Hello Future Search participants.

As Kepler’s Future Search approaches we have put together a small roster of our participants & their bios. We hope this will help to acquaint some of you further, and provide you with an insight into the lives and journeys of other participants.

This roster will continue to grow as more participants join on board, and provide us with their bios.



Sumbul Ali-Karamali
Author


Sumbul Ali-Karamali earned her B.A. in English from Stanford University, her J.D. from the University of California at Davis, and her L.L.M. in Islamic law from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She has practiced corporate law, taught Islamic law, and been a research associate at the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law in London. Her first book, The Muslim Next Door: the Qur’an, the Media, and that Veil Thing, was published in 2008 and was a Bronze Medal Winner of the 2009 Independent Book Awards, as well as a 2012 Silicon Valley Reads selection. Sumbul is a blogger for the Huffington Post and is a frequent speaker, writer, and interviewee on Islam-related topics. She is on the steering committee of Women in Islamic Spirituality and Equality and is a member of the Muslim Women’s Global Shura Council, both of which aim to promote women’s rights and human rights from an Islamic perspective. She is also on the board of a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental and multicultural education. Her new book, Growing up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam, is a nonfiction chapter book for preteens (ages 10 & up) and will be released in August 2012. www.muslimnextdoor.com


Lilly Shoemaker
Co-Owner for All Ears Audiobooks Inc


Lilly is co-owner of All Ears Audiobooks, Inc. in San Jose, CA, an audio book boutique and provider of audio book rental services to habitual listeners since 2002. A lifelong slow reader, Lilly has found integrating audio books into her mix of reading has been a life changer. And she’s out to change yours too. Prior to being a small business owner, Lilly has held corporate communications positions at Carl Byoir & Associates, Convergent Technologies and Apple Computer. Lilly holds a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University and a Masters in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.


Mitch Slomiak
Virtual CFO for Growing Companies

Mitch Slomiak has been retained by dozens of companies for support on business planning, strategy, and in most cases to serve as a part-time senior CFO on an ongoing basis while the company is in the $2M-$10M revenue range. In 2005 Mitch learned that Kepler's was on the verge of bankruptcy and volunteered to work with Clark Kepler to develop a business plan and detailed financial forecast to provide investors, creditors, and community members confidence that the business could, indeed, become viable once again. Mitch was retained as Virtual CFO by Keplers until May 2012 and has also served on the Board and is part of the Kepler's 2020 Transition Team. In the 1990s Mitch worked extensively in the book industry as CFO for Foghorn Press (later acquired by Avalon Publishing) and then was retained by a number of book publishers and bookstores. He has worked extensively with technology and service firms. Mitch has a strong passion for climate action and environmental sustainability and currently serves as Chairman of the Menlo Park Environmental Quality Commission.


Pamela Gullard 
Professor of Personal Narrative and Literature at Menlo College 

Pamela Gullard teaches personal narrative and literature at Menlo College. Her stories have appeared in the North American Review, Arts and Letters, The Iowa Review, TriQuarterly and other journals and anthologies. Her collection, Breathe at Every Other Stroke, published by Henry Holt, includes a story that won a PEN Syndicated Fiction Project Award, and another that took first place in the H.G. Roberts Fiction Contest judged by Gordon Lish. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. With co-author Nancy Lund, she has written three nonfiction books; the latest, "Under the Oaks: Two Hundred Years in Atherton," appeared in 2009. 


Chuck Robinson
Co-owner of Village Books In Bellingham WA

Chuck Robinson is co-owner, with his wife Dee, of Village Books in Bellingham, Washington, an independent bookstore they founded in 1980.  Chuck has served on the boards and as president of both the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and the American Booksellers Association.  He was the founding vice-president of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and served on that board for many years.  Chuck has been a presenter at many regional and national bookseller conferences and taught booksellers schools for many years.  He has served on numerous nonprofit boards and is currently a trustee of Whatcom Community College.


Marilyn Smith 
Kepler's Books

Marilyn Smith started her bookselling life in LA in 1980, working at Brentwood Books (Dutton’s) in Los Angeles and a small literary magazine, Ouija Madness Press and hanging round the literary scene at Beyond Baroque in L.A.  After settling back in the bay area, she worked at Printers Inc. in Palo Alto, Stanford Bookstore as a book buyer and Keplers doing just about everything: buying, bookfair team, store display and bookseller with a focus on kids books. When she’s not busy looking for the next best book to read and sell, new author to discover, or great idea to try in the store, she’s busy baking, hiking, gardening and exploring. 


Judi Eichler
Owner of Judi Eichler Design Studio 

Judi Eichler, owner of Judi Eichler Design Studio, has been Kepler's Graphic Designer for the past three years. Judi also works as the Creative Director for Acterra, a local environmental non-profit. She works with corporate and non-profit clients to create corporate identity and marketing materials , and has created museum exhibits and event materials as well . In addition, Judi is a jewelry and fiber artist and sells her artistic creations in stores throughout California. She lives in Menlo Park with her husband and two children. 


Paul Petersen
IT Manager for Kepler's Books and Magazines


Paul has worked as: managing partner of Plowshare Books in Palo Alto; IT and accounting manager for Windham Hill Records; tech support for Anthology book inventory control; technical writer for two internet startups in Sweden and shipping clerk for Stanford University Press. He has a BA and MA in philosophy. 


Lee Moncton
Co-owner of All Ears Audiobooks

Lee worked for 30 years in Silicon Valley’s high tech industry (for HP and NVIDIA) designing and managing the R&D teams for many generations of computer designs and graphics products. His wife convinced him that joining her in pursuit of a career in the book industry would be rewarding.  Lee is now a co-owner of All Ears Audiobooks, a local independent bookstore in San Jose specializing in audiobooks.  He has thoroughly enjoyed the transition from high tech to the challenge of owning a bookstore and connecting to customers, reconnecting to the community, and promoting the value of bookstores. When not in the store he enjoys running, cycling, traveling and reading. 


Victoria Coleman
Vice President of Emerging Platforms for Nokia


Victoria Coleman is Vice President, Advanced Development and Technology at Nokia leading teams responsible for creating Nokia’s next disruptive consumer products. In this role, she is responsible for defining and delivering new product categories. She was previously Vice President, Software Engineering at HP Palm where she led the webOS Platform team that brought to market the HP Touchpad. She led the core webOS components (system UI manager, Webkit, application framework and core applications), webOS developer platform and the user interface and experience teams during her tenure.


