James Taylor

James S. Taylor has successfully started and grown several multi-million-dollar companies by leveraging his knowledge and experience of the US and Mexico markets. Born in Texas and raised in Mexico, James draws on his bi-cultural background as well as decades of bi-national experience working at the intersection of business and government.

James is a founding partner of Vianovo, a strategic advisory firm for high-stakes brand, policy and crisis communication issues. In 2004, he founded CIMA Strategies, S.A. de C.V., a Mexican company dedicated to marketing and selling cutting-edge law enforcement technologies. James most recent venture as a partner with Grupo Compadres, LLC, involves producing and marketing SUSTO® Mezcal, a new brand of Mexico’s oldest agave spirit.

He is involved with several non-profit organizations including: Advisory Board member of the Texas Book Festival and Advisory Board member of The Wittliff Collections.  He is a founding member of the Austin Council on Foreign Affairs and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. In 2018, the Government of Spain named James as its first Honorary Consul of Spain in Austin, Texas.

James earned his bachelor’s degree in international studies from Texas State University and pursued graduate studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin and completed the Executive Education Program at Stanford University.

Catherine Miller

Catherine Miller, an attorney, received a B.A. in English from Princeton University and a J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law. A community volunteer for many years, she has served on the Texas Literacy Council; the Board of Trustees of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, including three years as Board Chair; the executive committees of parent leadership groups at
both Vassar College and the University of Southern California; and the Downtown Austin Community Court Advisory Board. Catherine and her husband, Bill, have three adult children.

Julie Edwards

Julie Edwards lives in Midland, Texas and loves books! She participates in two book clubs. She’s involved in Breaking Bread Soup Kitchen in Midland, where she sits on their Board and volunteers every Monday afternoon. She also sits on the Foundation Board of Midland College. She serves on committees often at her church and enjoys a group of friends who love to cook and travel.

Ron Weiss

Ron Weiss has been a restaurateur in Austin since 1975. He is a founding partner of Jeffrey’s Restaurant and Cipollina West Austin Bistro, and has been the operating partner of both. He is also the operating partner of O’s Campus Café (currently with ten locations) on the University of Texas at Austin campus, jointly owned with his wife Peggy. Jeffrey’s was inducted into the Fine Dining Hall of Fame by Nations Restaurant News and received the Distinguished Restaurants of North America award. Peggy and Ron were named to Who’s Who in Food and Wine in Texas by Texas Monthly and the Texas Department of Agriculture. In 2000, Ron collaborated with David Garrido to establish a branch of Jeffrey’s at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.

A native Texan, Ron grew up in Galveston. He attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning an undergraduate degree in Biology, Chemistry & Physics. He then received a Master’s Degree in Communication and went on to do further post-graduate work in the American Studies department.

In recent years, Ron has served as Chair of the Texas Book Festival and on the advisory board of Explore Austin, an organization that mentors and provides outdoor adventures for underserved teenage youth. He also served on the University of Texas Libraries Advisory Council. Ron lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, children and grandchildren. Over the past ten years, Ron has been an avid rower, competing in local, regional and national regattas.

Marc Winkelman

Marc Winkelman is president and CEO of Calendar Club, LLC, 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 and on the Advisory Council of the University of Texas Press, as well as the board of advisors for the Texas Book Festival.

Chris Tomlinson

CHRIS TOMLINSON grew up in Dallas and became a reporter in 1994 covering the end of Apartheid in South Africa. He has reported from 50 countries and nine war zones, including Rwanda, Somalia, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. He now lives in Austin with his wife Shalini Ramanathan and writes for The Houston Chronicle. Before joining the Chronicle, he spent 20 years with The Associated Press reporting on politics, conflicts and economics from more than 30 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. He’s also the author of the New York Times bestseller Tomlinson Hill, and he produced the award-winning documentary film by the same name. Both examine the history and consequences of race, politics and economics in Texas.