Carl R. Augusto, President & CEO, American Foundation for the Blind
In charge of leading the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) since 1991, Carl R. Augusto is a preeminent leader in the field of blindness and visual impairment, and he is an expert on critical issues such as the need for equal access to employment and web technology for the blind and visually impaired. During his tenure, Augusto has expanded AFB's scope through his advocacy and outreach to policy makers, corporate America, and organizations in the nation's blind community.
As executive director of the Cincinnati Association for the Blind from 1971 to 1985, Augusto played a key role in expanding agency services to include assistive technology training and early childhood intervention. From 1975 to 1985, Augusto held several staff and management positions with the National Accreditation Council for Agencies Serving the Blind and Visually Handicapped in New York City, including associate executive director. He has served in a variety of professional and volunteer capacities at AFB over the last 35 years, including as a vision ehabilitation counselor.
Augusto is currently the President of the North American/Caribbean Region of the World Blind Union (WBU). He also serves on the board of the National Assembly of Health and Human Service Organizations, and is a former board member of the National Industries for the Blind, the Descriptive Video Service of WGBH in Boston, and Radio Reading Services of Greater Cincinnati, Inc.
Augusto has received numerous honors and awards, including the Associated Services for the Blind's prestigious Louis Braille Award.
He holds an M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Connecticut.
Susan LaVenture, Executive Director, National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
Susan LaVenture is the mother of three children, a leader in the development of non-profit parent organizations, and the executive director of the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI) in the United States.
LaVenture initially became involved in the field 20 years ago when her 10-month-old son was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare form of infant eye cancer. She founded the New England Retinoblastoma Association, which has blossomed into an international outreach organization that provides a wealth of medical information and support to families and physicians. This led to her appointment as the first executive director of NAPVI, a post she has held since 1992. In this capacity, she directs the association's programs that serve families throughout the United States, providing information, support, and networking resources. One of the more recent exciting projects during the past few years is the association's partnership with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education, to provide educational training workshops to parents throughout the United States on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). She is the editor of a magazine entitled AWARENESS and works to develop educational materials for families.
LaVenture also lectures frequently before student groups at Harvard Medical School and other organizations as to the significant role of parents in their child's development, education and medical care. In addition, she is often consulted in the creation and development of parent associations on the local, regional, national, and international levels, influencing the development of nonprofit organizations and programs that serve families of blind and visually impaired children in Hungary, Poland, Belarus, Brazil, Uganda, Israel, Philippines, and Australia.