Carol Scott Zimmerman
Friends of the Palo Alto Library  (FOPAL)


Carol Zimmerman is an active volunteer for 6 year with Friends of the Palo Alto Library (FOPAL). She is a member of the High-Value book team, identifying rare books, 1st editions, autographed books etc. FOPAL currently raises approximately $250,000 per year in support of the Palo Alto Library. Carol is also actively involved with Palo Alto Animal Services. At PAAS, when it was learned that Palo Alto was considering shutting down the city animal shelter and "outsourcing" to Santa Clara, she was one of three volunteers who started a campaign to Save Our Shelter (SOS).  She created the SOS group on Facebook, attended City Council meetings, wrote letters, made signs, and demonstrated in front of City Hall.  The foundation group SOS has recently expanded to form Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter (FoPAAS) which is in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Before retirement, Carol worked writing technical manuals for the computer industry (Hewlett-Packard, Apple, ESL, Connex, and others). Carol is vitally interested in the survival of independent bookstores, real books (not Kindle or whatever), great literature and newly discovered authors. 


Sandra Janoff PhD
Co-Director, Future Search Network  

Sandra Janoff PhD, co-developed the principle-based methodology called Future Search, a process used world-wide to get the “whole system” focusing on the future and creating values-based action strategies. She works with organizations and communities in Africa, Asia, Europe, India and North and South American on a broad spectrum of social, economic and technical issues.  Sandra and Marvin Weisbord have trained more than 4000 people in using their principles. Sandra is co-director of Future Search Network (FSN).  She and Weisbord founded FSN to involve consultants and local leaders in voluntary social change. The Network has members on every continent building collaborative planning opportunities in every sector of society. FSN’s mission is to provide support for whatever people can afford.  She is co-author of Future Search: An Action Guide to Finding Common Ground (Berrett-Koehler, 3rd ed, 2010) and Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There! Ten Principles for Leading Meetings that Matter (Berrett-Koehler, 2007). 


Keith Raffel
Author

Keith Raffel began his lifelong patronage of Kepler's when it was in a series of connected, ramshackle buildings on the other side of El Camino.  An avid reader since picking up his first Dick and Jane, he became a published author in 2006.  Bookreporter called Dot Dead: A Silicon Valley Mystery "the most impressive mystery debut of the year."  Its 2009 sequel, Smasher, was a national bestseller and has been optioned for film.  Keith's latest, Drop By Drop, is a bestselling ebook thriller.  Keith also has a life outside the literary world.  He has founded an award-winning Silicon Valley company, served as counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, taught writing to college freshmen, run for Congress, worked at a DNA sequencing company, and supported himself gambling at the racetrack. 


Peter Turner
Owner and CEO of IN Books & Media 

Peter Turner is the owner and CEO of IN books & media, a niche-content marketing solution, and Ampersand Marketing & Publishing Services, a consulting firm devoted to B2C opportunities for small and mid-size publishers. Peter started his career in 1984 as a bookseller in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass., at WordsWorth, one of the country’s leading independent booksellers. He entered the world of publishing in 1988 as an editorial intern at Shambhala Publications, a trade publisher specializing in eastern philosophy, religion, psychology, and literature. As an editor, he acquired books by Sharon Salzburg, Ursula K. Le Guin, Jack Kornfield, and Jim Harrison. In 2000, Peter became CEO and Publisher of Shambhala. During his tenure as CEO, Peter became very involved in growing Shambhala’s direct-to-consumer business both as a hedge against the growing influence of Amazon and with the goal of driving customer awareness. He is married, with two sons, and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 


David A. Walton
Founder of Information Resource Technology

David A. Walton founded information resource technology, Inc. (IRT) in 1981. Originally started as a software provider to Municipal Government Agencies, after ten years IRT moved into the development of Point of Sale software for retail bookstores. IRT was a major provider of UNIX based POS / inventory control software, specializing in inventory management for multi location bookstores, primarily in the religious bookselling marketplace. With the acquisition of IBIDe Inc, in 2003, IRT became a prominent provider of software to the trade bookstore marketplace.


Charles Catalano
Vice President at Real Estate Investment Partners Inc. (REIP) 

Charles is Vice President at Real Estate Investment Partners, Inc. (REIP), a real estate investment and management company with expertise across a range of property types, including office/medical office buildings, commercial centers, apartments, and investment/development land.  Prior to joining REIP in 2008, he designed and managed leadership programs as a consultant and in senior roles at Gap Inc. and at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in Executive Education.  Charles holds a BA from Stanford University, an MFA from UCLA, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.  He lives with his wife and two children in Menlo Park where he has been a longtime coach of youth baseball, basketball, and softball.  Recently, he served on the Oversight and Outreach Committee for Menlo Park’s El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan development.  He is also a founding board member of the Ravenswood Education Foundation supporting the public schools in East Palo Alto and east Menlo Park. 


Martha Cullimore
Literary Media Host 


Martha spent 20+ years in the airline industry working in marketing, sales, and product development.  She designed and developed the very successful Northwest WorldVacations product (currently sold under the banner of Delta Vacations), selling hundreds of thousands of vacations worldwide.  In addition, Martha was also responsible for the operation of the international WorldClubs airport lounges. Shifting from the airline industry, she was Vice President of a major travel company focused on corporate, leisure, meeting and incentive travel until her retirement.  In "retirement", Martha is now a freelance Literary Media Host, based in San Francisco, and enjoys escorting national and international authors on regional book tours, introducing authors to key media opportunities, and collaborating with booksellers to host promotional events for authors while on tour.  As a grandmother to nine, Martha works tirelessly promoting literacy among young people and sharing her love of books.


Elaine Katzenberger
Executive Director and Publisher of City Lights Books

is the Executive Director and Publisher of City Lights Books, and is the Program Director for the City Lights Foundation. She has edited many books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and has served on an advisory panel for the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and for the National Endowment for the Arts. Her books have received numerous prizes and awards. She is on the Board o f Directors of La Pocha Nostra, a performing arts company, and Contraband, a dance theatre company.


