The leadership of Jewish Silicon Valley is passionate about our mission to harness the power of community.
Lael Gray, Chief Executive Officer
Lael Gray successfully navigated the merger between the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley and the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley in February of 2021, establishing the new Jewish Silicon Valley. Prior to that Lael served as the CEO of the APJCC beginning in July of 2019 and as the Interim CEO of the Jewish Federation beginning in July of 2020. A graduate of Binghamton University in 1987, Lael’s early career focus was in marketing and communications, first in Manhattan and later in Miami. In 1996, she founded her own award-winning design and marketing firm, and in 1999 was recruited to be the Director of Marketing Communications for a software startup. In 2001, Lael relocated to Asheville, NC and shifted her career focus to supporting Jewish education and communal life. She was hired in 2003 as the Early Childhood Director at the Asheville JCC, and then directed nearly every department of the organization before becoming the Executive Director in 2012. Lael currently serves on the JCC Association of North America’s Board of Directors and on the Advisory Board of Taube Philanthropies.
Teresa Larkin, Senior Director of Business Operations
Teresa’s role includes Senior Human Resource oversight, risk management, IT, business compliance and physical security. Actively engaged in benefits and employment compliance, she provides guidance in preparation for workforce changes, reductions in force or mergers. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Law; an Executive Juris Doctor; and a Master of Laws in the legal specialty of International Taxation and Finance Centers. She is a Certified Asset Protection Analyst ™ (CAPA) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Financial Management (AAFM).
Becca Davis, Senior Director of Programs
Becca began her career in the fitness industry, putting herself through college by working as a full time personal trainer. She has experience in every department of a health club and received her first managerial role just weeks before graduating from San Jose State University with a B.S. in Business Management. After 10 years in the fitness industry, she spent 4 years working with a construction and traffic control company before returning to her passion of health, wellness and helping to orchestrate change in people’s lives. She began her career at the APJCC as General Manager of the Fitness and Membership departments. Her current role includes direct oversight of the Health and Fitness, Membership, Jewish Life and Culture, Russian-Speaking Jewish, Israeli, Young Adult and Healthy Aging departments.
Cyndi Sherman, Senior Director of Preschool, Youth & Family Engagement
Cyndi Sherman started her career teaching in various preschool programs, and began teaching at the APJCC Preschool in 1989. She became director of the Early Childhood Department in 2004, and senior director of all children’s programs in 2021. She is responsible for the day to day operations of the preschool and supervision of the youth and camp departments, as well as future planning and visioning along with her team.
Diana Schnabel-Arevalo, Senior Director of Operations
Diana graduated from San Jose State University with a degree in Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management with an emphasis in Hospitality and a minor in Child & Adolescent Development. She began her career as an intern at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center while she was still in college. Upon graduating, she became the APJCC’s Hospitality Manager, later becoming Director and then Senior Director of Operations. Over the years, Diana has managed a variety of departments including the Welcome Desk, Hospitality & Rentals, Operations, the Youth & Camp Departments, and the annual South Bay Teen Idol singing competition. In her current role, she oversees the APJCC’s Operations Department and the Annual Fundraising Gala, leads the Levy Family Campus Emergency Response Team, and is the Team San Jose Maccabi Delegation Head.
Trista Bernstein, Senior Director of Philanthropy
Trista has focused her career on fundraising and communication, holding development and leadership roles in various organizations including the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Peninsula Family Service and Broadway By the Bay. She earned her Master of Nonprofit Administration at the University of San Francisco and has been passionately involved in the nonprofit world. Trista is thrilled to be part of Jewish Silicon Valley, having been an active parent at the APJCC Preschool serving on the ECE Committee and reading for Project Cornerstone. Prior to joining Jewish Silicon Valley’s Philanthropy team, she volunteered as the Merger Governance Committee Chair and a member of the Merger Steering Committee. Trista has taken part in the Giving Circle through the Federation of Silicon Valley and took part in the Yesod Leadership training program. Trista is an active member at Congregation Shir Hadash and a lead volunteer at Post:Ballet since its inception in 2009.
Rabbi Hugh Seid-Valencia, Director of Collaborative Leadership and Jewish Engagement
Rabbi Hugh previously served as Jewish Community Liaison for VITAS Healthcare and prior to that, spent ten years teaching Jewish Studies at Kehillah Jewish High School in Palo Alto where he served most recently as Director of Israel and Jewish Studies Curricula. After studying at Deep Springs College, he earned a B.A. with Highest Honors in English Literature from UC Berkeley and received his rabbinical training from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He has completed both the Rabbinic Leadership Training Program and the Tikkun Middot Training Program of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and is a fellow of the Mandel Executive Leadership Program. He teaches and lectures on topics including parenting, Jewish meditation, Jewish perspectives on the afterlife, ethical dilemmas in extending life, and reading and writing ethical wills.
Amy Chien, Finance Director
Amy Chien became the Finance Director of the Addison-Penzak JCC in 2010. Previously, she worked for Berger Lewis Accountancy Corporation for 10 years as an Auditor Manager, and prior to that she was a Staff Accountant for seven years at Friedman Perry Accountancy. She is a Certified Public Accountant.