July 4, 2012

Letter from the President

Dear ACBS, 

First and foremost, I sincerely thank you for another great year in our affiliate. We have had some ups and downs that have shaped our group, but have grown in many ways. I am more honored to be a part of ACBS and even more humbled than ever as your president.

In the past year, we have seen fundraising efforts increase our treasury considerably for increased programming opportunities. In fact, I've seen our treasury nearly double within my past two years as president. Much of the thanks goes to our wonderful treasurer, Brooke Jostad and her outstanding fundraising committee. Through raffles, trivia nights, convention events, and creative fundraising efforts, we have made strides towards being able to financially
meet our future goals in ACBS.

Within membership, our chair and first vice president, Laura Glowacki, alongside her committee, hosted five focus calls for leaders across ACB about student membership. Due to these calls and the information gathered from them, I am proud to say that we are putting the final touches on our new Adopt A Student Program, an initiative which has been in the process since I spoke at the Midyear Presidents' Meeting in 2011. The program will allow state and special interest affiliates to work with ACBS to sponsor students to come to the national convention with hopes to increase student membership across ACB by networking
between many affiliates.

Furthermore, we have established a new committee-network outreach-thanks to our Secretary, Rosemary Martin. This committee has taken our social media to new heights and we are now active on Facebook and Twitter with a new blog in the process. With the growing use of social networking technology in our generation, this forum is essential for our affiliate's growth.

In addition, our incredible convention chair and second vice president, Caitlin Lynch, has planned a more prestigious convention program than ACBS has seen in many, many years. We are sponsoring and co-sponsoring a variety of events and will also be running many fundraisers. I'll let Caitlin tell you more about the convention program, but I am impressed and proud of our committee and their efforts. It's going to be a wonderful week in Louisville!

I am also proud to announce that we will be implementing our first ever scholarship winner mentoring program to help scholarship winners at the national convention feel connected with ACBS and their state affiliates. Caitlin and I have worked to establish this program and I'm pleased to see it take off. Our mentors include Caitlin, Laura, Brooke, Rose, and myself. We will be mentoring fifteen winners. Thanks to all our mentors for your hard work to help ensure a great convention, and here's hoping for a good rate of membership retention!

As I wrap up, I want to offer my thanks to the ACBS board, which has been so strong this year. Together, we have grown in many ways and have succeeded through more than I ever imagined. Through all of this, we have become great friends. Our affiliate should be proud of the inner workings of our organization, a board full of integrity, transparency, and much talent.

Finally, I must take the time to thank Rebecca Bridges, our Immediate Past President. She has served on our board both as an officer and as a committee member. Though she has already completed her education, she has continued to be involved with ACBS. I can personally say that Rebecca has shown exemplary courage, wisdom, and true friendship, and I am forever grateful for her counsel over the years. We offer Rebecca best wishes and many blessings wherever life takes her, and know that the echoes of her contributions to ACBS and ACB have just begun to ring.

Thanks to all and happy convention week!

Sara J. Conrad
President, ACBS

ACBS Convention Events

The national convention for the American Council of the Blind is fast approaching. The American Council of Blind Students (ACBS) has prepared a slate of fun and informative activities to delight and enthrall you as you take part in the Convention. Take a look!

Saturday, July 7

8:00 - 10:00 PM
Executive Director's Suite
ACBS Welcome Party:
Kick off your Convention with some fun! ACB Students will have snacks, laughs, and beverages for you to enjoy. Come to meet up with new and old friends. This is a great way to start out your busy week in Louisville.

Sunday, July 8

12:15 - 2:30 PM
Nunn Room
Scholarship Luncheon
Come join ACB Students as they celebrate the accomplishments of this year's ACB National Scholarship winners. We'll have a delicious meal for you to enjoy
as you meet the winners and congratulate them on their achievements.

2:45 - 4:00 PM
Nunn Room
ACB Students Business Meeting
Join us for our first Business Meeting. You'll be able to meet the board and hear about all of our various accomplishments this year. We'll also present the amendments to our Constitution we'll vote on later in the week. We also have interesting guest speakers to present to you about issues relevant to students.

Monday, July 9

1:15 - 4:00 PM
Beckham Room
CCLVI and ACBS Present: Socializing 101
Join ACBS and CCLVI for a fascinating panel presentation about socializing. We'll talk about ways to meet people online, conversation starters, and the dos and don'ts of starting a friendship. Our panel will be comprised of students and those with low vision, so special attention will be payed to the topics of socializing if you belong to either population. It'll definitely be interesting, and we hope you'll learn something new.

4:15 - 5:45 PM
Morrow Room
Fashion Forward Round Table
What do you wear to a job interview? Do black shoes match gray slacks? How much make up is too much? How do you do your hair in a way that is flattering to your face? Come get the answers to these crucial questions from the feminine fashion experts at ACB Students and other knowledgeable women of the ACB community. If you're a woman, this is one you're not going to miss!

Tuesday, July 10

1:15 - 2:45 PM
Poplar Room
ACB Students Business Meeting
If you're a student, or are passionate about the rights of blind students, you'll want to join us for our second Business Meeting. We'll vote on amendments to our Constitution and hold elections. This year, the positions of President, First Vice President, and Treasurer are up for grabs. If you've always wanted to play a more active role in this exciting and ambitious affiliate, here's your chance.

