Russell Shaffer of Walmart Elected During November Board of Trustees Meeting

NEW YORK (November 7, 2017)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), a national nonprofit that creates a world of no limits for people with vision loss, today announced Russell Shaffer was elected its new board chair during the November Board of Trustees meeting in Dallas. Shaffer succeeds Larry B. Kimbler, who served as chair since 2013.

"Russell Shaffer is a strategic thinker and leader with expertise in diversity and inclusion – two areas that are key for us as we work to create a more level, inclusive playing field in the workplace, the classroom and communities around the nation,” said Kirk Adams, AFB President and CEO. “Russell brings personal experience and passion for our cause, and we are thrilled to have him as AFB’s new board chair.”

Shaffer is currently Director of Global Culture, Diversity & Inclusion at Walmart, where he is responsible for brand strategy, outreach and benchmarking. He has worked at Walmart for more than 11 years and has held roles managing global internal communications and benefits communications, in addition to previously overseeing corporate strategy and stakeholder relations for people with disabilities and aging constituencies. Shaffer has also held positions at May Department Stores, The Timken Company, and The Ohio Optometric Association.

He has served two terms as chair of Walmart’s Advocates for Disability Awareness and Education (ADAE) resource group, and has been a board member of Sources for Community Independent Living in Fayetteville, Ark. since 2012. His service has included positions on the U.S. Business Leadership Network’s (USBLN) Corporate Advisory Board, the Disability Equality Index Advisory Committee, and the National Council on Independent Living’s Corporate Development Council.

“I’m honored to have been elected chair of an organization with such a deep and rich legacy as AFB – one that spans nearly 100 years, includes major roles in shaping many seminal milestones on the journey to inclusion for people with vision loss, and counts the great Helen Keller among its first employees,” Shaffer said. “I’m looking forward to working with my fellow board members and a talented senior leadership team to dynamically execute AFB’s new strategic plan in order to create a world of no limits for people with vision loss.”

Shaffer is an honors graduate of Malone University in Canton, Ohio, holding a bachelor of arts in business administration and communication arts. He resides in Rogers, Ark. with his wife, Jessica, and their children, Sophia and Brady. His perspectives on disability advocacy and inclusion are informed by his experiences with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic, degenerative eye disease that was diagnosed when he was 10 years old and led to his legal blindness by his late 20s.

Shaffer also has longstanding ties with AFB, having served as a CareerConnect mentor, helping others with vision loss through career coaching. He is a former recipient of the Stephen Garff Marriott Award, which honors a blind or low vision individual who has served as an extraordinary mentor or who has attained remarkable professional success, and has been an AFB board member since 2015.

Read AFB’s 2015 interview with Russell Shaffer.


About The American Foundation for the Blind
Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that creates a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. AFB mobilizes leaders, advances understanding, and champions impactful policies and practices using research and data. AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. Visit:


John Mackin
AFB Communications