Current President and CEO Kevin Lynch will retire in April after 30 years with NIB
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—National Industries for the Blind, the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, announced that Soraya Correa will be the organization’s next president and CEO, following an extensive nationwide search. Kevin Lynch, who has been NIB president and CEO for more than 15 years, announced last summer that he will retire on April 30, 2024.
Correa will join the NIB team on March 18 as president and CEO elect. She will work closely with Lynch while she meets with NIB staff, associated nonprofit agency leaders, and the AbilityOne Commission. Correa will connect with government customers, partners, and representatives of the blindness community, as well as other stakeholders, as she learns more about the program. On April 15, she will step into the role of president and CEO, and Lynch will become president and CEO emeritus until his retirement on April 30.
“Soraya is an exceptional leader with the right expertise to guide NIB through its next chapter,” said Dr. Paul Healy, chairperson of the NIB board of directors. “The board and I believe her substantial experience in government procurement, plus her record of exemplary leadership, will make a positive impact on career opportunities for people who are blind.”
Correa developed extensive skills in government procurement as a contracting and program management professional, coupled with many years of experience leading and transforming organizations. A member of the Senior Executive Service, she held several leadership roles at the Department of Homeland Security. Most recently, she served as chief procurement officer from 2015 until her retirement in 2021. Correa designed and implemented initiatives to enhance business operations and mission support provided by more than 1,400 contracting professionals, who processed more than 70,000 procurement actions totaling over $25 billion in goods and services each year. Currently, she is executive director of the National Contract Management Association Contract Management Institute, which provides research, studies, and analyses to enhance procurement and contracting business practices.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to lead an organization comprised of such outstanding individuals united by a vitally important mission,” Correa said. “I believe that my government procurement background will be of great value in growing the organization and expanding employment opportunities for people who are blind.”
Lynch has spent the past 44 years dedicated to the mission of creating meaningful employment for people who are blind or visually impaired. After serving with NIB associated nonprofit agencies Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Greater Rochester and Georgia Industries for the Blind, he joined NIB in December of 1994 as vice president of operations. He led the launch of the e-commerce platform known today as AbilityOne.com and established the AbilityOne Base Supply Centers—NIB opened the first store in 1996 at Fort Bragg. Today, there are more than 160 stores on military bases and federal installations across the nation.
As NIB’s president and CEO since 2008, Lynch has successfully coordinated a network of nearly 100 associated nonprofit agencies that work in tandem with NIB and employ people who are blind. He also served as the driving force behind the contract management support services program that has provided careers for people who are blind to oversee contract administration; since 2010, these employees have identified $25.7 billion in taxpayer funding to be de-obligated and returned to the U.S. Treasury.
Throughout his career, Lynch has spearheaded efforts to accelerate production of mission-critical products to meet surge requirements, whether for conflicts overseas or in response to natural disasters or the COVID pandemic. From combat uniforms to personal protective equipment, federal customers have been able to quickly and efficiently procure critical items from NIB, a trusted partner.
“Retiring from NIB is bittersweet for me,” explained Lynch. “I have thoroughly loved working with this amazing organization, and I am proud of all that we have achieved in support of our mission to create, sustain, and improve employment opportunities for people who are blind. NIB’s future is very bright. I know there is no limit to what this community can achieve.”
Under Lynch’s guidance NIB has seen tremendous growth, with product offerings increasing to more than 7,000 items. He oversaw the development and launch of NSITE, NIB’s national talent management enterprise, in 2021. NSITE provides a continuum of employment services that connect employers with talented, dedicated people who are blind or visually impaired. This connection is critical given that people who are blind or visually impaired have two times greater unemployment rates than people who are sighted.
On February 5, the NIB board of directors selected Lynch as the winner of the 2024 R.B. Irwin Award, NIB’s highest honor, in recognition of his career achievements. The award is named for Dr. Robert B. Irwin, executive director of the American Foundation for the Blind in the 1930s and a member of the team who worked toward NIB’s formation.
About National Industries for the Blind
Incorporated in 1938, NIB is the nation’s largest employment resource for people who are blind, and through its network of associated nonprofit agencies, the largest employer of people who are blind in the U.S. NIB creates opportunities for people who are blind to become wage earners and taxpayers, reducing their reliance on government support and increasing engagement in their communities. The organization offers career training and assists employers and employees in developing mutually beneficial workplaces. NIB’s vision is that blindness is not a barrier to employment. In 2021, NIB launched a national talent management enterprise known as NSITE. NSITE provides a continuum of employment services that connect employers with talented, dedicated people who are blind or visually impaired, including veterans. For more information, visit www.nib.org or www.nsite.org.