WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 27, 2020)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), a national nonprofit that creates a world of no limits for people with visual impairments, has announced the election of three new members to its national Board of Trustees: Gena Harper, Janni Lehrer-Stein, and Christopher Patnoe.

"We are thrilled to welcome Gena, Janni, and Christopher to our Board," said Kirk Adams, AFB president and CEO. "This dynamic and accomplished trio will bring a wealth of experience and insight that is certain to help AFB better achieve our critical mission of expanding possibilities for millions of people with vision loss."

About the Trustees

Gena Harper is a Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), Senior Vice President and Senior Investment Management Consultant for Morgan Stanley, where she provides clients with custom financial planning.

Gena has spent her life proving that limitations are hurdles to be cleared. She made the US National Paracycling Team in 2012 and won a bronze medal in the National Disabled Ski Championships. She cycles, whitewater rafts, and rock climbs, among other activities. In 1995, she became the first recipient of The Glaucoma Foundation Award of Merit, which recognizes an individual whose life has been profoundly affected by glaucoma and who has responded to the challenge with courage and distinction.

Gena is passionate about empowering others and improving the lives of people with disabilities. She helps employers understand that hiring people with disabilities means acquiring hardworking, willing employees. She has served on the boards of Lighthouse for the Blind (San Francisco), Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Glaucoma Foundation, and Downtown Berkeley YMCA, where she served as Board President. She was a member of the California Governor's Committee for the Employment of Disabled Persons. She is a past recipient of the Women of Vision Award, AFB’s Kay Gallagher Award, the Glaucoma Foundation Award, and is currently a mentor in the Blind Leaders Development Program.

Janni Lehrer-Stein is a retired attorney and disability rights advocate. Progressively blinded by retinitis pigmentosa since 1982, Janni was appointed by President Barack Obama to two terms on the National Council on Disability, from 2011 to 2016. Since that time, she has served as senior disability policy advisor to many Presidential, gubernatorial and state election campaigns.

Janni was Vice Chair, Finance for the Democratic National Committee Disability Council and a member of the DNC Rules Committee. Her national Board appointments include the Foundation Fighting Blindness and the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine Forum on Aging and Disability. Janni publishes frequently on issues related to inclusion and access for persons with disabilities, most recently in the New York Times and on her blog. She currently resides in San Francisco, with her husband and three adult children.

Janni holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a law degree from the University of Toronto Law School, with a visiting year at Harvard Law School.

Christopher Patnoe is the Head of Accessibility Programs at Google. Christopher is a collaborator, facilitator, and a creative and critical thinker passionate about creating an inclusive, connected world through technology. He is passionate about accessibility and eager to build a stronger, deeper commitment to AFB.

Christopher manages people, technologies, and relationships for the purpose of creating world-class, innovative products with humor and respect for everyone in the process. He has more than 20 years of experience in Tech working at companies like Apple, Sony Ericsson and Disney where he's built hardware, software, and services. His current passion is Accessibility at the intersection of immersive technologies (AR/VR) and consumer hardware. He is a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the web, and is founder and chair of W3C’s Immersive Captions Community Group.

Christopher holds a bachelor’s degree in Music from UC Berkeley.


About The American Foundation for the Blind
Founded in 1921, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that creates a world of no limits for people who are blind or visually impaired. AFB mobilizes leaders, advances understanding, and champions impactful policies and practices using research and data. AFB is proud to steward the Helen Keller Archive, maintain and expand the digital collection, and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. Visit: www.afb.org