Jon Funabiki
Professor of Journalism at San Francisco State University

Jon Funabiki is a Professor of Journalism at San Francisco State University. He also serves as Executive Director of the Renaissance Journalism Center, which incubates new models of journalism and storytelling that strengthen communities, and Executive Director of the Dilena Takeyama Center for the Study of Japan and Japanese Culture, which promotes new leadership and perspectives in the field of U.S.-Japan relations. Funabiki is the former Deputy Director of the Ford Foundation's Media, Arts & Culture Unit and was the founding Director of San Francisco State University's Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism.  As a journalist with The San Diego Union, he specialized in covering U.S.-Asia political and economic affairs.


Jeanette Zwart
Field Sales Director for companies including Penguin USA 

Jeanette Zwart has spent her career in publishing, working primarily in Sales and focusing on the Independent Bookstore Channel as Field Sales Director for companies including Penguin USA and, for the last fifteen years, HarperCollins Publishers. In this capacity, she has been an advocate for the indie channel within her publishing company, working to affect policy, title acquisition and marketing plans to best ensure strong sales at retail.  She has a strong instinct for the kinds of books that work well at retail; the kinds of programs that make them work; and the components of a successful retail set up and supporting marketing campaign.  A wide-ranging reader of literary and contemporary upmarket fiction and non-fiction, Jeanette's recommendations are taken seriously by her sales department and retail partners.  She is currently reading Jessilyn Ward's SALVAGE THE BONES and usually keeps a volume of poetry on her night table (most recently, Robert Pinsky's Essential Pleasures


Lauren O'Niell 
Children's Buyer for The Booksmith

Lauren O'Niell accidentally became a bookseller in 2007. She got herstart at Left Bank Books in St. Louis, MO where she rediscovered her love of children's books. After moving to Oakland, she tried her hand at library work but decided she missed selling books too much. Lauren
spent a year as Youth Events Coordinator at Kepler's before joining The Booksmith as Children's Section Manager in 2009. She took over as Children's Buyer in the Fall of 2010. Lauren served on the Association of Booksellers for Children New Voices Award Committee in 2011. She
tries her hardest to read everything and always succeeds in reading a lot. Lauren has a BFA in Sculpture from Washington University in St. Louis, which comes in surprisingly handy every time something breaks at the store.


Ian Small
General Manager Audiobooks.com

With over seven years in the audio book industry, Ian Small is currently General Manager of Audiobooks.com. In his previous role as General Manager of Simply Audiobooks, the industry’s largest online audio book rental enterprise, Mr. Small conducted extensive market analysis and identified an opportunity to build the industry’s first unlimited, cloud-based, streaming audio book service. He assembled a development team in 2011 and spearheaded the effort to deliver this vision to market, launching Audiobooks.com in January 2012. While serving as General Manager of Simply Audiobooks, Mr. Small led all aspects of physical and digital operations. Prior to that, he held key digital operations and business development leadership roles within the company.


Ron Charles
Deputy Editor of The Washington Post Book World

Ron Charles is the deputy editor of The Washington Post Book World and a weekly fiction critic. He speaks frequently about books on a variety of radio shows and at public events in DC. Last year, his reviews won 1st place for Arts & Entertainment Commentary from the Society for Features Journalism, and his satirical series "The Totally Hip Video Book Reviewer" won a Lifetime Achievement Prize from the Moby Awards. In 2008, he won the National Book Critics Circle Award for best criticism. Washingtonian Magazine named his as one of the 40 people who shaped DC in 2010. Before coming to The Post, he was the Books editor at The Christian Science Monitor for seven years. He and his wife, an English teacher, live in Bethesda, Md.


Casey Coonerty Protti
Owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz

Casey Coonerty Protti is the second generation owner of Bookshop Santa Cruz, a 20,000 square foot independent bookstore located in the heart of Santa Cruz, CA.  Casey is on the Bookseller’s Advisory Council of the American Bookseller’s Association and served on the Board of Director’s of the Santa Cruz Downtown Association.  Casey received her Master’s in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Dr. Brent Townshend
Founder of Townshend Computer Tools

Dr. Brent Townshend received his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics at the University of Toronto, Canada and then received Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1982 and in Computer Science in 1983 from Stanford University. In 1990, Dr. Townshend moved to Canada where he started his first company, Townshend Computer Tools. TCT designed and manufactured high-end computer audio interfaces for the recording and research industries.During the mid-1990’s Dr. Townshend developed, designed, and patented the fastest existing modem technology for communication over telephone lines.   Known as the 56k modem, he licensed the technology to the major telecommunications providers including US Robotics, 3com, Texas Instruments, Intel, Cisco, and Analog Devices. Dr. Townshend also received an OPM degree from Harvard Business School and has invested, advised and/or directed over a dozen other startups in Silicon Valley or abroad. Dr. Townshend is an avid photographer with work shown in major exhibitions in San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Miami, and Paris.   He currently lives in Menlo Park, CA.


G. Larry Engel
Morrison & Foerster LLP Partner
 
G. Larry Engel is an internationally recognized bankruptcy lawyer with leading roles in major U.S. and cross-border insolvency cases and restructurings.  His professional accomplishments have earned him election to both the American College of Bankruptcy and the International Insolvency Institute, honors that follow from recognition by The Best Lawyers in America, the Euromoney Guide to the World’s Leading Insolvency and Restructuring Lawyers, Northern California SuperLawyers, and other professional rating guides.  He has also been recognized for his tradition of pro bono projects, ranging from co-authoring the Navajo Uniform Commercial Code to developing a rescue strategy for independent bookstores, of which Kepler’s is a successful case study. Larry is also the author of But for Grace, a soon to be published thriller, described by one reader as what Orson Scott Card would write if he decided to tell a Tom Clancy story that included bankruptcy lawyers among the combatants. 


Alaina Sloo Librarian at the Peninsula School 

A Kepler's devotee for almost 20 years, Alaina Sloo has a keen interest in enabling the many ways that stories can be told. She is a children's librarian at the Peninsula School in Menlo Park, where she works with children from preschool through middle school ages. She has served on the Menlo Park Library Commission since 2007, and is particularly interested in English literacy programs and in the evolution of local libraries in the digital age. Alaina is also an active angel investor in consumer information technology start-ups. She has a master's degree in library and information science from the University of Washington. 


