2012 Rea & Associates Executive Director of the Year Finalist: Dr. Steven Friedman, executive director and CEO, Cleveland Sight Center

Dr. Steven Friedman, Executive Director and CEO, Cleveland Sight Center

Dr. Steven Friedman has shown the ability to apply for-profit business principals to a not-for-profit agency without losing focus on the mission of the organization. As the excutive director and CEO of the Cleveland Sight Center, Friedman’s approach is to build a financially strong organization that can sustain services in keeping with the mission, vision and core values.

The Cleveland Sight Center offers a wide range of services to people of all ages who are vision-impaired. Friedman has been focused on both top-line revenue and management of costs in the interest of better serving the Sight Center’s clients.

The Cleveland Sight Center’s clients are always a No. 1 priority, but Friedman has recognized the need to build a sustainable financial organization to continue the high level of service to its clients.

This business focus has resulted in the completion of a $10 million renovation that allows the organization to more efficiently deliver services to its clients. This year he increased state of Ohio partnership contracts to $2 million, up from $500,000 three years ago, helping provide innovative programs to get people with disabilities jobs.

One example is a partnership Friedman formed with InfoCision to create a call center that would aid in gaining commercial contracts and serve to employ the visually impaired. He also won a contract with Ohio Tourism and hired 14 people who are work disabled. These contracts not only employ a large number of visually impaired individuals, but they contribute to the organization’s bottom line.

In all of these efforts, he managed to increase the number of center employees who are blind or have limited vision to 20 percent of the workforce. The success of these programs allows the Sight Center to continue drawing funding from Ohio.


How to reach: Cleveland Sight Center, (216) 791-8118 or www.clevelandsightcenter.org