Blind Leaders Development Program participants have a unique opportunity to develop their leadership effectiveness, improve their interpersonal soft skills, expand their networks, learn from proven blind leader mentors, and receive one-on-one professional coaching.

The inaugural Class of 2021 is filled and underway. The application process for the Centennial Class of 2022 will open on May 24, 2021. Watch for announcements and mark your calendar to check back if you are interested in participating as a Fellow or a Mentor.

What’s Included

  • 360-degree feedback from the Leadership Practices Inventory
  • The Leadership Challenge Workshop training delivered by a certified Leadership Challenge Trainer
  • Multiple hours of mentoring from established blind leaders
  • Six professionally delivered webinar training sessions geared to develop soft skills
  • Six hours of professional coaching from a certified Leadership Challenge Trainer
  • 360-degree feedback from a post-program Leadership Practices Inventory, including feedback from your mentor
  • Access to an exclusive LinkedIn group for program alumni and mentors

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 this 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, webinar series, mentoring meetings, and coaching sessions. After the program, ideal candidates will achieve higher levels of leadership in their local communities, workplaces, and 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 and Commitment 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 the time, 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.

Participant Commitments

Blind Leaders Development Program fellows commit to:

  • Read the Leadership Challenge book (provided by AFB) and put into practice at least four of the behaviors suggested by the authors
  • Attend and participate in all six webinar sessions
  • Complete all Leadership Challenge and webinar discussion assignments
  • Schedule and attend all mentoring and coaching sessions
  • Prepare an agenda, advance materials, and questions for each mentoring and coaching session
  • Participate in all follow-up surveys for at least three years (representing no more than one hour per year)