33 episodes

The Heard & Empowered podcast is where the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community finds job inspiration, career opportunities, and a path to success. Presented by National Industries for the Blind—a leader in job creation for BVI individuals—this podcast is your go-to resource for thriving professionally in a sighted world.

Join the host, Dr. Hoby Wedler, every week on Wednesday, as he and his guests dismantle stereotypes, offer expert advice, and share success stories to help you build a fulfilling career and an enriching life.

Discover more at HeardAndEmpowered.org.

This podcast is for you if you’re asking yourself:

*What kind of job can I find since I’m blind?
*How can I build a fulfilling career despite my visual impairment?
*What are some of the best accessible places to work?
*Are there companies that really care about DEI?
*What resources are available to help BVI persons succeed professionally?
*How can I overcome workplace biases and challenges as BVI?
*What steps can I take to get started and find a meaningful job?
*Where can I find employers who value my skills and abilities?
*How can I ask for BVI accommodations at work?
*Should I disclose or not my visual impairment?

Every week, the show will dive into one or more of these topics and beyond. Subscribe now so you don’t miss a single episode!

Heard & Empowered National Industries for the Blind

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 12 Ratings

The Heard & Empowered podcast is where the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community finds job inspiration, career opportunities, and a path to success. Presented by National Industries for the Blind—a leader in job creation for BVI individuals—this podcast is your go-to resource for thriving professionally in a sighted world.

Join the host, Dr. Hoby Wedler, every week on Wednesday, as he and his guests dismantle stereotypes, offer expert advice, and share success stories to help you build a fulfilling career and an enriching life.

Discover more at HeardAndEmpowered.org.

This podcast is for you if you’re asking yourself:

*What kind of job can I find since I’m blind?
*How can I build a fulfilling career despite my visual impairment?
*What are some of the best accessible places to work?
*Are there companies that really care about DEI?
*What resources are available to help BVI persons succeed professionally?
*How can I overcome workplace biases and challenges as BVI?
*What steps can I take to get started and find a meaningful job?
*Where can I find employers who value my skills and abilities?
*How can I ask for BVI accommodations at work?
*Should I disclose or not my visual impairment?

Every week, the show will dive into one or more of these topics and beyond. Subscribe now so you don’t miss a single episode!

    Ep #32: Diversity, Mentorship, and Innovation in Leadership with NIB President and CEO Soraya Correa

    Ep #32: Diversity, Mentorship, and Innovation in Leadership with NIB President and CEO Soraya Correa

    Dr. Hoby Wedler welcomes a very special guest to the podcast this week: the one and only Soraya Correa, the new president and CEO of National Industries for the Blind. After starting her career as a clerk typist, Soraya rose through the ranks of the federal government to join the Senior Executive Service. She held key leadership roles at the General Services Administration (GSA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). After retiring from federal service, she worked for the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) before discovering NIB. As you’ll hear, Soraya’s willingness to tackle difficult projects and her passion for making a difference led to significant innovations in procurement.
     
    Tune in to hear about the importance of mentorship and diversity in the workplace and the impact both had on Soraya’s trajectory. She shares her vision for NIB’s future, her strategies for creating opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired, and the lessons she’s learned from a lifetime of service. Whether you’re looking to enhance your leadership skills, understand the impact of diversity in the workplace, or simply be inspired by Soraya’s extraordinary journey, this episode is packed with wisdom and practical advice for listeners from all walks of life!
     
    For full transcript and show notes, please visit: https://heardandempowered.org/32
     
     

    • 57 min
    Ep #31: Strategic Advocacy: Influencing Public Policy on Capitol Hill with Dan Kelly

    Ep #31: Strategic Advocacy: Influencing Public Policy on Capitol Hill with Dan Kelly

    This week, Dr. Hoby Wedler is joined by Dan Kelly, the Vice President of Public Policy for the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind (NAEPB) and President and CEO of IFB Solutions. Dan is a dedicated advocate for the blind and visually impaired community, whose unwavering dedication shines through every aspect of his work. He discusses his experience with retinitis pigmentosa, a condition that has affected three generations of his family, and how it has shaped his path.
     
    As you’ll hear, Dan’s strategic leadership and passionate advocacy are focused this year on one simple, uncomplicated ask on Capitol Hill. He details ongoing efforts to expand the AbilityOne® Program, aiming to increase employment opportunities for BVI individuals. The key initiative includes urging Congress to mandate the Department of Defense’s allocation of 1% of their procurement budget to this program. If successful, this push would double current employment opportunities and create a significant impact in the community. Tune in this week to learn about the intricate process of legislative advocacy and the importance of personal stories in driving policy change.
     
    For full transcript and show notes, please visit: https://heardandempowered.org/31

    • 28 min
    Ep #30: A Lasting Legacy of Employment Opportunities for the Blind and Visually Impaired with Kevin Lynch

    Ep #30: A Lasting Legacy of Employment Opportunities for the Blind and Visually Impaired with Kevin Lynch

    In this episode, Dr. Hoby Wedler has the distinct pleasure of welcoming to the podcast Kevin Lynch, president and CEO emeritus of National Industries for the Blind (NIB). He retired April 30, 2023, from a 44-year career working and serving for the blind and visually impaired community in various capacities.
     
    Kevin, a visionary leader, shares his inspiring journey from working with the Association for the Blind in Rochester, New York, to leading NIB in its mission to create meaningful employment opportunities for people who are blind or visually impaired.
     
