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Careers for the Blind

Careers for the Blind

By Harrison Hoyes

Careers for the blind and visually impaired. This is an interview series with Blind and visually impaired people who hold various types of jobs and careers.
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Episode 51 - Lead Accessibility Consultant at Target and Triathlete - Randi Strunk

Careers for the BlindNov 09, 2022

00:00
46:28
Episode 54 - Ablr - Instructor and Intern - Shannon Garner and Parrice Urbina

Episode 54 - Ablr - Instructor and Intern - Shannon Garner and Parrice Urbina

These are two inspiring visually impaired women at Ablr. Shannon is an instructor, and explains the ins and outs of how the program works. Parrice is now in her intern phase of the program. She has excelled during her time with Ablr, obtaining several certifications in digital accessibility. To learn more about the program reach out to Shannon, shannon.garner@ablr360.com. To connect with Parrice, email her at parriceleach@gmail.com.

Jun 20, 202332:30
Episode 53 - Co-Founder and CEO of Ablr - John Samuel

Episode 53 - Co-Founder and CEO of Ablr - John Samuel

John Samuel is losing his sight to Retinitis Pigmentosa. He only started being open about his vision loss when he attended The George Washington University School of Business. Once he began being open about his vision loss in his professional life as well, he found and help create Ablr, a Disability inclusion and digital accessibility company.

Jun 04, 202348:19
Episode 52 - Lawyer at Public Justice - Karla Gilbride

Episode 52 - Lawyer at Public Justice - Karla Gilbride

Karla lost her sight early in life. From a young age she had an interest in becoming a Lawyer and ultimately graduated from Georgetown University Law School. She's worked at several different law firms throughout her career, and today is a lawyer at Public Justice.

Nov 20, 202242:38
Episode 51 - Lead Accessibility Consultant at Target and Triathlete - Randi Strunk

Episode 51 - Lead Accessibility Consultant at Target and Triathlete - Randi Strunk

Randi lost most of her sight at birth and experienced further vision loss later in life.  She began her career in Vision Rehabilitation, but ultimately found a passion in Digital Accessibility. She has also completed 15 Triathlons. 

Nov 09, 202246:28
Episode 50 - Professional Athlete - Lex Gillette

Episode 50 - Professional Athlete - Lex Gillette

Lex is the best totally blind long and triple jumper in the history of the U.S. Paralympic movement. He is the current world record holder in the long jump, a five-time Paralympic medalist, a four-time long jump world champion, and an 18-time national champion.

Sep 23, 202247:09
4 Day Fundraiser Sept 16 to 20- Latin Night - Alexandria Virginia Chapter of NFB

4 Day Fundraiser Sept 16 to 20- Latin Night - Alexandria Virginia Chapter of NFB

The Alexandria Virginia Chapter of the NFB will be fundraising for a Latin Night. September 16th 3pm to September 20th a 3pm. https://s.dgpopup.com/rm82g49f

Latin Night will be October 29th 7 - 10pm - The Westin Tysons Corner, Falls Church, Virginia

Evelyn can be reached at: evelyn.valdez212@gmail.com

Sep 16, 202207:44
Episode 49 - Chief Accessibility Officer - Jeff Wissel

Episode 49 - Chief Accessibility Officer - Jeff Wissel

Jeff spent most of his career in Financial Services and has moved on to make more significant impact in the world as the Chief Accessibility Officer at Disability:IN. Listen to episode 21 to hear Jeff's experience with Retinitis Pigmentosa, and his successful career path. 

Sep 07, 202230:46
Careers for the Blind podcast trailer

Careers for the Blind podcast trailer

Careers for the Blind podcast trailer

Sep 07, 202200:43
Episode 48 - Professional Musician - Matthew Whitaker

Episode 48 - Professional Musician - Matthew Whitaker

Matthew lost his sight due to complications resulting from his premature birth. Early in life he discovered he had a strong aptitude for music. While he is currently attending The Juilliard School, his incredible talent has already taken him around the world to perform. Check out his album Connections, and his website www.matthewwhitaker.net

Aug 12, 202227:07
Episode 37 part 2 - Dr. Kirk Adams - Innovative Impact L.L.C.

Episode 37 part 2 - Dr. Kirk Adams - Innovative Impact L.L.C.

This is a follow-up conversation with Dr. Kirk Adams who has launched his consulting business Innovative Impact LLC. He is looking to consult for fun, innovative, impactful, and well-funded organizations who desire to be inclusive of people with disabilities and particularly people who are blind. He can be reached at kirkadams000@gmail.com, or by phone or text 206-660-1363.

