Laura Bush, Honorary Chair
One of the most beloved and admired American First Ladies, for decades Laura Bush has championed key issues in the fields of education, health care, and human rights. The author of the bestselling memoir, Spoken From The Heart, Mrs. Bush also founded both the Texas Book Festival and the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. Today, as the Chair of the Woman’s Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute, Mrs. Bush continues her work on global healthcare innovations, empowering women in emerging democracies, education reform, and supporting the men and women who have served in America’s military. Born in Midland, Texas to Jenna and Harold Welch, Laura Bush holds a degree in education and a master’s degree in library science. She taught in public schools in Dallas, Houston, and Austin, and worked as a public school librarian. In 1977, she married George W. Bush. The Bushes are the parents of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, and recently became grandparents with the birth of their darling grand-daughter, Mila.
Marc Winkelman, Chair
Marc Winkelman is president and CEO of Calendar Club LLC, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, which operates seasonal stores and kiosks selling calendars, games, toys, and musical giftware. Marc is currently the secretary of The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity and the secretary of the National Jewish Democratic Council. He also serves on the board of trustees for the St. David’s Community Health Foundation, the Advisory Council of the University of Texas Press and the Advisory Council of UT Libraries. Marc is a former treasurer and board member of the Jewish Community Association of Austin, a past member of the Executive Committee of AIPAC, and a former board member of Congregation Agudas Achim.
Karen Brimble, Vice Chair
Karen Brimble is a co-founder and director of the Austin-based One Skye Foundation, and currently serves on the board of directors for Girlstart, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls in math and science. Karen is a former president and board member of the Round Rock Health Clinic, and was honored as the 2005 Sertoma Round Rock Volunteer of the Year. She has also served on the board of Avance-Austin, which provides support and educational services for low-income families, and on the Campus Advisory Council of Casis Elementary School. Karen has also been a leading participant in the Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars program.
Darryl Tocker, Treasurer
Darryl Tocker is the third Executive Director of the Tocker Foundation since its inception in 1964. The Tocker Foundation supports rural public library in Texas. During his term with the Tocker Foundation, Mr. Tocker has advanced the organization’s commitment to public library advocacy. Due to the many initiatives and projects the Tocker Foundation was one of the initial organizations on the American Library Association’s National Honor Roll and a recipient of the Texas Library Association’s Centennial Champion medallion. In addition to his role with the Foundation, Darryl Tocker serves on the board of the Friends of Libraries and Archives of Texas, the support organization to the Texas State Library. He is a member of the Board of the Barbara Jordan Freedom Foundation and the Executive Board of Raising Austin, Inc. Mr. Tocker also serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Texas, School of Information. Mr. Tocker’s affiliations include his long time memberships to the American Library Association, Texas Library Association and Conference of Southwest Foundations.
Betsy G. Abell, Secretary
Betsy Abell is the president of the Buena Vista Foundation and a partner in Llano Partners, a cattle ranching and commercial real estate venture in Texas and New Mexico. She is a member of the Austin Recovery Board of Directors, the University of Texas Elementary School Development Board, the United Way’s “Success by Six” Initiative, the United Way Capital Area Board of Directors, the Center for Social and Emotional Education of New York City, the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Endowment Board, and the YMCA. Betsy holds a master’s degree in counseling from St. Edwards University, and is a recipient of the 2006 Rostow Leadership Award.
H.W. Brands, Board of Directors
H.W. Brands was born in Oregon, went to college in California, sold cutlery across the American West, and earned graduate degrees in mathematics and history in Oregon and Texas. He taught at Vanderbilt University and Texas A&M University before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is the Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History. He writes on American history and politics, with books including Traitor to His Class, Andrew Jackson, The Age of Gold, The First American, and TR. Several of his books have been bestsellers; two, Traitor to His Class and The First American, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.
Viki Chupik, Board of Directors
Paul Coggins, Board of Directors
Paul Coggins is a partner at Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell LLP, where he heads the firm’s national White Collar Criminal Defense and Internal Investigations practice. Paul served as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas from 1993 to 2001. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Yale University and both a B.A. and a Diploma in Law from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, before graduating from Harvard Law School. Paul is a former radio host, a published author, a frequent speaker, and is involved in numerous public service organizations.
