NIB recently announced the 2020 class of Advocates for Leadership and Employment. The Advocates program targets high-potential employees who are blind working at NIB associated nonprofit agencies who are interested in learning about the public policy process and communicating with elected officials about our shared mission and outstanding work.
The current Advocates – nearly 60 individuals – have played an essential role in communicating priorities and concerns to members of Congress, as well as state and local officials. As NIB and its associated agencies continue to face a range of policy challenges, well-prepared Advocates are critical to efforts to educate elected officials about the work we do and help protect jobs for people who are blind.
The new Advocates, representing eight NIB associated agencies, had an initial onboarding call in May and have upcoming virtual training sessions focused on effective communications, advocacy, and the legislative process.
As General Manager at Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) in New York, Ron oversees daily operations converting raw products into packaged finished products, and acts as the liaison between the Utica and Syracuse locations. Ron, who coordinates public policy and community outreach within the Syracuse area, served 25 years in the Marine Corps and is a graduate of CABVI’s Quest Leadership Training Program.
Currently serving as community relations administrator in the East Texas Lighthouse for the Blind Client Service Division, Craig has worked in various positions during his eight years with the agency, including inventory planner and employee service specialist. He currently directs his outreach efforts in marketing, public relations, vision awareness training, fundraising, public policy, and employment services. In 2016, he received the Artie Lee Hines employee of the year award from the Texas state use program.
As a customer service representative at IBVI in West Allis, Wisconsin, Alison is responsible for custom apparel quoting, order management, and managing art proofs. She received the agency’s Milton J. Samuelson Employee of the Year award in 2018 and last year attended her first Capitol Hill meeting with legislators to discuss issues affecting people who are blind.
A marketing assistant at Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc., Earnest began his career working on the production floor and leveraged previous business experience to move into his current position. Earnest is the public-facing liaison in the Summerville, South Carolina, office, meeting government officials and local community groups. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Radio/Television Broadcasting and Mass Communications.
Currently serving as community relations specialist at Cleveland Sight Center (CSC) in Ohio, Alicia has held a variety of positions in nearly 10 years with the agency. In her current role, she acts as liaison to a range of external stakeholders and advocates on issues and policies that impact people who are blind. In 2018, she worked on the successful state effort to get the white cane recognized as durable medical equipment covered by Medicaid.
A contact center agent at Lighthouse Works in Florida, Sophia ensures needed data is collected and kept confidential, serves internal and external customers, and participates in committee meetings within the agency. Sophia has been featured in local Orlando news outlets sharing her experiences at the Lighthouse and has received multiple awards of excellence. She is currently pursuing a degree in human resources.
A current customer experience associate at Outlook Nebraska in Omaha, Aaron successfully transitioned from a manufacturing position. In this role, he is responsible for all ordering processes, shipping, price quoting, and customer credit applications. Aaron is an active member of the Health & Wellness Planning Committee, holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial organizational psychology and an associate’s degree in applied sciences.
Before transitioning to her current role as customer services supervisor at North Central Sight Services (NCCS) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Suellen worked as a purchasing logistics agent. Suellen represents NCCS as an advocate at the state capitol and has participated in two local public policy forums. In addition, she heads up the agency’s United Way fundraising committee. Suellen received the agency’s Milton J. Samuelson award in 2015 and 2018, and a Uniquesource Achievement Award in 2016.