4:15 - 5:45 PM
McCreary Room
Take a Bite Out of Apple
Are you an Apple user? Or maybe you're relatively new to the world of all things iPhone or iPad. Maybe, you're an expert iDevice user, and you want to share your tips with others. Whatever the case may be, join us for our workshop all about Apple. We'll have a panel of experts assembled to give brief presentations on Zoom, the iPhone, the Mac, and accessible apps. There will be a chance for you to ask questions and to share your experiences with Apple products. There will also be some really awesome prizes. So join us, and remember that an Apple a day keeps the doctor away!

Wednesday, July 11

2:45 - 3:45 PM
Walnut Room
ACBS Board Meeting
If you were just elected to the ACBS Board, or were a 2011-2012 officer, you'll want to attend this meeting. Get tips from seasoned officers about what works for running an affiliate, and talk about ACB Students goals for the upcoming year. This will be a great introduction for what we hope will be a really successful year for our affiliate, and for you as a new board member.

4:15 - 5:45 PM
Jasmine Room
ACB Students Membership Seminar: Getting Young People Involved in Your Affiliate
ACB Students are the next generation of national leaders in the blindness community. Come hear from the young leaders in ACB as we discuss ways for your affiliate to involve youth in your activities. You'll get suggestions from young people themselves as they tell you how they become and stay interested in working with affiliates. This is a seminar you won't want to miss.

Thursday, July 12

9:00 - 11:00 PM
Carol/Ford Room
ACBS Comedy Night
At the end of a long week of Convention activities, let ACBS send you home with a smile. We'll have a hilarious comedian, a cash bar, and some great raffle items. Come join us; you won't want to miss the fun!

Please note that rooms are subject to change. When you arrive in Louisville and pick up your official Conference Program, please consult it to ensure all rooms are the same as above. We hope to see you at our events, and that you'll discover what an awesome affiliate ACBS is. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact Caitlin Lynch, ACBS Second VP and Convention Committee Chairperson at

Can't wait to see you in Louisville!

It's Time to Cleanup Your Act!

By: Dr. Ronald E. Milliman

Fifty-seven percent of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates, according to a recent study conducted by a research group at Western Kentucky University, and this number is continually increasing.

An in-depth research study was conducted by a senior marketing honors class at Western Kentucky University that reveals some important facts about how employers are utilizing social networking sites as a vital part of their recruiting and hiring process. Fifty-seven percent of employers surveyed indicated that
they are currently using social networking sites to investigate candidates before hiring them. This percentage is a big jump up from previous findings, and even more plan to use this screening method in the future.

Of those firms that used this approach as a part of their recruiting and hiring process:

  • Seventy-two percent use Facebook
  • Sixty-seven percent use LinkedIn
  • Forty-one percent use YouTube
  • Thirty-nine percent use Google+, one of the newest arrivals on the social media scene
  • Thirty-five percent use Pinterest, another new arrival on the social media scene
  • Twenty-nine percent follow candidates on Twitter
  • Twenty-seven percent search blogs

As a result of much smaller budgets and a substantial down-sizing of staff to perform the recruiting, screening, and hiring functions, companies are increasingly turning to social networking sites as a way to find and screen prospective hires. An increasing number of firms have shifted to using social networking as their primary approach to recruiting and hiring. One example is UPS which has recently turned substantially to social media sources for recruiting and hiring. The firm uses social network resources for screening candidates, but also for advertising openings through their presence on Facebook,LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. It took UPS a little while to learn how to get the most out of its online recruiting and hiring efforts, but by the beginning of its second year, the rewards were substantial and three-fold: 955 new hires last year were attributed to social media sources and UPS's recruiting costs were very significantly reduced, i.e. the company's cost per hire dropped from around $1,000 to less than $70 per hire. Additionally, UPS substantially reduced its' spending on TV, radio and print advertising, and is in the process of even further refining and fine-tuning its social networking recruiting and hiring approach.

Most firms do their own online and social media investigating, but some other firms, like Novo Nordisk, a healthcare company, outsources all of their online and social media screening and background searches and investigations to professional firms that specialize in such sleuthing. Such screening and investigating
services know all the tricks for tracking down and finding the most revealing information about potential new hires. 

What Types of Firms Use Social Media for Recruiting and Hiring? 

The firms that are most likely to use social media and online employment-related search engines sources for recruiting, screening, and hiring are those that specialize in technology (83 percent) and sensitive information such as Professional & Business Services (71 percent). 

Clean-Up Your ACT! 

Consequently, you need to take extreme steps to clean up your social media pages. You might be very surprised at the kinds of things potential employers find objectionable. Here is what our research study revealed that could either get you a job or be the reason for your being rejected. 