Jul 17, 202223:36
Episode 47 - Occupational Therapist - Jenice Heck

Episode 47 - Occupational Therapist - Jenice Heck

Jenice lost her sight gradually to Leber Congenital Amaurosis. Her supportive parents enabled her to be successful in school, and ultimately to becoming an Occupational Therapist.  She is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Lighthouse Louisiana, an Adjunct Professor, and has a YouTube channel called Insight4Blind.  

Jun 26, 202239:27
Episode 46 - C.E.O. at Earle Baum Center - Bob Sonnenberg

Episode 46 - C.E.O. at Earle Baum Center - Bob Sonnenberg

Bob is a low vision person who lost his sight late in life.  His strong work ethic and positive attitude lead him to working for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and ultimately to his current position as CEO at the Earle Baum Center, a training center for the blind and low vision.

May 28, 202244:19
Episode 45 - Adjunct Professor in Blindness Rehabilitation - Sarahelizageth Baguhn, Ph.D., COMS, CATIS

Episode 45 - Adjunct Professor in Blindness Rehabilitation - Sarahelizageth Baguhn, Ph.D., COMS, CATIS

Sarahelizabeth lost her side gradually into her early working life. She knew from a young age that she wanted to be a teacher and she didn't let her vision loss deter her from pursuing her passion. She has her Ph.D., and is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist, as well as a Certified Assistive Technology Instructional Specialist.

May 15, 202229:33
Episode 44 - Automobile Mechanic and Certified Assistive Technology Specialist - Eli Sanchez

Episode 44 - Automobile Mechanic and Certified Assistive Technology Specialist - Eli Sanchez

Eli lost his sight at a very early age.  He maintains a positive attitude and open mind to trying new things.  He has been an automobile mechanic, and is currently working as aCertified Assistive Technology Specialist at Adaptive Technology Services.

May 07, 202236:16
Episode 43 - Chemist and Entrepreneur - Hoby Wedler

Episode 43 - Chemist and Entrepreneur - Hoby Wedler

Hoby was born blind, but had incredible parents that helped him stay positive and motivated.  He has his Ph. D. In Organic Chemistry from UC Davis, and is now an entrepreneur having started several companies.  He helped develop Tasting in the Dark, and consults with companies on improving their sensory experiences.  Learn more about his companies at Hoby.com

Apr 25, 202225:04
Episode 42 - Superintendent at Miami International Airport - Stephen Podley

Episode 42 - Superintendent at Miami International Airport - Stephen Podley

Stephen Podley lost his sight gradually due to Retinitis Pigmentosa.  He struggled with his diagnosis briefly, but went on to hold many different positions.  Today he is the Superintendent at Miami International Airport.

Mar 26, 202232:42
Episode 41 - Chief Programs Officer at AFB - Sylvia Stinson-Perez

Episode 41 - Chief Programs Officer at AFB - Sylvia Stinson-Perez

Sylvia lost her sight gradually due to Retinitis Pigmentosa.  She built a reputation that lead to her becoming the CEO for Lighthouse for the Blind in Florida for 11 years, and currently serving as the Chief Programs Officer at AFB.

Mar 20, 202251:48
Episode 40 - Computer Access Trainer - Michael Bryant

Episode 40 - Computer Access Trainer - Michael Bryant

Michael lost his sight gradually due to retinitis pigmentosa in his mid-30s.  He struggled with depression as he was no longer able to be a professional illustrator, but through his faith in God and maintaining a positive attitude he has been able to move forward. He is currently a Computer Access Trainer at the VA Healthcare Services in New Jersey.

Dec 20, 202156:53
Episode 39 - President of Honig International and TruckPay - Barry Honig

Episode 39 - President of Honig International and TruckPay - Barry Honig

Barry lost his sight gradually due to Leber Congenital Amaurosis. He had to advocate for himself from a young age as those around him were not sure how he would accomplish his work. His strong determination let him to graduate from Columbia university with a degree in Applied Mathematics. He has worked at IBM, MorganStanley, and today is the President of Honig International and President and CEO of TruckPay.

