Chief Executive of Sense and Sense International
Gillian was involved in the voluntary sector in Scotland for 30 years. Prior to becoming chief executive of Sense and Sense International in 2010 she was chief executive officer of Sense Scotland, which she was instrumental in setting up, from 1985-2010.
Gillian is a Registered General Nurse and worked in the NHS for 10 years. She also has an honours degree in psychology. In 1984/85 Gillian, with Dr Stuart Aitken of Edinburgh University, completed the first research study, into the numbers of deafblind people in Scotland which was published under the title Look, I’m here.
Gillian was awarded the OBE in 1995 in recognition of her work, and awarded Glasgow City Council’s Lord Provost’s Community Award for services to the community in 2008.
Gillian was granted a ministerial appointment to the Family Fund Trust for families with severely disabled children from 1995-2001, latterly serving as vice chair and as part of the National Disability Council establishing guidance for the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) until its establishment as the Commission in 2000.
In 2011, Gillian was elected president of Deafblind International (DbI), an organisation bringing together more than 40 organisations from around the world to increase knowledge and share best practice and in 2015 was award the Anne Sullivan Macy Medal from Perkins International.
Frederick K. Schroeder, PH.D
Fredric Schroeder is the President of the World Blind Union (WBU). WBU represents the estimated 285 million blind and partially sighted people around the world.
Dr. Schroeder is an internationally recognized leader in the blindness field. Representing the WBU, he has led the effort to establish an international standard requiring hybrid and electric vehicles to emit a minimum level of sound necessary for the safety of blind people and other pedestrians.
Additionally, he participated in the negotiations that led to the Marrakesh book treaty and was a member of the WBU delegation during the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Professionally, Dr. Schroeder is a research professor with the Interwork Institute at San Diego State University specializing in the area of leadership and public policy in Vocational Rehabilitation.
In 1994 President Bill Clinton appointed Dr. Schroeder to serve as the Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The RSA Commissioner is a presidential appointment requiring Senate confirmation. As RSA Commissioner, Dr. Schroeder administered a $2.5 billion program annually providing services to more than 1 million people with disabilities.
Dr. Schroeder holds a Baccalaureate Degree in Psychology; a Master’s Degree in Special Education and in 1980 completed postgraduate work in Orientation and Mobility. Dr. Schroeder was the first blind person in the United States to be admitted to a university graduate program in orientation and mobility. Dr. Schroeder went on to earn a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Leadership from the University of New Mexico.
John R. Healy
John R. Healy was Chief Executive Officer and President of The Atlantic Philanthropies, a large international grant-making foundation, from 2001 to 2007.
He serves on the board of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, on the National Development Council of Wexford Festival Opera, and chairs Alliance Publishing Trust, publisher of the international philanthropy magazine Alliance.
Training & Development, ChildVision
Geraldine has over 30 years experience working within voluntary and public sectors which provide services to blind and partially sighted people in Ireland and the UK. During this time she has worked for NCBI (Cork), Social Service Departments in Reading and Islington, South Regional Association for the Blind (SRAB) and the Guide Dog for the Blind Association School of Rehabilitation Studies (UK), NCBI (Dublin) and currently ChildVision (Dublin) where she is responsible for Training, Research and Development. Her expertise and extensive knowledge in training both service users and professionals has led her to be part of ChildVision’s orientation, mobility and low vision assessment team. As part of this team she works alongside other O&M, technical skills (ADL) and low vision specialists to assess children and design programmes to meet their individual needs. She also provides ongoing O&M training to children on campus at ChildVision.
Initially, a social science degree led her to a position as a social worker for the blind, where she was introduced to the world of visual impairment and low vision. Her thirst for knowledge in the field resulted in her training as an O&M instructor with NMC, Birmingham and as a Technical Skills instructor with SRAB, London. She became a tutor at SRAB developing content on one of the first Rehabilitation Work courses in the UK to combine O&M and technical skills (ADL) in 1989. Project work opportunities resulted in an interest in integrated and inclusive education with a focus on rehabilitation and therapy. This is an area that she is passionate about and is currently involved in on-going development work within ChildVision.
She has presented papers at conferences including:
1990: European Conference for Educators of Orientation and Mobility Trainers, Finland.
1993: International Low Vision Conference, Netherlands.
2002: 8th European Conference for Educators of ADL and O&M Teachers, Germany
2009: ICEVI 7th European Conference, Dublin.
2017: AILDV (Association des Instructeurs de Locomotion pour personnes Déficientes Visuelles) Conference on Research and Innovation in Locomotion, France.
She has played a key role in the organisation of a number of international conferences including Seeing Better Ireland (2004 & 2006), ICEVI 7th European Conference (2009) and more recently, this conference, IMC16 (2017) with roles on both the scientific and local organising committee.