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Employees’ selection for BMT program put them in the ‘big league’

Angela Cato - Dec 27, 2018

Tags: Mobility    NIB    Upward   
Envision employees Danara Barlow, based in Wichita, and Melva Henderson, Dallas, know where they want to go in life. Their participation in National Industries for the Blind’s unique Business Management Training (BMT) is helping them get there.
BMT is a highly competitive 15-month program held at George Mason University’s Arlington, Virginia campus that challenges participants to increase their critical business perspective and management abilities. BMT targets qualified, high-potential employees of NIB and NIB-associated agencies who are blind and demonstrate leadership potential, which is why Danara and Melva aren’t taking this opportunity lightly.
Danara and Melva most recently traveled to George Mason University on December 10 for five days of BMT training. Having completed the first session on Strategic Thinking and Leadership in September, they were eager to start session 2 on Finance.
They are hoping their experience will motivate others to follow in their footsteps.
Here’s what Danara and Melva have to say about their progress so far:
Danara, bag/folder picker, Envision Industries Wichita
  • What prompted your interest in the BMT program? My supervisor Manuel Mena-Gutierrez came to me and said I would be a good fit for the program. I’m a sucker for learning, and I immediately said I would do it. (For the record, Danara has a certificate in HR management and associate’s in child development from Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois as well as a bachelor’s in psychology and master’s in leadership with a higher education concentration from North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.)
  • In your opinion, what makes you a leader?What makes me a good leader is my willingness to follow. I feel you can’t be a good leader without being open to learning from the people around you. I’ve also learned how to have a growth mindset and tell myself, “I can do this.”
  • What were your reaction and thoughts when you heard you had been selected?My first thought was, “Woah, this is a big deal and I am in the big league.” I was very excited to be selected for this executive level program.
  • How much time do you spend on BMT assignments each week?I spend one day a week in the Human Resources department to work on my assignments. I also have a laptop that I can use at home.
  • What is your ultimate goal after completing the program? I want to work for the William L. Hudson BVI Workforce Innovation Center (workforceforall.com). I believe my life after college (when I had difficulty finding a job because I was blind) is a testimony to why the BVI Workforce Innovation Center is necessary. I’d like to train Fortune 500 staffs about how to employ people who are blind. I also want to work with people who are blind to encourage them not to give up.

Melva, program specialist, Envision Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind
  •  What prompted your interest in the BMT program? My parents instilled in me a desire to never stop learning. Therefore, this was the perfect opportunity for me to continue learning and develop my skills as a professional so I can advance my career opportunities.
  • In your opinion, what makes you a leader?I am honest, committed, and passionate. As our 6th U.S. President John Quincy Adams put it, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I feel this is what makes me a leader.
  • What were your reaction and thoughts when you heard you had been selected?I was super excited. It was extremely rewarding to be a part of such a prestigious program. It’s taking me one step closer to my purpose in life.
  • How much time do you spend on BMT assignments each week?I would say I spend 10 to 15 hours per week on BMT readings and internet research to complete assignments. I like to dedicate my Friday’s to BMT assignments.
  • What is your ultimate goal after completing the program? My ultimate goal is to utilize the material and information that I have learned to advance my career opportunities. I hope to move forward in a managerial position to put my newfound knowledge and skills to use.