On April 1, the LightHouse will welcome new Executive Director/CEO, Bryan Bashin. Bashin’s extensive background in private and public executive leadership, consulting and community service make him an ideal fit for the helm of Northern California’s largest and most established agency serving the blind community. Bashin has been blind since his college days at UC Berkeley, and since then he has dedicated a substantial part of his career to advocating for equality, access, training and mentorship for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
“I believe in treating individuals as individuals, in meeting them where they begin their blindness journey and providing state-of-the-art services that best address their personalized needs,” Bashin said. “I’m honored to step into the chief leadership role at the LightHouse and look forward to continuing the work that I have been passionate about throughout my career – promoting equality and full community participation for people who are blind or visually impaired.”
Bashin joins the LightHouse with strong support from various sectors of the community the LightHouse touches. LightHouse donor, former Board Vice President and subject of the book Crashing Through: From Blindness to Sight, Mike May, says that under Bashin’s leadership, the LightHouse will not only be able to maintain its distinction as a leading service provider and advocate of the blind community, but also be “infused with innovation.”
“I got to know Bryan when I joined the Board of the Society for the Blind [in Sacramento, where Bryan served as Executive Director]. He did amazing things with the Society both in terms of building the organization [and] in terms of the attitudes and participatory techniques he implemented. He demonstrated skills as a strong manager of people and money,” said May.
Bashin brings to the LightHouse a unique blend of professional experiences that include Executive Editor for the Center for Science and Reporting, Assistant Regional Commissioner for the United States Department of Education – Rehabilitation Services, Expert Witness on rehabilitation and economic aspects of employment of the blind and Executive Director of Society for the Blind in Sacramento. At the Society, fundraising income grew by 300 percent over four years under Bashin’s leadership. Additionally, he spearheaded technological and access enhancements that bolstered programs and created employment opportunities for blind and visually impaired professionals. In joining the LightHouse team, Bashin follows in the footsteps of Anita Shafer Aaron who served as CEO for nearly 20 years. Bashin will continue Aaron’s strong programmatic focus and advocacy for the rights of persons who are blind or visually impaired.
Long-time consumer and LightHouse Board member Margie Donovan believes that Bashin will continue to strengthen the role of the LightHouse in serving the blind community in Northern California and beyond. “Bryan will be a welcomed leader, forging new pathways in services to LightHouse clients,” said Donovan.
Currently, the LightHouse serves thousands of individuals annually through a combination of vision rehabilitation, education, recreation and employment services. Further, our accessible web-site and on-line networks serve as a critical resource for blind and visually impaired individuals across the region and beyond. Our advocacy on behalf of individuals with vision loss in areas of employment, transportation, healthcare and technology has an immeasurable reach across the state, touching the lives of not just the blind community, but the community as a whole as we promote equality and accessibility. We welcome Bryan Bashin as he joins us in strengthening who we are today and helping us define the future of the LightHouse.