Monica Corman 
Broker with Alain Pinel Realtors 

Monica Corman has been a Menlo Park resident since 1983. She has specialized in real estate for many years, as a real estate attorney, and since 1991, as a broker with Alain Pinel Realtors in Menlo Park. Prior to joining Alain Pinel Realtors, she served as vice president and securities counsel for Fox and Carskadon Financial Corporation. Before that she was an attorney for Milton Meyer & Co., a commercial property firm in San Francisco. Monica writes a bi-weekly real estate column for The Menlo Park Almanac. She is a member of the State Bar of California and has served on the Board of the Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation. She currently serves on the Board of Woodside Priory School and The Menlo Park Library Foundation.


Paul Yamazaki
Principal Buyer at City Lights Booksellers

has been a bookseller since 1970. He has been the principle buyer at City Lights Booksellers & Publishers (established 1953)  for more than twenty-five years. Yamazaki has served on the board of directors of several literary and community arts organizations.. Among them are the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP), Small Press Distribution (SPD) and the Kearney Street Workshop (KSW). Yamazaki was one  a member of the jury that selected the 21 writers that  were included  on the Granta  Best Young American Writers 2 that was published in the spring of 2007. Yamazaki was a founding member of the Asian American Jazz Festival which celebrated its 23rd anniversary in 2004. He was also on the initial advisory board of the San Francisco Jazz Festival.


Tania Granoff 
Librarian at Santa Rita School 

Tania Granoff has spent her working life in education, beginning with many years at Stanford University in academic advising and then Undergraduate Admissions. After some time out to begin her own family, she found herself drawn to younger children, and became an elementary school librarian at Santa Rita School in Los Altos. Her passion is literacy and her greatest pleasure comes from children’s responses to books, whether through her “read alouds” or their independent appreciation of a title she has suggested.  In the last few years Tania has developed a relationship with Kepler’s that she values and which has allowed her students to meet and talk with a variety of children’s authors. Public education in California is underfunded and this kind of important experience would not be possible were it not for Kepler’s outreach to local schools. 


Robert S. Miller
Group Publisher of Workman Publishing

Robert Miller is currently Group Publisher of Workman Publishing, having joined the company in 2010. He began his career in 1978 in the editorial department at St. Martin’s Press, moving on to Warner Books as senior editor in 1986, and then to Delacorte Press as editorial director in 1988.  In these jobs he edited such bestsellers as Mary Wilson’s Dreamgirl, Robert Ballard’s Discovery of the Titanic, and The Andy Warhol Diaries. Mr. Miller was hired by Disney in 1990 to start a new publishing company called Hyperion; he was its President until 2008.  Hyperion published hundreds of bestsellers in that period, including Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, Oprah Winfrey’s Make the Connection, Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. From 2008 until 2010, Miller was President of an experimental imprint at HarperCollins called HarperStudio, which acquired seventy authors on a profit-sharing basis, from Gary Vaynerchuk (Crush It) to Mark Twain (the previously unpublished Who Is Mark Twain?). Mr. Miller is also Chairman of the Board of New York City/Outward Bound, a non-profit organization that supports public education in New York City.  He is married and has three grown children, and lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.


Christin Evans
Co owner of Booksmith

Christin Evans has been the new face of Booksmith along with her husband Praveen since they bought the store in 2007.  Christin is actively involved in running and buying for the bookstore with a great team of booksellers.  She sits on the board of the Haight Ashbury Merchants Association (HAMA) and is active in several community organizations.  Recognizing the continuous pressure that the internet has on physical bookstore sales, she has worked to take the bookstore model beyond the traditional mold greatly expanding the store’s role as a host for literary events which include the store’s own curated events Booksmith Bookswap, Literary Clown Foolery and Game Night. She works with her team to create a welcoming space where people linger, browse & discover new books.  Before the Booksmith, Christin held a series of progressive corporate positions at J.P. Morgan, Towers Perrin, Dell Computer, and A.T. Kearney.  She attended Vassar College and obtained her MBA from the University of Michigan. Recently Christin assumed the role of head of store operations for Kepler's Books during the reboot period. 

Avery Conant 
College Student and Voracious Reader 

Avery Conant, a college student originally from Gilroy, California, is a book enthusiast, to put it rather mildly. Home schooled for most of her life, the culture of literature has always been a rather holy affair in her household. A recent graduate of a small community college with an AA in literature studies, Avery is a UC Berkeley-bound transfer student, majoring in, of course, English. In her seventeen years, she has read innumerable books, and has had the immense good fortune to know Kepler's as a sanctuary and friend since 2010, when author events brought her up to Menlo Park. She is a reader, photographer, baker, traveller, nerdfighter, and fangirl to indie bookstores wherever she finds herself. And, among the marvelous people involved in the 2020 project, (with her limited amount of all-grown-up awesome), she hopes to be a voice for young readers, and their influential role in the future of her favorite bookstore. She has a chicken purse she hopes you will sign, because she is is also quirky.


Howard W. Fisher
Managing Director of The Fisher Company

Managing Director, The Fisher Company which provides strategic consulting and mergers and acquisitions advisory services for the media industry.30 years’ experience as a book publisher has allowed Howard to be involved with all aspects of publishing. Howard has had success operating four publishing companies. He has founded, built and sold two successful trade book publishing companies, one to a major newspaper chain and one to a major New York publisher. He has been responsible for sales and marketing efforts of more than 1000 non-fiction titles, including ten bestsellers with sales of more than 1 million copies each. He is also the co-author of a New York Times #1 bestseller with sales exceeding six million copies.  Howard formed The Fisher Company to provide expertise and help for growing publishing companies. He is a Past President of IBPA/Publishers Marketing Association.


Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld
Co-owner of Capitola Book Café 

Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld is currently a co-owner of Capitola Book Café, founded in 1980, and has been a bookseller for fifteen years. She has a Master’s degree in education, taught High School English for two years, and has served as a program director for several non-profits, including the American Lung Association, where she created a model for providing educational outreach that is still utilized by health care providers throughout the central coast area.  She was raised in Mexico City and hates to fly but loves to travel, which makes for a cautiously optimistic approach to pushing past boundaries. She came into bookselling as a passionate reader and aspiring writer who believed in the power of bookstores as gathering places for people and ideas.  Capitola Book Café is currently engaged in a fundraising effort to update its physical space and business model, a pursuit that is flexing every boundary-pushing
muscle she has. 


Susan Slater
Mountain View Whisman School District. 

