Lin Oliver | Executive Director
Lin is the co-founder of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. For much of her career, she was an executive in the film and television industry, having served as Executive Vice President of MCA Universal Studios for over 12 years. She is the writer and executive producer of over 300 episodes of television and three feature films directed at the family audience. During her career in film and television, she served as Executive Director of the SCBWI as a volunteer, spending nights and weekends and vacations in the service of SCBWI while earning her living in filmed entertainment. Since 2000, she has not only led the SCBWI as Executive Director but simultaneously has pursued her career as a children’s book author. She has published over 35 books for children, including a best-selling series about a child with learning differences that has sold over four million books. Her books have appeared on the New York Times best seller list, and her work has been recognized with The Christopher Award, the National Council of Teachers of English citation, and PEN International Special Award of Recognition. As Executive Director of SCBWI, she organizes, plans, and directs the two major SCBWI national conferences. She is the liaison with the major publishing houses and maintains close working relationships with leading professionals and executives in the field. She speaks at regional, national, and international conferences on subjects ranging from the craft of creating children’s books to marketing, promotion, and sales. She advises our members on creative matters, reviews selected manuscripts, sets policy, reviews and creates member benefits, and establishes new initiatives to benefit our members (e.g. online book launch events, speakers bureau, community bookstore events). She also manages staff and personnel matters, establishes programs with partner organizations (such as First Book, We Need Diverse Books, or The American Library Association) and oversees much of the work of the regional advisors. She has a BA in English from UC Berkley, a Masters in Educational Psychology from UCLA, and has completed course work for an EdD from UCLA. She is recognized as a leading voice in promoting literacy and children’s literature.
Sarah Baker is the Associate Executive Director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In addition to guiding the organization with executive director, Lin Oliver, Sarah runs all programs and benefits for illustrator members, and art directs all SCBWI publications. Before coming to the SCBWI eight years ago, Sarah designed children’s books at Penguin Young Readers Group. She graduated from UCSB with a focus in fine art, and currently lives, illustrates, and throws pottery in sunny Los Angeles with her husband and two young daughters.
Tammy Brown | Director, Community Marketing and Engagement
Tammy Brown is a media and entertainment executive with expertise in marketing, sales, and promotion in television, publishing, and digital media services. Tammy served in senior-level marketing leadership positions at the globally known brands of Disney, ESPN, and Fox. As part of the creative marketing, sales, and promotions teams at Nickelodeon, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and Ballantine Books, Tammy created B2B and B2C programs across multiple types of media, from digital to video to print. Tammy held positions in content marketing and entertainment digital services marketing at digital content delivery market leaders Vubiquity and Technicolor. As a marketing consultant, Tammy has created and managed social media programs and digital advertising for a number of clients in the health and fitness and film/ visual effects fields. A supporter of nonprofit cultural organizations, Tammy sits on the board of directors of LA Commons, a cultural organization that brings the diverse communities of Los Angeles together via arts and culture programs. Tammy is also an active pro bono consultant with the Taproot Foundation as an account director on projects ranging from health and human services, arts and culture, and advocacy organizations.
April Powers | Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer
April Powers is a bilingual, intersectional Equity & Inclusion practitioner who brings over 15 years’ experience in diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging, training, recruiting, community outreach and leadership to the SCBWI. Previous clients and roles include leading inclusion efforts at Nestlé USA and Amgen, as well as training nonprofit clients like the Center for Nonprofit Management. She brings a depth of knowledge to the role on a global scale with a nonprofit lens. April guides the SCBWI, its leadership team, the Equity & Inclusion committee, and the regional chapters in their programs, policies, opportunities and challenges related to DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) matters. She is the SCBWI’s spokesperson for DEIB internally and externally. She will help inform the SCBWI leadership team, as well as regional chapters, on DEIB strategy, best practices, training efforts, and success metrics. Additionally, April collaborates with SCBWI functional leaders to make sure all processes, programs, and policies are infused with a DEIB sensibility. An aspiring children’s book author herself, April graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Spanish Language & Literature.
Brandon Clarke | Logistics Coordinator
Brandon is in charge of all membership packets and mailing. He also coordinates logistics for all the conferences and assists with social media for SCBWI.
Sarah Diamond | Awards & Grants Coordinator and Publications Manager
Sarah oversees SCBWI’s twenty-five awards and grants programs and serves as editor of the Insight newsletter, among other publications. She also serves as webmaster, maintaining and contributing content to the website.
Laurie Miller | Event Coordinator and Writer-At-Large
Laurie coordinates both of SCBWI’s national conferences. She is also a writer-at-large for all of SCBW’s publications. Laurie comes to the SCBWI family with a background in screenwriting, particularly documentary films. She has written documentary scripts on everything from stolen inventions to reincarnation – topics that seem to find their way into her own middle grade and young adult novels.
