Rebekah Grieb: Forging Her Own Path to Career Success

A photo of Rebekah Grieb smiling.

Rebekah Grieb wasn’t concerned at the age of 12 when an eye doctor recommended she have some tests done. She was an athlete, active in basketball, volleyball, and softball. “There was no vision loss in my family that glasses wouldn’t fix,” she says, “or that wasn’t related to old age.”

The eye specialist told Rebekah during that visit, however, that while they didn’t have an official diagnosis, they could confirm that she would gradually lose her vision.

By the time Rebekah was in college, she had developed nystagmus—a condition characterized by rapid, uncontrolled movements of the eye. Today, her general vision loss also includes astigmatism, visual snow, lack of central vision, light sensitivity, and night blindness.

None of these visual impairments, however, have prevented Rebekah from carving out a successful career path for herself.

“In my late 20s, I was laid off and found myself unemployed for three years,” she says. “I would apply for jobs, have a great phone interview, and then, when I would do an in-person interview, it became obvious I was visually impaired. I’d never hear anything after that. My vision seemed to be a bigger factor than my brain, education, and abilities.”

Thankfully, says Rebekah, it was during this time that she also discovered NIB associated nonprofit agency Alphapointe. Through Alphapointe and their services, Rebekah learned more about adaptive technologies. She also learned braille and how to use a cane.

“I regained some of the confidence I had begun to lose while searching for a job,” she says. “While at Alphapointe for rehab, I learned about all the different things Alphapointe is and does. I had no idea it existed, let alone anything about the contact center, rehab, youth camps, college prep, manufacturing, office services, advocacy, and employment for the visually impaired in all these areas.”

After completing her rehab program, Rebekah secured a role in Alphapointe’s Contract Management Support (CMS) department as a contract closeout specialist for the Department of Defense, “a job where my education and my abilities were valued, and being legally blind was actually an asset.”

Today, she works at Alphapointe as a CMS site supervisor on contract closeouts for the U.S. Navy. In addition to reviewing closeouts, submitting reports, and ensuring new and on-going projects, Rebekah prioritizes creating fulfilling jobs for others who are blind or visually impaired. In 2023, Alphapointe nominated her for NIB’s national Milton J. Samuelson Career Achievement Award.

“Blindness does not have a direct correlation to someone’s intelligence, deductive reasoning, problem-solving skills, or productivity,” she says. “We have a disability, not an inability. At Alphapointe, there’s no having to ‘prove’ myself or disprove a stereotype.”

Rebekah also works as a stage manager for live theater productions in her community and serves as a mentor for a program called Emerging Theater Professionals.

Her vision is still a daily frustration, and she’s still waiting on an official diagnosis. “But I have a supportive family, theatre community, and a career with a great employer where I am surrounded by others like me. I enjoy my job, just bought a house, love being an aunt, and am respected as a theatre professional. My life has hit some roadblocks and taken some turns I didn’t expect, but I think it’s worked out pretty well. I’ll continue to take the turns as they come and forge my own path.”

Hear more from Rebekah on episode four of our Heard & Empowered podcast: How to Find Your Path and Career Opportunities When You’re Losing Your Vision with Rebekah Grieb.