President’s Blog

Theta Phi Alpha Announces Kristin Smedley as Siena Medalist

Mar 12, 2024 | Categories: News, Press Releases, Announcements

BAY VILLAGE, Ohio – Theta Phi Alpha is proud to announce Kristin Smedley as the honored recipient of the 2024 Siena Medal. 

Starting in 1937, Theta Phi Alpha created an opportunity to award a medal to an outstanding non-member woman who is a business, education, the arts, and humanitarianism leader. Kristin will attend the 2024 Theta Phi Alpha National Convention in Baltimore this July.

Kristin Smedley is a TEDx speaker, award-winning author, and trailblazer for the disability community. She is also the Co-Founder and CEO of the only patient organization in the world for people with rare blindness that her two sons are affected by CRB1 LCA/RP. The Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation has raised over 4 million dollars and achieved a National Rare Eye Disease Awareness Day. That legislation, H.R. 625, was the first in U.S. history to be submitted in Braille, and it advocates for better resources for blind and visually impaired Americans. 

Kristin partnered with Spark Therapeutics to help achieve the first-ever FDA-approved gene therapy to treat an inherited retinal disease in the United States. She has also given a TEDx Talk in New York City to change perceptions of blindness and partnered with Comcast Media to spread awareness of the inclusive X1 product. 

Kristin is the author of the bestselling book Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight and a new, award-winning, inclusive children’s book, What I Can Be Is Up To Me. She is the Co-Creator of the short film The Greatest Equalizer, which Salesforce funded. All of these media harness Kristin’s essential message: uncovering ability in disability and seeing advantages in disadvantages.

In 2022, Kristin Co-Founded Thriving Blind Academy to solve the illiteracy and unemployment crisis in the blind community. People from six continents attend her programs, coaching, and membership.