Director, Corporate Communications, Legg Mason
Mary Athridge is Managing Director, Corporate Communications for Legg Mason, Inc. In that role, she works with the senior leadership at Legg Mason and at its principal investment subsidiaries to develop and implement communications strategies to enhance brand value and drive business initiatives. She also has oversight responsibility for financial and transaction communications, crisis communications and investor communications support. Ms. Athridge joined Legg Mason from Citigroup Asset Management in the transaction to acquire that business from Citigroup in December, 2005. Previously, she was with Salomon Smith Barney and Salomon Brothers, and began her career in Washington in political positions in the White House and U.S. Small Business Administration. She has a B.A. from Georgetown University and a M.B.A. from George Washington University. She is also on the Board of the Angelica Patients Assistance Program. Ms. Athridge lives in New York City.
Senior Vice President, Catterton Partners
*Board Vice Chair
Ms. Baldwin is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at StriVectin, an independent prestige skincare company, and a member of the operating team at Catterton Partners, a consumer/retail private equity firm. Previously, Ms. Baldwin held several senior marketing positions at LVMH, Inc. and The Estee Lauder Companies, and began her career in finance as a member of the Consumer/Retail Group at Apax Partners and the Communications, Media and Entertainment team at Goldman, Sachs & Co. Ms. Baldwin has been involved in her New York City community from a very young age, starting as a volunteer at a food pantry in elementary school, as a founding employee of the 9/11 United Services Group, and most recently as a member of Juniors Undertaking Manhattan Pleasures, a program organized by the Grand Street Settlement House. She earned an A.B. magna cum laude in Social Studies from Harvard College, received her M.B.A. with honors from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, and currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and son.
Shawna Hamilton Doster is the Chair Emeritus of the Board of Directors of Books for Kids. Ms. Doster also worked for two years as the Executive Director. Currently she works as the CEO of GLOSquad in Greenwich, Connecticut. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas in Marketing and Finance and her J.D. from the University of Houston. Ms. Doster has been involved with Books for Kids for over 12 years and also volunteers with her children’s schools. She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut with her two children.
Vice President, Strategic Business Development, Konica Minolta
Kay Du Fernandez is the Vice President, Strategic Business Development for Konica Minolta, a leader in advanced document management technologies and IT services. Prior to joining Konica Minolta, Ms. Fernandez spent over twelve years at Toshiba America Business Solutions, holding positions in all aspects of product management, including Vice President of Marketing. Kay has a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California, San Diego and a masters of business administration from Pepperdine University. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Orange County Ballet Theater (OCBT) and is a supporter of Oceana. She has also led the marketing efforts at St. Mary's School, a 501(c)(3) International Baccalaureate Day School in Aliso Viejo, California. Ms. Fernandez is passionate about reading and cultivating our future generation of business and technology leaders. She resides in Franklin Lakes, NJ with her husband, Frank, and three daughters.
Principal, Crestview Partners, LLC.
Adam Klein is a Principal at Crestview Partners, a value-oriented private equity firm. He works with the energy team and specializes in oil-field services and unconventional energy investments. Prior to Crestview, Adam worked as an analyst at Centennial Ventures where he evaluated, executed and monitored investments in early to mid-stage companies across multiple industries, as well as at Compass Partners and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Adam is currently a director of FBR & Co, Select Energy Services, Silver Creek Oil & Gas, Synergy Energy and Texoma Transportation and Crude Marketing. He is also a board observer at Samsom Resources. Adam received his A.B. cum laude from Harvard College and his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
Senior Partner, Blank Rome LLP
Robert Stein is a senior partner at the law firm of Blank Rome LLP and is co-chair of the Firm’s Financial Services, Restructuring and Bankruptcy Practice Group. Bob primarily represents senior secured lenders in leveraged acquisition financings and recapitalizations. He has previously been a partner at the law firm of Wolf Block LLP and in-house counsel at Bankers Trust Company and at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company. Bob earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his law degree from Albany Law School at Union University, and brings strong management and analytical skills developed over the past 30 years of his legal practice. He has had an abiding interest in addressing through early childhood education the needs of disadvantaged children. Bob is the proud father of three grown children and one son-in-law and resides in Manhattan with his wife Paula, who is the Director of Development for the Randall’s Island Park Alliance.