First, 78 percent of the employers surveyed indicated they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire a candidate. Here
are the most common examples given:

  • Sixty-seven percent of the rejected candidates posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
  • Fifty-four percent of the candidates that were rejected posted content about their drinking or using drugs
  • Seventy-two percent of the rejected candidates consistently and strongly bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers, clients, professors, or university
  • Sixty-seven percent of the rejected candidates exhibited very poor communication skills
  • Thirty-three percent of the rejected candidates made clearly discriminatory comments
  • Thirty-three percent of the rejected candidates misrepresented qualifications deemed as either required or desirable
  • Twenty-eight percent of the candidates rejected revealed confidential information from a previous employer or about someone they knew or with whom they worked
  • Twenty-one percent of the rejected candidates were rejected because they used an inappropriate emoticon
  • Twenty-one percent of the candidates rejected were rejected because they used an Inappropriate text messaging shortcut such as “GR8,” in place of spelling out the word “great” in an email or job application.

Using Social Media to Your Advantage When Searching for a Job 

Once you have cleaned up your social media pages and presence, you can seek to use these same cites to your advantage. You are highly encouraged to utilize social media when advertising your skills and experience. Our research revealed that forty-one percent of our surveyed firms indicated they have found
content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate. Here are some of the most common examples:

  • Seventy-five percent of the candidates selected based on their online resumes or applications provided solid support for the candidates' professional qualifications
    sought by the recruiting firm
  • Sixty-two percent of the candidates selected displayed solid communication skills
  • Fifty percent of the candidates' online resumes or applications provided a good feel for the candidate's personality and fit with the organization's persona
  • Thirty-seven percent of the Candidates were well-rounded in terms of education, related experience, participation in organizations, service to their community, and philanthropic activities
  • Twenty-five percent of the candidates selected had highly positive references posted from other people
  • Twenty-two percent of the candidates received commendations and prestigious awards
  • Twenty-two percent of the candidates selected displayed creativity and ingenuity


Based upon the findings of this research study, we pose the following recommendations:

  1. Convey a professional image
  2. Underscore your qualifications
  3. Clean up your social media cites in accordance with the findings cited previously in this article, e.g. remove anyphotos, content and links that can work against you in an employer's eyes.
  4. Consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or
    BrightFuse.com to establish relationships with thought leaders, recruiters and potential referrals.
  5. Keep gripes and complaints offline, keeping your content focused on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information.
  6. Be sure to highlight your specific accomplishments inside and outside of school and work
  7. Remember: others can see your friends; so, be selective about who you accept as friends, and monitor comments made by others about you
  8. Use the "block comments" feature or setting your profile to "private" so only designated friends can view it
  9. Do not mention that you are looking for a job if you're still employed.

Currently we are facing a very difficult job market, even more challenging than usual. It requires a very pro-activeapproach with special emphasis on networking and utilizing personal contacts. Sending out a bunch of resumes has never worked very well, but in today's job market, it is even less effective than ever.
One of the most important keys for landing a job is flexibility. You must be flexible in the types of positions you will accept and most of all, you must be willing to move to new geographic areas, areas with which you are not familiar. If you refuse to move out of your comfort zone, you are very unlikely
to find a job; it is just that simple! 

I have been assisting graduating university seniors for over thirty-five years. If you would like my help, just get in touch with me. Here is my contact information:

270-782-9325 (main residence)

270-388-5147 (lake House)

Email: rmilliman@insightbb.com

Good luck with your job search! 

Dr. Ronald E. Milliman (Ron) recently retired after a forty-year career teaching marketing at the university level.  He has assisted thousands of students in the job search process.  Though Ron is retired from his professorial position, he remains CEO of A3 Business Solutions, a business consulting firm.
 Ron has served as the head of this firm for the past seventeen years and has worked with all sized companies from entrepreneurial start-ups to several Fortune 500 firms, such as Texas Instruments and 3M Corporation. 

Words Of Wisdom- Tidbits You Can Use

by Christopher Wright 

I hope the following information will be useful to someone.

1. If you want to request a book that is not a requirement for schoolwork, send your request to the following email address:


This is the list from which volunteers select books to scan and proofread.

2. Jaws 13 has been out for quite some time now. Of the new features, the one I use most often is the Convenient OCR. Do you frequently encounter images that contain textual information? These can include a PDF file, the setup screen of an application, or the menu of selections for a DVD movie. While these
images contain text that is readable by a sighted person, JAWS is unable to read the text as it is part of the image. 

The new Convenient OCR (Optical Character Recognition) feature enables you to access any image on the screen that includes text. With just a few simple keystrokes, JAWS will recognize the image in a matter of seconds and activate the JAWS cursor so you can navigate the resulting text. The recognized text
will be in the same location as the actual image on the screen. 

In order to differentiate the recognized text from other text that may be in the window, JAWS will use a different voicewhen it encounters the recognized text. When you activate the PC cursor, or switch to another application or dialog box, the text is removed and you will need to perform the OCR again. 

3. tip for recording Skype calls: Skype and MP3 Skype Recorder. Both of these programs are free. Skype can be downloaded from www.skype.com 

MP3 Skype is at http://voipcallrecording.com/MP3SkypeRecorderSetup.exe 

Some of the features of MP3 Skype Recorder are:

  • It's absolutely free with no limits attached.
  • Automatic or manual recording capabilities.
  • Compact format of stored records (mp3 files).
  • May be used to record P2P, SkypeOut  calls and calls made to Online number .
  • Intuitive easy to use interface.

