[nabs-l] NABS Leadership Transition

Shikha desai1shikha at gmail.com
Wed Jun 29 03:22:45 UTC 2016

This is a bitter sweet moment like graduation!
Sean has been a great president.  He is a great leader!
I encourage everyone to vote for kathren.  I got a great privilege to get to know her at Washington seminar this year!
She is a great role model and is always strengthening the federation!


> On Jun 28, 2016, at 9:06 PM, Arielle Silverman via NABS-L <nabs-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> Hi all:
> I would like to lead the division in recognizing and thanking Sean for
> his seven years of leadership in NABS, including five as its
> president. Five years is a long time to serve as NABS president, and
> in fact, I believe that Marc Maurer is the only individual in NABS
> history, prior to Sean, to serve for more than four. Being NABS
> president is a great job that can bring a lot of joy. But it can also
> be tiring at times, and it demands a great deal of dedication and
> personal sacrifice. Thank you Sean for investing this level of
> dedication into our student division.
> But good leadership is about quality more than quantity, and it is
> clear that NABS has grown exponentially in the last five years and has
> made a real difference in many people's lives. A long time ago, a NABS
> mentor of mine encouraged me to hope for a successor in leadership who
> could do a better job than me. She cautioned that this could be a
> bittersweet experience. And in fact, there are times when I have
> confessed to feeling a bit jealous of what Sean and his
> administrations have achieved in comparison to my own. I try to keep
> that green-eyed monster out of the way. On the whole, I am extremely
> proud of what NABS has and continues to accomplish. When I think back
> to the NABS I joined as a college freshman in 2003, we have
> transformed into a much stronger organization in every area--in terms
> of communications, membership, finances, state divisions, advocacy,
> and collaboration with NFB nationally. I can't wait to see what will
> happen in the next 13 years.
> Best,
> Arielle Silverman
> Past NABS President, 2009-2011
>> On 6/28/16, Sean Whalen via NABS-L <nabs-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
>> Good afternoon to each of you,
>> As the National Federation of
>> the Blind 2016 National
>> Convention rapidly approaches,
>> I am writing regarding the
>> impending transition in NABS
>> leadership. As you may know,
>> my term as President of NABS
>> is set to expire this Friday
>> at the conclusion of our
>> annual business meeting. I
>> have been privileged to serve
>> in this role for the last 5
>> years, and have enjoyed
>> working with and for so many
>> of you. Though I will be
>> continuing my studies at
>> Harvard Law School, and while
>> I remain dedicated to changing
>> what it means to be a blind
>> student in America, I will not
>> be seeking another term as
>> President of NABS during
>> Friday’s elections. As I walk
>> away from this position,
>> though not the division, I am
>> writing to convey a few quick
>> messages.
>> First, I want to offer my most
>> sincere and heartfelt thanks
>> to those of you with whom I
>> have had the opportunity to
>> work over these years. It has
>> been a pleasure to get to know
>> so many of you. I am proud to
>> call many of you friends. I am
>> grateful for the confidence
>> that the membership has placed
>> in me in allowing me to lead
>> this vibrant division of the
>> most important organization
>> related to blindness in the
>> United States of America, the
>> National Federation of the
>> Blind. Though I have certainly
>> made my mistakes and had my
>> shortcomings, I am proud of
>> what we, both on and off the
>> board, have been able to
>> accomplish. I believe that
>> over the past number of years,
>> including under President
>> Arielle Silverman from 2009 to
>> 2011, NABS has continuously
>> grown bigger, stronger, and
>> more active. Not only do I
>> believe this, objective
>> measures like members added,
>> funds raised, articles
>> published, and programs and
>> activities executed bear it
>> out. We can be proud of our
>> successes in sharing
>> resources, offering advice,
>> and demonstrating to blind
>> students that blindness is so
>> much less limiting than is
>> often assumed. We all share in
