Affiliate Convention

Convention 2023

The National Federation of the Blind of Florida State Convention is the largest gathering of blind people in the State of Florida. It is the premier event for training, support, and information for the blind community. It also serves as a governing body, democratically electing our leadership and establishing each year's organizational priorities. Although the convention is open to all, our constitution states that only members of the NFB have the right to participate in decision making when it comes to organizational policy.

Dates and Location

Our state convention will be held in Tampa, Florida. dates are October 6th, 7th, and 8th with departure for home October 9th.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Tampa USF 
3705 Spectrum Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33612
Phone Number: 1-813-903-6625
Booking Code: NFB

Welcoming Announcement

The hosting chapters welcome our members, family, and friends to our 2023 State Convention.

Mark Riccobono, President
National Federation of the Blind
Paul Martinez, President
National Federation of the Blind of Florida
Tampa, Florida
Tel: 813-390-5720
Email: president@nfbflorida.org

Camille Tate
Convention coordinator

Miranda Kilby, president

Tampa Chapter 


Inclusivity, Diversity, and Social Conduct

As an attendee at our convention, you not only represent yourself but also represent our organization. We want you to enjoy our time together and to make new friends and renew old acquaintances. Although we encourage members to socialize and have fun, the convention also provides a valuable opportunity to come together to continue the work of our organization, to learn about the important initiatives that we are involved with on local and national levels, and to plan our work for the future.

The National Federation of the Blind of Florida seeks to provide a convention environment in which diverse participants, including members, speakers, exhibitors, staff, and volunteers, may learn, network, and enjoy the company of friends and colleagues in an environment of mutual respect. We recognize a shared responsibility to create and uphold that atmosphere for the benefit of all. Some behaviors are therefore specifically prohibited:

  • Harassment or intimidation based on race, religion, ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, physical appearance, or other group identity.
  • Sexual harassment or intimidation, including unwelcome sexual attention, stalking (physical or virtual), or unsolicited physical contact.
  • Public drunkenness and associated behaviors (e.g., belligerence, yelling, hostility, destruction of property).

Participants are expected to observe these rules and behaviors in all convention venues, including online arenas, social media, and convention social events. Participants who are asked to stop a behavior that the recipient considers hostile or harassing are expected to comply immediately.

We are committed to diversity, equity, and the free expression of ideas. These principles have been delineated in our recently adopted code of conduct found at https://nfb.org/code-conduct.

COVID Policy

Masks are optional at our convention. If any attendees wish to wear a mask, they may feel free to do so. The National Federation of the Blind of Florida will follow the hotel's policies. We will additionally follow any guidelines mandated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local, state or federal entities that may be enacted up until the close of our convention.

Note: This policy is subject to change based on hotel policy, local, state, or federal regulations that may be placed in effect at the time of our convention.

Exhibit Hall

Salon A, B, C 
Russ Davis,Coordinator

Hours of Operation

Friday, October 6 from 12:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Saturday, October 7 from 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Sunday, October 8from 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Hospitality SuiteHours of Operation

Suite 212

Friday, October 6 from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Saturday, October 7 from 7:30 AM - 8:45 AM, 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Sunday, October 8 from 7:30 AM - 8:45 AM, 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Special Attention Items

Appointments to meet with President Martinez may be made by sending an email to president@nfbflorida.org.

Meet and Greet

Friday, October 6, 2023     Salon D

4:00 PM - 7:30PM - Convention Registration

Sylvia Young, Treasurer National Federation of the blind of Florida

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM - Ambassadors  Meeting Lobby

Doug Ingram, Chair, Ambassadors Committee
Calling all ambassadors to meet prior to the start of convention.

5:00pm Guided Hotel Tour Led by Ambassadors

Hotel Lobby

6:00pm Rookie Round-up Salon D

Paul Martinez, President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

7:00 PM - 7:45 PM - Resolutions Salon D

Camille Tate, Chair, Resolutions Committee, National Federation of the Blind of Florida
Come to hear Resolutions that will be presented on the convention floor Sunday.

8:00 PM to 9:00 PM - Open Board Meeting Salon D

NFB of Florida Open Board Meeting
Paul Martinez, President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

Come and learn what the state affiliate has been doing, meet the 2023 student scholarship finalists, hear the Roll Call of chapters, learn more about our fundraiser, get an update on our PAC status, and so much more.

10:00 PM to 11:00 PM - Students Social Suite 212

ZLeah Liburd, Vice President, Florida Association of Blind Students
Come and learn what the students are doing in Florida.