4. Here's a brief list of audio recording programs that work well for blind computer users.

  • Audacity
  • MP3 Direct Cut
  • GoldWave
  • Studio Recorder
  • Sonar

Of the programs listed above, Sonar and Studio Recorder are the most expensive.

What Is Leadership

By Victor Ghebre 

We all know someone whom people naturally tend to follow. Called natural born leaders, these individuals, through some innate intangible character traits, have the magic ability to get people to follow their vision and direction. 

Can leadership be learned? What is leadership exactly? Define Leadership 

While there are numerous definitions of leadership, what it boils down to is that a leader effects directed change through a group of people that have given
that person their complete trust. The leader earns the trust of his followers based on several character traits that foster the trust. So answering the
question of what is leadership is a bit more complicated than a simple single-sentence definition. 

Leadership vs. Management 

Are a leader and a manager synonymous? Not necessarily. While a manager can be a leader, not all leaders are managers. And the definition of a manager is quite different from our working definition of a leader. 

A manager tends to work to preserve the status quo. Think of your manager at work. She usually is there to make sure the assigned work gets done. She does
not foster change and can sometimes work to prevent change so as not to upset routine. 

A leader promotes change and moves his followers in a distinct direction. A true leader listens to the ideas and opinions of his followers and happily embraces them. Managers are rarely pleased to listen to underlings' ideas. Instead a manager is focused on production and not imagination. 

Can You Learn Leadership 

Sure there are people out there with natural leadership abilities. But now that you have an idea of what leadership is, you also know that leadership can be learned. 

You can be a top-notch leader by gaining both knowledge and experience in the field you wish to lead. And by maintaining your integrity and working to be open and fair minded to your followers, you will find leadership is not such a difficult trait to acquire after all. 

The Followers 

Do not fail to forget that leadership is a group effort. A leader cannot lead without followers, so followers must beincluded in your definition of leadership.
Becoming a good leader is not a personal effort. You cannot become an effective leader on your own. 

Remember, an effective leader garners the trust of his followers, and to earn that trust you must behave with openness, fairness, and be an inspiration
to those around you. A great way to answer the question of what defines leadership is to look at one of the world's greatest leaders. Martin Luther King Jr., using examples of non-violence and inspiring words of equality, changed the segregation laws of the United States and changed the future of black people in America. He was not a manager or anyone's boss. He was a simple man with a vision who possessed integrity, honesty, and the ability
to inspire people. 

Leadership is the ability to inspire and move a group of people towards a unified goal. Leadership is the ability to garner trust and faith from a group
of people through acts of integrity, honesty, and fair-mindedness. Leadership can be innate or learned. Anyone can become an effective leader with a little
hard work. 

Victor Ghebre is the editor of Settinggoals101.com

ACBN meets with Tessa Wright, PHD, at UNL

By Jim Jirak 

On Thursday May 26, 2011, Teresa Gregg, Kristal Platt and Mark Bulger met with Tessa Wright, PhD. Tessa coordinates the program in visual impairments at The University of Nebraska Lincoln, (UNL). They met together to discuss the education needs of visually impaired children in Nebraska, and to better understand
the important role of teachers and teacher preparation. 

I should point out here that since arriving at UNL less than a year ago, Ms. Wright has been tirelessly working to grow the program that prepares teachers of visually impaired children. Nebraska is fortunate to have capable and committed teachers of the visually impaired.  The problem, as I see it, is that
we do not have enough specialists prepared and available, especially in areas like western Nebraska. The biggest challenge is attracting new teachers that can dedicate the time and energy necessary to earn a Masters Degree in this specialized field. Additionally, there are the challenges of existing teachers
meeting the ongoing specialized needs of children that also may have other disabilities, along with visionimpairments.

Ms. Wright has been networking with people and organizations, like ours, that care about these children. In June, she will be busy teaching four classes
to help prepare teaching specialists. Continuously, she seeks and writes grants to help lessen the education costs that students encounter that want to
become specialists in the visual impairment field. 

Based on the meeting with Ms. Wright, ACBN can help blind and visually impaired children by:

1. Supporting organizations like the Nebraska Foundation for Visually Impaired Children. To help visually impaired children, it is helpful to understand the children and their families' needs and issues.

2. Supporting the visually impaired teachers. We need to be available whenever and wherever possible to speak with the teachers and children about blindness.

3. Demonstrating that equality and opportunities are possible with specialized training and support, together with a positive attitude, personal responsibility, and hard work.

4. Demonstrating that blind people can speak and make decisions for themselves when given a choice and good information. We can demonstrate that there is strength in working together when needed.

5. We need to continuously work for a brighter future for all blind and visually impaired people.

ACBN looks forward to working with Ms. Wright in the future and wishes her much success. We see a brighter tomorrow for our blind and visually impaired
children, especially if all those that care about the children work together. 

Jim Jirak, (pronounced Yirock)

Forging new frontiers for our future!  We're the American Council of the Blind

American Council of the Blind of Nebraska

PO Box 6506

Omaha NE 68106-0506

(888) 218-8061



10 Steps to Courageous Leadership

By Stoney DeGeyter 

Leadership isn't just for those with the title or position of leadership. Every person, in any given situation, is a leader of something. You may not have the prestige or salary, but there is no doubt that you carry some leadership responsibilities, however small they may be. 

