ALEXANDRIA, VA-Alexandria resident Irwin Ramirez works for the National Industries for the Blind (NIB). Today, he graduates from the Blind Leaders Development Program in a virtual ceremony. The program, launched last year by the American Foundation for the Blind, gives people who are blind or have low vision the opportunity to gain skills to increase upward mobility in the workplace. It also facilitates leadership experiences.
“I learned a great deal [about] not only leadership [but] how our behaviors can influence change through working with others,” Ramirez told The Zebra when asked to recall the experience. “Cohesion [permits a] better understanding on what motivate[s] others to achieve goals.”
It should be noted that the achievement is especially meaningful to him because he completed the program at the height of the pandemic.
As a product development support specialist at NIB, he has a strong background in business and technology. The program helped Ramirez hone communication and networking skills so that he can be more effective when presented with on-the-job situations where higher levels of authority and influence are necessary.
For the curriculum, Ramirez and 14 other graduates attended webinars and were paired with mentors. These mentors, who are also blind or have low vision, gave honest feedback about what it takes to be successful in the workplace.
Ramirez believes in constant improvement, valuing opportunity and inclusion. He hopes that in the future, individuals who are blind will have more representation in government and corporate America.
“I plan on using [the] skillset I gained in the program [to] continue to develop both personally and professionally to contribute to the workforce,” he said.