 

Saturday, October 7, 2023

General Session

9:00 am - Call to Order

Paul Martinez, President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:03 am - Invocation

Sherri Brun, Statewide Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:08 am Pledge of Allegiance and Veterans Salute

Doug Ingram, United States Navy
Board Member, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:20 am National Anthem

ZLeah Liburd, Vice President, Florida Association of Blind Students

9:25 am National Federation of the Blind Pledge
Dwight Sayer, National Assosiation of Veterans, National Ffederation of the blind  

9:27 am National Federation of the Blind One Minute Message

Miranda Kilby, President, Tampa Chapter

9:30 am Welcome from  the City of Tampa

Raquel Pancho, ADA Coordinator, Chief of Staff, City of Tampa, Florida  

9:50 AM National Report

Mark Riccobono, president, National Federation of the blind  

10:20 AM What is the Florida Rehabilitation Council 

Jorge Hernandez, First Vice President, National Federation of the Blind; Chair, Florida Rehabilitation Council of the Blind

10:30am Report from the Division of Blind Services

Robert Doyle, Director, Division of Blind Services

10:45 AM Report from the Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library 

Nicole Sanders, Bureau Chief                        

11:00 AM Career, Technology, and Training Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Gerard “Jay” Boyle, Bureau Chief 

11:15 AM First Reading of State Constitutional Amendments

Sylvia Young, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

11:40 AM Why I Am a Federationist

Kaye Baker, Secretary, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

11:45 AM Title Sponsor: Spectrum

Petr Kucheryavyy, Senior Manager, Accessibility Center of Excellence

11:55 Am Exhibitor Showcase  

12:00pm Announcements & Adjournment

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Lunch Break

12:00 pm - 12:45 pm Treasurers Lunch

Cypress Room
Sylvia Young, Treasurer
National Federation of the Blind of Florida

12:00 pm - 6:00 pm Exhibit Hall – Salons A, B, C

12:00 pm - 6:00 pm Hospitality Suite 212

Saturday Special Interest Meetings and Workshops

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

1:00 pm - 2:45pm Employment Seminar

Salon D

Kaye Baker, Greater Jacksonville Chapter President

1:00pm - 2:45pm Deaf-Blind Division Annual Meeting

Salon E

Marilyn Baldwin, First Vice-President, Deaf-Blind Division of Florida
Welcome to the “Empowering Abilities: Navigating a Bright Future” seminar hosted by the National Federation of the Blind of Florida’s Deaf-Blind Division. Join us in October 2023 for a transformative event where we’ll focus on empowering individuals with combined vision and hearing impairments. Through engaging workshops, inspiring speakers, and interactive sessions, we aim to enhance independence, foster inclusivity, and explore the latest technologies that can enable a brighter future for the deaf-blind community. Come together to learn, connect, and share experiences in this inclusive and supportive environment. Be a part of this remarkable journey towards empowerment and self-discovery.

Android Back to Basics Seminar

Salon F
iPhone and Android Panel
Peggy Fleischer, Board Member, National Federation of the Blind of Florida, Ryan Mann, Greater Daytona Beach Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida and Wayne King, Greater Daytona Beach Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

The iPhone and android seminar will feature a look at the basics of iOS and android. Wayne King will show low vision users how to make the most of the accessibility features on an iPhone for low vision users. Peggy Fleischer will show you how to maximize voiceover for   those who use speech on their iPhone. Ryan Mann will show you how to get the most out of your android phone and how to use its accessibility features.

1:00pm - 1:45pm  UZURV

Salon G
Ron Brookie
s, Senior Director, Policy and Stakeholder Engagement, UZURV  
Transportation On Demand Designing TNC Partnerships that Work for Blind Riders
A growing number of Florida communities are incorporating the use of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) into their on-demand transportation and paratransit programs. But what does that mean for people who are blind? This workshop will focus on the ways transit agencies are using TNCs, the advantages TNCs offer for agencies and consumers, the challenges that blind riders may face when using TNCs, and how individuals and groups can advocate for the quality, accessibility and safety they need when riding on a TNCs

2:00pm - 2:45pm  Spectrum

Salon G
Petr Kucheryavyy, Senior Manager, Accessibility Center of Excellence, Spectrum
Spectrum will present all the happenings with Spectrum and accessibility.

2:00 PM - 3:45 PM Florida Association of Blind Students Business Meeting 

Cypress Room 

Z’Leah Liburd, Vice President,
Florida Association of Blind Students 

Are you a student wanting to get involved? Come and join to see what the students are up to this year with the Florida Association of Blind Students at our annual business meeting. All positions are up for election, and we would like all active and new members to have their voices heard. So, come and join the fun!

