Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Who We Are


Headquarters Staff



Sarah Baker | Executive Director.

Sarah Baker is the Executive Director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She joined the SCBWI staff in 2011, and most recently held the position of Associate Executive Director. Her career in children’s book publishing began at Penguin Young Readers Group, where she designed children’s books for six years. Sarah leads the SCBWI staff and works closely with the Board of Directors, the Advisory Council, and the official SCBWI volunteers. She graduated from University of California, Santa Barbara with a major in Studio Art and is a children’s book illustrator and ceramicist. Her favorite part of working for SCBWI is seeing the community flourish and the members thrive as artistic creators.

Tammy Brown | Director, Marketing and Communication Strategy.

Tammy directs the SCBWI’s marketing and advertising to members, the trade, and consumer press,  as well as cultivating member benefits, partnerships, and sponsorships for the organization. Tammy is responsible for advertising and promotions, website data analysis, and member acquisition and retention. She has marketing and branding experience in publishing, media, entertainment, and technology while holding positions at The Walt Disney Company, Nickelodeon, Marvel, and Technicolor. Tammy also sits on the board of directors of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit LA Commons. Tammy holds a BA in communications from the City University of New York, Queens College, a certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion management from the University of South Florida, Muma College of Business, and a certificate in Design Thinking from the University of California, Riverside.

Kim Turrisi | Director of Programming and Content.

Kim is responsible for programming both National Conferences, digital workshop slates and special events. She’s editor-in-chief of the SCBWI’s yearly publication, The Book: An Essential Guide to Children’s Publishing.  Kim writes the monthly “Exclusive Interview” column in INSIGHT, showcasing editors and agents as well as compiling SCBWI success stories. developing relationships and maintaining relationships within the children’s publishing community. 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 followed by a novelization of Carmilla at the same imprint. She also wrote and produced an award-winning web series. She earned a BA in Child Development from Florida State University and an MA in Interpersonal and Intercultural Communications from FSU.

Sarah Diamond | Senior Manager of Awards and Publications.

Sarah oversees the SCBWI’s numerous awards and grant programs, developing scholarships and grant opportunities for the kidlit community. They also serve as editor of the Insight newsletter, and manager of PRO Insider, among other publications. They maintain and contribute content to the SCBWI website. Sarah graduated from Emerson College in 2014 with a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, and has been published in LA Weekly.

TeMika Grooms  | Manager of Design and Illustration.

TeMika manages graphics and illustrations produced to support the organization.  She also provides logistical help with illustration-focused membership benefits and event programming.  As a long-time volunteer of the SCBWI with a love for writing and illustrating children’s books, TeMika has volunteered for the organization at many levels supporting others with the same passion for developing the craft. Her latest illustrated book by Senator Raphael G. Warnock will be released by Philomel Books in November 2023.  Learn more about her work at her website.

Laurie Miller | Manager of Events and Special Projects.

Laurie organizes the SCBWI’s national conferences and webinars.  She is also a writer-at-large for SCBW’s publications, maintaining a column in Pro Insider and contributing regularly to INSIGHT. In addition, Laurie helms the organization’s benefits for members who self-publish. She is Editor-in Chief of the Essential Guild to Self-Publishing a Children’s Book and the SCBWI liaison with the Alliance of Independent Authors.  Laurie is also an editor of SCBWI’s new book, The Haunted States of America (Laura Godwin Books/Henry Holt).  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 writing.

Chelsea Hall | Social Media Manager.

Chelsea manages the SCBWI’s social media accounts. She crafts content and promotes the work of our members to nearly 100,000 total followers across the platforms each week. They worked at Chronicle Books prior to joining SCBWI.


Danielle Monique | Administrative Assistant.

Danielle answers emails via the ZenDesk help center and is the first on the phone, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Pacific Time). They answer questions about Zoom, mail books to award judges, and manage website content as needed. She is both a freelance and an animation writer for various groups.

Joshua Smith | Director of Web Development, Database Manager.

Josh oversees the entire production and operation of the company website and membership database. This includes analysis, both business and systems analysis, coding and implementation of new plugins and functionality, and updating existing plugins and the site theme. (All source code is managed using Git source control.) Josh also provides adhoc database extracts for everything from member lists with complex extract criteria, to detailed statistical analysis. He advises the SCBWI staff on all technical matters involving the website, payment system, bulk email system, data extracts, content management, and integration with third party systems. Josh manages the cloud server, and the web and database servers. Josh also provides critical technical advice to our worldwide network of regional teams to help them manage events, utilize site functions, implement access to payment systems, and many other functions both large and small.  Also, SCBWI works with a contractor for one-off projects, and Josh manages their projects and priority.

Patricia Wiles | Director of Regional Team Management.

Patricia manages SCBWI’s worldwide network of Regional Teams (RTs), covering up to 80 regions and comprised of more than 300 volunteer Regional Advisors (RAs), Assistant Regional Advisors (ARAs), and Illustrator Coordinators (ICs) from around the globe. Utilizing decades of experience as a region and global-level volunteer, Patricia represents the needs and interests of all RTs to headquarters and serves as their headquarters point of contact. She works closely with the Global Regional Coordinators and their teams to create policies and procedures that keep the regions functioning smoothly. She oversees all RT communications channels, onboards new RTs, helps RTs with region and member needs, and organizes training, educational, and networking opportunities that support SCBWI’s mission, vision, and values.

Lin Oliver | Co-Founder.

