People who are blind or visually impaired already hold professional leadership positions — every president of AFB since its inception, 100 years ago, being a notable example. Studies suggest that the benefits of hiring people with disabilities include improvements in profitability, competitive advantage, and inclusive work culture, to name just a few. Yet, few blind and visually impaired Americans are in top levels of leadership in the workforce. Creating the widespread systemic change AFB desires will require an even more significant presence of people with vision loss at the highest levels, which is the idea behind the AFB Blind Leaders Development Program.

Every year, AFB will select a cohort of blind or visually impaired individuals: 50% emerging leaders as Fellows and 50% established leaders to act as their Mentors. Over the course of this 12-month program, Fellows will:

  • Follow The Leadership Challenge curriculum by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner by attending 5 half-day virtual trainings or 3 days of in-person training (if possible) at the AFB Leadership Conference and completing the Leadership Practices Inventory at the beginning and end of the BLDP

  • Participate in a series of workshops addressing how blind and visually impaired individuals can strengthen interpersonal communication skills

  • Engage with a blind Mentor already in a leadership position

The AFB Blind Leaders Development Program will increase the Fellows’ effectiveness at higher levels of leadership, influence, and responsibility. The AFB BLDP will expand the Fellows’ networks across sectors, creating more opportunities to engage in leadership roles. As Fellows rise to greater levels of influence, they will be able to hire and mentor other individuals who are blind or have low vision, creating a positive, upward trend in the employment rate of people with visual impairments.

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Questions?

Contact AFB Blind Leaders Development Program staff at bldp@afb.org.