2016-2017 Executive Board

The ULC Executive Board provides strategic oversight, industry perspective and vision that guides the continued evolution of the organization.

The ULC Executive Board is comprised of member library directors; trustees of libraries and/or library foundations; and public members who are civic, business, government or philanthropic leaders

Executive Officers


Michael Sherrod, Chair

Michael Sherrod, as the Texas Christian University (TCU) William M. Dickey Entrepreneur in Residence, teaches undergraduates and manages an interdisciplinary, faculty based entrepreneurship program. He has been a pioneer in the online world since 1985. Mr. Sherrod has founded/co-founded 10 companies, including Black Dove Media, LLC and DigitalCity.com, and has served in senior management roles at AMR Information Services, AOL, Ancestry.com and Examiner.com. He recently served as the first Publisher of TexasTribune.org, is Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Umbel.com and sits on the Kinsey Institute Board of Trustees.


Matthew K. Poland, Immediate Past Chair

Matt Poland was appointed as Russell Library’s (CT) Executive Director in February 2016. Mr. Poland currently is a member and former chairman of the Hartford Board of Education and is a member of the Community Steering Committee of Opportunities Hartford. He serves as Chair of the Urban Libraries Council, is a board member for Hartford Performs, a Corporator for Hartford Hospital and the iQuilt Partnership, and serves on the leadership committee and policy cabinet of MoveUP!. He is also a member of the American Library Association, the Connecticut Library Association, Leadership Greater Hartford, Society for Human Resources Management, and the Human Resources Association of Central Connecticut. He is a LeadBoston Fellow and a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum. Hartford Magazine named him one of Hartford’s Most Influential People in 2013.


Rhea Brown Lawson, PhD, Secretary/Treasurer

Rhea Brown Lawson has served as Director of Libraries of the Houston Public Library (TX) since 2005. The Houston Public Library (HPL) is the largest public library in the state of Texas, serving over 2.2 million people of diverse backgrounds through a network of 42 locations. Under her leadership HPL has earned over 30 prestigious local, state and national awards for service, innovation and building projects. The system is continuously evolving and moving forward a comprehensive platform of innovative library services and programs to meet the rapidly changing needs of customers and the virtual environment. A strong and passionate advocate for public libraries, Dr. Lawson is keenly focused on ensuring that public libraries remain highly visible and vibrant organizations that provide leadership for, and remain essential to the quality of life in their communities. Dr. Lawson serves on a number of professional and civic boards and committees.

Executive Board Members


Jill Bourne

Jill Bourne is City Librarian for the City of San José, California. With a focus on expanding access, partnerships and innovation, she is committed to enhancing the relevance and leveraging the value of public libraries in the communities they serve. Prior to her current appointment, she served as the Deputy City Librarian at the San Francisco Public Library (CA) and Assistant Director for Public Services at The Seattle Public Library (WA). Ms. Bourne was named as a Library Journal "Mover and Shaker" in 2009. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from New York University and a master's in library and information science from the University of Washington.

Vickery Bowles

Vickery Bowles

Vickery Bowles is the City Librarian at Toronto Public Library (TPL), a 100 branch library system serving 2.7 million people. She believes passionately in the difference public libraries make in the lives of individuals, in communities and cities. Vickery has worked in a number of leadership positions, spearheading service development including with Toronto’s high needs and diverse communities to develop library-led solutions that support capacity building, civic engagement and settlement. She is currently working to advance TPL’s new strategic plan and its digital strategies that support new service models, mobility, e-learning, and innovation.


Karen (Kari) E. Glover

Kari Glover practiced law for over 30 years as a corporate and regulatory lawyer. She was Firm Managing Partner of Preston Gates & Ellis, LLP, then a Seattle based firm of 430 lawyers with 11 offices in Washington, DC, the West Coast and Greater China, and Global Integration Partner of K&L Gates, one of the largest law firms in the world. She has long experience in civic and business leadership. As a volunteer leader with libraries, she served as Trustee of the King County Library System and now serves on the Board of the KCLS Foundation (and is a past President). In addition, Ms. Glover is Immediate Past Board Chair of VillageReach, an NGO involved in global health logistics, and also currently serves on the Boards of REI, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and Mountains to Sound Greenway.

Janet Hutchinson

Janet Hutchinson

Janet Hutchinson was first appointed to the City of Calgary Public Library Board in 2011 and currently serves as Board Chair. Janet has many years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, including three years with the Alberta Science Literacy Association as Executive Director and 17 years with Calgary Family Services. Janet’s volunteer positions have included eight years as Board member, President and Past President of the YWCA of Calgary, and six years as Board member and President of the Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre Board of Directors. Hutchinson works at the school library at Clear Water Academy.

