People who are blind or visually impaired already hold professional leadership positions — every President of AFB since its inception being a notable example. But creating the widespread systemic change AFB is pushing for requires an even more significant presence of people with vision loss at the highest levels, which is the idea behind AFB’s Blind Leaders Development Program.
Every year, AFB will select a cohort of 12 to 16 professionals who are visually impaired to be part of the program. The development program will include a workshop day at AFB’s annual Leadership Conference, webinars, and a formal mentorship program to hone the leadership skills of people who are blind or visually impaired. AFB also hopes to place program participants on nonprofit Boards or committees to further expand their experience.
The better prepared people are to advance into leadership positions in their careers, the more influence they can have in driving systems change. Participants in the AFB Blind Leaders Development Program will not only showcase the skills and talents of people with vision loss — which is central to changing attitudes about hiring people with disabilities — but will also have a voice in decision-making about the kinds of inclusive employment practices that can drive long-term systemic change.