September Perspective from the President

Mark Riccobono smiles outside the Jernigan Institute.

September Perspective from the President

by Mark Riccobono

Greetings Fellow Federationists,

It's been a busy time in the Federation. Even as we do new things, we should celebrate the work that we've done. Over Labor Day weekend, we completed a leadership seminar at our national headquarters. This was our fiftieth anniversary seminar—the first was held in the Labor Day time of 1973. I hope you'll get a chance to meet some of the Twisted Pilots seminarians at the 2024 convention.

This summer has been busy. In addition to the Ride for Literacy, we have a number of cool things happening. One of the latest announcements is that Lego has come out with its Braille bricks collection, which you can pre-order online. We gave input on the packaging and other things for Lego Braille bricks… something to make sure is in the stockings or under the tree coming up later this year…

I announced in the Presidential Report this summer that we would be releasing a new Membership Profile for all members of the organization. We did that earlier this month. The Member Profile is the new self-service platform where members of the Federation can update their own contact information and review their membership status. You can also indicate that interest in subscriptions like the Braille Monitor, and find other information such as member benefits. We'll be expanding the member profile capabilities. There is also an FAQ section in the Member Profile and a place for members to change their username and password.

You should have already received an email about this. The rollout is heavily dependent on us having your correct email address in our database. If we don't, you probably didn’t receive the email.

All current and recent members of the Federation for whom we have a unique, working email address should’ve received a notification via email about the creation of the member profile account. Each recipient was given a username and a link to go set up their member profile at

The link in the email does expire. You can still use the username by going to and clicking on "members," which is at the top of any page of our website. Click on "members," use that same username, and go to "reset password”. It will guide you through the process. Once you get your login set up at, you can check your address information, make changes, and make updates to your profile.

Members of the Federation who are currently in the membership management module but who don't have a unique working email address will need to make sure that we get that information. You can talk to your chapter president or membership coordinator and ask them to submit that information to the national office. They can send lists of names and email addresses to [email protected].

New members will automatically be added to the member profile going forward. When they receive the email, they should go in and update their membership profile login.

If your membership shows as expired, you may still be a member. Check with your membership coordinator for your chapter or affiliate. They may not have updated your membership for 2023 in the membership management module. If you believe you've paid dues and your membership profile shows that your membership is expired, your chapter needs to go in and make sure that it is updated in the membership management module. Please do not call the national office—we will not know that you're a current dues-paying member. Your chapter or affiliate has to do that in the membership management module.

A challenge for Federationists to see how many chapters can get to 100 percent of members logging into their membership profiles and updating them by our November Presidential Release. I logged in to my membership profile and made updates; I encourage you to do the same.

It's a great time for us to follow up on our legislative priorities. Congress will be fully back in session next week. We should encourage them to support all of the legislation that we are supporting. This includes the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (H.R. 1263 S. 533), the Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act (H.R. 1328), and the Access Technology Affordability Act (H.R. 3702, S. 1467).

Your calls and emails make a difference. This congressional session is a good opportunity to urge your legislators to get on our bills—to get movement on these important matters for all blind people.
If you have questions about which of your representatives or senators have or haven’t cosponsored our legislation, you can contact Kyle Walls at our national office. His email address is [email protected]. You can also reach him at extension 2223 at our national office.

We should start thinking about next year's Washington Seminar, which will be from Monday, January 29, through Thursday, February 1, 2024. The Great Gathering-In will be on Monday, January 29, from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m., eastern time. Hotel reservation information and more details about the Washington Seminar will be on the website soon. You can go to for more information.