3:00pm - 3:45pm     Toastmasters

Salon D
Toastmasters has an informative presentation on public speaking that may be of value to those who are under-going the interview process. The presentation will cover what Toastmasters is and how to become involved. Additionally, there will be public speaking tips and tricks for blind people, such as room orientation, amongst other bits of information.

3:00pm - 4:45pm     Senior Concerns Committee

Salon E 
Judy Hamilton, President
Gainesville Chapter
Come join our workshop and learn how to stretch your finances during these challenging times. Learn about statewide resources that can stretch our dollars and reduce stress. We will also discuss future topics for our committee post-convention. Bring your enthusiasm and ideas!

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm Vispero

Salon F
Come and hear the latest from Vispero! Vispero has been a long-time producer of various technologies for blind people, including JAWS and Zoom Text. Come for all the updates!

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm FLAGDU

Salon G 
Brittney Fraer, Chair, Florida Association of Guide Dog Users Committee
We will present a panel of guide dog schools, so come with all your questions about all things guide dogs!

4:00 pm -  4:45 pm Dress for success

Salon D 
Camille Tate, 2nd Vice President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida
We are often judged on our appearance! Come to Dress for Success to hear tips that will help you choose the right clothing for all the occasions of life. We will talk about dressing for interviews, casual outings and whether make-up is really worth all the trouble!

4:00 pm - 4:45 pm Microsoft

Salon F 
Matt Filipinko & Crystal Jones Accessibility Team,

Microsoft’s approach to the future of accessible technology and the usage of AI in products.  AI is rapidly transforming the digital world.  We aim to build inclusively by focusing on three principles; build accessibly, include data sets that represent disability, and innovate.

4:00pm - 6:30pm     Florida Statewide Chapter

Cypress Room 
Paul Martinez, President
Florida Statewide Chapter 

5:00 pm - 6:30 pm Dinner - on your own

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Dollar Auction

Windward Ballroom

Salon D
Auctioneers James Jacobs & Sarah Jacobs, Greater Jacksonville Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida
Bring your dollar bills! We are having a dollar auction! For the first time ever, Florida will hold a dollar auction prior to our big fundraiser. How does it work? Make sure you bring your singles and let the fun begin! Each item in this auction will go one dollar at a time. If you see an item you like, hold up your buck and say your name “got a dollar”. We will take your dollar but wait…others can bid a dollar against you, so pay attention!

Saturday Evening

7:30 pm - 10:30 pm Annual Fundraising Auction

Salon D
Auctioneers James Jacobs & Sarah Jacobs, Greater Jacksonville Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

Sunday, October 9, 2022

7:30 am - 8:00 am Devotions

Magnolia Room
Communities of Faith

7:45 am - 8:45 am Nominating Committee

Delegates onlySalon D
Jorge Hernandez, First Vice-President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

8:15 am - 8:45 am Convention Registration

Final Opportunity!!
Registration Office
Sylvia Young, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of Florida 

General Session II

9:00 am - 12:00 pm General Business Session

Salon E

9:00 am Call to Order

Paul Martinez, President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:03 am Invocation

Paul Lewis, Statewide Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:08 am National Federation of the Blind Pledge 

Dan Hicks, Treasurer, Tampa Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:10 am One Minute Message 

Miranda Kilby, President, Tampa Chapter  

9:10 am President's Report

Paul Martinez, President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:30 am Treasurer's Report

Sylvia Young, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:35 am Resolutions Committee Report

Camille Tate, Chair, Resolutions Committee

9:50 am Second Reading of State Constitutional Amendments

Sylvia Young, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

10:20 am Title Sponsor: Florida Reading & Vision Technology

10:30 am Title Sponsor: ABLE United

John Finch, Director  

10:40am Why am I a Federationist?

Peggy Fleischer, Board Member, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

10:45am Title Sponsor: Microsoft, 

Matt Filipenko

 10:55am Nominating Committee Report

Jorge Hernandez, First Vice President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

11:00 am Elections

12:00 pm Announcements & Adjournment

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Lunch - On your own

12:00 pm - 12:45 pm Secretaries Lunch

Cypress Room
Kaye Baker, Secretary, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

12:00 pm - 5:00 pm Exhibit Hall

Salons A, B, C

12:00pm - 5:00pm    Hospitality Suite Room 212

Sunday General Interest Meetings and Workshops

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm Sports and Rec

Salon G 
Denise Valkema, Board Member, National Federation of the Blind of Florida


Are you interested in learning how to practice yoga seated in a chair? Lisa Fisher, Wellness Coordinator at New Vision for Independence, Inc. will lead us in our practice.

