Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) Reviews | Glassdoor

Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) Reviews

Updated November 14, 2016
52 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

3.8
Star Star Star Star Star
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Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) President & CEO Andrew Friedman
Andrew Friedman
35 Ratings

52 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • There is a huge emphasis on work/life balance here, which one of the most important aspects of any job I plan on looking at in the future (in 6 reviews)

  • Great product for individuals with visual impairments and for teaching professionals as a supplemental tool to aid in their student's development (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • Some might consider the smaller budgets and financial constraints of a non profit as a con, but I appreciate efficiency and avoiding wasteful spending (in 6 reviews)

  • The senior management of this organization was absolutely awful and have been the cause of this once proud organization's steady demise (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "A Great Place to Make a Difference"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Studio Production Director in Athens, GA
    Current Employee - Studio Production Director in Athens, GA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Learning Ally has gone through some tough changes over the past five years or so. When I first came on board in 2008, the place was a mess. There were little "princedoms" all over the country, resulting in a huge variation in both performance quality and job satisfaction. Now, we are a unified organization, with a strong sense of our mission. Our focus is on the people we serve, and our new culture is one based on transparency and teamwork. Every day, I know everything I do is helping make a big difference in someone else's life. It's a great feeling.

    Cons

    The pay is a little low; I could make quite a bit more with less work if I moved to a position at our local university. We are also a bit understaffed, which gives us all a heavy workload. However, I am keenly aware that my benefits cost me less than my spouse pays at aforementioned university, and I'm also aware that for several years our top brass made sure the rest of us got at least small raises...by foregoing raises for themselves. I really respect that. Also, I don't want "just a job"; I like being part of something so worthwhile.

    Advice to Management

    Continue helping us all feel that we are each an integral part of the great work being done all across the country. Continue in your efforts to make us all feel valued and a part of this great team.


  2. Helpful (2)

    "Best place I worked"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Assistant in Princeton, NJ
    Former Employee - Production Assistant in Princeton, NJ
    Recommends

    Pros

    Great benefits, great people to work with, family atmosphere early on, pleasant work environment. Free of stress, at least in the departments I worked in.

    Cons

    Low pay, although that was largely made up for with the benefits. And, as I found out in 2008, it can be hit hard by recessions.

    Advice to Management

    I don't know what the work environment is like today. But I would advise to keep the great benefits as much as possible and bring back the sense of family that I experienced when I started working there in 2001. Very little was left of it by the time I was downsized out in 2008.


  3. "This is a non-profit second to none"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Math Textbook Reader - Volunteer in Hollywood, CA
    Former Employee - Math Textbook Reader - Volunteer in Hollywood, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    I have volunteered at Leaning Ally reading textbooks for 27 years. The friendliness, professionalism and skill of everyone I encountered has been excellent. Everyone works well together and the organization has been running smoothly since 1948. Their mission of supplying everyone, regardless of handicap, with access to the printed word has immense social value so work satisfaction has always been at an all time high. They know how to treat their people well.

    Cons

    None that I have seen in 27 years.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work!


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  5. Helpful (7)

    "An Organization with Good Intentions and Bad Management"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Production Assistant
    Former Employee - Production Assistant
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    The staff and the volunteers at the recording studio were very inspiring with their dedication and commitment to the mission of the organization and the students they served. Some of the volunteers were especially inspiring considering most of them had volunteering for decades. One volunteer had been volunteering for Learning Ally for over 50 years! The technical support staff in Princeton, NJ was also amazing. Their IT department were always friendly and helpful and were quick to respond to any question.

    Cons

    The senior management of this organization was absolutely awful and have been the cause of this once proud organization's steady demise. Because of them and the misappropriation of the organization's money, it has turned from a non-profit into a corporate nightmare complete with layoffs, closings of studios, taking away of retirement benefits, a lack of any kind of promotions, and a culture of "do more with less." When you first get hired on in production, it is common to hear things like "we want to know how you could make the process better," only to find that your ideas are never actually taken into consideration. It's common to hear things like, "Our CEO works well over 40 hours; why can't you?" Instead of fixing these issues, Learning Ally executives like to turn a blind eye to all of the problems and instead choose to pat themselves on the back for things like the National Achievement Awards–a ritzy, overpriced gala they use to promote Learning Ally and award students with scholarships (which is great!), all while telling production staff that there's no money to hire more people, give them retirement benefits, or give them an increase in pay.