A life-long bibliophile, Susan earned her BA and MA from Stanford University. She spent many years as a research librarian at Stanford University in the Math & Computer Sciences, Engineering and Biology libraries. She then moved over to the realm of publishing, becoming first an Assistant Editor at Benjamin Cummings and then an Assistant Editor and Associate Editor in the college textbook division at Addison-Wesley and Addison Wesley Longman, primarily in the Computer and Engineering Sciences. She helped facilitate the merge of Harper Collins Civil Engineering titles into AWL’s product line. Susan currently works with elementary school English Language Learners in the Mountain View Whisman School District. 


Michael Weaver
National Trade Sales Manager for Chelsea Green Publishing

Michael Weaver is the national trade sales manager for Chelsea Green Publishing. He was an independent bookseller for 15 years (notably as computer team member during the Tattered Cover's transition to a computerized inventory system in the 1980s and as systems manager for Elliott Bay Book Co. for 3 years in the '90s), managing editor for body/mid/spirit trade magazine NAPRA ReView, and Chelsea Green's western regional sales manager for the past 5 years during which time he helped launch Chelsea Green's consignment partner program for independent stores, which he continues to manage. Michael is an active volunteer in the relocalization movement as a co-founder of Transition Santa Cruz, where he facilitated the local foods working group for 3 years, and he has a design certificate in permaculture. He is s staunch supporter of independent bookstores, and has a personal interest in the evolving future of local economies, having attended the Economics of Happiness conference, BALLE conference, and Strategies for a New Economy conference in 2012. Michael lives in Soquel, CA, in the Capitola Book Café and Bookshop Santa Cruz bookshed.


Dan Sheehan
Vice President and General Manager, Ingram Content Group Inc.

Dan Sheehan is Vice-President of Sales and General Manager of Periodicals for Ingram Content Group.  Mr. Sheehan joined Ingram in 2003 as Director of National Accounts, and was promoted in 2005 to Vice President.  In 2009, he was promoted again and added Ingram Periodicals to his portfolio. Dan attended Furman University and received a bachelor of science and masters in business administration from Belmont University.


Lee Daniel Kravetz
Marketing and Publicity Senior Manager for Penguin Books 

Lee Daniel Kravetz was a marketing and publicity senior manager for Penguin Books and Harcourt for seven years, and worked with such authors as Yann Martel, Janis Cooke Newman, Gunter Grass, A.B. Yehoshua, and Joyce Carol Oates. He got his first newspaper job at the Ft. Worth Star Telegram at the age of 15 (he lied about his age to get the gig), and has since written for print and television, including the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post, NOVA, Frontline, and Sesame Street. He will receive his Master’s Degree in Psychology in 2013 and is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He is a proud participant of the San Francisco Writers Grotto, and is currently completing his first book. 


Suzanne Tamiesie
Consultant

Suzanne Tamiesie has been an avid reader since she was six years old. Her love affair with Kepler's goes back to 1974. She had a career in banking until she decided she'd rather work with students. Suzanne was Director of Family Housing and Director of Capitol Improvements at the University of Oregon Housing Department. In 1987 she became Manager of Housing Facilities at Stanford. She and her staff provided housing services to approximately thirteen thousand students, spouses and children along with managing 3.2 million square feet of facilities. In 1991 she became Director of Support Services for the campus wide Facilities Department. She and her staff provided financial, budgeting, human resources, health and safety services. She and her team cared for Stanford special houses, ran the University's maps, architectural and construction records department and managed the facilities customer service call center. In 1996 a tumor on her spinal cord caused some life changes. She now spends her time reading, knitting, volunteering at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and providing pro bono consulting for non profits. 


Gloria Genee
General Manager Partners West

Gloria Genee started her career in publishing as the magazine clerk in a Michigan bookstore, later moving to Minnesota to manage a college bookstore.  She then went on to a varied career in sales, representing Macmillan (the original version), Langenscheidt, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books and Stanley Tools among others, before coming to Partners as director of sales/marketing in 1996.  Gloria has since been instrumental in birthing Partners/West in Renton, Washington from an extremely small operation to its present size.  While she still has a hands approach to customers, she also wears the hat of general manager, logistics expert, IT troubleshooter and has learned a lot about roof leaks & conveyor belts over the last sixteen years.


Melissa Mytinger
Founder of Berkeley Arts & Letters 

has been in the book business since 1967, as a bookseller, bookstore owner, antiquarian cataloguer, small press publisher and printer, children’s specialty store book specialist, and trade association executive. She directed events, marketing, and communications at Cody’s Books for over 25 years. She created Berkeley Arts & Letters in 2009, a large-scale author event series she produces, which is now under the auspices of The Booksmith, for which she also manages author events in the store and in other venues. 


Molly Norton
Writer Storyteller and Global Talent Manager

Molly has spent half of her career as a professional performer, writer, and playwright and the other half in performance management for A.T. Kearney, a global strategy consulting firm. She has had multiple pieces published in Salon.com and the Washington Post and currently writes a food and wine blog. She was a company member with the Undermain Theater where she performed for the 50th anniversary of the UN with an international cast in the former Republic of Yugoslavia during the Balkan conflict. She has been a storyteller with Porchlight and Back Fence. She's spent countless hours perusing the shelves of Kepler's and Booksmith and believes the The BookSwap is one of the most perfect cultural events known to (wo)man. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon. 


Katie Butterick
Kepler’s Books


Katie’s life long habit of devouring books combined with her outgoing personality and love of interacting with people led her to Kepler’s in 2009. Her quick thinking, grace under pressure, and playful yet professional sense of humor make her a great fit for the store where you’ll find her bustling around recommending great reads and stepping in to take responsibility and help out wherever needed. Never one to rest, when she’s not working Katie can be found exercising, playing with her dogs, experimenting in the kitchen, traveling, and constantly searching for more reasons to enjoy life. 


Susan Holmer 
Director of Library Services City of Menlo Park

Susan Holmer has been the Director of Library Services for the City of Menlo Park for the past ten years and has been a fan of Kepler’s since the days that it was in a small cozy space on the opposite side of El Camino Real.  A second generation San Franciscan Susan could often be found in the local public library or the local bookshop, most of which are now gone, finding the right book for cold foggy summer days.  She’s just finished reading Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy  and is looking forward to Remembering Che by his widow Aleida March and Paris My Sweet a story about her favorite city, Paris, and favorite food chocolate (dark of course).


