Michele Moore

Michele Moore founded the Dell Corporate Communications department in 1989, which grew to encompass worldwide investor and public relations; executive and employee communications; civic sponsorships; and the Dell Foundation.  In 1991, she was promoted to vice president, becoming the first female executive at Dell.  In positions at previous companies, Michele directed various aspects of communications for pharmaceutical, steel and diversified industrial corporations.  Michele and her late husband, Brad, have been longtime supporters of the Texas Book Festival and the Reading Rock Stars program; endowed The Brad and Michele Moore Roots Music Series through the University of Texas Press; and with the Library Foundation, established the Brad Moore Collections Endowment for the Central Library downtown. Michele is currently a member of the University of Texas Press Advisory Board.  She has served on the boards of the American Cancer Society; People’s Community Clinic; and Austin Planned Parenthood, and was a founding board member of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.  Michele received her bachelor’s degree in history from Stanford.

Jennifer Wilks

Jennifer Wilks is an associate professor of English & African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she also serves as Associate Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. Her current book project is a cultural history of Carmen with a focus on adaptations set in African diasporic contexts. Also an award-winning teacher, Wilks is a member of the inaugural Texas 10, the Texas Exes’ annual recognition of top UT Austin professors, and a recipient of the Harry Ransom Award for Teaching Excellence and the Thomas Cable Upper-Division Teaching Award. As part of her commitment to encouraging a love of literature and learning outside of the classroom as well as within, Wilks has moderated discussions or participated in events with the Austin Public Library and UT Humanities Institute, Del Valle High School, Texas Book Festival, Austin Public Library Foundation, Austin Playhouse, Austin African American Book Festival, Austin Film Society, and the Writers’ League of Texas. Wilks is a past board member of ProArts Collective and the Texas Wesley Foundation, the former Southwest chair of Bryn Mawr College’s Alumnae Regional Scholars Committee, and a former member of the City of Austin’s African American Resource Advisory Commission.

Carmel Borders

Carmel Borders is president of the Tapestry Foundation, whose primary focus is early childhood education and social emotional learning. She is past chair and board member of the National Institute for Literacy. Carmel has also served on the boards of Texas State Board for Educator Certification and the Texas Book Festival. She currently serves on the National Jump Start Board, Austin Community Foundation, Westcave Preserve, and the Advisory Council for Success by Six of Central Texas. She is a member of the University of Michigan President’s Advisory Group and the Chancellor’s Board for the University of Texas Systems. An educator for 20 years, she has seen the benefits of early education and social emotional learning. Carmel has served on the Austin Community Foundation Board of Governors since 2012.

Nana G. H. Smith

Nana graduated from Exeter, Yale, and NYU Law School and practiced law for a dozen years on Wall Street and then in Nebraska, where her husband was the President of the University of Nebraska system. She retired in 1998 and raised three children. Over the past 30 years, she has served on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, primarily in the arts, education and child welfare. In Nebraska, she served on the Nebraska Arts and Humanities Councils as well as the fundraising boards of two university art museums, an art film theatre and the studio art department of the university. An artist herself, Nana thoroughly enjoyed being a docent at the Whitney Museum of Art and a copyist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art while her husband was the Chancellor of the City University of New York. During this time, she also championed a groundbreaking project for New Yorkers for Children, the private nonprofit partner of the NYC Administration of Children’s Services, which established year-round housing and academic and emotional supports for students at CUNY who came from the foster care system. In Austin, she loves being a docent at the Blanton Museum. She also sits on the homeowners’ association on a small island in North Carolina where they own a second home (which gives her an excuse to see the ocean once a month!). She reads only fiction. Growing
up, she was most influenced by mid-century Southern and South American writers like Marquez, Borges, Faulkner, Penn Warren, and O’Connor, as well as Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. She has read everything Willa Cather wrote at least twice. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road was her bible for a few years. Her favorite contemporary authors include Colm Toibin and Colum McCann.

Brian Sweany

Brian D. Sweany has been active in Texas media and communications for more than two decades. As a founding partner at Upward Strategy Group, he has served as the communications director for state agencies, developed the communications strategy for a major public policy initiative at the Legislature, and worked closely with Richards Partners on behalf of national clients like the Salvation Army.

A proud alum of Texas Monthly, he started his journalism career there as an intern, in 1996, and ultimately served as Editor-in-Chief until he resigned in 2016. He led the magazine’s political coverage for multiple legislative sessions, and in his final year, he was named to the Folio 100 as an “Up and Coming Trailblazer” for leading “one of the highest quality regional magazines in the US, where editorial excellence is the norm.”

He is an active board member of the Texas Book Festival and the Mayborn School of Journalism at UNT, and in his free time, you can find him on the tennis court trying not to double-fault or at his home office trying to finish his biography of Charles Goodnight.

Maya Smart

Maya Smart is a writer, literacy advocate and community volunteer. She serves on the boards of the Texas Book Festival and St. David’s Foundation, a health funder that invests $80 million annually in Central Texas. Previously, she chaired the University of Texas Libraries Advisory Council and served as the treasurer of the Austin Public Libraries Friends Foundation. Her advocacy and fundraising help enhance library collections, bolster community literacy programs, and inspire the next generation of readers. She interviews authors for Kirkus Reviews and muses about literacy, literature and more at MayaSmart.com.

