Maribel Steel

Close up of Maribel wearing a black top with a colorful necklace standing in front of a piece of artwork on the wall

Maribel Steel is an author and freelance writer, international speaker, and positive vision educator. She is legally blind with a degenerative eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), and she is embarking on a new position as Tour Guide for Dialogue in the Dark™ in her home city of Melbourne, Australia.

Maribel is the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of six grandchildren. She shares the day's challenges and victories with her partner and personal tech-wizard, Harry, and her youngest son and muse, Mike.

Maribel is an experienced facilitator, having delivered a variety of training presentations in Aged Care to Tertiary students and interested organizations in order to dispel some of the myths held by local and global communities about living with a disability. She is a creative and positive person who enjoys inspiring others to see how losing sight is not the end of the world, but a door to a new way of being.

She loves being a peer advisor for VisionAware and an international correspondent for VisionAware's International Agency of the Month.

“The journey into blindness has given me a clearer 'vision,' a sense of purpose and an unexpected positive experience of a life-challenge. My aim is to support those adjusting to sight loss and offer practical techniques as well as successful tips on how to cope emotionally when visually impaired.” —Maribel Steel

Read blog posts by Maribel Steel on the Visually Impaired: Now What? blog.


Maribel's Professional Life and Accomplishments

As a freelance writer, Maribel previously wrote for the About.com network as the Vision Loss Expert and has written over 200 articles, short stories, and nonfiction essays that have been published online and in print journals.

Maribel has sat on the judging panel in 2016 and 2017 for the Accessible Books Consortium (UK) International Excellence Awards for Accessible Publishing. She is recognized by the International Authors Forum for her writing on accessibility.

Walking Her Talk

It is the journey towards blindness that has been Maribel’s best life-teacher. In 2015, she designed a community event: Vision-Quest Melbourne, endorsed by Arts Access Victoria and The Victorian Women’s Trust.

She understands the challenges and rewards of working with both a guide dog and using a long white cane as she is a keen traveler.

Nominations and Awards

  • Inspire Award 2017: Third place winner of the Lynette Rowe Best Achievement in Community Service
  • Best Speech Toastmasters Glen Waverly 2017: “A Different Comfort Zone”
  • Inspire Award Nominee 2016: The Australian National University Best Achievement Award in Writing (Non-Fiction and Journalism) 2016
  • The Brenda Gabe Leadership Award 2015: Women with Disabilities, Vic (one of nine nominees)
  • Daily Life Women of the Year Award 2015: Celebrating women who take a stand for change and equality issues
  • Finalist in the prestigious Williamson Community Leadership Program Scholarship award (2015)

Employment History

Maribel wears many different hats; having been self-employed for most of her working life. She trained with Guide Dogs Victoria as a guest speaker and Vision Australia as a peer support person.

She worked as a qualified Aromatherapist and Masseur, relying on her other senses and intuition to help her clients feel more in tune with their own healing process. Maribel has worked as a teaching artist leading children’s choirs as a music program facilitator. The students came from refugee families with limited English language skills, and her weekly sessions were devoted to helping the students gain better literacy through the appreciation of creative songs.

She continues to play her role as “Big Ears” when working with her partner in his music recording studio to ensure quality control of sound recordings.

Webinars and Podcasts

Maribel has given several presentations as webinars and podcasts. Some include:

  • Hadley Webinar: Blogging - 10 Tips to Get You Started, co-presented with Maureen Duffy
  • Eyes on Success Episode 1620: The Vision-Quest Experience
  • Freedom Scientific Episode 112: Jonathan Speaks with Maribel Steel
  • Radio Australia: Mastering the daily challenges of living with blindness

Audio Short Stories

Maribel is putting together a collection of her stories and making them available in audio format. "Many Different Hats," is a story of ‘trekking blind’ to work, and more stories are sure to follow.

Visit Maribel's website and read her blog, Touching Landscapes, to learn more about Maribel's experiences.

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