Kathryn O’Connor Counts, Board of Directors
Kathryn Counts was born in Victoria, Texas and has been a resident of Austin since 1978. She is owner of the O’Connor Bros. River Ranch and a partner in TC Oil Company. As a member of the Junior League of Victoria, Kathryn chaired a number of committees including the Taste of Victoria Cookbook committee. She is an Advisor to the Open Door of Victoria, Inc. In Austin, Kathryn has served on the boards of Laguna Gloria Art Museum, the Austin Symphony, and Safe Place. She owns the O’Connor Brothers River Ranch and is a partner in TC Oil Company. Kathryn is married to Donald R. Counts, M. D. and has three children and eight grandchildren.
Elizabeth Crook, Board of Directors
Elizabeth Crook is a novelist whose books include The Raven’s Bride, Promised Lands, and The Night Journal. She has written for periodicals such as Texas Monthly and the Southwestern Historical Quarterly and has served on the council of the Texas Institute of Letters. She is a member of Western Writers of America and The Texas Philosophical Society, and was selected the honored writer for 2006 Texas Writers’ Month. The Night Journal was awarded the 2007 Spur award for Best Long Novel of the West and the 2007 Willa Literary Award for Historical Fiction.
Edward Doan, Board of Directors
Edward Doan graduated from UT-Austin with BS and MS degrees in Electrical & Computer Engineering in 2003 and 2005, respectively. He is an adjunct faculty member teaching in the MIS program at the McCombs School of Business. Doan is the Senior Technical Program Manager at Google in Austin, and formerly held several technical roles at IBM. In his spare time, he enjoys catching up on current events, watching and participating in auto racing, and working out. He lives in Texas with his wife, 4-year-old daughter, and 10-month-old son.
Mary Herman, Board of Directors
Mary Herman is a former Executive Director of the LBJ Foundation and the Texas Book Festival. She also formerly served as the president of the Junior League of Austin, the chair of the St. Andrews School Board, a member of the Austin Community Foundation and the Helping Hand Home for Girls, among others. She is currently on the Foundation for the Ann Richards School for Young Leaders as well as the Texas Book Festival. She attended the University of Texas at Austin.
Wolfgang Niedert, Board of Directors
Wolfgang Niedert is Principal and Financial Planner at Wolfgang Niedert & Associates. Originally from Chicago, Niedert received a BA in Government and Economics from the University of Texas and subsequently completed the UT Certified Financial Planner Program. Wolfgang is on the Advisory Board of the University of Texas School of Information as well as the Austin Bat Cave. His involvement in the arts includes the Blanton Museum of Art on the UT campus, as well as the Long Center for the Performing Arts and the UT Performing Arts Center. He is a member of numerous UT scholarship programs and committees.
Janna Paulson, Board of Directors
Janna Paulson is president and chief executive officer of ACI Group LLC. She also serves as leader of PPDS, a division of ACI Group LLC. In 1989 Paulson started PPDS as a multi-faceted Interior Design firm. She has space planned over a million square feet of office space and has a work portfolio that includes hospitality, multi-family and residential work. Over time her work evolved to specialize more in environmental design. She continues to embrace the green movement by successfully completing the LEED exam and NEPA course. Paulson manages cross-divisional issues, opportunities, and evaluates new technology and business models for both divisions. ACI Group LLC is a $3M business that includes the business teams of environmental consultants and interior designers. She oversees initiatives related to design, client development and strategic growth. Her leadership has earned SBE Certification in New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas. ACI Group is ranked in the top ten “women owned firms” in Austin. Throughout her career, Paulson has been recognized for her contributions and industry leadership. She has served as Texas/Oklahoma Chapter president for the International Interior Design Association as well as International Residential Forum Advisor and International Region Director. She currently serves on the Austin Theatre Alliance (Paramount/State Theatre) and Texas Book Festival governing board. Paulson holds a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Arizona State University and has studied abroad at the Universitaria Fiorentina. A native of Texas, Paulson enjoys golf, cooking, reading and traveling.
Sarah Queen, Board of Directors
Kate Rogers, Board of Directors
Kate Rogers is the Project Director of H-E-B Grocery Company. She served as Head of Communications at Kiln Ltd. 2002-2008 and currently is the Director of Alamo Public Telecommunications Council, Inc. Rogers earned her Bachelor of Science degree in advertising/public relations from Texas Christian University. She has received many awards and commendations, such as the Ford’s Salute to Education Award for her work in creating the H-E-B Excellence in Education Awards in 2006. She currently serves on the Boards of the Witte Museum and KLRN Public Television.
