Anita Shafer Aaron is the executive director and chief executive officer of the World Institute on Disability (WID), headquartered in Berkeley, California, an international disability policy and research organization that works to eliminate barriers to full social integration and increase employment, economic security, and health care for people with disabilities through analyzing, developing, and testing policy solutions focused on critical issues they face. From 1990 to 2010, Ms. Aaron served as executive director and chief executive officer of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco. Prior to joining the LightHouse, she served as chief executive officer at Independent Living Resource in Pleasant Hill, California.
Ms. Aaron is past president of the Commission on Aging and Adult Services in San Francisco, past president of the California Agencies for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and served on the Mayor’s Council on Disability in San Francisco, as well as the boards of VisionServe Alliance, the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind, and the Center for Partially Sighted in Los Angeles.
Ms. Aaron earned her master’s in public administration from Golden Gate University and her bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work from the University of Tulsa. In 2013, she was named one of 50 Notable People in the Disability Community by the California Department of Rehabilitation. Ms. Aaron received the 2007 Distinguished Service Award from the California Council of the Blind, the 2007 Award of Excellence from the San Francisco Mayor’s Council on Disability, the 2006 Access Award and 1994 Leadership Award from the American Foundation for the Blind, and the 2005 Community Leadership Award from the Independent Living Resource Center in San Francisco.