Very few leaders start at the top. They start somewhere way down the ladder and work their way up. The difference between them and the next person is that
they exhibit strong leadership characteristics. Now, not everyone is a natural born leader, but we all lead in various ways. Whether you're trying to get to the top, or simply being successful where you are, there are several aspects of your own personal development that must be achieved in order to be effective as a leader at any level. 

John Maxwell provides 10 steps to developing courageous leadership:

"Convictions that are stronger than my fears"

A leader is one who overcomes their fears. This may be fears of stepping out, fears of trying something new, or even a fear of standing up for what you know is right. Most everyone has convictions but many are too timid to stand up when those convictions are challenged. To succeed as a leader your convictions
must overrule your fears. 

"Vision that is clearer than my doubts"

For any leader, vision is essential. A leader must be able to see where they are now, and look ahead to where they strive to be. While any vision comes with doubt, the doubt cannot paralyze the leader from achieving the vision. 

"Spiritual sensitivity that is louder than popular opinion"

Many people try to check their spirituality at the door when it comes to work and leadership, when in actuality they are inseparable. Spirituality is the core of who you are. Unfortunately, many allow trends, popular opinion, or even a louder voice in the room to hold sway over what they truly know and believe
in their heart. Spiritual strength is essential to establishing a firm moral foundation that cannot be blown over or toppled by the voices around them. 

"Self-esteem that is deeper than self-protection"

Protecting oneself from outside forces and influences is a natural reaction. But sometimes people allow that to come at the expense of their own self-esteem.
They protect themselves by going along and not standing out. This is contrary to true leadership. Leaders must be able to stand out and, by doing so, put themselves in a vulnerable position. Having the self-esteem to stick to your core convictions may leave you vulnerable, but no true leader ever succeeded
under a roof of self-protection. 

"Appreciation for discipline that is greater than my desire for leisure"

Greatness (or even desired goodness) can rarely be achieved without a measure of self-discipline. We all want and need leisure time, but those who stand
head and shoulders above others almost universally have something in common. They are willing to sacrifice some of their precious leisure time for those
things that help them grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. 

"Dissatisfaction that is more forceful than the status quo"

While I'm a firm believer in learning to be content where we are, there must also be a measure of dissatisfaction with things always being the same. Contentment
helps us learn to survive and be happy with what we have. Dissatisfaction helps propel us forward to better things that we know can be achieved. While
we cannot live in a state of unhappy dissatisfaction, we can use that dissatisfaction to grow our measure of success. 

"Poise that is more unshakable than panic"

Nobody likes a panicky leader. While any leader may become worried or distressed, how they handle those situations says a lot about them. Keeping cool under pressure produces a calmness that spreads within an organization, allowing everybody to think with a clear head and develop strategies that will bring you through any crisis. Keep in mind, however that poise without action is just as devastating as panic... it just takes longer to feel the results. 

"Risk-taking that is stronger than safety-keeping"

Leadership itself is a risk. There is no safety in standing up or stepping out when everybody else is just sitting around. Sometimes the risk is mental or
emotional. Other times the risk will be financial. But there are very few profitableinvestments that don't require some measure of risk. True leaders understand
that risk is a part of the job. 

"Actions that are more robust than rationalization"

It's possible to rationalize your way out of anything. The problem is rationalizations reduce us to inaction rather than action. Nothing ever gets accomplished
when we can find all the reasons not to do it rather than looking at why it needs to be done. Focus on the goals and find ways to get there, instead of
reasons not to try. 

"A desire to see potential reached more than see people pleased"

Every person has potential for greatness. The biggest obstacle to such greatness is often those who we surround ourselves with. While we cannot put aside
the needs of our friends and family for our own selfish ambitions, we cannot please everybody all of the time. Nor can you allow others to hold you back
from achieving the success you deserve. 

Leading is rarely ever easy. Some have natural ability, for others it must be developed. But every leader faces the same trials and struggles. Learning
to overcome the roadblocks and other obstacles that often try to set us back is essential if we are going to reach our fullest potential. 

Courageous leadership means finding ways to succeed regardless of our circumstances. It means putting ourselves out there, facing our fears, doubts and
potential ridicule all for the greater good. While many people may not like what is required to become a leader, very few regret what they have to go through
to achieve it. 

The Importance of Good Cane Skills Through O&M

By Lizzy Muhammad 

I believe that to be a good cane traveler, you have to be motivated to practice, confident, alert, and above all, a good problem solver. Many people do
not realize what cane travel is,they think that the blind simply swing a stick back and forth and walk around obstacles that are in the way. Figuring out
how far or near something is located (building, doorway, land mark etc), interpreting tactile clues such as transitions between asphalt and pavement, and
using problem solving skills to put all of the information together so that it makes sense and helps you maintain orientation are just a few important parts of cane travel. Even when a new route seems easy, good cane skills are necessary for success. As you will see in this narrative I learned a lot in
one O&M lesson. 

It was one of those nice days before summer was too hot to leave the house and the end of school was around the corner. I remember because I had to have
a Strawberry-Banana milk shake. My task for orientation and mobility was to go on one bus, transfer to another and finally make my way to a near-by McDonalds.
I've been taking bussesand transferring between them for about two years now so the mission was really no big deal, or at least I didn't think it would be. 