Dave Shaw, Board of Directors
President of Arsenal, a full-service advertising and PR firm based in Austin, Dave’s experience ranges from advertising, branding, and public relations to public affairs work with major brands and Fortune 500 companies. His work has been featured in PRWeek and recognized with industry awards from PRSA, the American Advertising Federation, Texas Public Relations Association and International Association of Business Communicators. He is a past chair of Greenlights for Nonprofit Success, an executive committee member of the Texas Lyceum, serves on the UT College of Communication Advisory Council and the Communication Committee for the Texas Exes. Dave has previously served as board president of the Austin Public Library Foundation, as a board member of Leadership Austin and YouthLaunch. Dave earned an MA in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BS in Communication Studies from UT Austin.
John Spong, Board of Directors
In 1997, after a brief yet dramatically unfulfilling stint as a civil litigator in Austin, John Spong joined Texas Monthly as a fact-checker, becoming a staff writer in 2002. John was named the 2005 Writer of the Year by the City and Regional Magazine Association. He has twice been a finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters O’Henry Award for Magazine Journalism, which he won in 2006 for his story “The Good Book and the Bad Book” (September 2006). His story “King’s Ransom” (October 2003) was collected in Literary Austin (TCU Press 2007), and his story “Sand Trap” (May 2002) appeared in Rio Grande (University of Texas Press 2004).
Paul Stekler, Board of Directors
Paul Stekler is the Chair of the Radio-Television-Film Department and the Wofford Denius Chair in Entertainment Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. He is a nationally recognized documentary filmmaker whose critically praised and award-winning work, including George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire; Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style; and Vote for Me: Politics in America, have won two George Foster Peabody Awards, three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Awards, three national Emmy Awards, and a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Paul holds a doctorate in Government from Harvard University. He previously was a political pollster in Louisiana, while teaching at Tulane, and was the founder of Center for Politics and Governance at UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. His writing has appeared in the Texas Observer, Texas Monthly, among other places, and his films have all been broadcast nationally on PBS, on POV, the American Experience, and Frontline. Paul has also been an executive or consulting producer on a number of documentaries including Margaret Brown’s Be Here to Love Me, Peter Frumkin’s Woody Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home, and Karen Skloss’ Sunshine.
Leslie Ward, Board of Directors
Leslie Ward, Vice President of External Affairs, AT&T Texas, was appointed in 2008 after having served in numerous legislative and regulatory positions within AT&T. She is responsible for developing and executing strategies impacting the company’s participation in the Texas political process, as well as in state legislative policy and initiatives, development of legislative and political strategy, and management of the AT&T Texas PAC. She also serves on the Texas Supreme Court Emergency Preparedness Task Force, the Board of the Texas Taxpayers Association, the Texas Conservation Coalition Research Institute Board, the Texas Center for Public Policy Research, the National Foundation for Women Legislators, and on the Board of the Texas Cultural Trust. Leslie attended Texas Tech University and St. Edward’s University and holds a B.A. in Political Science.
Katherine Wright, Board of Directors
Katherine Wright is the executive director of the Wright Family Foundation and works with nonprofits in Austin and Baltimore, focusing on the needs of at-risk youth, particularly in the areas of education, libraries, and enrichment programs. She has chaired the Austin Waldorf School Silent Auction for the last two years and is a volunteer for many other organizations including Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the Special Olympics. Katherine is also an active participant and supporter of the Texas Book Festival’s Reading Rock Stars program.
Mary Garwood Yancy, Board of Directors
Mary Garwood Yancy is a licensed psychologist currently working in private practice. Mary’s enthusiastic support of the Texas Book Festival began with its founding in 1996 and expanded with her role helping to establish the Reading Rock Stars program. Her community involvement has included board and committee work with several nonprofit social service, education, and arts organizations. Mary has been instrumental in the creation of the Texas Child Study Center, a collaboration between the UT Austin Department of Educational Psychology and Dell Children’s Hospital. She holds a doctoral degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
2013 – 2014 Advisory Council
Linda Abbey, Austin
Teresa Amend, Dallas
Beth Ann Bryan, Austin
Kay Cattarulla, Dallas
Elizabeth Danon-Leva, Austin
Cathryn Seymour Dorsey, Austin
Courtney Read Hoffman, Austin
Katy Flato, San Antonio
Carol Hoey, Dallas
Kit Moncrief, Fort Worth
Whitney Hyder More, Fort Worth
Steven P. Schneider, Edinburg
Suzon Spiller Kemp, Austin
Harris “Shrub” Kempner, Houston
Janie McGarr, Dallas
Andrea White, Houston