1:00pm - 1:45pm Deaf-Blind Division Meeting

Salon E 
Marilyn Baldwin, First Vice President, Deaf-Blind Division of Florida 

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm Gaming

Salon F 
Camille Tate, 2nd Vice President National Federation of the Blind of Florida 
Interested in gaming? Want to play with friends and family? Come see what’s available for all of us to play together! There are options for single player games or games the whole family can play together, whether you are blind or sighted.

1:00pm - 1:45pm Beating Down the Door of Abelism in order to Live the Life You Want

Salon D

Tashara Kooper, Vice President and Karolyn Campbell, Treasurer, Central Florida Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida 
In this workshop, two Federationist will discuss the tools, tips, and everyday life hacks in order to live the life you want by beating down the misconceptions and microaggressions associated with ableism in different environments.

2:00pm - 2:45pm Florida Blind Parents

Stress, and how to deal with it
Salon D
Miranda Kilby, President, Tampa Bay Chapter
 Join the blind parents’ group to learn a few coping mechanisms to help you deal with stress. No matter how old your child is there will be situations that can cause a little extra anxiety, Merry Schoch, a licensed clinical social worker will show us a few tricks to alleviate stress levels.  This workshop is open to all, even if you don’t have a child.

2:00pm - 3:45pm Legislation and Self-Advocacy

Salon E
Russ Davis, Legislative Director 
Camille Tate, Legislative Director
Come and join us as we discuss our state and national legislative priorities! 

2:00pm - 3:45pm Technology - Screen Readers

Salon F

Peggy Fleischer, Board Member, National Federation of the Blind of Florida and Ryan Mann, Greater  Daytona Beach Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida 
Jaws and NVDA screen reader seminar. In the seminar, we will explore the basics of using Jaws for windows, a little bit about fusion, and how to use the NVDA free screen reader. Find out new tricks and tips or just learn a few basics that you may have missed when you first learned how to use jaws or NVDA.

3:00pm - 4:45pm Diversity and Inclusion 

Marilyn Baldwin, President, Central Florida Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee invites everyone to a Seminar that will be jam packed with information for all, especially those who are blind and in underserved populations. Everyone is welcome to attend our Seminar.

3:00pm - 3:45pm Communications Workshop 

Salon G 
Doug Ingram, Communications Director, National Federation of the Blind of Florida
Find out about the National Federation of the Blind Brand and how effective communications in the Florida affiliate promote the activities and participation in "Building the Lives we want".  

4:00pm - 4:45am President’s Reception            

Magnolia Room, Paul Martinez, President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida
The presidents and vice-presidents are invited to a reception with Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind.

4:00pm - 4:45pm Adjustment to Blindness

Salon G
Alicia Bettencourt, Board Member, Statewide Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida
The adjustment to blindness seminar at the National Federation of the Blind of Florida 2023 State Convention is a dynamic and insightful session focused on empowering individuals who experience blindness and visual impairments. This seminar provides participants with valuable tools, strategies, and resources to enhance their adaptability and independence. Attendees will learn practical techniques for self-advocacy and communicating effectively with those we love. Engaging speakers will share their experiences and expertise, fostering a supportive community and encouraging personal growth. Don’t miss this exceptional opportunity to add valuable skills and embrace a journey towards a more fulfilling life. Join us at the Adjustment to blindness Seminar during the 2023 State Convention for the National Federation of the Blind of Florida.

4:00pm - 4:45pm Sighted Supporters Meeting
Cypress Room
Sylvia Young, Treasurer, National Federation of the Blind of Florida 
Do you ever wonder where the supporter gets support.  Join us in this open discussion among sighted federation member who support and encourage our blind federation family and friends to live the life they want. 

Convention Banquet

Sunday, October 8, 2022

7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Russ Davis and Camille Tate, Masters of Ceremonies
Salon E

7:00 pm Call to Order

Paul Martinez, President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

7:03 pm Welcome and Introductions

Russ Davis and Camille Tate, Masters of Ceremonies, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

7:10 pm Invocation

Paul Martinez, President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

 7:20pm Musical Entertainment

Stephanie D. Sanders, Statewide Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Florida
7:45 pm Keynote Address

Mark Riccobono, President, National Federation of the Blind 

8:45 pm Presentation of Scholarship Winners

Jorge Hernandez, 1st Vice President, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:10 pm Awards Presentation

Doug Ingram, Chair, Board Member, National Federation of the Blind of Florida

9:25pm Remembering our Lost Members

9:50pm Raffles and Drawings

10:00 pm Adjournment