On May 12th, we're saying goodbye to Lindsay Leslie as our Assistant Regional Advisor and welcoming Madeline Smoot in the position. And at the end of August, Samantha M Clark will be retiring from her position as Regional Advisor, and Stephanie Pellegrin will be stepping in to the role.
Lindsay took on the job of ARA in the thick of the pandemic and helped to create an ongoing heartbeat of opportunities for our chapter to enjoy, including the 2021, 2022, and 2023 annual conferences, the monthly meetings, and more. Now that life is back to pre-pandemic busyness, Lindsay is leaving the role to focus on family (including her two teenage sons who require her taxi services all the time) and on growing her career as a children’s author and supporting her current and upcoming books.
On her leaving, Lindsay had this message for our chapter: "I love this writing community so much! I became a member of Austin SCBWI in 2015, and immediately felt part of the group. Austin SCBWI is like that bar “Cheers” where everybody knows your name. So welcoming and so warm. I volunteered as the social media manager and then as the PAL volunteer and then as your ARA. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work alongside Samantha and Laura to create kick-ass programming and events—from online Zoom-marathon conferences to the in-person conference, monthly meetings, and social gatherings. The ARA opportunity came to me at a time when I desperately needed it, when we were home-bound during the pandemic. The role gave me a lifeline to my creative world and to all of you! Now that we’ve 'gone back to normal' (whatever that means), it’s time for me to pass on this role to someone else and pivot my attention to family and career. But I’ll be around, I’ll be helping out, and I’ll be cheering you on. It’s in my nature. See you at the next monthly meeting. XOXO, Lindsay."
We'll miss Lindsay as the ARA and want to send her a big THANK YOU for all her wonderful work. She was instrumental in keeping our community inspired and engaged through COVID. And we can't wait to celebrate the new books that we are sure are on her horizon.
And we want to send a big THANK YOU to Madeline to joining our leadership team as our new ARA. Madeline Smoot is the former publisher of CBAY Books and Editorial Director for the Children’s Division of Blooming Tree Press. In other words, Madeline has a lot of experience bringing books to market. She also writes about writing under her own name and uses the pen names Lori Bond and Elliot Addison to write books for kids.
If you were at our conference last month, you would've been treated to an impromptu workshop from Madeline when one of our faculty members lost their voice and couldn't teach. We're grateful Madeline donated her expertise for our attendees and is now giving us her expertise, ideas and knowledge as our ARA.
While Samantha still has four months before her retirement as Regional Advisor, we're so excited to have Stephanie on board early to learn the ropes.
Stephanie Pellegrin writes young adult and middle grade fiction. She’s been involved in the Austin chapter of SCBWI for more than ten years and has loved every minute. Aside from writing she loves reading (duh!) and spending time with her rescue pup, Freddy Pickles.
Stephanie and Madeline had a message for our chapter: "We have both long admired the work and amazing events Samantha and her ARAs and ICs have been doing for the last few years, and we want to continue on in the same vein. We have all sorts of ideas and dreams for our chapter for the next few years, and we cannot wait to share them with you in the coming months. Our goal is to continue Samantha’s tradition of having the best chapter in Texas."
We're excited to have Madeline joining the leadership team on May 12 and Stephanie joining in August. Along with our Illustrator Coordinator Laura Fisk, Austin SCBWI will be in great hands.