer

Kirk Adams stands next to Erik Weihenmayer

Jane Wei-Skillern delivered an informative talk on the power of how organizations can grow through networking and collaboration. The conference closed with a panel of four disability inclusion evangelists talking about the future of work and the trend towards more inclusive environments.

Jane Wei-Skillern on stage explaining leadership through collaboration

Jane Wei-Skillern on stage explaining leadership through networking

We had 35 breakout sessions in the areas of leadership, employment, education, technology, and aging and vision loss. The NRTC held their State of the Science conference within the AFB Leadership Conference, providing updates on research related to employment of people with visual impairments. The AbilityOne Commission held a public meeting at the conference on Thursday.

Left to right: Natalie Hilzen, Dr. J. Elton Moore, Dr. Michele McDonnall, Kirk Adams, Glinda Foster Hill, Dr. Kathleen Huebner, Dr. Diane Fazzi

Left to right: Natalie Hilzen, Dr. J. Elton Moore, Dr. Michele McDonnall, Kirk Adams, Glinda Foster Hill, Dr. Kathleen Huebner, Dr. Diane Fazzi

Anita Shafer Aaron

Anita Shafer Aaron accepts the Stephen Garff Marriott Award

We congratulate our honorees who received the tremendous recognition for their contributions and achievements, including: Dr. Michele McDonnall with the Corinne Kirchner Research Award, Anita Shafer Aaron with the Stephen Garff Marriott Award, and Dr. J. Elton Moore and Glinda Foster Hill with the Migel Medal. We also were pleased to honor Amazon, Northrop Grumman, and Washington State Lt. Governor Cyrus Habib with the Helen Keller Achievement Awards.

(Left to right): Peter Korn, Alleace Gibbs, The Hon. Cyrus Habib

Left to right: Peter Korn (Amazon), Alleace Gibbs (Northrop Grumman), The Honorable Cyrus Habib

The 2020 Helen Keller Achievement Awards will be Wednesday, March 25, and next year’s AFB Leadership conference will be held March 26 and 27. We will return to the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.

A diverse crowd attends the 2019 Helen Keller Achievement Awards.

If you couldn’t make it to the conference, or want a reminder of how awesome it was, check out our Facebook photo album of the AFB Leadership Conference and Helen Keller Achievement Awards.

We are grateful to our generous sponsors and exhibitors. Feedback received has been extremely positive.

We hope the conference will have a positive impact on how you conduct your work and we hope to have you with us next year!


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