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Turning Challenges into Opportunities

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In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.

~Dwight D. Eisenhower

An Unexpected Opportunity

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Recently, Bold Blind Beauty (BBB) received an invitation to participate in The Level Up High School Conference, an event sponsored by Envision. The event is designed to equip students with sight loss for a successful transition from high school to college and their careers.

Creating a presentation on “Leadership Development” is no small feat, even for the most experienced of speakers. Recognizing the importance of collaboration, we approached the event organizers with a request to co-present alongside another BBB representative. Although I could have presented solo, I’ve learned the value of working as a team.

Since Nasreen Bhutta‘s arrival at BBB last year, she has played a pivotal role in helping build an exceptional team. It was a natural choice to request her as my co-presenter. Together, we put our heads together to craft an inclusive virtual presentation to engage our teenage audience. As presenters with low vision, our shared experiences of sight loss made our topic even more pertinent, as we embodied leadership through our real-life experiences while presenting.

The Best Laid Plans

I can see your notes.

~Presentation Attendee

A speaker’s worst nightmare is when an attendee says, “I can see your notes.” This chilling moment unfolded during our video conference presentation when I shared my screen.

Our journey from brainstorming to execution was riddled with challenges. However, we saw these challenges as opportunities to demonstrate creative problem-solving. Despite meticulous preparation, our plans went awry, prompting us to improvise.

How did improvisation come into play? During a practice session, I struggled to run the presentation in full-screen mode while viewing my notes. This presented us with an authentic opportunity to demonstrate how to adapt to unforeseen obstacles. What we hadn’t foreseen was that during the live presentation, the audience could see my speaker’s notes. In response, both Nasreen and I improvised, drawing upon our familiarity with the slides to continue without revealing the notes.

While our carefully designed presentation strategy didn’t go as expected, it turned out to be a more enriching experience for our audience, as well as for us. Since we couldn’t employ the slideshow in full-screen mode, we adapted by verbally explaining each step of the screen-sharing process to the students, ensuring that everyone remained engaged.

Life Mirroring Art Authentically

During the live session, our actions closely mirrored the theme of our presentation, “BBB’s 3-Ps To Entrepreneurship.” Every step of the way, since the inception of Bold Blind Beauty, our guiding principles have centered on authenticity in:

  • Planning – charting our course and defining our journey.
  • Perseverance – enduring and overcoming challenges.
  • Partnership – recognizing the value of working together.

    “Improving humanity by changing the way we perceive one another” is a remarkable mission that can only be realized by extraordinary individuals. Staying steadfast in our purpose, BBB remains dedicated to advocating for the blind and low-vision community in all our endeavors. We firmly believe that individuals with vision impairments are just as valuable as those without. The only distinction lies in how we adapt and approach tasks uniquely. To effectively convey this message to our young audience, we endeavored to demonstrate, even in unforeseen circumstances.

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    Image Descriptions:

    • The header image is a closeup of a speaker’s microphone looking out into a blurred room full of people.
    • A photo grid with two images (one of Steph and one of Nasreen). Both are dressed in black business attire with Steph standing at a podium and Nasreen posed standing for the camera.

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