Lin is the co-founder of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and served as its Executive Director since its inception in 1971 until January of 2022. For most of her SCBWI career, she was also an executive in the film and television industry, serving as Executive Vice President of MCA Universal Studios for over 12 years. She is the writer and executive producer of over 300 episodes of family television, including Harry and the Hendersons, Wayside School, and Corduroy, as well as three feature films, including The Trumpet of the Swan. During her career as a writer and producer, Lin 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. In 2002, Lin expanded her writing career into authoring children’s books, and since then, has published over 60 books for children from publishers such as Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Abrams Books. Her first hit series was the New York Times best-selling Hank Zipzer books, co-authored with Henry Winkler, about a child with learning differences. The Hank books have influenced a generation of readers, with sales exceeding five million copies and a BAFTA-winning television series from the BBC. Another of her New York Times best-selling book series, Alien Superstar, also written with Henry Winkler, is currently in development as a television series. Although her body of work consists primarily of middle grade comedy/adventure novels such as Who Shrunk Daniel Funk and The Fantastic Frame, she is also the author of Little Poems for Tiny Ears, a poetry collection for very young children, illustrated by Tomie dePaola. Her work has been recognized with The Christopher Award, the National Council of Teachers of English citation, and PEN International Special Award of Recognition, The Eric Carle Mentor Award, numerous starred reviews, and Amazon’s best books of the year. During her tenure with SCBWI, Lin helped grow the organization from a handful of authors and artists to a global force of over 25,000 members and launched partnerships with leading literacy organizations such as First Book, We Need Diverse Books, and The American Library Association. She has a BA in English from UC Berkeley, a Masters in Educational Psychology from UCLA, and has completed course work for an EdD from UCLA. A prominent speaker and writer about the importance of quality children’s books, she is recognized as a leading voice in advancing literacy, advocating for the freedom to read, and promoting children’s literature.

Steve 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.


Regional Leadership

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.


Priscilla Burris | Illustrator Programs Consultant/Portfolio Showcase Director

Priscilla serves on the Advisory Council and is a founding member of the Illustration Committee on the Council.  She oversees, plans, and directs the Portfolio Showcases for our two major International Conferences. Having initiated the role of Illustrator Coordinator for the SCBWI, she now works with the US IC and International IC, as a consultant and resource for all programming for our illustrator and author-illustrator membership.  She is the author-illustrator of the Sabrina Sue Ready-To-Read series (Simon & Schuster), Hello School! picture book (Nancy Paulsen Books), and illustrator for the Heidi and Henry Heckelbeck chapter book series (Little Simon), and the picture book When Nana Dances, by Jane Yolen and Maddison Stemple-Piatt (Magination Press)

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.
  Ugo Anidi | Assistant International Advisor

Ugo serves as the Assistant International Advisor – Administrative. She is also the Regional Advisor for the Nigerian Chapter of SCBWI. She writes picture books, early chapter books and middle grade with a Nigerian flavour. She reviews books on her blog at where she also teaches a magical course on writing for children. She is an MFA candidate at the Writing for Children and Young Adults Program of the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA).

In her ‘other’ life, she is a lecturer in law at the University of Nigeria and she plays a mean game of scrabble. She shares her home in Lagos, Nigeria with her husband, three sons, over 500 books and the characters in her head.

She is the author of three picture books.

  Malena Fuentes Alzu | Spanish Language Coordinator

Malena has worked for over twenty-five years under the name ARTIMAGOS for the educational market, mostly in graphic design and illustration. She has been published by Spanish Publishing Companies (Santillana, SM, Edelvives, Everest, Anaya, Bruño) and other International houses (Oxford UP, Cambridge UP, Pearson, MacMillan, Usborne). She used to review children’s books in Spanish on the blog When she was living in California, she became an ACTIVATE fellow for LA for the Arts and she taught art in Los Angeles and Oakland. Previously, she was the Regional Advisor for Spain. She was named SCBWI Member of the Year in 2018, along with Judy Goldman, for her work towards the Spanish-speaking membership. Currently, she is writing and editing art curriculum and teaching in Madrid, Spain.

Elisabeth Norton | Assistant International Advisor

Elisabeth assists the International Regional Advisor Coordinator, Melanie Rook-Welfing, in providing support for the international regions of SCBWI. In addition, she acts as Regional Advisor for the International Central Region, a virtual region comprised of members of SCBWI living outside the US in countries with no active local chapter.

Elisabeth teaches English as a foreign language and has written picture books, scripts and curriculum for English Language Learners. In addition, her poems for young readers have been included in multiple anthologies. She is a reporter for the Cynsations website, with a focus on the international aspects of children’s publishing.

Avery Fischer Udagawa | Translator Coordinator

A translator from Japanese, Avery Fischer Udagawa moderates the SCBWI Translation listserv, maintains the page Translation in SCBWI [] and otherwise connects translators of children’s books within and with the SCBWI community. She served as Translator Coordinator for SCBWI Japan, where she coordinated a translation group blog and biennial Translation Days, featuring master translators and editors. Her reviews of children’s books in translation appeared throughout the inaugural year of the #WorldKidLit Wednesday column, Global Literature in Libraries Initiative. She advocates for translator rights, grant funding, and #NameTheTranslator. She holds a BA in English and Asian Studies from St. Olaf College and an MA in Advanced Japanese Studies from the University of Sheffield. Her translations include the middle grade historical novel J-Boys: Kazuo’s World, Tokyo, 1965 by Shogo Oketani and the middle grade fantasy Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba.

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.
Melanie Rook Welfing |  International Regional Advisor Coordinator

Melanie serves as the International Regional Advisor Coordinator for SCBWI. Before that, she was the Regional Advisor for Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) for five years. She writes early readers, chapter books, and graphic novels. In addition, she writes ESL curriculum, including picture books and video scripts, for an educational publisher. Her stories have also appeared in many children’s magazines, including Highlights and Highlights Hello.

Christopher Cheng | International Awards and Publications Coordinator.
Christopher is a member and co-chair of the International Advisory Council 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 this 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.


Last updated: October 2022.