Dan Goodgame

Dan Goodgame is editor in chief of Texas Monthly magazine. He oversees the three dozen writers, editors, and designers who produce the award-winning magazine, its website, live events and podcasts. A Pulitzer Prize finalist and best-selling author, Goodgame has interviewed and profiled leaders in every field, including six U.S. presidents, Saddam Hussein, Steve Jobs, Rupert Murdoch, Colin Powell, and Tiger Woods.

Goodgame joined Texas Monthly in early 2019, after serving as a vice-president at Rackspace, a cloud computing company based in San Antonio.

Before joining Rackspace, Goodgame served as editor in chief of Fortune Small Business magazine and FSB.com, whose subscribers were more than a million owners and partners of small and mid-sized companies. He earlier worked for TIME magazine as White House correspondent, Washington bureau chief, and assistant managing editor. He is co-author of the book “Marching in Place,” about the first President Bush.

Goodgame previously worked for the Miami Herald, including as a correspondent in the Middle East and Europe, covering the Israel-Lebanon, Iran-Iraq, and Falklands wars.

A native of Pascagoula, Miss., Goodgame earned a B.A. at Ole Miss and an M.Phil. in international relations at Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes scholar. He serves on the boards of the Texas Book Festival, Texas Public Radio, and the San Antonio Medical Foundation.

Zeynep Young

Zeynep Young has more than 15 years of entrepreneurship and consulting experience in the technology sector. Zeynep was the founder and CEO of Double Line Partners (DLP), an education technology company developing information systems and tools to help teachers improve student performance.  Zeynep founded DLP in 2009, and led the company from bootstrapped concept to $18M in revenues, with adoption in more than 24 states across the country.  Zeynep guided DLP through two successful acquisitions – initially in 2011 to the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and subsequently in 2015 to a private equity firm. Prior to founding Double Line Partners, Zeynep was a grant portfolio manager with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), where she managed a $150 million grant portfolio to improve education and health outcomes for children. Before MSDF, she was an Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company, where she served as a leader in the worldwide high tech practice. Zeynep has a master’s degree in management from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s from Rice University. In 2014, she was a regional finalist for the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year award and was named to the Forbes list of The Women Who Built Outstanding Companies.  Double Line Partners is among Forbes’ 2014 list of America’s Most Promising Companies and was recognized in 2013 by Inc. magazine as one of America’s top private companies on the forefront of job creation and by the Austin Business Journal as one of Central Texas’ fastest growing companies. Most recently, she served as CEO of Milk + Honey Spa and is currently a venture partner at Next Coast Ventures, an Austin-based venture capital firm. In addition to serving on the Texas Book Festival Board, Zeynep serves on the boards of Austin Speech Labs, St. Stephens Episcopal School and Enspire Advisory Board and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO).  She resides in Austin with her husband and two children.

Darren Woody

Darren Woody is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jordan Foster Construction, LLC, a construction firm with offices in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio, Texas and field operations throughout the United States. The firm specializes in military, commercial, multi-family, and highway construction. He has served in this capacity since August of 2000. Previously Mr. Woody was a partner in the law firm of Krafsur, Gordon, Mott, Davis and Woody P.C., where he specialized in commercial real estate. Mr. Woody is board certified in Commercial Real Estate Law. He has a BBA in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from Texas Tech University where he served as Editor-in Chief of the Law Review.

Mr. Woody is involved in a variety of other business ventures including serving as managing partner of Equity Realty Investments L.P. a real estate investment firm. Mr. Woody has served since 2004 as a director of Helen of Troy, Limited, a designer, developer and worldwide marketer of consumer brand-name housewares, health and home and beauty products. He currently is chairman of the Corporate Governance Committee and a member of the Compensation, Nominating and Audit Committees. He has a long history of civic commitment including serving as a board member and past president of the El Paso Library Association; Vestry of St. Clement’s Church and is a past chairman of the El Paso/Juarez chapter of the Young Presidents’ Association. Mr. Woody currently is a member of the Executive Council of the McCombs School of Business Real Estate and Investment Center, the YPO Real Estate Roundtable and the Austin chapter of YPO-Gold. He is married to Maria Woody and they have two children and two grandchildren.

Spencer Wells

Spencer Wells is a geneticist, anthropologist, author and entrepreneur. For over a decade he was an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Director of the Genographic Project, which collected and analyzed DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet, in the process launching the consumer genomics industry. Wells graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has appeared in numerous documentary films and is the author of three books, The Journey of ManDeep Ancestry, and Pandora’s Seed. His work has taken him to more than 100 countries, where he has collaborated with everyone from heads of government and Fortune 500 corporations, to tribal chieftains eking out a precarious living in places as remote as Chad, Tajikistan and Papua New Guinea. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he is founder and CEO of consumer genomics startup Insitome, an adjunct Professor at the University of Texas and owner of the iconic blues club Antone’s.