From left to right: Bernadette Kappen, Mark Richert, Kirk Adams, Lee Huffman, Matt Kaplowitz, Tanseela Molani, and David Jeppson From left to right: Bernadette Kappen, Ph.D., Executive Director of the New York Institute for Special Education, Mark Richert, Esq., Kirk Adams, president and CEO of AFB, Lee Huffman, editor of AccessWorld Magazine, Matt Kaplowitz, President and Chief Creative Officer of Bridge Multimedia, Tanseela Molani, Design Researcher for United Airlines, and David Jeppson, Executive Director of Computers for the Blind

The AFB Leadership Conference has been jam-packed. We were so proud last night to honor Bridge Multimedia, Computers for the Blind and United Airlines with 2017 Access Awards for their commitment to innovation and access for all.

And it is always a special year when we are able to present the Irvin P. Schloss Advocacy Award. This year’s recipient, Dr. Bernadette Kappen, has been a tireless advocate on behalf of children who are blind or have visual impairments, as well as those who have emotional or learning disabilities, and their families.

Saturday morning began with a lively panel discussion led by Mark Richert, of the macro-level policy, economic, and professional dynamics in play today as we try to protect and strengthen services for people with vision loss.

James M. Kestleloot, Nancy Niebrugge, Mark Richert, Dr. Rona Pogrund, and BJ LeJeune discuss policy issues at AFBLC 2017 From left to right: James M. Kestleloot, chairperson of Ability One, Nancy Niebrugge, Assistant Vice President, Programs and Services, Braille Institute of America, Mark Richert, director of public policy for the American Foundation for the Blind, Dr. Rona Pogrund of Texas Tech University, and BJ LeJeune, Training Supervisor at NRTC on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University discuss policy issues at AFBLC 2017

And we were so honored to celebrate the life and work of the 2017 Migel Medal recipients, our own CEO emeritus Carl R. Augusto and Rebecca (Becky) Coakley, the director of outreach at West Virginia University Eye Institute and director of the Children's Vision Rehabilitation Program (CVRP). As Kirk Adams, AFB president and CEO, said, “They have made improving the lives of people with vision loss their life’s work, and we are so grateful for their efforts."

Tuck Tinsley, Carl Augusto, Michael Bina, and Bill Weiner at the Migel Medal Awards From left to right: Dr. Tuck Tinsley of American Printing House for the Blind, Carl R. Augusto holding his Migel Medal, Michael J. Bina of the Maryland School for the Blind, and Bill Weiner of North Carolina Central University

Rebecca (Becky) Coakley, accepting her 2017 Migel Medal Rebecca Coakley, accepting her 2017 Migel Medal

The AFB Migel Medal was established in 1937 by the late M.C. Migel, AFB's first chairman, to honor professionals and volunteers whose dedication and achievements improve the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped make this year's conference such a success, from the record number of attendees and exhibitors to our wonderful partners, sponsors, and speakers. Check out the AFB twitter feed for a digest of all conference events, including sessions.

We look forward to seeing you in 2018! Join us as we envision a future with no limits at the 2018 AFB Leadership Conference, Oakland City Center Marriott, April 5-7.