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32nd ADA Anniversary Celebration - 2022
Saturday July 23, 2022
8:30am - 1:00pm
Event Center, Morgan's Wonderland
5223 David Edwards Dr, San Antonio, TX 78233

Keynote Speaker:
Cindy Watson
President and CEO, San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Vision Impaired

In August 2021, Cindy began leading the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Vision impaired as the first blind and female president and CEO. The San Antonio Lighthouse is one of Texas’ largest military apparel manufacturing operations. About half of the 450 employees are blind or vision impaired. Cindy has led an ambitious strategic plan in her first year at the Lighthouse that focuses on diversifying the manufacturing plant product line and creating upward mobility for the employees who are blind and vision impaired.

As a young adult growing up in Texas, Cindy fell in love with service. Inspired by the many mentors, teachers and service providers who helped her to overcome challenges related to vision loss, she developed a deep passion for empowering people facing similar experiences. This resolve stuck with her, leading her to earning her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Special Education from the University of Houston. The first seven years of Cindy's professional career were devoted to supporting the career goals of blind Texans with the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services-Blind Division.

Equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the factors that affect unemployment and underemployment for people who are blind, Cindy wanted to find ways to make a greater impact through leadership. With this new dream, Cindy returned to the University of Houston to obtain her MBA and completed a two-year fellowship for leadership development with the National Industries for the Blind. The program enabled Cindy to gain an in-depth understanding of how the AbilityOne Program harnesses federal government procurement to create employment opportunities for over 45,000 disabled Americans through community-based nonprofits.

For the past thirteen years, Cindy has held nonprofit leadership roles with IFB Solutions in Winston-Salem, the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind, and the American Foundation for the Blind. In 2018 she joined The Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle as Senior Vice President and became the President and CEO in 2019.

Throughout Watson's 20-year career, she has dedicated herself to empowering, advocating, and creating career pathways for people who are blind. She attributes her success to her authentic leadership style, high energy, focus on results, and unmatched passion for the mission. Cindy is committed to serving both locally and nationally. Her board service includes six years on the national board of the American Foundation for the Blind and currently serves on the chair of Public Policy for the National Association of Employment for People who are Blind.

Cindy is married with two sons. She enjoys spending time with her family traveling, engaging in scouting activities, and cheering on the sidelines of the baseball fields. She also enjoys making time to run and work out with her husband.