AFB Blind Leaders Development Program Fellows have a unique opportunity to develop their leadership effectiveness, improve their interpersonal “soft or survival” skills, expand their networks, and learn from proven blind leader mentors.

What’s Included

  • Training delivered by a certified facilitator of The Leadership Challenge, in-person for 3 days.
  • Multiple hours of mentoring from established blind leaders
  • Professionally delivered workshops geared to develop soft skills
  • Access to an exclusive LinkedIn group for program alumni and participants.

Fellow Selection Criteria

Our plan is to select a diverse and driven group of emerging leaders with vision loss to participate in each cohort of the AFB Blind Leaders Development Program. Ideal candidates for the program will demonstrate the following:

Leadership Potential During and After the Program

Ideal candidates can benefit and grow from participating in this program. These individuals will apply the knowledge and concepts discussed in The Leadership Challenge, workshop, and mentoring meetings. After the program, ideal candidates will achieve higher levels of leadership in their local communities, workplaces, and within the blindness community. Ultimately, these candidates will reach levels of influence from which they can create opportunities for future generations of blind and visually impaired leaders to develop and achieve.

Openness to New Ideas and Willingness to Learn

Ideal candidates can consider and learn from a variety of ideas and incorporate these into new ways of thinking. These individuals bring their unique perspectives and willingness to learn to the program. This combination ensures that all participants of the Blind Leaders Development Program benefit from a diversity of experiences and ideas.

Potential to Be a Productive Participant

Ideal candidates use mainstream office software (such as word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications), with a medium-to-strong level of skill. These individuals are proficient in the assistive technology of their choice. Effectiveness with these tools will enable participants to easily access all program materials and events. These candidates will commit to an average of 3 hours per week throughout the program, as well as the effort, and resources required to fully engage in the program. All applicants to the program will be personally notified by AFB staff of selection results.


Blind Leaders Development Program Fellows commit to:

  • Purchase The Leadership challenge book from Audible or acquire it free from Bookshare.
  • Read the Leadership Challenge book and put into practice at least four of the behaviors suggested by the authors.
  • Attend the kick-off including The Leadership Challenge training, in-person for 3 days the week of August 1-5, 2022.
  • Complete all assignments in Google Classroom in a timely manner, and participate in discussions and webinars at least 80% of the time.
  • Schedule and attend all mentoring sessions and prepare an agenda, advance materials, and questions for each mentoring session (at least one hour per month).
  • Submit evaluation forms and communicate openly with AFB staff.
  • Participate in all follow-up surveys for at least three years (representing no more than two hours per year).
  • Cover ground transportation and some meals when traveling to out-of-town events when AFB covers other expenses.