Presenting the Class of 2022 ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows! Ready to Serve!

Janet Dickelman

Please read on to see a familiar MN name.  Congratulations Byron!




Greetings from the Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) Fund Committee:


“Home of the Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) Leadership Select Honor Society, DKM First-Timers award and the ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows award”


We are happy to present to you, the Class of 2022 ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows who have met all requirements to be considered for and selected as recipients of this prestigious honor.

Congratulations to Judy Brown, Danette Dixon, Kristen Kelling, Byron Lee and Cecily Nipper!


Introducing the Class of 2022 ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows!


Judith (Judy) E. Brown, RN, BSN of Shoreline, Washington is an enthusiastic and passionate member and advocate of Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) who courageously shares her time and abilities as a member of the Government Affairs Committee and Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee. She serves as Vice President of her local chapter, United Blind of Seattle.


Judy is the only legally blind, full-time working nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center – Northwest in Seattle. She has a degree in nursing and a degree in biology with a minor in microbiology. She was a certified critical care nurse for 22 years and worked cardiac surgery, trauma, recovery room, pre-op and now, discharge planning.


Judy has taken the lead on efforts to ensure that pharmacies in the state of Washington make prescription labels accessible to blind, low vision, and print chalenged people. She was instrumental in getting members of the House and Senate to sponsor a bill in support of achieving success.


She formally requested the Pharmacy Board to pursue rule making for this issue, and the Board agreed to do so. Judy began to collaborate with other groups to support the initiative and wrote an amendment to the bill that was accepted.


Unfortunately, this bill which made it all the way to the Senate floor calendar, was not called to be voted upon before the legislative session ended. Judy, WCB and other citizens are confident that it will be a success in the next session.


As part of Judy’s work on accessible voting issues, she is an active member of the King County Voting Disability Advisory Committee (DAC). Due to the work Judy has done with the King County Voting DAC, she has been invited to participate on the Washington Secretary of State’s Voting DAC. This group advises the Secretary of State on disability voting issues.



Danette Dixon resides in Lynnwood, Washington and she has been a member of the Washington Council of the Blind (WCB) since 2010. She currently serves as President of South King Council of the Blind (SKB), Secretary of Snohomish County Council of the Blind (SCCB), Chair of WCB First Timer Committee, a member of the WCB Leadership Committee and more.


Danette serves on the national level in various capacities, including service on the ACB Women and ACB Membership committees. Moreover, she works to assist several ACB special-interest affiliates. In 2021, she was elected as First Vice President of ACB Diabetics in Action (ACBDA).


In 2020, Danette initiated and made all necessary arrangements to launch the approved Washington Council of the Blind Diabetics affiliate and

was recently elected as president for a second term. It was and remains to be her desire to educate and empower wcb members who are diabetics.


This year, Danette was selected as a Co-hort of the esteemed American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Blind Leaders Development Program (BLDP), which is a nine month fellowship program. She views this opportunity to be a fellow as a way to develop and fine tune her leadership skills. Each fellow receives a mentor to provide personalized support toward the growth of the fellow. During a recent interview with the Director of the BLDP, Danette was characterized as one of the best participants in the program.


As an active member of the Alliance on Aging and Vision Loss (AAVL), Danette has been appointed to represent the affiliate as delegate to the ACB Nominating Committee in 2022.


Danette volunteers her time and energy to host ACB Community calls and is a member of the special membership of the “Providing Outreach Supporting Sharing and Engaging” (POSSE), under the leadership of Cindy Hollis, ACB Manager of Member Engagement.


Kristen Kelling of Grand Rapids, Michigan is the secretary of Michigan Council of the Blind and Visually Impaired (MCBVI) and Chair of the affiliate membership committee. She serves as membership Chair of her local chapter as well. Kristen holds membership in ACB Next Generation and appreciates sharing her personal knowledge and experience to ensure that she is a contributing member of the board of directors. Her committee service extends to convention, membership and Co-Chair of the Programs committee. Kristen is known to be a team player, extremely attentive, understanding, and dependable. She is also a terrific zoom host, and serves both the ACB Next Generation affiliate and the ACB Community well.   