When I walked on to the second bus, the driver told me that he would be taking a route that was different from the one on the schedule. After a twenty minute
ride, I thought I arrived at the doors of McDonalds.  The bus driver told me that the doors were straight ahead so I went on my merry way. 

I was on the sidewalk searching for the doorway when a man asked if I needed help.  I politely declined because I knew the doors had to be close. Then,
another man asked if I needed help and I said, "Not really, but can you tell me" and he cut me off and said in a rather gruff manner, "Well just don't get hit by a car." Then he walked away in a huff. It wasn't the nicest tip I received during a lesson, but it was a very helpful one and that was good
enough for me. It explained why I didn't hear the echo of a close building, and why my cane ran across a tactile marking strip a few steps later. 

Usually I would not appreciate the bumpy markings on the ground, but because there was no down curb and not much traffic, I was grateful for the help. However what I could not understand was why there was a street before the McDonalds. I scratched my head and pondered the question before calling my O and M instructor
and asking him. He then told me that drive throughs run in a circle around their businesses and everything became very clear for me. I crossed the drive-through,
found the door, made my way to the counter, and purchased my milk shake. Afterward, my O and M instructor gave me a thumbs up for the day. I was happy
and learned a lot of new information from what I expected to be a very easy day. 

Effective Leadership – a knoll

by Dr Neil Flanagan 

The 23 tips for effective leadership 

Leadership is not an exclusive club for those who are ‘born with it'. Although effective leadership relies on some inherited characteristics, it also depends
on training and experience. Indeed, many of the traits and abilities that are the raw materials of effective leadership can be acquired. If you link those
traits with an essential desire to achieve, nothing can keep you from becoming a leader. You may even become a great leader. This 23-point program will get you started... 


Introduction - Effective Leadership

Leadership and Management

Qualities of Leadership

Leadership Development

Summary – Effective Leadership

Introduction - Effective Leadership

There is nothing elusive about effective leadership. Even though great leaders may be as rare as great runners, great painters, or great actors, everyone
has leadership potential—just as everyone has some ability at running, painting, and acting. 

Leadership development must be, therefore, an ongoing process. While there is no simple formula, no foolproof handbook, that leads inexorably to effective
leadership, continuing to develop the leader in you is possible and desirable. As the Russian proverb states: 'Without a shepherd, the sheep are not a

By drawing on the following 23 recommendations outlined here for leadership development, you'll be well on the way to ensuring your own effective leadership
outcomes. References are provided and the e-Book Leadership is available at
for those wanting further insights into this issue.

Leadership and Management

1.  Be responsive.

Responsiveness is giving people (customers, employees, etc.) what they want—courteously, when they want it, at a price that matches their expectations.
You will be remembered not for the number of tasks you take on but for those you complete successfully. Your level of responsiveness will be the quality
for which you will be recognized. Doing as you say and finishing what you start are two key qualities of leadership development identified by Dan Sullivan.[1] 

2.  Bring out the best in others.

Leadership doesn't occur in a vacuum. Invariably it involves working with others—selling them your dream, instilling in them a desire to achieve, motivating,
cajoling, even coercing them. Your ability to influence is a key leadership factor. Be tolerant of those less competent than yourself, providing they are
willing to make the effort to perform to the best of their ability. And, as  Mao Zedong pointed out, 'When the best leader's work is done, the people say,
“We did it ourselves” 

3.  Back your judgment.

Boldness and courage are two key leadership qualities. You need to demonstrate a willingness to take chances, to experiment, and to display a level of optimism
that rejects any prospect of failure. Any failure is viewed as an opportunity to begin again, better prepared than before. Psychotherapist Ken Maupin identified
four reasons why leaders fail. One of those reasons was that they (leaders) avoid risks. Maupin claimed, 'When leaders are afraid to fail, innovation,
usually a key ingredient to their success, disappears'. When necessary, bite the bullet! Mark Sanborn 

4. Get your timing right.

Seizing the moment is the key to any successful endeavour, so make sure you get your timing right when taking action and making decisions. Timing is a combination
of alertness, foresight, and imagination.  And the right timing may not be immediately obvious to some. As Warren Buffett observed: 'Someone is sitting
in the shade today because someone planted a tree 20 years ago. 

5.  Make a commitment to work hard.

Nothing of worth comes easily. Most great leaders thrived on hard work, their main motivator being their desire to meet their own high standards. You'll
find that a combination of self-discipline and a desire to make a difference will provide the necessary commitment to succeed. And there will be times
when doing your best may not be good enough: doing what's required could be the order of the day. 'Leadership is a state of mind?what you do to yourself,
not what you do to others. 

6.  Show confidence.

Overwhelming confidence in your own ability is an essential part of leadership development. If you don't believe in yourself, others can't be expected to
believe in you. Confidence can be acquired through experience, skill, and positive affirmation. People will ‘buy into' the leader before they ‘buy into'
his or her leadership. Harvey Mackay said, 'It doesn't matter how well you're leading if no one is following'.' 