Nov 27, 202145:34
Episode 38 - Accessibility Lead at Walmart.com - Carrie Farber

Episode 38 - Accessibility Lead at Walmart.com - Carrie Farber

Carrie lost her sight gradually due to retinitis pigmentosa. It wasn't until her 20s that her vision started to impact her life more significantly. She tried to hide her vision loss from her colleagues at first, but once she embraced her situation she found a passion for accessibility and made herself an opportunity to become the Accessibility Lead at Walmart.com.

Nov 16, 202135:16
Episode 37 - C.E.O. at American Foundation for the Blind - Dr. Kirk Adams

Episode 37 - C.E.O. at American Foundation for the Blind - Dr. Kirk Adams

Dr. Kirk Adams lost his sight at an early age, but having great role models in his parents, had a high regard for education and seeking employment.  He struggled to find work, but cast a wide net and took a position as a municipal bond salesman.  He transitioned into the non-profit world through fundraising and knew leadership was ultimately where he wanted to be.

Nov 06, 202138:11
Episode 36 - Legally Blind and Looking For Work - Jeff Wissel

Episode 36 - Legally Blind and Looking For Work - Jeff Wissel

After 28 years with one company, Jeff took a voluntary offer to leave and find another adventure.  He shares his experience as a legally blind person looking for a job. 

Oct 23, 202123:49
Episode 35 - Climate Scientist - Newton Nguyen

Episode 35 - Climate Scientist - Newton Nguyen

Newton is a Climate Scientist and Ph.D at CalTech University.  He lost his sight at an early age due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. His passion for math and science is coupled with a desire to prove to himself and others that math and science is possible for the blind.

Oct 03, 202148:44
Episode 34 - Medical Doctor - Dr. Ian Kloehn

Episode 34 - Medical Doctor - Dr. Ian Kloehn

Ian is a visually impaired person with Optic Nerve Atrophy.  He attended Kansas City University - college of Osteopathic Medicine.  Currently, he is a resident at Phornix Children’s Hospital.


Sep 13, 202128:60
Episode 33 - Army Veteran now Chocolatier and Real Estate Investor - Aaron Hale

Episode 33 - Army Veteran now Chocolatier and Real Estate Investor - Aaron Hale

Aaron Hale, a 14 year veteran, military chef and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (E.O.D) team leader has overcome all odds. From the moment a blast robbed Aaron of his vision in Afghanistan to years later when he lost his hearing, he refused to accept defeat,.

Jul 03, 202156:20
Episode 32 - Technology Consultant and Musician - Tyler

Episode 32 - Technology Consultant and Musician - Tyler

Tyler is losing his sight to a genetic condition called Stickler Syndrom.  He tried to fit in as a sighted person for most of his life, but is now begining to embrace his situation.  The struggle of confronting vision loss is real, and Tyler hopes to help others facing a similar struggle by sharing his story.

Jun 18, 202150:11
Episode 31 - Assistent General Counsel at Facebook - Jack Chen

Episode 31 - Assistent General Counsel at Facebook - Jack Chen

Jack Chen lost his sight from an early age due to a failed eye operation.  He remained motivated and initially pursued Computer Science, completing his undergrad at Harvard and a masters at UC Berkley.  He ultimately found his passion in patent law and completed a law degree as well.  He is currently Assistant General Counsel @Facebook, and leads the core Online Advertising Product Legal Team.

May 31, 202101:02:46
Episode 30 - Central Intelligence Agency - Analyst

Episode 30 - Central Intelligence Agency - Analyst

This C.I.A. Officer lost her sight as a teenager.  After a brief adjustment period she was back to forging her own path.  In college she discovered the C.I.A., and is currently an Officer with the agency as an Analyst.

May 12, 202133:54
Episode 29 - Freelance Accessibility Consultant and WordPress Professional - Taylor Arndt

Episode 29 - Freelance Accessibility Consultant and WordPress Professional - Taylor Arndt

Taylor has been blind since birth.  She planned to major in Computer Science, but circumstances as a result of COVID lead her to start her own business.  She is now a Freelance Accessibility Consultant, and WordPress Professional.

May 04, 202117:32
Episode 28 - Substance Abuse Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist - Mike Moran

Episode 28 - Substance Abuse Counselor, Marriage and Family Therapist - Mike Moran

Mike Moran lost his sight from an early age due to Congenital Glaucoma.  He’s been a Substance Abuse Counselor, a Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Field Representative for the Seeing Eye.

