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Board Members and Advisors


Board of Directors

Yvonne Adams is the Director of Equity and Inclusion at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School.

Roberto Ainslie is the General Manager of Elizabeth Street Cafe.

Dalia Azim is a writer and the manager of special projects at the Blanton Museum of Art. 

Sindya Bhanoo is a recent graduate of the Michener Center for Writers. She has worked as a reporter for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Industry Standard. 

Timothy Braun is a writer living in Austin, TX. His plays and operas have been performed in theatres, site-specific spaces, and festivals across the United States and Europe. The New York Times, HuffingtonPost, Culturebot, and The Weeklings, among others.

Deborah de Freitas (President) started a lifelong love of writing about a minute after she learned to read. Her communication skills have been used to serve the growth of several Austin area tech companies including Dell and Bazaarvoice, and she currently works for Khoros.

Joel Gross leads the program portfolio at the health-based non-profit It’s Time Texas. From corporate headquarters to Capitol Hill to startups the throughline of Joel’s career and personal life is a passion for the written word.  He is on the never-ending quest to craft a “true” short story and believes that the act of writing is an act of self-discovery that everyone should experience.

Gerson Gutierrez is a Senior Client Solutions Associate at Gerson Lehrman Group. He is also the founder of Goldbridge Leadership, a social-media leadership development platform with a focus on diversity & inclusion, change management and employee engagement. Besides his current roles, Gerson has over 6 years of experience providing direct services on behalf of non-profit organizations, including Communities in Schools, Ronald McDonald House Charities, CommUnityCare, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Foundation Communities.

Katie Angermeier Haab (Vice President), former Executive Director of Austin Bat Cave, holds an MFA in fiction from Texas State University where she also served as writer-in-residence at the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center, running the Visiting Writers Series.

Jack Kaulfus (Secretary) is the author of Tomorrow or Forever, a collection of short stories. As Chair of the English Department at Griffin School in Austin, Jack teaches English, Creative Writing, and Comprehensive Health and Sex Ed. Jack holds an MFA from Texas State University in San Marcos, and served on the board of Girls Rock Austin from 2012-2016.

Rachel McElroy has been serving the Austin community since 2008 and joined the ACC Grants Development Office in June 2014. Prior to ACC, she was Director of Grants at United Way for Greater Austin where she managed all grant research, proposal development, and award compliance. She has ten years of experience serving students through a combination of roles held at youth-focused nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions. In the past, Rachel has also performed editorial duties at literary magazines including The Missouri Review and The Chicago Review. She has her B.A. in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an M.A. in Humanities from University of Chicago.

Katherine Moore has brought fifteen books to publication as a ghostwriter and writer, managing book projects for university and independent presses. As an editor, she has worked with hundreds of writers, from philanthropists to lawyers, pastors and poets, screenwriters and spiritual leaders, musicians and real-life cowboys, giving them her unique insight and guidance. She taught English in several different schools in Mexico and created the English for Business course still taught at the Colegio Technologico Colleges in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Ms. Moore lives in Austin, TX with her Welsh partner, English daughter, and two rescue dogs. Her own work has been published in the Sun Magazine and at Medium.com. She is currently working on a novel set in Austin, TX in the 1970s.

Don McPhee (Treasurer) is a Managing Partner with PMB Helin Donovan, LLP, an accounting firm with offices in Austin and Houston, Texas.  He also serves as a member of the Finance Committee for St. Theresa Catholic Church and as Treasurer for the Central Texas Hockey Officials Association.

Matthew Patin is the Literary Director of the Texas Book Festival.

Simone Pollard is a Program Specialist for the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department. She oversees programming for adults, children, and seniors.

Advisory Council

Claudia Chidester is the Director of the Fontaine Archive, an archive of the letters and art works of Virginia and Paul Fontaine

Doug Dorst directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Texas State University-San Marcos. He is the author of Alive at Necropolis, the story collection The Surf Guru, and S., a collaboration with J.J. Abrams.

Spike Gillespie is a prolific writer who has published in Elle, Self, GQ, Playboy, Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, and Texas Monthly. Gillespie’s books include All of the Wrong Men and One Perfect Boy and Pissed Off: On Women and Anger.

Tom Grimes is the author of five novels, a play, and a memoir. An alumnus of the University of Iowa’s creative writing MFA program, he also edited The Workshop: Seven Decades from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Michael Hall is an award-winning journalist and editor who joined Texas Monthly in 1997. Previously, he served as associate editor of Third Coast magazine and managing editor of The Austin Chronicle.

Shaun Jordan is director of marketing at Abraham Trading Company. Prior to joining ATC, Shaun operated a sports marketing company that placed elite athletes in instructional clinic environments around the world.

Keith Kreeger has been working with clay for over 20 years. Born and raised in New York, he opened his first ceramics studio in Cape Cod. He brought his work and Keith Kreeger Studios to Austin, Texas, in 2009.

Richard Linklater is a film director and writer whose feature films include Slacker, Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Before Sunrise, and Boyhood. Linklater founded the Austin Film Society in 1985, where he remains Artistic Director.

James Magnuson is the Director of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. He is the author of ten novels; his most recent work is The Hounds of Winter.

June Rodil is the beverage director of McGuire Moorman Hospitality, overseeing the wine, beer, and spirits programs at six of Austin’s most popular restaurants: Jeffrey’s, Josephine House, Clark’s, Elizabeth Street Café, Perla’s and Lamberts Barbecue.

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, essayist, and teacher. For the past thirty years, she has traveled the world leading writing workshops that inspire students of all ages. She is the author and/or editor of more than 20 volumes.

James Pennebaker is a professor, teacher, and researcher in the Psychology Department at UT who conducts experiments on writing and language use.  He is known for his early work showing that expressive writing about emotional upheavals can improve people’s physical and mental health.

Ruth Pennebaker is the author of eight books of fiction and non-fiction, a former columnist for the Dallas Morning News and the Texas Observer, and a commentator for KUT, Austin’s public radio station.

Evan Smith currently serves as president and editor-in-chief of Texas Tribune.

Ana Martinez Stapleton is a creative consultant in the hospitality industry with a lifelong passion for the arts.

Kirk Walsh (Founder of ABC) has worked as a writer-in-residence in public schools, hospitals, and shelters in New York City and Texas on behalf of Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Gemini Ink, and other nonprofits.

Simone Wicha currently serves as director of the Blanton Museum of Art.

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