Elise Cannon
Vice President Field SalesPerseus Books Group and Publishers Group West

When Perseus Books Group acquired premiere independent book distributor Publishers GroupWest in 2007, PBG appointed Elise to integrate the independent bookstore sales force for both companies. Elise had joined PGW as an assistant in 1991, waspromoted to Sales Manager that year, and eventually took over supervision of all sales to indie bookstore and wholesaler accounts.Her goal has always been to engage the best independent publishers in the U.S. to help them excel and compete in the marketplace. She has worked to shape,sell, and market titles from over 150 remarkable presses, including Grove/Atlantic Monthly, McSweeney's, New World Library, Tin House, Counterpoint, Soft Skull Press, and Gallup Press. She has served as Board Member and advisor to The Independent Book Publishers Association. Previously, she worked at Green Apple Books and Bookpeople. Elise was an English Major at UCLA and holds an MFA in Fiction from WarrenWilson College in North Carolina. She lives in San Francisco.


Karen Duffin
Marketing And Communications Manager of Cisco Systems

Karen Duffin has worked as a speechwriter, an executive speech and media coach, and a brand / marketing manager. She started her career working in media relations and corporate / crisis communications at a San Francisco-based PR firm. Karen then moved into speechwriting and executive communications, working first with Cisco's Chairman and CEO, John Chambers, and then moving to Bangalore, India to work with Cisco's Chief Globalisation Officer. She currently manages marketing and communications for Cisco's corporate social responsibility (CSR) brand. Outside of work, Karen is an editor and writer at San Francisco-based literary publication, The Rumpus (www.therumpus.net), an artist, and an advocate for a variety of social issues.


Tyrrell Mahoney
Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development at Chronicle Books

Tyrrell Mahoney currently holds the position of Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Business Development at Chronicle Books.  Mahoney joined the San Francisco based publisher of award-winning, innovative books on design, art, architecture, photography, food, lifestyle and pop culture, as well as books for children, in 1996 as its International Sales Manager. Since then she has held a variety of positions in sales at the company. Prior to joining Chronicle Books, Mahoney was the Circulation Manager of the San Francisco-based Mother Jones Magazine.  Mahoney holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Boston University and was raised in New York.


Scott James
Journalist and Author-preneur

Scott James is a veteran journalist and two-time best-selling novelist who has taken innovative approaches with Bay Area companies, including independent booksellers, to launch his books. In journalism he is a three-time Emmy winner for his work in television news, and in recent years has become known for his weekly column about San Francisco for The New York Times. In the world of fiction he writes under the pen name Kemble Scott. His debut “SoMa” was the first novel promoted via YouTube. His second novel “The Sower” premiered as an e-book and was the first book sold by Scribd.com, an online publishing start-up. The hardcover followed from Marin’s Numina Press in a 21-day turn-around using print-on-demand technologies and initially sold exclusively at local independent booksellers. Scott also helps organize Litquake, San Francisco’s literary festival, and the Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival.


Jeffrey Chow
Financial Advisor Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

As a Financial Advisor / CFP○R, Jeff works with individuals and families to achieve their financial goals and Nonprofits to assist their donors leverage their assets to become larger supporters with improved financial risk management and planning. Continuing the Conversation (CTC) was started in January 2009 because the 2008 Credit Crisis was going to have a dramatic and lasting impact on our community founded and as an extension of Jeff’s efforts with Nonprofits.  Kepler’s and the issues facing local, independent business have been regular topics at CTC.  Movie Nights at Kepler’s are a visible and profitable result of these discussions at CTC.


Robin Sloan
Writer and Media Inventor in San Francisco

Robin Sloan is a writer and media inventor in San Francisco. His first novel, Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, will be published in October 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Before writing full-time, he worked on media partnerships at Twitter, and before that, he was a strategist at Current TV and a Naughton Fellow at the Poynter Institute. You can catch up with him at robinsloan.com and follow along at @robinsloan.


Holly Jones
Stanford MBA and holder of an MFA in Fiction from Vermont College

Holly Jones, a Stanford MBA and holder of an MFA in Fiction from Vermont College, lived in DC from 2001 until last year. During her time in DC and in addition to working for commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, she penned the "Dispatches from the Anacostia" and "Dispatches from the Capital" series for McSweeney's Internet Tendency, co-founded what is now 826DC and served as its CEO for its first 1.5 years of operation and as its founding board president for nearly 3 years, and was named one of Washington's 2010 Women Who Mean Business by the Washington Business Journal. Now back in the Bay Area, she continues her "day job" at Jones Lang LaSalle and writes from the San Francisco Writers' Grotto. She is currently working on a thriller set in Pakistan and coming to terms with the inner-city challenges of inner-city kids she witnessed in DC and how best to capture their stories in a longer work of non-fiction.


Judith Rosen
Senior Bookselling Editor for Publishers Weekly

Judith Rosen is senior bookselling editor at Publishers Weekly and also serves as the magazine’s New England correspondent. She has worked in and written about the book business for more than two decades, and had a column on paperback books at the Boston Herald before coming to PW. Her articles and reviews have appeared in the Boston Phoenix and Writer’s Magazine and in several writing handbooks, including the forthcoming Best of the Writer (Oct.). She began her book career in publishing at the MIT Press and Beacon Press, where she handled publicity and marketing, then made the shift to bookselling. She was in charge of events, publications, and marketing for WordsWorth Books in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass., then one of the ten largest independent bookstores in the U.S., as well as for its Curious George store, Penguin Bookshop, and WordWorth Gifts. She has an MFA in fiction and literature from Bennington College and lives in Cambridge, Mass.