Apr 26, 202143:07
Episode 27 - College and Career Advisor at EDGE - Melissa Lomax

Episode 27 - College and Career Advisor at EDGE - Melissa Lomax

Melissa lost her sight from a young age due to a hereditary form of Glaucoma. She was an excellent student throughout high school and college, and her networking ability helped her land her first two jobs since graduating.  She is currently the College and Career Advisor at the EDGE Employment Transition Program.

Apr 20, 202138:55
Episode 26 - Web Accessibility Specialist - Preston Radtke

Episode 26 - Web Accessibility Specialist - Preston Radtke

Preston has been blind since birth due to Cone-Rod Dystrophy.  Through the use of Braille and assistive technology he has completed his undergraduate and Masters degree.  He is currently a Web Accessibility Specialist and part time lecturer

Mar 27, 202131:02
Episode 25 - Software Engineer at J.P. Morgan - Ida Behreini

Episode 25 - Software Engineer at J.P. Morgan - Ida Behreini

Ida lost her sight gradually from a young age due to Retinitis Pigmentosa. While attending Drew University she learned about the EDGE program, which helped prepare her with employability skills. Her hard work and determination has resulted in her current position as a Software Engineer at J.P. Morgan.

Mar 13, 202135:03
Episode 24 - Lawyer, Fitness Instructor, and Director of EDGE - Pat McKenna

Episode 24 - Lawyer, Fitness Instructor, and Director of EDGE - Pat McKenna

Pat lost his site at the age of five due to an auto immune disease called Ten Syndrom. He has been a fitness instructor, a lawyer, worked for the Seeing Eye, and is currently the director of the EDGE program in New Jersey, a employment readiness program for students.

Mar 07, 202144:27
Episode 23 - Executive Director at Blind Institute of Technology - Mike Hess

Episode 23 - Executive Director at Blind Institute of Technology - Mike Hess

Mike lost his site gradually from an early age do to macular degeneration.  He spent two decades as a computer applications programmer, but then went on to start his own Executive Recruitement company for people with disabilities called Blind Institute of Technology.

Feb 28, 202133:53
Episode 22 - Computer Scientist - Director of Accessibility at SAS - Ed Summers

Episode 22 - Computer Scientist - Director of Accessibility at SAS - Ed Summers

Ed lost his sight gradually due to retinitis pigmentosa. While there were times he struggled with his sight, he chose to ignore the problem throughout college and his early working life. Once he embraced his situation, that's when his career really took off.

Feb 21, 202101:03:11
Episode 21 - Director of the Office of Customer Accessibility at Fidelity - Jeff Wissel

Episode 21 - Director of the Office of Customer Accessibility at Fidelity - Jeff Wissel

Jeff has been losing his side gradually due to retinitis pigmentosa. For most of his career he tried to hide his vision loss. Once he embraced his situation he found a renewed passion for his career, and is currently the Director of the Office of Customer Accessibility at Fidelity.

Feb 07, 202143:33
Episode 20 - Principal Product Delivery Manager at Spectrum - Jessica Loomer

Episode 20 - Principal Product Delivery Manager at Spectrum - Jessica Loomer

Jessica attended the university of Arizona, and was pursuing a normal cited career path. At the age of 27 she lost the majority of her central vision to Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. She struggled for a short time as she adjusted to her vision loss, but once she embraced her situation her career took off.

Jan 31, 202135:25
Episode 19 - Chief Executive Officer - Dan Berlin

Episode 19 - Chief Executive Officer - Dan Berlin

In January 2021 I had a conversation with Dan Berlin.  Dan has been losing his site gradually his entire life. He struggled with letting people know that he had issues with his vision but was able to complete his undergraduate and masters degree in microbiology. He went on to have a successful career in corporate America, but ultimately followed his desire of owning his own business. With a business partner, and Dan as the chief executive officer, their company Rodelle went on to become a world leader and vanilla extract.  Today, after having sold the company, Dan spends most of his time engaged in various investment and philanthropic work.  He is particularly involved with teams see possibilities; an organization at awards scholarships to Blind college students.  To learn more about the scholarship program and the team see possibilities organization you can visit www.teamseepossibilities.com.

Jan 24, 202143:35
Episode 18 - Chief Inspiration Officer - David DeNotaris

Episode 18 - Chief Inspiration Officer - David DeNotaris

David lost his site at an early age you due to retinitis pigmentosa.  By the age of 19 he had no usable vision. He completed his college degree and after working for a number of years went back and completed his masters degree as well. He is currently the chief inspiration officer for his company Sky's The Limit.

