SEED stands for:
- Expertise in blindness
- Developing self and others.
Since the programme’s launch in 2011, Disability Workforce Development has funded more than 100 Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB) members (consumers) and staff to attend the SEED programme.
SEED Leadership is a tailored leadership programme developed by the RNZFB, in collaboration with Grafton Consulting, that aims to build and develop leadership capability which will ultimately benefit the blindness community and wider communities.
The programme was developed for existing and emerging leaders, from RNZFB members, consumers and community representatives, as well as RNZFB staff. It has been designed to increase attendees’ self-awareness and understanding of others. This combination together has been very powerful, as attendees were not just focused on what leadership means in an abstract sense, but gained an understanding of what it meant for each of them as an individual.
What the leadership programme covers
- Understanding strengths as a leader, and how to maximise these.
- Values-based leadership to achieve success.
- Solutions-focused approaches to deliver results.
- Understanding what leadership looks like and how to become a great leader.
- Unique learning and knowledge-sharing opportunities in leadership development for staff and members.
Debbie Gregory, RNZFB learning and development manager, has been impressed by the impact of the Seed programme, which has energised and empowered consumers and staff to practically apply leadership principles in their broader lives.
The SEED leadership programme has given participants the opportunity to take a positive approach to their roles within the community, within their career and also within their personal lives. Insights into leadership, self awareness and the understanding of others have empowered consumers and staff to have the confidence to lead, irrelevant of their position or status.
SEED participants have created a community of support through sharing achievements and next steps among themselves and with the RNZFB. This kind of support is a great way to sustain the learning from the programme and encourage further leadership action and engagement with the organisation.
As a result of the programme's success, the RNZFB is committed to offering consumers and staff access to SEED programmes going forward, with the aim of continually growing the capabilities of future leaders within the organisation and wider blindness community.”
Feedback from SEED participants
SEYFF (Support and Education for our Youth, their Friends and Family) committee treasurer and national administrator.
I’m already applying the skills I have learnt during the SEED course. I have learnt how to have a positive focus – looking for solutions rather than dwelling on problems. It has helped me in my understanding of others, that different personalities mean people have different reactions to my own.
Leadership is not relative to being vision impaired. There are lots of qualities needed in good leaders – why shouldn’t blind and partially sighted people have the chance to develop their leadership skills along with others?”
Association of Blind Citizens (ABC) committee member.
From this course, I’ve learnt how to be a bit more tactful and diplomatic when dealing with others. I’ve learnt to be a problem solver – to apply certain tools to help solve problems. I’ve learnt about positivity, the positivity of myself and others. I’ve learnt to listen to the
input of others and how useful it is to be able to toss around ideas with others and recognise other people’s perspectives.
I will be using the specific skills I have learnt here in coordinating meetings going forward, to get the best out of the meetings. I wish I’d had this training when I was chairing meetings before!
This course proves that you don’t have to be sighted to get on in the world.”
This course was recommended to me by one of the RNZFB counsellors. I have only been totally blind for just over a year and I haven’t really got involved with anything like this before. My experience of other blind and partially sighted people hasn’t necessarily been a positive one to date but this has really opened my eyes to see that not everyone feels like all is lost when you suffer vision loss.
This course enabled me to meet other people…positive people who are much further along their journey than me. Listening to the wisdom/advice of others in the same boat and picking up some great techniques to use in my everyday life.
I think everyone should be encouraged to come on this course. Not necessarily to become a leader but to develop their life skills and have an opportunity to share their experiences. For me it’s about improving yourself and becoming more effective in your everyday life as a blind person."
Chair of the RNZFB Taupo Community Committee (11th year) and division governor for the Waikato Toast Masters.
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet others from so many backgrounds and share stories. The personality test (Myers Briggs) was a real highlight for me and has already made me think differently about the way I communicate with people and the changes I can make to be better at it.
I think it’s vital to provide people (within the blindness community) with the tools to help build self-esteem and teach them how to cope in different and sometimes very challenging situations."
Caregiver (sighted participant).
I have a 12 year old deafblind daughter and came to this course as I wanted to take this opportunity to see things from her perspective for a while.
It was amazing to meet all the people here and listen first hand to their experiences of being a blind person in a sighted world. I have learned so much from them and found the whole thing a positive and uplifting experience.
I think blind people have so much to offer. It’s those of us who are sighted and have hearing that take things for granted and cannot truly see and hear things the way they should be. Blind, deaf, disabled people…every one of them has so much to offer and it is not their condition that holds them back but the rest of society and their lack of expectation."