7.  Display integrity.

Integrity is an essential leadership development quality. Integrity helps to build trust, allows you to influence others, sets and maintains high standards,
and builds your reputation as one who can be relied on. Socrates told us that ‘the first key to greatness is to be in reality what we appear to be'. In
today's terminology it's known as congruence… Followers are acutely aware of any difference between what you say and what you do. Investment guru Warren
Buffett put it this way: 'In looking for someone to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. But the most important is
integrity, because if they don't have that, the other two qualities, intelligence and energy, are going to kill you'. 

8.  Demonstrate extraordinary persistence.

Researchers have identified three major opportunities for learning to lead—trial and error, observation of others, and education. All three require ‘stickability'—seeing
tasks through despite the setbacks and learning from your mistakes. Success is experienced only by those who are prepared to persist. Thomas Alva Edison
said, 'Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up'. 

9.  Demonstrate a high degree of energy.

Often actions speak louder than words. Be prepared to share the load; roll up your sleeves and mix it with others; apply yourself longer; and give that
little bit extra. To that end, maintain a level of fitness that ensures you are physically capable of leading by example. 

President Dwight D. Eisenhower used a piece of string to emphasize leading by example. He said, 'I demonstrate the art of leadership with a simple piece
of string placed on a table. Pull the string, and it will follow you wherever you wish. Push it and it will go nowhere at all. It's just that way when
it comes to leading people'. 

10.  Develop a winning attitude.

Epictetus (50-130 CE) was the first of many to conclude: It's not what happens to us; it's what we do about it that counts. Our attitude helps to determine
our response. As John Maxwell writes in Developing the Leader Within You: ‘The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The
leader adjusts the sails.' Resolve now to start thinking and acting like a leader. Develop a winning attitude. William James said, 'The greatest discovery
of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes'. 

11.  Abandon a ‘win-at-all-cost' mindset.

The need to win plays a prominent position in the everyday lives of many people, especially leaders. The reward system is geared to acknowledge winning.
As a result, whether or not the issue is important, trivial, not worth the time and energy, or clearly to their disadvantage, winning remains the aim of
the game. Unfortunately, in the process, people are prepared to play favorites, ignore people, put others down, argue about the most minor details, and
do whatever it takes to win and be acknowledged as a winner.

Vince Lombardi's claim that, ‘Winning is everything', has attracted large numbers of ‘believers' – but they are often oblivious to the fact that winning
in that way often comes at a cost! 

12. Develop humility.

Learn to recognize your place in the scheme of things. Demonstrate high ideals, a strong sense of personal morality, and avoid the sand-pit behaviour so
reminiscent of child's play. Lao Tzu (c.600 BCE) said, 'The superior leader gets things done with little motion. He imparts instructions not through many
works, but through a few deeds. He keeps informed about everything, but interferes hardly at all. He is a catalyst, and though things would not get done
as well if he weren't there, when they succeed, he takes no credit. And because he takes no credit, credit never leaves him'. 

Leadership Development

13. And finally, focus on the 10 C's of leadership.

10 C's of effective leadership

According to Michael Pegg, if leadership development is your goal, you'll need what he calls the '10 C's of Leadership'. In his words, you'll need to be:

  1. Charismatic
  2. Caring
  3. Committed
  4. Crystal-clear
  5. Communicative
  6. Consistent
  7. Creative
  8. Competent
  9. Courageous
  10. Crazy (well, just a little) to think that you really can make a difference.

14.  Believe that you can become a leader.

Leadership is a function; it is something that a person does, a set of skills and any skill can be learned, strengthened, and enhanced. Not all leaders
are born leaders; and leadership is certainly not just a group of personality traits. The leader lives within each of us. So acknowledge that leadership
begins with your own belief in yourself. Believe that you've got it! As Plutarch (c46-c120) said, 'An army of stags led by a lion is more formidable than
an army of lions led by a stag'.

15.  Be sure you have a burning desire to lead.

Are you ‘fired-up' and enthusiastic enough to lead? Leaders must have a desire to serve, to achieve a goal, and to leave things better than they were when
they found them. Remember, leaders need causes and causes need leaders. So make sure you have a clear sense of mission, a focus, a band-wagon to leap on—and
a passion to achieve.  Former media mogul Ted Turner said, 'Either lead, follow, or get out of the way'.

16.  Study the qualities of recognised leaders.

What distinguishes leaders from others in your circle or beyond? Interview, observe, read about and study leaders you admire. Buy or borrow biographies
of leaders you respect; and explore what makes them exemplars of the art of leadership.

For example, the considered view of Alexander Heard, chancellor of Vanderbilt University is as follows: ‘No concept of leadership is complete without the
element of zeal and fervor, an almost spiritual element. Martin Luther King had it. Adolf Hitler had it, so did Gandhi and Nehru. The Old Testament prophets
had it. It's commitment, it's a kind of self-confidence which can be egotistic and arrogant. But a degree of it has to be there. The leader must have a
belief in what he is doing, almost a singlemindedness.' 1. Time Magazine

17.  Be clear about what leadership entails.

Know what it means to lead. According to Kouzes & Posner in The Leadership Challenge you must be able to:

a. Challenge the status quo:  seek out challenging opportunities to change, grow, innovate, improve, experiment, and take risks.

b. Inspire a shared vision:  envisage an uplifting and ennobling future; enlist others to share the vision by appealing to their values, interests, hopes, and dreams.

c. Empower others to act:  foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust; strengthen people by giving power away, providing choice, developing competence, assigning critical tasks, and offering visible support.

d. Model the way: set an example by behaving in ways consistent with shared values; achieve small wins that promote consistent progress; build commitment.

e. Encourage the heart: recognise individual contributions; celebrate team accomplishments regularly.