Dec 30, 202043:07
Episode 17 - University Professor - Dr. Joseph Donnelly

Episode 17 - University Professor - Dr. Joseph Donnelly

Dr. Joseph Donnelly lost the majority of his sight at an early age do to Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy.  As a visually impaired person in college he wasn't sure what career he would pursue. Joseph completed his undergraduate work and went on to his masters and doctorate program. He has spent the last 25 years as a professor at Montclair State University

Dec 12, 202039:39
Episode 16 - Executive Director of U.S.A.B.A. - Mark Lucas

Episode 16 - Executive Director of U.S.A.B.A. - Mark Lucas

Mark is a sighted person, but he served as executive director for the United States Association of Blind athletes for 20 years. Mark shares his story of how he became the executive director of the U.S.A.B.A. and some of the remarkable feats that he’s witnessed blind and visually impaired people accomplish. 

Dec 06, 202033:08
Episode 15 - Head of Sales for New York/New Jersey at Cigna - Kevin Szott

Episode 15 - Head of Sales for New York/New Jersey at Cigna - Kevin Szott

Kevin was declared legally blind from an early age, and has continued to lose vision throughout his life.  He has been a strength coach, trained with the US Olympic team in Judo, but ultimately found his passion for sales.  He is currently the Head of Sales for the New York/New Jersey region for Cigna.

Nov 14, 202057:38
Episode 14 - Inclusion and Collaboration Global Strategy Research Lead at Cisco - Mary Fernandez

Episode 14 - Inclusion and Collaboration Global Strategy Research Lead at Cisco - Mary Fernandez

Mary lost her sight at a very early age.  She considered many different career paths growing up.  After having a few jobs during and after college, she decided to get her MBA and is currently the Inclusion and Collaboration Global Strategy Research Lead at Cisco.

Nov 06, 202001:00:04
Episode 13 - Industrial Organizational Psychologist - Dr. Susan D'Mello

Episode 13 - Industrial Organizational Psychologist - Dr. Susan D'Mello

Dr. Susan D'Mello has been legally blind from a young age as a result of Retinitis Pigmentosa.  She knew by the time she was in high school that she wanted to be a Psychologist, and refined that dream in college when she discovered her passion for Industrial Organizational Psychology.  She is now a Sr. Research Scientist at HumRRO.

Oct 25, 202054:10
Episode 12 - Director of Research at AFB, and Teacher - Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum

Episode 12 - Director of Research at AFB, and Teacher - Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum

Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum has been a visually impaired person her whole life. She initially started her career as a teacher, but later went back to school for her Ph.D. to focus on research. Today she is the Director of Research for the American Foundation for the Blind.
Oct 11, 202038:41
Episode 11 - Teacher Coach, Athlete, and Motivational Speaker - Rich Ruffalo

Episode 11 - Teacher Coach, Athlete, and Motivational Speaker - Rich Ruffalo

Rich Ruffalo lost his sight due to Retinitis Pigmentosa over many years, and lost his remaining useable vision in his 30's.  He always wanted to be a teacher and he wasn't going to let anything stop him from fulfilling his dreams.  He ultimately became an award winning teacher, and paralympic gold medalist several times over.  He has also shared his positive approach to life through his motivational speaking.

Oct 04, 202052:27
Episode 10 - Lawyer - T R E Legal Practice - Al Elia

Episode 10 - Lawyer - T R E Legal Practice - Al Elia

Al Lost his sight gradually due to Retinitis Pigmentosa.  He started out as a Software Engineer, but once his vision finally failed him in his 30's, he decided to go to Law School for a career change.  

Sep 27, 202001:01:03
Episode 9 - Mental Health Counselor - Anthony Andreottola

Episode 9 - Mental Health Counselor - Anthony Andreottola

Anthony lost his sight to Retinitis Pigmentosa over roughly a 20 year period.  it wasn't until he was in his 20's that a truck accident and eye injury, caused him to get an eye exam and be diagnosed.  A career change was in order and he found his passion of helping others as a mental health counselor.

Sep 24, 202033:50
Episode 8 - Assistive Technology and Training - Business Owner - Sherlock Washington

Episode 8 - Assistive Technology and Training - Business Owner - Sherlock Washington

Sherlock lost his sight gradually from a young age due to Retinitis Pigmentosa.  He found a passion for computers and received a Computer Science degree from Ryder University.  He struggled to find work at first, but ultimately excelled so much in the positions he held that he started his own company.  He can be found at www.SWUnlimited.com 

Sep 16, 202001:20:07