    They discuss the challenges and triumphs of his career, including expanding the AbilityOne® Program to Base Supply Centers all over the nation, how the Contract Management Services program was created to solve a giant headache for the government, how NSITE trains BVI individuals—at no cost—for the highest executive roles in corporate America and other pioneering initiatives that promote economic independence for the BVI community.
     
    Kevin reflects on his experiences in various leadership roles, highlighting the importance of persistence, respect, and high expectations for persons with disabilities.
     
    Tune in to hear Kevin’s motivating insights on leadership, advocacy, and the transformative power of inclusive employment. Discover how his dedication has revolutionized NIB and how his vision and legacy will continue to inspire positive change in the BVI workforce for a long time to come.
     
    For full transcript and show notes, please visit: https://heardandempowered.org/30

    • 43 min
    Ep #29: From Unemployed to Employee of the Year with Envision’s MaryBeth Clare

    Ep #29: From Unemployed to Employee of the Year with Envision’s MaryBeth Clare

    The human spirit’s capacity to overcome adversity is strong, especially in today’s guest, MaryBeth Clare. She sits down with Dr. Hoby Wedler to discuss the setbacks she faced after losing her vision, and how those were replaced by the determination and desire to grow that have kept her going in her role as lead cashier and stocker for the military Base Supply Center at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. She describes how her commitment led her to flourish in her job, winning Employee of the Year at Envision Xpress and the Peter J. Salmon Award from National Industries for the Blind in 2023.
     
    MaryBeth’s dedication to learning, adapting, and embracing new skills, such as mastering Braille and pursuing higher education, reflects her unwavering commitment to personal growth and self-improvement. Through her perseverance, she not only transformed her own life but also became an advocate for inclusivity and empowerment in the workplace. Listen in to hear why finding purpose in your work is so important, and how you can implement MaryBeth’s optimistic mindset in your own career journey.
     
    For full transcript and show notes, please visit: https://heardandempowered.org/29

    • 39 min
    Ep #28: From HR to Advocacy: Rob Buettner’s Impact at Beyond Vision

    Ep #28: From HR to Advocacy: Rob Buettner’s Impact at Beyond Vision

    In this episode, Dr. Hoby Wedler sits down with Rob Buettner, Vice President of Relationships & Business Services at Beyond Vision, to talk about leadership, advocacy, entrepreneurship, and where they merge. After being diagnosed with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy as a young adult, Rob faced uncertainty and darkness. It wasn’t until he found a community of other people with the same disease that reminded Rob he could do anything he set his mind to, with or without his vision.
     
    From starting a business distributing low-vision technology products to advocating for policy change, Rob’s journey exemplifies the power of perseverance and purpose. Hear what Rob Buettner learned as an advocate at the Public Policy Forum, building strong legislative relationships during his visits to Capitol Hill. Find out why Rob believes in the importance of persistence and kindness for achieving any goal.
     
    For full transcript and show notes, please visit: https://heardandempowered.org/28

    • 36 min
    Ep #27: How BVI Advocates Can Make a Bigger Impact with NIB’s VP of Public Policy, Rick Webster

    Ep #27: How BVI Advocates Can Make a Bigger Impact with NIB’s VP of Public Policy, Rick Webster

    Today, National Industries for the Blind (NIB)’s Spring Conference and Public Policy Forum wraps up with the annual Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, so it's very fitting that this week Dr. Hoby Wedler is joined by NIB’s Vice President of Public Policy, Rick Webster. Rick brings a unique perspective to the podcast as a sighted person passionately committed to creating employment opportunities for BVI individuals.
     
    Rick’s affinity for government and policy change began during his time at Hope College where he studied political science. Even then, Rick’s sights were set on Washington D.C., as he cultivated a deep interest in advocacy. His journey led him through various roles before finding his calling in the nonprofit sector.
     
    Join Dr. Hoby and Rick as they discuss Rick’s pivotal role at NIB where he channels his passion for policy and creating change into initiatives aimed at empowering individuals with visual impairments. From advocating for employment opportunities to spearheading transformative programs, you’ll hear how Rick’s commitment to inclusivity and equity shines through everything he does. You’ll also hear about some of the future initiatives Rick and his team will be working on, what this year’s NIB’s Spring Conference covered, and how you can channel your own passion for BVI equity and equality to produce real change.
     
    For full transcript and show notes, please visit: https://heardandempowered.org/27

    • 41 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

Rich R 42 ,

Brilliant

An archive of amazing interviews

Vtnyukca ,

BVI podcast - Brilliant

These podcasts regarding inspirational stories about the Blind and Visually impaired (BVI) are really superbly done. Congratulations to all those involved. The speakers are real people discussing their lives, their trials and tribulations. A true inspiration to everyone, sighted or BVI should sign up for and “follow” the podcasts. We all need to learn how we can live in a world with those that need a little extra help. We are all human beings and need to be treated the same whether we have all our senses and capabilities or whether we need periodically, a little extra assistance getting through and living a fulfilling life.
I highly recommend this podcast and the reality / education it brings to all of us.

jjr545rfr ,

I was so immersed in the story that I lost track of time

It is moving, inspiring, exciting, dramatic and motivating. Each episode shows you a lesson of life and provides great opportunities and resources for the visually impaired and blind population For the rest of the population, it just shows you that heroes are simple humans in extraordinary circumstances I look forward to more episodes

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