Joshua Smith | Director of Web Development, Database Manager
Josh oversees the production and operation of the website and database. Josh also manages the membership database and advises the regional team members on technical logistics for regional events and websites.
Kim Turrisi | Director of Special Projects
Kim is responsible for developing relationships and maintaining relationships within the children’s publishing community. She’s editor-in-chief of SCBWI’s yearly publication, The Book: An Essential Guide to Children’s Publishing. She oversees manuscript consultations for both of the SCBWI national conferences, including reading, logging, and scheduling all consultations. She works closely with Lin to program the conferences. She also writes the monthly “Exclusive Interview” column in INSIGHT, showcasing editors and agents as well as compiling SCBWI success stories. Kim oversees SCBWI’s social media platforms.
Background: Kim is a young adult author. Her debut novel JUST A NORMAL TUESDAY, edited by Kate Egan for new YA imprint KCP Loft, debuted in 2017. She also wrote and produced an award-winning web series. Kim was the Director of Development for Lin Oliver Productions. She earned a BA in Child Development from Florida State University and an MA in Interpersonal and Intercultural Communications from FSU.
Avery Silverberg | Administrative Assistant
Avery acts as a voice for SCBWI, answering phone calls, emails, and assisting members with any questions they may have. She helps everyone in the office with administrative tasks, such as logging the Golden Kite awards, copy-editing newsletters, research and more. She graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in creative writing, and is passionate about making a difference in children’s literature.
Kiana Martin | Administrative Coordinator
Kiana is one half of the SCBWI admin team, serving as the first point of contact for the organization’s members. Along with Avery, she assists members in maximizing their membership and utilizing the resources available to care for and grow their careers. Also a budding writer, Kiana has covered the LA region’s creative economy for independent publications and is currently working on a collection of poetry. When not writing, she enjoys exploring Los Angeles with a camera in hand and partner by her side.
Stephen Mooser | President Emeritus, Co-founder
Stephen is the co-founder of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, having begun the organization with Lin Oliver in 1971. As President, he is responsible for overseeing all the affairs of the organization: he creates and edits all its publications (print and digital), creates policy, manages the staff of ten, communicates with members and advises them on issues of publishing (both business and creative), is the liaison between the organization and the ACA, maintains relationships with other professional writers’ organizations like The Author’s Guild, and is the chief liaison with the group of over 120 regional advisors domestically and around the world. He travels to regional conferences and delivers addresses on the state of children’s publishing, being a recognized authority on the subject. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in film and a Master’s degree in journalism, both from UCLA, has published over sixty children’s books, and is the recipient of The Eric Carle Mentor Award, The Southern California Children’s Literature Council Dorothy McKenzie Award, and the Christopher Medal for The New York Kids Book. He is a frequent speaker at domestic and international conferences on issues related to children’s literature, and in particular the digital revolution and what it means for the future of children’s books.
As a member of SCBWI you are automatically a member of your local region. The SCBWI has over 80 regions around the world, each headed by volunteers. A Regional Advisor (RA) or two co-RAs run each region, and larger regions may also have an Assistant Regional Advisor (ARA), Illustrator Coordinator (IC) and an advisory committee. Regional leaders oversee all the regions.
Tracy Barrett, Regional Advisor Coordinator (US)
Tracy is the head coordinator of the regional advisors in the United States and serves on the SCBWI Advisory Board. Tracy oversees all the regions within the United States. She was the Midsouth Regional Advisor for ten years. She is the author of numerous books for young readers, including the award-winning biographical novel, Anna of Byzantium. Her most recent publications are Marabel and the Book of Fate, Freefall Summer, and The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard. She has been awarded the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant and a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She holds a B.A. with Honors in Classics from Brown University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in Nashville, TN.
Kathleen Ahrens, International Regional Advisor Chairperson
Kathleen is the International Regional Advisor Chairperson (IRAC) and serves on the SCBWI Advisory Board. She oversees all the regions outside of the United States. She is also a Professor in the Department of English at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where she teaches courses in creative writing, literature, and linguistics. She is a Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Humanities, and is a prominent researcher in metaphor theory, exploring aspects of metaphor use in in the political domain. Prior to becoming the IRAC in 2008, she founded and served as Regional Advisor for Taiwan from 2001 to 2008, and concurrently served as the Assistant International Advisor from 2005 to 2008. In addition to her talks and publications on metaphor, she has published numerous articles on creative writing and gives invited talks around the world on creative writing and writing for children. She has served as the Director of the International Writers’ Workshop at HKBU from 2012 to 2017 and as the Programme Director for Hong Kong International Poetry Nights in 2013. She has published numerous short stories and translations and has two bilingual picture books, Numbers Do and Ears Hear, published with Sun Ya Press.
