The overarching goal of the Blind Leaders Development Program is to increase successful employment outcomes, upward mobility, and leadership attainment of blind and visually impaired individuals.

This is a long-term goal and will be difficult to measure and even attribute to the program. However, it is our belief that with the right experiences and opportunities, emerging blind leaders can assume higher levels of leadership and authority. As these individuals increase their influence, they will in turn provide opportunities for future leaders with vision loss to learn, grow, and excel.

To learn more about The Leadership Challenge and Leadership Practices Inventory, check out Why the Leadership Challenge.

Short-Term Program Outcomes

Knowledge, attitude, or skills to be achieved by the end of the program:

  • Participants have increased knowledge of the qualities of an effective leader
  • Participants will be able to recognize behaviors that relate to leadership and can identify those behaviors in themselves and others.

Goal 1

At the completion of the BLDP on a post-program survey, 75% of Fellows agree or strongly agree with the statement “The BLDP has empowered me to reach my personal leadership goals.”

Goal 2

At the completion of the BLDP on a post-program survey, 70% of Mentors report they completed x out of y networking activities with one or more Fellows in the cohort.

Goal 3

At the completion of the BLDP on a post-program survey, 90% of Fellows and Mentors report that they would recommend the BLDP to their visually impaired friends, colleagues, and/or networks.

Goal 4

At the completion of the BLDP on a post-program survey, 50% of Fellows report taking on a new or expanded leadership role in their community or workplace.

Goal 5

Prior to the start of the BLDP, Fellows will rate their workplace self-advocacy skills on a pre-program survey; at the completion of the BLDP the Fellows will use the same rating scale to rate their workplace self-advocacy skills. 80% of Fellows will report higher ratings of their workplace self-advocacy skills on the post-program survey as compared to the pre-program survey.

Goal 6

60% of Mentors apply for the opportunity to serve as a BLDP Mentor within 3 years of serving as a Mentor for the current cohort.

Goal 7

60% of Fellows apply for the opportunity to serve as a BLDP Mentor within 3 years of participating as a Fellow in the current cohort.

Goal 8

At the completion of the BLDP on a post-program survey, 80% of Fellows and Mentors agree or strongly agree with the statement “I will continue to engage with Fellows and/or Mentors I have met the previous year because they support my personal growth.”

In the long term, the Blind Leaders Development Program will create a growing pool of blind leaders who can effectively assume higher levels of responsibility and serve as examples and mentors for their peers who are blind or have low vision.

Inaugural Cohort Outcomes

March, 2020 through April, 2021

Fifteen Fellows and fifteen Mentors completed the AFB Blind Leaders Development program in our first cohort. We conducted the entire program virtually, due to the Coronavirus. This is a snapshot of the Inaugural Cohort and what they accomplished through their involvement in the AFB Blind Leaders Development Program.

  • 90 percent of participants engaged in leadership behaviors most commonly associated with effective leadership: treating others with dignity and respect, following through on promises and commitments, seeking out challenging opportunities, and exemplifying personal behaviors they expect of others.

  • 90 percent of participants achieved at least one of their personal goals.

  • 90 percent of participants saw an increase in the scores on the Leadership Performance Inventory (LPI) assessment.

In addition, we recognized the need to add goals for mentors to compliment the goals we set for Fellows. We added the following program goals accordingly:

  • 90 percent of Mentors report that they would recommend emerging leaders in the program to their senior leadership, colleagues, and networks

  • 90 percent of Mentors report that they would recommend mentoring in this program to their friends, colleagues, and/or networks

We are proud of the diversity of the cohort of Fellows and Mentors. The Fellows in the Inaugural cohort were 44% male and 56% female, while the Mentors were 56% male and 44% female. Together, this creates a group that is split equally on gender identification. The Fellows in the cohort were racially diverse as well, with three of the fellows identifying as Asian, three fellows identifying as Black, one fellow identifying as Hispanic, and nine fellows identifying as White. In addition, the Mentors represented a variety of employment sectors and experiences, coming from corporate (13%), education (13%), government (31%), non-profit (31%), and other (13%).