John W. Laney

John W. Laney

John Laney was appointed to the Mid-Continent Public Library Board of Trustees in June 2003. Before retiring in 2005 from Hallmark Cards after 15 years as the Vice President of Hall Family Foundation, John had an active public service career serving as: the Assistant City Manager, Fairborn, OH; the City Manager, Miamisburg, OH; the City Manager, Kettering, OH; and the Assistant City Manager & Director of Planning & City Development, Kansas City, MO. As President of the Downtown Council, John was responsible for raising 35 million dollars to retain and rebuild the Central Library for the KC Public Library District. He also served as the Chair of the Economic Development Council of Kansas City, MO (3 years) during the downtown renaissance of Kansas City. John was named the KC Tomorrow “Person of the Year” in 2004 and named Trustee of the Year by the Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging in 2003.


William (Bill) H. Meadows

William H. Meadows served as President of The Wilderness Society from December 1996 to May 2012. He currently serves as Counselor, a senior program position for The Wilderness Society. Mr. Meadows has been active in conservation for over 40 years. He credits Earth Day, founded by late Senator Gaylord Nelson, as the catalyst for his involvement. As President, he led a staff of 180 with headquarters in Washington, DC and 9 regional offices; he acted as the key spokesperson and advocate for The Wilderness Society’s work on Capitol Hill and across the country. Recognized as a national leader in public land conservation and wilderness preservation, Mr. Meadows has played an important role in the protection of national forest roadless areas, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and America’s national monuments.

Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer is an Operating Partner of McCarthy Capital. Mr. Meyer joined McCarthy Capital in 2013 and is based at the firm’s headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Mr. Meyer provides management oversight of portfolio investments. Prior to joining McCarthy Capital, Mr. Meyer spent nearly twenty years at Tenaska, Inc. most recently as Vice President of Asset Management for the Operations Group. His prior experience includes many years of financial and operations management in the banking and energy industries. He is a past President of the Omaha Public Library Foundation and the Omaha Public Library Board of Trustees. Mr. Meyer earned an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Creighton University.

Mary Okoye

C. Mary Okoye

C. Mary Okoye heads the Tucson office of the public affairs firm of Scutari and Cieslak. She is well versed in strategically positioning her corporate and government clients to succeed at the state, local, and federal level by developing winning external relations, critical communications and advocacy strategies. She has represented the interests of corporate clients such as AT&T (Southwest Regions). During her career as an attorney she has worked in private practice, served as a Tucson City Court Magistrate, and was the Pima County Public Fiduciary prior to accepting her position with the City of Tucson as Director of Intergovernmental Relations. A lifelong volunteer, passionate about and committed to the Tucson, she currently serves on numerous boards, including the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Pima Library Foundation.

Mary Blankenship Pointer

Mary Blankenship Pointer, a Senior Vice President of Republic Bank and Trust, has 39 years of experience in business development, commercial lending and private banking. She is a business leader with valuable connections throughout the state of Oklahoma. Currently, she is the Treasurer and Finance Chair of the Pioneer Library System Board of Trustees (OK). She also actively volunteers in various local civic and nonprofit organizations including the board of Dove Science Academy (a STEM Charter School). Ms. Blankenship Pointer is the CFO of the Council of International Neonatal Nurses.

Richard Reyes Gavilan

Richard Reyes-Gavilan

Richard Reyes-Gavilan was appointed Executive Director of the District of Columbia Public Library in January 2014. He oversees a campus of 26 libraries, a staff of 600, and an annual operating budget of $57 million. In Fiscal Year 2015 over 4.2 million people visited public libraries in the District, a number that exceeds the combined home attendance of Washington D.C.’s professional baseball, hockey, and men’s basketball teams. He is responsible for oversight of an ambitious capital improvement plan that includes almost $300M budgeted over the next six years for branches designed by renowned architects Bing Thom, TEN Arquitectos, and others. Most important among the projects for which he is responsible is the full modernization of the landmarked Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the District of Columbia’s only building designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Mies’s only realized library in the world.

Mary J. Wardell

Mary J. Wardell, EdD

Mary J. Wardell is the Vice Provost for Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach at the University of San Francisco. She is an executive leader with over 20 years experience in California higher education, academic affairs, student life, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement. She leverages the social and cultural capital of institutes of higher education and public learning to be intersecting locations for community capacity-building and uplift. In 2016, Dr. Wardell was elected to serve as president of the San Francisco Library Commission after being appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the commission in 2014.

Allen G. Zaring, IV

Allen G. Zaring, IV

Allen G. Zaring IV is Vice President of the J.P.Morgan Private Bank. He was appointed by the Hamilton County Commissioners as a Library Trustee on December 15, 2010. Mr. Zaring was also elected Secretary of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County Board of Trustees in 2015. He serves on the Finance and Audit Committee and also on the Library Operations-Facilities Committee. He previously served as a Director of the Library Foundation and served as Chairman of the Foundation Board. In addition, Mr. Zaring served on the Library Levy Campaign Committee in 2009.