Patricia Wiles, Director of Regional Team Management
- Patricia is the Director of Regional Team Management and serves on the SCBWI Advisory Board. She supports the work of SCBWI headquarters and the worldwide network of volunteer Regional Teams – comprised of Regional Advisors, Assistant Regional Advisors, and Illustrator Coordinators – by managing information and communications; overseeing Regional Team assignments and activities during the Summer and Winter International Conferences; coordinating training, counseling, and support for Regional Team members; and working with the Leadership Committee and Advisory Board to ensure the success of all SCBWI Regional Teams. In addition to writing books for young readers, her essays have aired on public radio and appeared in magazines such as Writer’s Digest and The Writer, and she has received several awards from the Kentucky Press Association for her work in print journalism.
Angela Cerrito, Assistant International Advisor
Angela assists Kathleen in coordinating the International regions and is part of Team Bologna, organizing SCBWI events at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Angela is an author and a playwright whose work explores issues of identity and cultural perceptions. Her novel, THE SAFEST LIE (Holiday House), was a Guardian’s Best Children’s Book of the Year, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and awarded SCBWI’s Crystal Kite. The Safest Lie, about a young girl smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto, is based on research in Warsaw, Poland, including interviewing Irena Sendler and reading transcripts of interviews with Jewish children recorded at the end of the war; the research was made possible through SCBWI’s Kimberly Colen Memorial Grant. Her debut novel, THE END OF THE LINE, about a boy coming to terms with his role in the death of a friend, received several awards, including VOYA’s Top of the Top Shelf.
Priscilla Burris, US Illustrator Coordinator and Advisor
Priscilla is the Portfolio Showcase Director for the Summer and Winter International Conferences, and serves on the SCBWI Advisory Board. She was born and raised in Southern California, and has been an artist from a very early age. Her education experience includes degrees in Fashion Illustration and Early Childhood Education. Priscilla has illustrated numerous books and materials for children, parents and teachers. Her works include Five Green and Speckled Frogs (Scholastic), which she wrote and illustrated, I Love You All Day Long, and Daddy All Day Long (HarperCollins), written by Francesca Rusackas. Since January 1998, Priscilla has held the position of National Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI. This position allows her to plan for, work with, present, and speak to illustrators and author/illustrators.
Dana Carey International Illustrator Coordinator
Dana Carey is an author/illustrator. She has served SCBWI France as Assistant Regional Advisor organizing writer/illustrator retreats, regional conferences, workshops, and webinars. She earned a degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design and later, a teaching certificate. Now she teaches English to adults and university students. Between classes, Dana dedicates as much time as possible to writing and illustrating. She also writes reader reports for international acquisitions for French publishers. Dana interviews illustrators for a monthly blogpost called The Postcard Post for the Sub It Club, a support group for authors and illustrators. Based on a picture book dummy submission, she was accepted by the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature for attendance at the One-on-One-Plus Conference in 2015.
Mina Witteman, International Published Authors’ Coordinator
Mina Witteman is a published author with books out in the Netherlands and Colombia. To hone her storytelling and writing craft, Mina attended the 4-year course Writing for Children at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. She completed the Master program Book Editing at the University of Amsterdam. She is an accredited teacher of Creative Writing, trained at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Dividing her time between Amsterdam and all the good writing spots in the world, she writes in Dutch and English, moonlights as a freelance editor, translator, and ghostwriter. She teaches creative writing to children and adults and she coaches aspiring and accomplished writers. Previously, she was the Regional Advisor for the Netherlands and Chairman of the Working Group Children’s Books of the Dutch Authors Guild.
Christopher Cheng, International Awards and Publications Coordinator
Christopher serves on, and is co-chair of the International Advisory Board for the SCBWI. He created and coordinates the Crystal Kite Member Choice Awards and is coordinator for the SCBWI presence and associated events at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. In 2010 he was named SCBWI member of the year. Prior to his board appointment Chris was Assistant Regional Advisor and then Co-Regional Advisor for the Australia and New Zealand regions. His many children’s fiction and nonfiction titles include the shortlisted picture book Python and the award winning picture book Sounds Spooky. He is a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at conferences, festivals, and schools around the world, speaking about his books, the craft of writing, and writing for children. A former primary school teacher, Christopher holds an MA in Children’s Literature, was awarded the Lady Cutler Award for Services to Children’s Literature, and was Ambassador for the Australian Government’s National Literacy and Numeracy Week program. He is also an ambassador for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature.