The staff at Greater Detroit Agency for the Blind and Visually Impaired have a wide variety of expertise and experience to accomplish the Agency’s mission, vision, services and programs. You are invited to contact them for additional information or resources in support of the visually impaired community.
Click on staff member names to learn more about them (to close, click again):
- With a very diverse and extensive background, our Managing Director is quite unique in the finance and management skills he brings to GDABVI. Victor holds an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in psychology, along with a master in Business Administration with emphases in accounting and management. Prior to receiving his MBA, he worked in various human service capacities ranging from drug rehabilitation counseling for the State of Michigan to youth program leadership for the City of Detroit to employment consulting for ex-offenders.
Victor’s finance experience ranges across non-profit, governmental, corporate and small business sectors in several states. In California, he served as a State Tax Auditor before running a small-business consulting firm for almost 20 years in Arizona and Michigan. The last 15 years of his career experience have included management positions such as Executive Director of a Detroit non-profit for marginalized families, Chief Financial Officer for a federal Empowerment Zone non-profit organization in Detroit, Controller for a small manufacturing firm, and Finance Manager of GDABVI before advancing to his current leadership role.
Originally born in Lima, Peru, Victor is a naturalized citizen and bilingual in English and Spanish. He sits on multiple non-profit and advisory boards across southeastern Michigan, and is member of several Lions Clubs in Greater Detroit. Victor’s skills in non-profit management and finances have led to various consulting opportunities where he works with non-profit groups throughout the United States.
- Sue is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Visually Handicapped Teaching; has done EMU graduate work in Secondary Education; and earned a Medical Assistant diploma at San Francisco School of Allied Health. She has much work experience in the public school system, private vocational schools, medical field and non-profit sector among children and adults of all ages. Sue’s experience in the medical field has given her the added experience and knowledge to better serve her clients who are legally and totally blind clients — many of whom have additional health conditions. As a VRT, Sue feels her greatest joy is when she begins to see her clients be successful in their adjustment to vision loss. She is also a member of several professional organizations, including: Association for Educational and Rehabilitation (AER); Michigan AER; and American Association of Medical Assisting (AAMA).
- Malaika started at the Agency back in 2005 as a co-op student from Cooley High School in Detroit. She graduated and received her high school diploma with honors in 2006, went on to college, and was asked to continue working at the Agency. Malaika began as the Office Assistant/Rehab Aide and is now the Junior Clerk and Rehabilitation Aide. She took over for Linda Few, long-time Senior Clerk, upon her retirement in 2015. Malaika has always loved helping people and seeing a smile on their faces. Working at the Agency has taught her so much about blindness and it has become one of her career interests.
- Mary Beth Kullen, Community Outreach Coordinator
- As the Case Manager/Vision Rehabilitation Therapist, Shelley takes referrals, answers questions and does new client intakes. She also participates in health fairs as a representative of GDABVI and gives educational presentations on the importance of taking care of ones eyes. Shelley has a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Services and a Master of Arts in Vision Rehabilitation Therapy, both from Western Michigan University. She interned at GDABVI and then moved to Pittsburgh to work at Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh where she taught a wide range of classes, including Braille, computer typing, household arts and techniques of daily living. After spending a year in Pittsburgh she accepted a job in Detroit at the GDABVI and is glad to be back! Her favorite thing about the work she does is that every case is so unique and she learns something new from every person she works with. Shelley says the job never gets old because every client has varying degrees of vision, different needs and different goals. She enjoys the great feeling watching clients grow and gain back their independence. Although she enjoys teaching everything, Braille is her favorite subject to teach.
- Sylvia is an Administrative Assistant who works with the Managing Director and staff on Agency projects, including database management, website and social media communication and grant writing. At the end of 2012, she helped redesign and launch the new GDABVI website with improved accessibility features and content. Sylvia hopes the site can better connect the Agency’s services with the needs of Southeast Michigan residents. Through her community organizing experience, she is helping the Agency build a resource guide tailored to the needs of persons who are blind or visually impaired. Sylvia has a M.A. in sociology from the University of Michigan.
- Eric is a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist who has always enjoyed helping people. Each day he works with GDABVI clients with visual impairments to help maintain or enhance their independence through using non-visual skills. He loves to teach Braille because it helps his clients to read and write, some for the first time. Eric received a fellowship to earn his master’s degree as a Rehabilitation Teacher and has a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, both from Northern Illinois University.