18.  Learn to lead by leading.

The more opportunities you have to serve in leadership roles, the more likely it is that you'll develop the skills to lead.  Warren Bennis writes that ‘effective
leaders learn by leading'—and they learn from failures as well as from successes.[9] The often-quoted Greek authority Anonymous said, 'Learning to lead
is like learning how to play the violin on stage in front of a large audience'.

19.  Volunteer for leadership roles.

Find ways to broaden your base of leadership experience by looking beyond the workplace. Remember that there are many opportunities to develop, practice,
and sharpen your leadership skills and talents. Examples could include the following:

Volunteer for leadership roles in community groups and professional associations. Such organizations always need good people and they provide broad avenues
to learn leading skills.

Seek tougher assignments. They usually involve greater risk, but have a greater pay-off in terms of your leadership development (and promotional prospects).

20.  Learn from your experiences.

Take time to reflect on what you've learned from life's successes and failures. Think back over one of your leadership episodes; review the experience by

  • Where and when did the episode take place? Who was involved? Who initiated it? Why did I get involved? How did I challenge myself and others?
  • What did I hope to achieve? How did I generate enthusiasm in others?
  • How did I involve others? How did I encourage collaboration? How did I foster trust and respect?
  • What principles and values guided me and others? How did I set an example? What strategies and structures did I apply? How did I progress from one milestone to the next?
  • How did I acknowledge the work of others? How did we celebrate success?
  • What lessons did I learn from that experience about myself and about leadership?

21.  Study yourself.

What are your strong and weak points? What should you be doing to strengthen the former and eliminate the latter? Ask for feedback from people you know.

Make your own list of developmental needs—in public speaking, understanding the change process, handling people, motivating others, and so on. Fred Fiedler
argues that leadership is not something we can generalize about. It is a relationship between one person and other individuals with whom that person interacts.

‘A person might be a brilliant leader in one situation and ineffective in another,' he says. ‘General George Patton was a very effective combat tank division
commander, but I think he'd have trouble leading my local school's Parent Teacher Association. And many good PTA chairmen might not make very good tank
division commanders.'

Effective leadership is really judged by the interaction between the leader's personality – what he or she brings to the situation – and the degree to which
the situation gives the leader control and influence, he concludes.

22.  Learn as much as you can about group action.

Make sure you understand the dynamics of your group. We no longer motivate our teams with a whip; we give them a dream and help them reach it—that's leadership.
Sigmund Freud (in Group Psychology and the Analysis of Ego) suggests that groups of any kind depend on a leader, even one weak and flawed, for their identity
and sense of purpose. Freud's passionate interest in leadership grew out of his own role as a therapist. The therapeutic process compelled him to think
about relationships in which one person dominates another—probably why followers follow.

Freud considered it easy enough to figure out why leaders lead—control, material benefits, prestige. What was less obvious was why followers follow, especially
when the leader is incompetent and downright evil. Freud believed that the primal need to follow grows out of the infant's need for care and protection.
The leader of the group is the primal father. 

23.  Develop a plan of learning.

Effective leaders are constantly learning. Devise a plan to improve your leadership, including formal study, and work to your plan. Leadership is a capacity
that doesn't just happen for most people. It needs to be worked at. When Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus were compiling material for their book Leaders: Strategies
for Taking Charge, they interviewed a diverse group of highly effective leaders. They were struck by the fact that ‘above all, they talked about learning'. 

The authors later wrote: ‘Nearly all leaders are highly proficient in learning from experience. Most were able to identify a small number of mentors and
key experiences that powerfully shaped their philosophies, personalities, and operating style... Learning is the essential fuel for the leader, the source
of high-octane energy that keeps up the momentum by continually sparking new understanding, new ideas, and new challenges. It is absolutely indispensable
under today's conditions of rapid change and complexity.' Put simply, they said, those who think they have little to learn will not survive as leaders. 

A message to contemplate from The Futurist:

'The best managers are like conductors of symphony orchestras. It's not the job of conductors to play each instrument better than the musicians. The conductor's
job is to make sure each musician plays the instrument to the best of his or her ability--and to lead all the musicians through the most effective performance
of the work at hand. Don't attempt to do your employees' work, nor tell them how to do it. Your job is to make sure the final result is the best it can

Summary – Effective Leadership 

13 effective leadership principles

For a 'last word' on leadership, consider the advice of former US Chief of Staff Colin Powell, whose 13 Leadership Principles are as follows.

1. It ain't as bad as you think it is. It will look better in the morning.

2. Get mad, then get over it.

3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that, when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

4. It can be done!

5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.

6. Don't let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

7. You can't make someone else's choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.

8. Check small things.

9. Share credit.

10. Remain calm. Be kind.

11. Have a vision. Be demanding.

12. Don't take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

The eBook Leadership mentioned in this article is written by the authors and is available at