    Advice to Management

    It is very disingenuous to tell staff members that they are valued and that their opinions matter if you never do anything to make their working lives any better. It also comes across very badly to tell staff that there is no money to give them raises or offer them retirement benefits if your executives are constantly using organizational money to fly around the United States to promote things like wine tastings and galas. One last piece of advice—if you're going to visit one of your production studios, don't lock yourselves in an office all day and instead sit out with the production staff and volunteers and actually see what they are doing. It is really easy for you to dictate how a studio should be run and what production should focus on when you have no idea what the day-to-day operations entail. It also paints such a horrible picture of you all when you come to a studio as a guest and never actually interact with the staff or volunteers.


  6. Helpful (1)

    "great product, terrible management focus"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Palm Beach Gardens, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Great product for individuals with visual impairments and for teaching professionals as a supplemental tool to aid in their student's development.

    Cons

    Top management is all over the place with company focus. It takes forever to get support and to get something done.

    Advice to Management

    Take a hard look how some of the management actually manages support staff. Some are so hands off and not good at developing the staff. Some petty interactions and favoritism.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Strong national NGO focused on helping students"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Strong mission focus on helping students succeed in school. Have made investments in making service more useful for teachers looking for data, and in making access for students easier.

    Cons

    Feel like it is the best kept secret in education. Needs greater investment in communications, advertising, and out reach.

    Advice to Management

    Keep reinforcing core mission.
    Make investments in marketing and advertising
    Remind folks of Sister Kraus's adage: "No margin, no mission."


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Disappointed"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) full-time

    Pros

    Great product to help students with disabilities become successful. Beautiful building to work in.

    Cons

    Losing sight of intention to help students as first priority and not make a profit. Some shady things go on in management/board directors that make it difficult for the people who are trying to remain honest and work with integrity.

    Advice to Management

    Remember why your company exists and go back to running business with integrity and honesty.


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Love the staff!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Princeton, NJ
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Princeton, NJ
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Wonderful mission. Hardworking and friendly staff. Excellent benefits. Fun place to work in. Great product and service. Competitive salary. Flex hours.

    Cons

    Managers don't trust their staff. Too much micromanaging from senior team, who are a bunch of hypocrites. CEO and COO expect staff to work more for less.

    Advice to Management

    Go find another company to reorganize before it's too late. A lot of kids depend on the organization. I hate to see the ship sink because of the impact Learning Ally in the lives of these students.

    Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) Response

    Jul 8, 2016

    It’s good to hear your positive outlook on our mission and staff. We agree with you that it’s “a fun place to work in, with excellent benefits, great product and service, wonderful mission...”, but ... More


  10. "Great learning/growth experience!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Analyst Intern in Princeton, NJ
    Former Employee - Business Analyst Intern in Princeton, NJ
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Interning at Learning Ally helped me discover what kind of career I want within my field of study. I learned a lot about the different types of careers I could have, as well as skills I hadn't even heard about in some of my classes. HR and my supervisor were great at making sure everything was compliant with my school, and made sure I did everything needed in order to receive credit for my internship. There is a huge emphasis on work/life balance here, which one of the most important aspects of any job I plan on looking at in the future. There is no micromanagement, and overall this has been one of the most valuable experiences in my career so far.

    Cons

    None that I can think of!


  11. "Positive Environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Marketing Associate in Princeton, NJ
    Current Employee - Marketing Associate in Princeton, NJ
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    What a positive work environment! This is my first experience working in a non profit organization and I truly think it contributes to the overall positive and friendly atmosphere. People are eager to help each other and encourage collaboration. Management is understanding of having a work life balance. Upper management is approachable.

    Cons

    Some might consider the smaller budgets and financial constraints of a non profit as a con, but I appreciate efficiency and avoiding wasteful spending.



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