President’s Message Fall 2016

By Sue Lichtenfels

In the last issue of The PCB Advocate, I included an article of invitation to our members to become more involved in the leadership of PCB. Unfortunately, I’ve received no calls or emails in response. I can’t stress enough how important it is to the stability and success of PCB for us to develop new organizational leaders. Fellow members, to be frank, PCB is at a critical point. The PCB Board of Directors has identified the ever-shrinking number of members participating in leadership as the top threat facing the organization.

Many reasons members leave leadership are out of our control such as members aging, developing health concerns, and lifestyle changes affecting availability. But, with your help, we may be able to cut the number of members leaving leadership because of burn-out. PCB’s leaders are very passionate about their commitment to the mission of the organization. As a result, they work year after year on project after project, often times on many projects at once. For example, of the 50 individuals currently involved on PCB’s 12 leadership teams, 30 of them participate on more than two or more teams. These leaders need more help. PCB needs members who are not already involved on the leadership work teams to step up and lend a hand.

Two years ago the theme of our annual conference was “Leadership Is For Everyone.” It was the conference organizers’ goal to demonstrate that any member, regardless of their skills, education, or experience has the potential to be a leader. Rather than IQ, being a leader is more about your qualities as a person. If you possess intangible traits such as being open minded, providing constructive feedback, working well with others, following through on things, and being conscientious, then you have the characteristics of a leader. The only thing missing is an opportunity to exercise your leadership potential. Insert PCB.

PCB welcomes members of all talents and abilities into its leadership. The foundation of that leadership are members like you who make up its 12 Leadership Teams. While each team has specific areas of responsibility, together the members of each team determine the projects and activities it will focus on. This is truly where the mission-based work of the organization is done. Our member-leaders are integral to directing PCB’s efforts. This is why we stress to others that PCB is an organization “of the blind” and not “for the blind.”

In an organization like PCB, the quantity of the projects we undertake and the quality of our efforts is directly impacted by the number of individuals participating on leadership teams. When you consider that only 12.5% of PCB’s members are taking on 100% of the leadership activities, the threat to PCB’s future existence becomes evident. We just cannot continue to operate at the same level we have been without more people. If you value what PCB does through its advocacy teams, annual conference, The PCB Advocate, TheReImage, the PCB Announce Line, and other miscellaneous efforts, then please, get involved on our leadership teams.

Some of you are already involved in your chapter’s leadership, and I appreciate that commitment. Others may be physically unable to participate. But for all of those others who have been sitting on the sidelines, it’s time for you to get in the game before time runs out on PCB. There are many teams and projects for you to choose from.

Advocacy and Governmental Affairs
Affiliate and Member Relations
Conference Program and Planning
Education and Employment
Fund Development
Information Access
Organizational Development
Technology Access
Vision Loss Resource

Becoming involved with the leadership work teams does not require an application or an interview. If you have been receiving the monthly calendar posted to email and the announce line, feel free to call into any scheduled team meeting. If you are unsure about what teams do what, I’d be happy to talk with you. Give me a call at 412-429-1727 or send an email to

In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to the 50 members who currently participate on PCB’s Leadership Teams. Over the last eight months I have been a fortunate witness to your dedication and commitment to PCB’s mission. Thank you for your service and your leadership.

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