Ted Habte-Gabr
Producer of Live Talks Los Angeles

Ted Habte-Gabr was born in Ethiopia. He is part Eritrean and part Palestinian, and his family emigrated to Iowa in 1985.  He graduated from The University of Iowa.  Out of college he worked as an engneer, but later made a switch to the e-learning space and worked for two online learning concerns -- Quisic and the Fathom Knowledge Network.  While at Iowa, he founded the universities annual Distinguished Lecture Series and as an alumni created and ran a series, Iowa Stories, that featured prominent graduates of the university.  He has consulted in e-learning and philanthropy.  In 2010, he founded Live Talks Productions LLC, which provides consulting services in live events and produces two series of live 'in conversation' events in Los Angeles -- an evening series Live Talks Los Angeles (arts and cultural events), and Live Talks Business Forum, a morning series featuring business thought leaders.  Combined, the company produces 45-50 events per year.  Highlights including: Tina Fey, Seth Godin, Harry Belafonte, Amy Poehler, John Irving, Howard Schultz, Gary Vaynerchuk, Gregg Allman, Jane Lynch, Hal Holbrook, Scott Turow, Deepak Chopra, T.C. Boyle, Ann Patchett, Lewis Black, Sir Michael Caine, Anne Rice and the likes.  For the past 11 years he has also been manager of the Rock Bottom Remainders, the all author rock band (Stephen King, Amy Tan, Dave Barry, et al) producing 30+ concerts and raising $1.7 Million for various causes.  He collects original editorial cartoons.


Sean Murray
Director of Trade Sales for Sourcebooks

Sean Murray is a graduate of the University of Missouri and 25 year veteran of the bookselling and publishing industry.  After beginning his bookselling career at Oxford Books in Atlanta, GA., Sean went on to manage five Borders stores during the mid-90s before joining Sourcebooks in 2001 as their national accounts managers.  Now Director of Trade Sales, Sean is responsible for Sourcebooks sales activities of both print and ebooks to all bookstore, online, school and library channels.



Kevin Smokler
Author
 
Kevin Smokler (@weegee) is the author of the forthcoming book "Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books you Haven't Touched Since High School" (Feb. 2013). Called a "publishing visionary" by The Huffington Post and Mashable, he speaks throughout North America on the future of reaching, publishing and bookselling. His writing has appeared in the LA Times, Fast Company and on NPR. He also sits on the advisory boards of South by Southwest Interactive, The Idea Festival, and the Symbolia Graphic Novel project. 


Lissa Muscatine 
Co-owner of Politics & Prose Bookstore 

Lissa Muscatine is co-owner of Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, DC. Previously, she spent several decades working in government, politics, and journalism, most recently serving as Director of Speechwriting and Senior Advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She also was a collaborator on Hillary Clinton's memoir, Living History, and was a presidential speechwriter in the Clinton White House. Before that, she worked as a reporter and editor at The Washington Post. She has served as well on a variety of non-profit boards and is currently chair of the Board of Trustees at The Sidwell Friends School. 


Gail Slocum
Senior Energy Policy Attorney for PG&E and Chairman of the San Mateo County Planning Commission

A native of Palo Alto who grew up coming to Kepler's, Gail Slocum is a highly influential and respected political name in Silicon Valley, and a longtime effective organizer in the mid-Peninsula. She is the former Menlo Park Mayor who currently serves as a senior energy policy attorney for PG&E and Chairman of the San Mateo County Planning Commission. Gail helped rally the community to save Kepler’s bookstore in 2005.


Alex Michelucci
Staff Leader at Kepler's Books and Magazines

Since August of 2008 Alex has served as a sociable and knowledgeable member of the Kepler's staff, responsible for overseeing operations on the sales floor and providing excellent customer service. As an active musician, performer, political activist and free thinker, Alex brings a high level of positive energy and social charisma to the table, while also providing a tactile and sang-froid attitude which facilitates more serious concerns.


Angela Mann
Youth Events Coordinator for Kepler's Books and Magazines

Angela was born in London and sailed to the New World to join her husband, boldly going where no Mann had gone before. Before coming to work at Kepler's, she worked as a production editor for several publishing companies on both sides of the Atlantic, including Kogan Page, Sage Publications, Dale Seymour, Wadsworth, and Addison Wesley. Angela is currently the Youth Events Coordinator at Kepler's, writes Kepler's teen blog, thebookbind, and is the voice of Kepler's Teens on Facebook. 


Stephanie Wright
Web Store Manager at Kepler's Books and Magazines


Stephanie Wright, aka Jenivi7 on the internet, is the current web ninja for Keplers.com, slinking undetectably among the shelves, making books appear and disappear right under customer's noses.  She's also a geek and fangirl extraordinaire who resides with her husband in Burlingame where they happily dissect and nitpick movie and video game plots.


Julie Moncton 
Co-Owner of All Ears Audiobooks located in San Jose 

Julie Moncton was a lead engineer on the computer design team at Hewlett-Packard. In 2001, she decided to leave engineering and pursue a career around books, a lifelong passion.  After a brief stint at the Saratoga Library, Julie became a co-owner of All Ears Audiobooks, an independent book store in west San Jose.  In addition to reading, she enjoys running – and loves that audiobooks allow her to do both at the same time.


Michael Closson
Executive Director of Acterra

Michael is executive director of Acterra, an environmental non-profit serving the Silicon Valley that provides people with tangible, hands-on activities they can do to improve the environment.  Prior to Acterra, he served as executive director of Biodiversity Northwest in Seattle, executive director of the Center for Economic Conversation in Mountain View, CA, and co-director of New Ways to Work in Palo Alto, CA.  In his free time, Michael particularly enjoys hiking and backpacking in the beautiful California wilderness.


Cherilyn Parsons
Writer; Director of Development for Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR)

Cherilyn brings experience as a professional fundraiser, fiction writer, book reviewer, journalist, and activist. For three years she has led fundraising at CIR, which has grown 1000% during this time and won the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” award for organizations. As a consultant she secured numerous large grants and gifts for clients in media, education, and social justice. A native Californian, she holds a Master’s in Professional Writing from USC. Her feature articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and online, and she is completing a novel set in Asia.


Janis Cooke Newman
Author and SF Writers Grotto Member

Janis is a San Francisco writer, and member of the SF Writers' Grotto, where she runs the popular Grotto Classes program. She is also the author of the novel, 'Mary,' which was an LA Times Finalist for First Fiction, as well as USA Todays Best Historical Fiction for 2006. Her memoir, 'The Russian Word for Snow,' was published in 2001, and is still in print. Her travel writing has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, SF Chronicle, and in various magazines and anthologies.


Praveen Madan
Community Engagement Officer for Keplers2020

Praveen is a literary entrepreneur focused on building the community bookstore for the 21st century.  Praveen is a partner in the award-winning Booksmith bookstore in San Francisco and the Berkeley Arts & Letters series of author events.  Recently Praveen has been working closely with a group of community champions to transform Kepler’s into a next generation literary venture built around a new level of community engagement and open source innovation.


