Heidi Marquez Smith is principal of Marquez Smith Consulting where she provides development, program, event and strategic planning assistance for non-profit organizations. A native of El Paso and graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Heidi currently serves as a director and executive committee member of the Texas Lyceum, on the St. David’s Foundation Toast of the Town Committee, and Friends of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. She recently wrapped up fundraising as Eanes Elementary PTO underwriting chair and also served as co-chair of the 2014 Legacy of Giving Blue Sky Luncheon. Heidi has served as a board member and volunteer for numerous organizations including the Literacy Coalition of Texas, the Futuro Fund Austin, the University of Texas 1883 Council, St. David’s Day School Board of Directors, and the University of Texas Libraries Advisory Council. She served as the Texas Book Festival’s Executive Director from 2008 – early 2012 and also as the TBF’s Interim Executive Director and development consultant in 2013. Prior to her roles at the TBF, Heidi worked in Washington DC, where she served in several roles including Special Assistant to the President for Cabinet Liaison in the White House, Special Assistant to the President and Director for Presidential Correspondence, and Deputy Associate Director in the office of Presidential Personnel. She lives in Austin with her husband, David Smith, and their three boys.
Maya Payne Smart is an Austin-based book lover and reviewer. An active community volunteer, she works to increase access to books and inspire a community-wide love of reading by serving on the board of the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation and the UT Libraries Advisory Council. She muses about literacy, literature and more at MayaSmart.com, KirkusReviews.com and BookRiot.com. She also volunteers with the St. David’s Foundation Community Fund, serving on its Toast of the Town Fundraiser Committee and reviewing applications for its scholarship program. Smart holds a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree with honors from Harvard University. Her honors include Style Weekly’s 40 under 40 Award, an Excellence in Journalism Award from The Press Club of Cleveland, and a Citizen of the Year Award from the Mid-Atlantic Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Dave Shaw is President of Arrow, a branding 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 the Public Relations Society of America, the American Advertising Federation, Texas Public Relations Association and International Association of Business Communicators. In the community, Dave is a past chair of the Texas Lyceum, a fellow of the British-American Project and an advisory board member of the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life at the University of Texas at Austin. He has previously served as board president of the Austin Public Library Foundation, as board chair of Greenlights for Nonprofit Success (now Mission Capital), as a board member of Leadership Austin and as a member of the alumni advisory council for the Moody College of Communication at UT Austin, all of which earning him recognition as an Austin Under 40 award winner for his community service. Dave earned an M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.S. in Communication Studies from UT Austin.
Ana Ruelas has been the director of strategic initiatives and human resources at KLD Energy Technologies, and has also served in senior management roles in the U.S. and abroad at PepsiCo, Towers Perrin, Lenovo, Ace USA and Image Logistics Corporation. In Austin, Ana has been active in the community by leading all corporate social responsibility initiative for KLD, and collaborating closely with Mobile Loaves & Fishes, Backpacks for Kids and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. She currently serves on the board of Wonders & Worries, which she learned about through her husband, Alejandro Ruelas, principal of the LatinWorks advertising agency.
Amy Paddock is a Managing Director at Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Amy has worked in close partnership with members of the C-Suite at the some of the agency’s top Fortune 100 clients. Amy leads teams supporting far-reaching client remits that include crisis communications, reputation and issues management, public affairs, corporate social responsibility, executive positioning, finance PR, external stakeholder engagement and internal communications. Additionally, Amy serves as the People Leader of H+K’s Austin office and co-leads the firm’s U.S. Corporate Affairs practice. In 2015, she was named one of PR News’ Top Women in PR.
Prior to joining H+K in 2003, Amy was an associate in the equities division of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and was a financial analyst in Credit Suisse’s Latin American Investment Banking Group and Equity Capital Markets. Amy has an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas and a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. Amy also currently serves as a member of the board of trustees for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School. She has previously served on the boards of Good Shepherd Episcopal School and GENAustin.
Anna Near is an attorney at Saunders, Norval, Pargaman & Atkins, LLP. Her practice consists of estate planning and probate work, and she’s involved extensively in philanthropic planning. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors for the Austin Community Foundation and the Texas Book Festival. She’s a former member of the Boards of Directors for Explore Austin and Tarrytown United Methodist Church Child’s Day Out and the Consultants’ Council for Breakthrough Austin. American Gateways, Any Baby Can, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, JDRF Austin, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, and Meals on Wheels are some of her other favorites for volunteer work and community involvement. She has a B.A. in English from Rice University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. When she’s not working or spending time with her husband Jason and their two boys, chances are she’s reading or writing fiction.
Regina Montoya is the Senior Vice President, External Relations and General Counsel at Children’s Medical Center Dallas where she oversees several major departments, including legal, compliance, governance, government relations and community relations. In 1998, she was nominated by the President to serve as a U.S. Representative to the 53rd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Currently, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the North Texas Commission, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the General Counsel Forum DFW Chapter, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation and the Dallas Friday Group. In addition, she serves on the Texas Lyceum Advisory Council. Regina earned her B.A. from Wellesley College, where she is a Trustee Emerita, and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She has served as vice president and elected director of the Harvard University Alumni Association. She is married to Paul Coggins, Rhodes Scholar, novelist, partner with the law firm of Locke Lord, and a former United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
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. Andrew’s 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.
Michelle Diggs is a Marketing Manager for 3M in Austin, TX. With 20 years of marketing experience, Michelle has developed and implemented programs around the world. Her current responsibilities include driving global digital strategy for the Electronics and Energy Business Group. Michelle has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas, an MBA from St. Edward’s University and was a CORO Public Policy Fellow. Community service is one of Michelle’s passions. She has served on a number of boards and commissions over her career. Her service includes Any Baby Can, Mt. Sinai Christian Academy, and Junior Achievement of Central Texas. In 2009, Michelle was appointed to be a Civil Rights Commissioner by Texas Governor Perry. Michelle is married to Anthony Diggs and has two sons Myles and Jared. Her favorite pastimes are traveling, reading and fishing.
Ken Cho is a software entrepreneur. He is currently the cofounder & CEO of People Pattern, an audience insights platform that incorporates artificial intelligence. He is responsible for guiding People Pattern’s strategic direction. Previous to People Pattern, Ken co-founded Spredfast, Inc. Spredfast is an enterprise social media management software platform that allows organizations to manage, monitor, and measure their social media programs. Ken holds a B.A. in economics from Wesleyan University and an MBA from the McCombs School of Business at University of Texas at Austin. Ken lives in Austin with his wife, Laura, and two daughters (Callie & Eliza). He is active in the Austin community and supports a variety of local charities including KLRU and the Red Cross, where he serves on its board of directors.