Keystone Blind Names Staph as New President

HERMITAGE, Pa. – The Keystone Blind Association has named Laurie Staph as the new president and CEO of the organization, effective Jan. 1. She replaces Jonathan Fister, who led the organization for 40 years.

“I am honored and humbled that the board has selected me to serve in this capacity to help better the lives of our clients and provide employment opportunities for individuals who are blind and disabled across the state of Pennsylvania,” Staph said in a release. “We have a fantastic team in place and I am looking forward to serving out our mission and look forward to engaging in new opportunities to continue to grow well into the future.”

She will also serve as president and CEO of Keystone Independence Management, which handles the day-to-day activities of six agencies across Pennsylvania. The organization provides orientation and mobility training, vision rehabilitation, health and human services for the blind and visually impaired and employment opportunities through contracts for products and services at the federal, state and local levels. Among its contracts is producing hardhats for the Navy and destroying documents for local businesses.

Staph has worked at Keystone since 2010, when she was hired as chief financial officer. She was promoted to vice president of finance in 2015. Prior to her work at the nonprofit, she worked as an auditor for Cleveland-based accounting firm KPMG for two years before working as senior auditor at Black, Bashor & Porsch in Sharon from 2003 to 2010.

“Laurie is very well versed with all aspects of the agency and has strong relationships with current customers and vendors. These relationships at both the state and federal levels will serve to better our position to continue to grow well into the future,” said Keystone board chairman Kevin McDermott. “The board has the utmost confidence in Laurie to utilize her experience and background to help further Keystone’s mission. Laurie is ideally placed to lead Keystone with great energy and focus through its next chapter.”

Staph’s work will build on the 40-year legacy of Fister. When he began his role at the head of the organization, Keystone Blind Association had an $80,000 budget and eight full-time employees. Today, it has more than 600 employees with an annual budget of $25 million. He has worked with the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce, Pennsylvania Association for the Blind and National Association for the Employment of Persons who are Blind. Fister also served as a board member of Unique Source, a nonprofit in Harrisburg, Pa., that works with other nonprofit agencies to pursue state-use employment opportunities.

Read More: The Blind Have a Feel for Building Things

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