Steve Piersanti
President of Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Steve is president and publisher of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, a leading independent publisher of progressive books on current affairs, personal growth, and business and management.  Prior to founding Berrett-Koehler in 1992, Steve served as president of Jossey-Bass Publishers.  He began his career at Jossey-Bass in 1977 as a promotional copywriter, then served as marketing director, editor, editorial director, and executive vice president before becoming president in 1989. 


 
 

    This week marks the launch of the Kepler’s Future Search planning and organizing committee, and it’s been a highly motivating and productive start for us.

    On Wednesday April 18th, a collective of intellectual and innovative minds gathered to begin drafting and constructing the foundation for Kepler’s Future Search. After a few hours of deliberation it became quite clear that the core team of contributors had begun to develop a culture of positive energy, dedication and momentum which would lead us to a highly productive and groundbreaking Future Search.

Now I’m sure all of this sounds fantastic, but you must be wondering, what is a “Future Search?”

    Generally speaking, a Future Search is a collaborative, committee based conference which helps any large group, business or organization discover, tighten or reinvent itself via a highly democratic and inclusive method. The philosophy behind a Future Search is simply that the most effective means of fostering transformative and healthy change within an organization is reliant upon gathering the entire system into one place at one time. This means the very top of the organization, as well as the very bottom, and everything in between. 

    We originally set out to have this Future Search operate as a vehicle for the reinvention of Kepler’s as a business, but now it’s becoming clear that Kepler’s is simply ground zero for something much greater. 

    Yes, this will be a Future Search to help Kepler’s restructure itself, but more importantly it will be a Future Search to develop a new model for all indie bookstores across our nation, and not simply a new model for selling books, but a new model for the role of bookstores within society.

    No one is sure what will ultimately come of this adventure, but one thing is clear, this is more than the restructuring of a business, this is a literary movement. It is an opportunity to push back against the depletion of culture in our country, and a call to arms for community builders and book lovers everywhere.

More to come as we progress, so keep an ear to the ground.


-Alex


Kepler’s Future Search will take place July 26-28 and will bring together 70 individuals to determine the future of Kepler’s, and indie bookstores everywhere.

The Future Search planning team consists of nine intellectual, well read and spoken individuals from all different walks of life.


Alex Michelucci, Staff Leader, Kepler's Books and Magazines
Since August of 2008 Alex has served as a sociable and knowledgeable member of the Kepler's staff, responsible for overseeing operations on the sales floor and providing excellent customer service. As an active musician, performer, political activist and free thinker, Alex brings a high level of positive energy and social charisma to the table, while also providing a tactile and sang-froid attitude which facilitates more serious concerns.

Angela Mann, Youth Events Coordinator, Kepler's Books and Magazines,
Angela was born in London and sailed to the New World to join her husband, boldly going where no Mann had gone before. Before coming to work at Kepler's, she worked as a production editor for several publishing companies on both sides of the Atlantic, including Kogan Page, Sage Publications, Dale Seymour, Wadsworth, and Addison Wesley. Angela is currently the Youth Events Coordinator at Kepler's, writes Kepler's teen blog, thebookbind, and is the voice of Kepler's Teens on Facebook. 

Stephanie Wright, Web Store Manager, Kepler's Books and Magazines
Stephanie Wright, aka Jenivi7 on the internet, is the current web ninja for Keplers.com, slinking undetectably among the shelves, making books appear and disappear right under customer's noses.  She's also a geek and fangirl extraordinaire who resides with her husband in Burlingame where they happily dissect and nitpick movie and video game plots.

Julie Moncton, Co-Owner, All Ears Audiobooks located in San Jose
Julie Moncton was a lead engineer on the computer design team at Hewlett-Packard. In 2001, she decided to leave engineering and pursue a career around books, a lifelong passion.  After a brief stint at the Saratoga Library, Julie became a co-owner of All Ears Audiobooks, an independent book store in west San Jose.  In addition to reading, she enjoys running – and loves that audiobooks allow her to do both at the same time.

Michael Closson, Executive Director, Acterra
Michael is executive director of Acterra, an environmental non-profit serving the Silicon Valley that provides people with tangible, hands-on activities they can do to improve the environment.  Prior to Acterra, he served as executive director of Biodiversity Northwest in Seattle, executive director of the Center for Economic Conversation in Mountain View, CA, and co-director of New Ways to Work in Palo Alto, CA.  In his free time, Michael particularly enjoys hiking and backpacking in the beautiful California wilderness.

Cherilyn Parsons, Writer; Director of Development, Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR)
Cherilyn brings experience as a professional fundraiser, fiction writer, book reviewer, journalist, and activist. For three years she has led fundraising at CIR, which has grown 1000% during this time and won the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” award for organizations. As a consultant she secured numerous large grants and gifts for clients in media, education, and social justice. A native Californian, she holds a Master’s in Professional Writing from USC. Her feature articles and reviews have been published in major newspapers and online, and she is completing a novel set in Asia.

Janis Cooke Newman, Author and SF Writers' Grotto Member
Janis is a San Francisco writer, and member of the SF Writers' Grotto, where she runs the popular Grotto Classes program. She is also the author of the novel, 'Mary,' which was an LA Times Finalist for First Fiction, as well as USA Todays Best Historical Fiction for 2006. Her memoir, 'The Russian Word for Snow,' was published in 2001, and is still in print. Her travel writing has appeared in the NY Times, LA Times, SF Chronicle, and in various magazines and anthologies.

Praveen Madan, Community Engagement Officer for Keplers2020
Praveen is a literary entrepreneur focused on building the community bookstore for the 21st century.  Praveen is a partner in the award-winning Booksmith bookstore in San Francisco and the Berkeley Arts & Letters series of author events.  Recently Praveen has been working closely with a group of community champions to transform Kepler’s into a next generation literary venture built around a new level of community engagement and open source innovation.

Steve Piersanti, President, Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Steve is president and publisher of Berrett-Koehler Publishers, a leading independent publisher of progressive books on current affairs, personal growth, and business and management.  Prior to founding Berrett-Koehler in 1992, Steve served as president of Jossey-Bass Publishers.  He began his career at Jossey-Bass in 1977 as a promotional copywriter, then served as marketing director, editor, editorial director, and executive vice president before becoming president in 1989.