Board & Staff

Board of Directors 2019

  • Dr. Celia Barberena
  • Tom Gardner, Vice-President
  • Russell Hatch, Treasurer
  • Randy Henson
  • Toula Hubbard
  • Dr. Ken Hunter
  • Sonja Jackson
  • Bob Johnson
  • Ron Kihara
  • Mona Schoenwisner
  • Becky Stewart
  • Neal Thornberry, Ph.D.


  • Diana Trapani, Executive Director
  • Cheri Padin, Business Director
  • Samantha Kelley, Intake, Outreach, and Care Coordinator
  • Jenny Swad, Low Vision Services Coordinator / Orientation & Mobility Training
  • Karen Levin, Vision Rehabilitation Therapist
  • Dr. Katie Wendt, O.D.
  • Esmeralda Ortiz, Orientation & Mobility Specialist

Staff Bios

Diana Trapani
Executive Director

Diana began at the new executive director on Nov. 1, 2015, replacing Jeannie Cordero, who retired after 20 years of dedicated service to the BVIC. Diana’s experience includes more than forty years of volunteer experience, beginning in middle school with the “Walk for ___” activities and school fundraising events. After relocating from the SF Bay Area to Salinas in the early 80’s, she became engage with Mission Park Elementary School, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Diocese and the Junior League of Monterey County. She is still involved with the latter three organizations.

After working in the for-profit world for many years, Diana transitioned into fund development as the first development director at Interim, Inc. After about a decade, she moved to Chartwell School, as their Director of Institutional Advancement. She brings nearly seventeen years of non-profit fund development and senior leadership skills to this role.

Katherine Wendt, OD
Low Vision Clinic

BVIC is pleased to welcome Dr. Katie Wendt, OD to our Low Vision Clinic. Dr. Katie Wendt is originally from San Jose, California. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts in Physiology and Cell Biology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Bachelor of Science and Doctorate degrees in Optometry from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Washington.

Dr. Wendt comes to us with a wide range of Optometric experience. She has practiced in a military hospital and clinic, health maintenance organizations, and private practices in five different states due to numerous moves with her career military husband. Together Dr. Wendt and her husband have experienced the military way of life for over 30 years. Dr. Wendt has volunteered with organizations such as the American Red Cross, Military Spouses’ Clubs, the Army Family Action Plan program, Protestant Women of the Chapel at the local and regional levels, several Army Family Readiness Groups, “Help the World See,” and with her local church.

She and her husband have an adult daughter and a high school-aged son. Dr. Wendt’s hobbies include traveling, machine quilting, and playing the flute with the Del Monte Brass Band.

Jenny Swad, MA, CLVT, COMS
Low Vision Clinic

I grew up in Michigan, received my graduate degree from Western Michigan University, and moved to California to begin my career in Blind Rehabilitation in 1994 as an Orientation and Mobility Specialist at the Western Blind Rehabilitation Center (WBRC) located on the grounds of the Palo Alto VA hospital.

While at the WBRC, I had the opportunity to expand my expertise to the area of visual skills, manual skills, and daily living skills where I taught within the facility. After a number of years, I branched out to become a Blind Rehabilitation Outpatient Specialist and worked with veteran’s in their homes.

In 2016 I joined the staff and clients of The Blind and Visually Impaired Center where I now serve as the Low Vision Coordinator. It has been an added experience to participate in board meetings, present at support groups, assist in luncheons, support Apple trainings, and participate in many community outreach activities.

In my spare time I enjoy ballroom dancing, learning classical guitar, Arabic calligraphy, and caring for numerous cats.

Karen Levin, VRT
Vision Rehabilitation Services

I am delighted to join the staff of BVIC and to be working with clients. I recently moved here from Washington, DC where I was a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) with the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. While working with them, I provided home assessments to clients all over the city and in nearby Maryland and Virginia. I engaged in support groups in Spanish and provided a 2 week Foundations to Adjust to Blindness (FAB) class along with O&M colleagues where people learned independent living skills.

I have a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy and a master’s in VRT. I did an internship at a VA hospital in Pennsylvania where earlier I was a teacher’s assistant at a school for children with severe cerebral palsy and later was an educational aide in American Sign Language (ASL) classes at a Washington high school. I have basic ASL skills but am fluent and literate in Spanish. I am looking forward to providing services to our Spanish speaking clients.

I am delighted to be living again in California again where I began elementary school. Now, I am happy to be living on the Monterey Peninsula and am looking forward to meeting you, offering classes, and participating in the Monterey community.