Jeff Mittman: Helping Hoosiers overcome adversity – The Daily Reporter

Jeff Mittman: Helping Hoosiers overcome adversity – The Daily Reporter

Jeff Mittman Submitted photo

In Indiana, more than 160,000 people are coping with vision loss. Facing a national unemployment rate of 70 percent, Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired must overcome significant challenges to become and remain part of our state’s workforce.

Bosma Enterprises is the state’s largest employer and leading provider of rehabilitation and training services for people with blindness or visual impairment. With a history dating back more than 100 years, we help Hoosiers who are blind or visually impaired gain the life skills they need to remain independent and the job skills they need to stay self-sufficient.

Ray Montgomery knows all about battling adversity.

In 1997, Ray lost his sight after being shot while stopped in a car at a railroad crossing. In an instant, his life was changed. Like many people who experience vision loss, Ray began wondering if he would ever be able to live independently again.

Rehabilitation services helped Ray learn to do things like walk with a cane and use a computer. It was difficult, however, for him to find a job, and Ray soon found himself battling depression. After learning about Bosma Enterprises and the organization’s employment opportunities for people with vision loss, Ray applied for and was offered a job working on our glove packaging line.

Ray quickly established himself as a model employee and was eventually hired as an associate in Bosma Enterprises’ marketing department. He has since been promoted and is now a spokesman for the organization, going out into the community to talk about the organization and his personal experiences.

One of Ray’s mentors at Bosma Enterprises is Lise Pace, vice president of external affairs, and like Ray, Lise’s story is truly exceptional.

Lise began her career in banking and anticipated a career focused on corporate advancement. Everything, however, changed in 2000 when she lost most of her usable vision due to retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder. Due to her vision loss, she stopped working for what she thought would be forever.

After initial feelings of misfortune and defeat, Lise decided her blindness would not be a hindrance to achieving professional success. She went back to school, earned associate and bachelor’s degrees — and an Master of Business Administration — and rebuilt her skill set to navigate a new career path.

In 2008, Lise started volunteering with Bosma Enterprises and was soon hired to lead all of our organization’s volunteer programs. Now a 10-year veteran of the organization, she oversees the customer service department and all communications, advertising, public policy and public relations efforts for the organization.

Lise was integral in our organization’s successful launch of BosmaForce in 2018, a training program that prepared Brian Clark for his successful internship at the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation. The specialized curriculum was developed in close partnership with Salesforce and uses Trailhead — the company’s interactive, guided and gamified learning platform — to gain knowledge on the adaptive technologies and workarounds within the Salesforce architecture.

HVAF was new to the Salesforce CRM platform and did not have a dedicated employee to manage the system. This made for a perfect opportunity for Brian to put his newly acquired skills to use. He developed highly useful reports, maintained the organization’s data quality and ensured ongoing backups to protect all of HVAF’s information within the Salesforce platform.

Bosma Enterprises has been fortunate to assist Ray, Lise, Brian and thousands of other inspirational Hoosiers. Through our rehabilitation services and employment programs, we teach people experiencing vision loss how to successfully navigate their lives and jobs. We help them achieve true self-sufficiency, challenge misperceptions and break barriers.

You can make a difference as well. Volunteer your time and talents. Work with your company to identify job opportunities for people with vision loss, or help organizations like ours create jobs. Bosma Enterprises offers contract packaging, warehousing, logistics, product assembly and other scalable business solutions.

We can all contribute to this important mission.

Jeffrey Mittman is president and CEO of Bosma Enterprises. He is from New Palestine

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