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Leadership 2018-04-24T09:37:22+00:00

For over 90 years, Braille Institute has been guided by the wisdom and tireless expertise of a generous Board of Directors.  The support of the Board, combined with a capable and knowledgeable staff, has enabled us to become an organization that brings hope and confidence to thousands of people who are blind or visually impaired.

President: Peter A. Mindnich

Peter Mindnich

Mr. Mindnich holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University and a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California (USC). He brings to Braille Institute a broad and complementary set of educational and professional skills from both the private and nonprofit sectors. He spent more than 30 years in the financial services industry in several leadership roles, including Managing Director in both the Investment Banking and Investment Management Divisions of Goldman, Sachs and Company, and later at BlackRock, Inc. until he retired in 2008. Peter’s breadth of experience was further enhanced at the USC School of Social Work, where he completed field internships at Long Beach based St. Mary Hospital’s C.A.R.E. Program, which provides clinical and therapeutic services to HIV positive adults, and U.S. VETS, a Los Angeles headquartered nonprofit organization that serves military veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

Vice President, Philanthropy: David L. Burkhardt

A California native, Mr. Burkhardt holds a master’s degree in mass communications from San José State University. He began his career in the nonprofit sector in 1980 with the United Way of Santa Clara County, and since that time has helped to raise funds for a number of this country’s leading nonprofit organizations. Following United Way, Mr. Burkhardt became a campaign consultant for CCS, serving on the successful “Save the Cable Cars Campaign” team in San Francisco, among other assignments. He later served as Development Director for The Phoenix Zoo, National Vice President of Development for Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, and then President/CEO of Northridge Hospital Foundation. In 2002, Mr. Burkhardt joined Braille Institute as Vice President of Philanthropy, where he leads the Institute’s fundraising program.


Vice President, Program Delivery: Gloria Coulston

Ms. Coulston joined Braille Institute in 2008 as Manager of Field Services for the Anaheim Center, and was responsible for leading outreach programming for the Orange County region. In 2010, she became Assistant Director, and later promoted to Executive Director of the Anaheim Center in 2013. As Executive Director, Ms. Coulston was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the center’s programming, operations and human resources.

Having successfully raised two children, who are visually impaired, Gloria has been an active advocate for those with living with vision loss for 35 years. Ms. Coulston holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education /Human Resources and Development, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Communication and Business from the University of Southern Maine; and a Certificate of Nonprofit Management from Duke University in 2013.


Vice President, Organizational Resources & Design: Janice E. Herzberg

After many years as a human resources professional in the banking, telecommunications and retail industries, Ms. Herzberg joined Braille Institute in 2004. With an emphasis on strategic partnerships, leadership development and employee relations, her diverse background has touched many aspects of human resources including organizational change, policy development, staffing, training, and compensation & benefits. Prior to joining Braille Institute, Ms. Herzberg held various leadership positions with AT&T Wireless, Glendale Federal Bank, Tokai Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of California and J.W. Robinson’s Co. At Braille Institute she has served as Human Resources Manager, Director and then Associate Vice President of Human Resources before assuming her current position in 2017. Ms. Herzberg grew up on Long Island and relocated from New York to San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles. She obtained a degree in liberal arts from Collegiate Institute in New York City.


Vice President, Program Content: Nancy N. Niebrugge

A seasoned print journalist and award-winning public relations professional specializing in the healthcare field, Ms. Niebrugge joined Braille Institute in 1996. In leading the Communications and Braille Publishing departments, she initiated BIA’s first website, marketing database, and program offering free braille storybook kits for young children. As Assistant Vice President she led the expansive growth of BIA’s national literacy program, The Braille Challenge®, and launched Cane Quest®, which promotes mastery of orientation and mobility skills for youth. In her role leading BIA’s organizational strategy, she designed a comprehensive assessment of key programs, which has resulted in initiatives to improve program quality and efficiency for youth and low vision services. Ms. Niebrugge has represented BIA as a Board member of the Braille Authority of North America, the Council for Schools and Services for the Blind, and the American Printing House for the Blind. Ms. Niebrugge holds a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from California State University, Los Angeles, and will be completing a Certificate Program in Strategic Management from Harvard University in 2018.


Vice President, Finance: Rezaur Rahman

Reza Rahman was born in Bangladesh and received his early education there before coming to the United States in 1981. Here, he earned his BS and MBA from the University of Central Oklahoma. In 1985 Mr. Rahman came to Los Angeles in search of work. He loved the weather and soon found work as an accountant for a life insurance company. While working, he studied for his certification as a CPA and received his license. Then he saw an ad by the Institute for an Assistant Director of Financial Services. He applied and was hired immediately. His excellent work in this area for a number of years has resulted in his being named Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer.


Vice President, Corporate Secretary, and General Counsel: Anthony Joji Taketa

After receiving his juris doctor degree from UCLA School of Law in 1983, Mr. Taketa, a Los Angeles native, began a 24-year litigation career, handling a wide variety of cases but focusing primarily on trust and probate matters, real estate, construction, and business disputes. He has represented many nationally recognized companies including restaurant chains, contractors, and financial institutions. In 1988, he joined the law firm of Poindexter & Doutre, Inc., becoming a shareholder in 1996. He was successful appellate counsel in the published decision D’Orsay International Partners v. Superior Court (Stone), 123 Cal.App.4th 836 (2004), concerning the availability of mechanic’s lien rights for a design-build contractor when actual construction did not commence. After nearly two decades of experience representing nonprofit organizations in trust, probate, and business matters, including Braille Institute, Mr. Taketa left private practice to become General Counsel at the Institute in 2007.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

George E. Thomas, Thomas Partners Investments, LLC
Chair

Michael C. Corley, Partner, KPMG LLP
Caryl O. Crahan, Braille Institute Auxiliary Chair
Percy Duran III, Esq., Retired Attorney
James H. Jackson,  Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Alisal Guest Ranch
Linda Lam, M.D., M.B.A, Associate Professor, USC Keck School of Medicine
John F. Llewellyn, Chairman, Forest Lawn Memorial Park Association
Thomas R. Miller, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Product Strategies, City National Bank
Richard A. Nelson, Civil/Geotechnical Engineer, Retired
John G. Nuanes, Esq., Retired Attorney, Community Volunteer
Jeanne Olenicoff, Community Volunteer
Nishan O. Partamian, President, Trinity Asset Management
James J. Rhodes, Designed Protection Insurance Services
Harvey Strode, Principal, UCBB Capital & Transition Solutions LLC
Lester M. Sussman, Senior Practice Director, Resources Global Professionals
Donald Whinfrey, Community Volunteer
Diane B. Whitaker, OD Low Vision Rehabilitation Specialist, Optometrist, Duke Eye Center
Delbert White, President, CamTek, LLC
Diane Wilkinson, Braille Institute Program Review Committee Chair


CLINICAL ADVISORY BOARD

Linda Lam, M.D., M.B.A, Associate Professor, USC Keck School of Medicine
Chair 

Richard Casey, M.D., Jules Stein Eye Institute; Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science
Jon K. Hayashida, O.D., F.A.A.O.
Bartly J. Mondino, M.D., Director, Jules Stein Eye Institute
Steven D. Schwartz, M.D., Jules Stein Eye Institute, Chief of Retina Division
Bill Takeshita, O.D., F.A.A.O., F.C.O.V.D
Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Ophthalmology, USC Roski Eye Institute

For more information call 1-800-BRAILLE (272-4553) Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (PST).