Close this search box.
Related Categories

Employee Spotlight: Taking Ability Into Your Own Hands

IBVI’s Judy Henderson inspires with her perseverance, and stars in a globally recognized documentary

Judy Henderson lost her sight in 1989, but she refuses to let her disability get in the way of living her life:

“I still cook what I want, I still go to stores, and I still make a way to do the things I love to do—like the ceramics class I recently took at Vision Forward. It was so much fun!”

It’s the kind of inner strength and determination that’s common among individuals adjusting to life with a disability. We see it radiating through our staff, whose hard work and positive attitudes make us who we are day in and day out. But what’s different about Judy’s story is that her resilience has reached a global audience.

Strength in Optimism

As an employee of IBVI for almost 10 years, Judy Henderson is a strong teammate and source of encouragement for so many. When asked about her passion and interests, she puts it simply:

“I love people and I love connecting with others.”

Once you meet her, it only takes a few minutes in conversation to fully believe it. While she’s open about the various challenges and difficulties that accompany a life with impaired vision, it’s empowering to listen of how she’s learned to reframe things and find motivation in her circumstances:
“I tell people you can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it. I try to encourage others who may be struggling or discouraged dealing with various disabilities, etc. I say to them, don’t let your disability get you down, it’s what you make of it. Whatever it is you’re trying to do, get out there and do it.”

Be Yourself and Trust the Process

For Judy, one of the turning points in her life was returning to work after losing her vision. She was connected with IBVI through a colleague who worked at the former location on 35th St. in Milwaukee.

“I know the feeling of being overwhelmed or frustrated. I know all about it. When I lost my vision, I finally decided to get a job because I was so bored and discouraged. But I decided enough is enough. I had to take that first step.”

Now almost ten years later, Judy has established herself as one of our dedicated production floor team members:

“I work in hand assembly, so my work days look pretty similar from day-to-day, although I assemble all different kinds of products, so that keeps it interesting. It can be stressful at times when things get really busy, but I do my best to work hard, stay positive, and just do what I do.”

It’s a humble answer, but her ability to stay positive and just “do what she does” is exactly what’s so inspiring. It’s who she is. And that positivity has been making a noticeable impact on those around her for years.

Friday Night Blind

At the end of 2022, Judy and her friends Sandy Tisdale and Rhonda Lang were featured in “Friday Night Blind”, an award-winning documentary about their involvement with the Milwaukee Beer Barrels Blind Bowling League. The film has been accepted to 16 film fests and has won awards at different film festivals in Wisconsin and abroad.

It’s a beautiful story about the close friendship shared between the three of them. Their honesty and transparency is said to have captured hearts across countries. And with this worldwide recognition through film festival honors and awards, Judy has easily become a fan favorite, just by being herself, and “doing what she does.” For more information or to follow the documentary, visit the Facebook page.

Empowering the Workforce

We love celebrating our employees because they make us who we are. Just as Judy took her circumstances into her own hands to make the most of them, we, too, do our very best to empower our teams with the resources we have.

It’s the same spirit of empowerment and independence that fuels the passion behind our mission, and it’s been our key motivation since our founding in 1948. When we work together, we’re capable of great things. It’s how we “do what we do.”


Join our email list

Subscribe to get the latest IBVI news, tutorials and events happening in the community.