SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Who We Are

 

Headquarters Staff

 

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 60 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 | Associate Executive Director.
Sarah Baker is the associate executive director of SCBWI. Her career in children’s book publishing began at Penguin Young Readers Group, where she designed children’s books for six years. She joined SCBWI in 2011, and for the first few years focused on programs and member benefits for illustrator members, as well as art direction and branding for SCBWI. Sarah now oversees the staff, works closely with the advisory council and the chapter volunteers and leadership, and assists Executive Director Lin Oliver in all areas of the organization. Sarah is also a pre-published illustrator and a ceramicist. Her favorite part of working for SCBWI is seeing our members grow and succeed as artistic creators.
Tammy Brown | Director, Community Marketing and Engagement.
Tammy Brown leads the marketing strategy and tactics for SCBWI. She is responsible for the promotions (BookStop Books for Readers), advertising, and social media efforts as well as B2B and B2C publicity. She is also 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 and entertainment digital services marketing digital services companies Vubiquity and Technicolor. 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, and on the advisory council for the University of California, Riverside design thinking program. Tammy holds a BA in Communication Arts from the City University of New York, Queens College.
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 assists in programming 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.
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.

 

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 | Manager of Member Communications.
Sarah oversees SCBWI’s thirty-five awards and grants programs and serves as editor of the Insight newsletter, among other publications. They also serve as webmaster, maintaining and contributing content to the website. Sarah graduated from Emerson College in 2014 with a BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, and has been published in LA Weekly.
Laurie Miller | Event Coordinator and Writer-At-Large.
Laurie organizes SCBWI’s national conferences and webinars.  She is also a writer-at-large for SCBW’s publications, maintaining columns in Pro Insider and The Bulletin. 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 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.
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.
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 over 80 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.

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.

 

Tracy Barrett | Regional Advisor Coordinator (USA).
Tracy is the head coordinator of the regional advisors in the United States and serves on the SCBWI Advisory Council. 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 FateFreefall 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.
Patricia Wiles | Director of Regional Team Management.
Patricia is the Director of Regional Team Management and serves on the SCBWI Advisory Council. She supports the work of SCBWI headquarters and its Regional Teams worldwide by managing information and communications, overseeing the work and activities of U.S. and International teams during the Summer and Winter International Conferences, counseling and supporting Regional Team members, and working with the Leadership Committee and Advisory Council 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.
Priscilla Burris | Illustrator Programs Consultant/Portfolio Showcase Director

Priscilla 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 USA 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.

TeMika Grooms | U.S. Illustrator Coordinator

TeMika Grooms currently serves as the U. S. Illustrator Coordinator with a goal of supporting regional Illustrator Coordinators as they develop programs for their local members. She has volunteered for many roles within SCBWI, including the Southern Breeze Region Illustrator Coordinator, where she created opportunities for education and community engagement amongst SCBWI members.  TeMika earned a BS in Civil Engineering from Georgia Tech and has developed an art career out of her passion for creating art and sharing stories.  She enjoys supporting artists as they develop solid business practices for their creative work.

Her most recent publication includes Save the Crash-test Dummies by Jennifer Swanson. She was selected as an Illustration Mentee in the 2021 We Need Diverse Books Program and a member of the 2021 cohort for the Highlights Foundation and The Brown Bookshelf Amplify Black Stories program.  Learn more about her work at www.TeMikaTheArtist.com.

  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 www.ugoanidi.com 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.

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.

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 serves on, and is 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.

 

Board of Directors

 

Sarah Baker is the associate executive director of SCBWI. Her career in children’s book publishing began at Penguin Young Readers Group, where she designed children’s books for six years. She joined SCBWI in 2011, and for the first few years focused on programs and member benefits for illustrator members, as well as art direction and branding for SCBWI. Sarah now oversees the staff, works closely with the advisory council and the chapter volunteers and leadership, and assists Executive Director Lin Oliver in all areas of the organization. Sarah is also a pre-published illustrator and a ceramicist. Her favorite part of working for SCBWI is seeing our members grow and succeed as artistic creators.

 

James Dobbs holds a degree in Finance from the University of Florida and a graduate degree in Art and Architecture from the University of California at Irvine.  He was a professor of Art History at Cal Poly University at Pomona for over fifteen years, and also was on the Art and Architecture faculty at the University of California at Riverside. In his Board position, his special interest is in SCBWI illustrator/art programs to which he brings an historical perspective on classic and contemporary art and visual storytelling.

 

Trudi Ferguson holds a PhD in Business Administration/Behavioral Science from UCLA.  She has been on the faculty of the business schools at the University of Southern California, Stanford, Antioch and is the past Dean of the Center for Applied Behavioral Science (the Ojai Labs).  She is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and consults at the highest level for many multi-national corporations. In her civic work, she is the Chair of the Advisory Board for L.A.’S Best, a non-profit organization providing after-school programs for under-served school children, and also serves on the Board of Ready, Set, Read.  As a member of the SCBWI Board, she advises us on employee, non-profit and membership best practices, and all matters having to do with how people function in organizations.

 

Leslie King holds a degree from Brooklyn College and has a Masters in Social Work from UCLA.  She is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).  For over thirty years, she has been the school counselor for Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, a renowned progressive K-12 private school in Santa Monica.  A therapist in private practice as well, she specializes in the issues of children and adolescents, providing the Board of Directors and SCBWI with research and scholarship about the well-being of young children and readers, and how books and storytelling influence their mental health.  She is an advocate for all young people seeking to define their identity.

 

Stephen Mooser is the co-founder of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, which he began with Lin Oliver in 1971. He holds a Masters in Journalism from UCLA, and is the author of more than 60 books for children. He has received numerous awards including the prestigious Christopher Medal and the Mentor Award from The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  As a tireless advocate for early childhood literacy, he has traveled extensively promoting book donations to underserved communities in both the US and abroad.  For almost 50 years, he served as Editor-In-Chief of all SCBWI publications and on the Board of Directors, contribute invaluable expertise and experience on the children’s publishing industry.

 

Dorothy Palmer holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in Reading Education. Before retiring from her teaching career, she taught for 33 years at John Adam’s Middle School in Santa Monica, California.  Her long history in working with children includes ten years working in the Superintendent’s Office of the Los Angeles Central Juvenile Probation department. As a lifetime African-American educator, Ms. Palmer often consults with SCBWI on our equity and inclusion initiatives.

 

Netta Rabin is the Publisher and Creative Director at Klutz, a division of Scholastic. Klutz has been making innovative books, toys, and craft kits that encourage creativity in children for over 40 years. Previously, she worked in children’s book design at Penguin Group and Workman Publishing, where her work included editorial, art direction, and product development. She has worked with greats such as Eric Carle, R.J. Palacio and Jordan Matter.  She is indispensable on the Board for her knowledge of the current children’s trade publishing field.


Last updated: November 2021.