Team BIA –
2018 has been an exciting and productive year for Braille Institute’s mission as our second century of service is now right around the corner, and our strategic renewal process enters its fifth year.
Going forward, we feel a keen sense of urgency about our work as we know the need for our services in the coming years will likely never be greater, and that we must be fully prepared to serve more visually impaired individuals, and do so more effectively and efficiently than ever before.
As always, we remain inspired by the words of the great American songwriter, Bob Dylan, who said: “If you’re not busy being reborn, you’re busy dying. One must stay in a constant state of becoming.”
Every year at this time, we compile a summary of the accomplishments Team BIA produced, and once again the list for 2018 is impressive indeed. Let me share a few highlights in the areas of Programs, Brand Building, and Leadership.
• On the program front, our primary focus was the ongoing renewal of Low Vision Services, which remains our largest direct service and the key to our future growth. We recently hired a new leader, improved the quality and consistency of the program, and streamlined the intake process.
We also continue to experience tremendous success with our new Neighborhood Center service delivery model in south Orange County, and are now in the process of expanding this approach at locations in Camarillo and Riverside.
This innovation will help us increase the number of clients we serve and achieve our ambitious growth goals going forward. Finally, our magnificent, new 14,000 square foot Anaheim Center will be open and ready for classes in January!
• Led by new leadership in Marketing and Communications and a highly engaged Marketing Committee of the board, we successfully completed the BIA rebranding project. This work will give us clarity and consistency with our communications and how we represent our brand. In addition, there is a creative and fresh approach to the content that will enable us to reach more potential clients. The results of this project will also position us exceedingly well for our Centennial celebration activities and communications next year.
• Over the course of the year, we also significantly strengthened the overall depth of our leadership team.
We are delighted with the addition of Nilima Tanna, Director-Low Vision Programs; Sandy Shin, VP-Marketing and Communications; Susan Cass, Executive Director-Santa Barbara; Gary Jimenez, VP-Philanthropy; and the recent internal promotion of Maria Valdivia to VP- Technology.
In addition, we thank George Thomas for his four years of exemplary service as our Board Chair and welcome his successor, Michael Corley, who will bring fresh energy and ideas to this key role.
We are clearly making progress together on this important journey of organizational renewal and cultural change, yet there is still much more to do. Yes, we have our minds, skills, and teamwork to sustain us, but the most important thing is that we continue to let our hearts lead us into the next century of Braille Institute’s great mission.
A quote from the wonderful children’s book, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery, sums it up perfectly. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly—for what is essential is invisible to the eye”.
In closing, I reaffirm our core values of Passion to Serve, Commitment to Mission, and Teamwork, and celebrate our extraordinary community of clients, donors, volunteers, board and auxiliary members, retirees, staff and external partners. We are so grateful for your generous hearts and spirit of service.
On behalf of our entire team, I thank you for your partnership, support and sense of community. I love the team we have and am so thankful for the privilege to lead this great organization on a daily basis. I hope your holiday season and the coming new year is filled with peace, health, purpose, and joy.
Go Team BIA!!
President, Braille Institute