>> this success and our work
>> truly matters.
>> Second, I wish to communicate
>> to you my wholehearted and
>> unequivocal endorsement of
>> Kathryn Webster for NABS
>> President in the upcoming
>> election. Kathryn has
>> demonstrated a skill set, work
>> ethic, passion for the cause,
>> and strength of character that
>> I believe make her an
>> excellent candidate for the
>> position. Kathryn has served
>> as Secretary, Treasurer,
>> Fundraising Chair, and
>> Webmaster over this last year.
>> And she has met or exceeded
>> expectations in each role. In
>> virtually every program we
>> carried out this term – from
>> funding students to Washington
>> Seminar to collecting letters
>> to Congress about accessible
>> materials, from running a
>> legislative leadership
>> workshop to expanding our
>> membership database, from our
>> annual NABS Café to improving
>> our website – Kathryn has had
>> a hand. As Fundraising Chair,
>> she and her excellent team
>> gave NABS the biggest
>> fundraising year we have had
>> in at least the last 7 years,
>> and almost certainly much
>> longer than that. As Secretary
>> she has executed her duties in
>> a timely and professional
>> manner. And as Treasurer she
>> has been responsible,
>> organized, and accurate.
>> Though her skills speak
>> volumes, there are other
>> equally important
>> considerations. Kathryn has
>> shown herself to be truly
>> passionate about the work of
>> NABS and the NFB. She
>> understands the immense
>> positive impact that the
>> philosophy and resources of
>> the NFB can provide to blind
>> students. And she is willing
>> to work hard to ensure that as
>> many blind students as
>> possible are exposed to the
>> Federation. Finally, Kathryn
>> is forthright and honest. She
>> takes responsibility and is
>> accountable. And, most
>> importantly, she acknowledges
>> her weaknesses, accepts and
>> considers criticism, and
>> consistently works to improve
>> her leadership and
>> performance. On Friday we as a
>> division will decide who will
>> lead NABS for the coming two
>> years, and I urge each of you
>> to give strong consideration
>> to this track record of
>> success. I firmly believe that
>> one of the best indicators of
>> what somebody will do is what
>> they have done, and Kathryn’s
>> demonstrated leadership and
>> passion lead me to conclude
>> that she is hands down the
>> best individual for the job.
>> She has my vote, and I hope
>> you will consider giving her
>> yours, too.
>> Third and finally, I just want
>> to make it very clear that,
>> while I am not going to
>> continue to serve on the NABS
>> Board, I certainly intend to
>> remain an active engaged
>> member of the division. I
>> still have ideas about how
>> NABS can improve, and I still
>> have a deep-seeded desire to
>> empower and lift up blind
>> students to our full
>> potential. I hope NABS will
>> continue working on
>> legislative matters, perhaps
>> by replicating programs like
>> the leadership workshop we did
>> in Connecticut this term.
>> Students are powerful
>> advocates and we must continue
>> to harness our enthusiasm and
>> skills to move our legislative
>> agenda in the Federation. I
>> also hope that we can return
>> to being a source of powerful
>> and informative articles
>> related to blindness, be it
>> through the Student Slate
>> Blog, or some other medium
>> identified by the incoming
>> board. I hope to be involved
>> in seeking out, editing, and
>> writing content for such an
>> effort. Lastly, I hope to
>> continue to serve as a
>> resource to anybody out there
>> who might benefit from a chat.
>> So, as I step away from the
>> position of President, please
>> remember that I am still here
>> and interested in doing what I
>> can to further our work.
>> Starting after convention, you
>> can all reach me at
>> smwhalenpsp at gmail.com rather
>> than at the NABS address.
>> Thanks for the opportunity to
>> serve and grow in this role.
>> And thanks for reading. I hope
>> to see many of you in Orlando
>> at the NABS meeting on July 1
>> at 7pm. And remember,
>> registration starts at 6:00,
>> so come early!
>> Take care,
>> Sean
>> Sean Whalen
>> President, National
>> Association of Blind Students
>> (608) 957-7337
>> @nabslink
>> www.nabslink.org
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