Kristen obtained her Bachelor’s degree in social work from Grand Valley State University. She has  volunteered with Disability Advocates as a receptionist and then with the advocacy department where she enhanced her ability to advocate more effectively.


Kristen delightedly serves as president of her local Lions Club; as a youth leader at her church and as Chair of the Consumer Advisory Committee for Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities, which is the advisory committee for the local transportation authority. She is eager to identify areas in which she can serve best.



Byron Lee of Minneapolis, Minnesota began his ACB adventure in 2003 when he was asked to air his comedy music show, The Fun Zone on ACB Radio. Shortly thereafter, he became a member and attended his first ACB of Illinois State Convention, where he assisted with capturing and recording the festivities. He then attended his first ACB National Convention in 2005, where he assisted the ACB Radio team in gathering interviews and recordings from around the exhibit hall.


Since then, Byron has energetically and enthusiastically served in countless areas within the American Council of the Blind, including providing his skills and expertise to support a number of affiliates; his service as an ACB Next Generation board member, along with being responsible for many of their successful programming and outreach campaigns. He is a member of Blind LGBT Pride International (BPI) board of directors, and serves on various committees.


He demonstrates commitment and passion for advocacy and mentoring. He is a Co-Producer of Sunday Edition, Pride Connection, Community Call Streamer and Host, and ACB Media team member.


Byron is currently employed at ServiceNow as part of the Accessibility Engineering team. Previously, he was an Assistive

Technology Specialist with Minnesota State Services for the Blind in

the Senior Services Unit.



Cecily Laney Nipper resides in Covington, Georgia and she is the president of Georgia Council of the Blind (GCB).


Cecily has graciously served to assist the ACB Media team in producing conventions for affiliates. She has participated in producing over ten affiliate conventions. Her roles have included filling in the master convention calendar to help allocate ACB Media resources, monitoring the Webinar/Zoom Room during the convention, coordinating hosts and streamers, meeting with the affiliate in advance to help prepare them, and compiling invitations and supporting documents to help the conventions to be a success.


She is a long time member of the East Georgia Chapter of GCB in which she reports that her service areas have included being on the GCB board of directors, hospitality, program, and membership committees.

She continues chapter service as Chair of the program and membership committees.


In addition, Cecily has served as chapter secretary, several times as Vice President and became president as well. She demonstrates her commitment by remaining active and participating in local and statewide endeavors.


While working as a teacher and missionary, she earned her Associate’s degree in Secretarial Studies and she acquired employment as an Administrative Assistant in a periodontal office


Cecily aspires to become secretary of the American Council of the Blind.


Be sure to greet the ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows during the upcoming ACB Conference and Convention!


Respectfully submitted,

Kenneth Semien, Sr.

Chair, Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) Fund Committee


Since 2016, the Durward K. McDaniel (DKM) Fund Committee seeks to identify and honor five ACB members who demonstrate leadership potential, with the ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows Award on an annual basis, provided that funding is granted.


To be considered for the award, interested members must meet the following criteria:

  • Age 18 or older
  • Blind or visually impaired
  • A member in good standing (current on membership dues)
  • Agree to attend the entire convention
  • Participate in daily general sessions and designated leadership-related sessions
  • Applicants also undergo an interview with members of the DKM committee.


To apply for the ACB/JPMorgan Chase Leadership Fellows Award, applicants must submit a letter of application and have a state or special-interest affiliate president submit a letter of recommendation by the announced deadline.


Recipients are selected in late April and are recognized during the annual opening general session of the ACB Conference and Convention.


Recipients receive such amenities as complimentary registration fee, travel expenses, lodging (double occupancy), an Invitation only  Leadership Fellows Reception, tickets to attend the ACB Banquet, other special events and a stipend for incidentals.