Managing Director, DTZ
Graham Stephens is a Managing Director for DTZ, a full service commercial real estate brokerage firm. He is an integral part of DTZ’s Capital Markets business and leads the Tri-State team. He advises clients in investment sales, mortgage brokerage and structured debt and equity placement. Mr. Stephens has a BA from Hamilton College and resides in New York City with his wife Lauren. They are active members in the NY Public Library Young Lions Program and a Patron of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Apollo Circle.
President of Sales Division, Sussman Sales
Ron is the President of the Sales Division for Sussman Sales Company, a leader in K-12 digital and print sales distribution that has served New York City schools for over 40 years. In 2011 he helped launch Lightswitch Learning, a national K-12 sales organization that has recently published several best-sellers in the parent engagement arena. Mr. Sussman graduated from Binghamton University with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and currently lives in New York City. Ron had a 60-23 career record for Binghamton University Tennis. Sussman Sales was recognized in 2011 as one of "Inc.com's Fastest Growing Companies."
Director of Business Development, Yorke Construction
Owner, Keep Me Company
Talent Acquisition, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising
Event Planner, Emblem Health
Partner, Holland & Knight
Co-President and CEO, So Smart! Productions
Professor, New York University
Partner, Inter-Atlantic Group
President, Sirius Thinking Ltd.
Professor, Language and Literacy
Michigan State University
Vice President, Education Partnerships
Mary Lou Fulton College of Education
Arizona State University
Professor, Educational Studies
School of Education
University of Michigan
Former Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education (2001-2003)
*Chair of the President's Early Childhood Education Board
Director, Early Childhood National Center for Children in Poverty
Mailman School of Public Health
Assistant Professor, Early Childhood,
Elementary, and Literacy Education
Montclair State University
Amanda Hirsh is the Executive Director of Books for Kids since November 2012. She comes to Books for Kids from the Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, New Jersey, working on alumni events, annual giving, and new initiatives, and before that as a Sales Representative for children’s books at HarperCollins Publishers. Amanda graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Comparative Literature, and the Trinity School in New York, where she currently serves as a class representative, raising money for the Trinity Fund. Amanda lives in New York City with her husband and son.
Lisa transitioned from a career in finance to non-profits and education in 2008. Since then she has directed and developed UPK - 8th grade programs focused on literacy in NYC elementary and middle schools. Lisa is passionate about creating partnerships with schools, community and corporate organizations, as well as mentoring her teams of educators. She has designed and led Professional Development and family workshops and has extensive expertise in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of grant-funded literacy programs. Lisa has worked with The After School Corporation, Edison Learning, and Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation. Lisa graduated from Rowan University where she earned a B.A. in Political Science. A voracious reader herself, Lisa resides in Astoria with her many, many books.
Development and Operations Associate
Christie Steele is the Development and Operations Associate at Books for Kids. Christie oversees the fundraising initiatives of Books for Kids as well as office operations. Christie graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA where she earned a B.A. in Theatre and Dance. Prior to Books for Kids, she worked in University Operations at James Madison University as a Student Manager and also held a summer internship as an Administrative Intern at the Adirondack Theatre Festival, a non-profit theatre festival in Glens Falls, NY. Christie lives in North Bergen, NJ and is currently an active member of NYC's Empire A Cappella.
Liz works as a Library Specialist with Books for Kids. She is currently working on completing her masters degree in Library & Information Science with a concentration in youth services at Drexel University. She received her undergraduate degree in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Liz has worked with children for as long as she can remember in a variety of settings. From these experiences, she has discovered the importance of developing a love of reading and learning at a young age, and vows to instill this love in as many children she can. Liz lives in Brooklyn (surrounded by books).
Hannah Kowalczyk-Harper is a Library Specialist at Books for Kids working in the Mario Batali Foundation libraries in Las Vegas, NV. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin—Madison with an Elementary Education degree. Following graduation, Hannah followed her love of literacy to Malaysia and Singapore where she visited locations that serve as cultural and historical backdrops in books, particularly works penned by local authors. She has taught literacy to children in a variety of schools and worked at multiple libraries.
Samantha works as a Library Specialist with Books for Kids. Samantha earned her bachelor's degree from Ohio University in Adolescent to Young Adult English Language Arts and received her master's degree in Literacy from New York University. Samantha has worked with students of all ages in a variety of environments, where she aims to convey her passion for literacy while fostering confidence, efficacy, and growth. Samantha has previously taught middle school and tenth grade English Language Arts in Jersey City, New Jersey. Currently, Samantha is also a Literacy Specialist with Keys to Literacy, where she creates individualized, targeted lesson plans for each of her students.