Since its inception in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind has demonstrated that people who are blind or have low vision are capable of leading at all organizational levels. The success of our own leaders over the past century demonstrates the potential that people with disabilities have to contribute to the workforce. Studies have reaffirmed this, highlighting the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, including improvements in profitability, competitive advantage, and fostering an inclusive work culture.

Nevertheless, very few Americans who are blind or have low vision are in top levels of leadership in the workforce, illustrating the systemic opportunity gap that exists for people with disabilities. The AFB Blind Leaders Development Program is designed to close this opportunity gap through unleashing the potential for leadership that exists among employees with vision loss.

Each year, AFB selects a cohort of high-potential, employed, mid-career people capable of taking that next step toward success.

“The leadership program has filled me with such power and support. Thank you so much for the absolute BEST, IMPACTFUL, PHENOMENAL AND EMPOWERING experience of my life.” — Fellow, Third Cohort (2022-2023) Tyler, Texas

The ten-month program provides a fully accessible and inclusive platform intended to unlock leadership potential through the following steps

  • Follow The renowned Leadership Challenge curriculum by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, offering a fully accessible, virtual learning experience;

  • Participate in a series of high-impact virtual webinars intended to strengthen communication skills while also leveraging qualities tied to blindness that can enhance successful workplace attributes within a predominantly sighted world;

  • Engage in a small mastermind group consisting of 5 Fellows paired with a Mentor who is already an established leader with vision loss.

The value unleashed during the AFB Blind Leaders Development Program will increase the Fellows’ effectiveness to work at higher levels of leadership, strengthening both influence and responsibility. Blind Leaders will expand their networks across sectors, creating more opportunities to engage in leadership roles. As Fellows rise to greater levels of influence, they will be able to open the door for other individuals who are blind or have low vision, creating a positive trend upward of mobility.

We are currently undergoing a strategic review of the AFB Blind Leaders Development Program. Dates regarding the launch of the next cohort will be announced once the review is complete.

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