2019-20 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.
Vickery Bowles is the city librarian at Toronto Public Library, a 100-branch library system serving 2.7 million people. She believes passionately in the difference public libraries make in the lives of individuals, 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.
Vice Chair/Chair Elect
Richard Reyes-Gavilan was appointed executive director of the DC 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 D.C., a number that exceeds the combined home attendance of 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 $300 million 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, D.C.’s only building designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Mies’ only realized library in the world.
Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson
Immediate Past Chair
Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson has served as director of libraries of the Houston Public Library since 2005. 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, Rhea 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. Rhea serves on a number of professional and civic boards and committees.
Brandon Neal currently serves as senior vice president and deputy chief legal officer for Novant Health. In this role, he manages Novant Health’s legal department and supports the executive vice president and chief legal officer in all legal functions of the organization, including oversight for compliance and risk mitigation, as well as internal audit strategies and alignment throughout the organization. Brandon previously served as managing counsel in the legal department of Wells Fargo & Company in Charlotte, N.C. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Neal practiced as a corporate associate for the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City. He received his B.S. in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler Business School) and his J.D. from the Duke University School of Law. Brandon is very active in community and philanthropic endeavors, both nationally and locally.
Dr. Mary J. Wardell
Board Member at Large
An educator, executive, author and thought leader on implementing broad-based diversity strategies, Dr. Mary J. Wardell (she/her) serves as the president of the San Francisco Public Library Commission, stewarding a $160 million budget for a system of 28 city libraries. Through her leadership, SFPL won the coveted National Public Library of the Year in 2018. Mary also serves as the inaugural vice provost and chief diversity officer at the University of San Francisco and is a leadership, organizations and diversity studies lecturer in the USF School of Education and School of Management. Mary is the founder of the Latinas in Leadership Forum, an annual empowerment and leadership conference for emerging Chicanx-Latinx leaders based in San Francisco, and the founder and principal of The DEI Leadership Group, a leadership development, diversity solutions and crisis management firm based in San Francisco. She is a trustee for the Urban Libraries Council, Ignatian Solidarity Network and the San Francisco Interfaith Council.
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
Jill Bourne is the city librarian of San José, California. With a focus on expanding access, partnerships, innovation and educational outcomes, 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 and assistant director for the Seattle Public Library. Jill has been recognized as a 2009 Mover and Shaker by Library Journal, as a 2015 Woman of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, as Library Journal's 2017 Librarian of the Year and, most recently, as one of the San Francisco Business Times’ Upstart 50.
Karl Dean served as the sixth mayor of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. Through his strong leadership during his two terms in office, Nashville is now strategically positioned for economic growth in the present and well into the future as a city offering affordability, high quality of life and a talented workforce. Karl first held public office when he was elected as Nashville’s Public Defender in 1990, a post he was re-elected to in 1994 and 1998. He served as Metro Law Director from 1999 to January 2007, when he resigned to run for the office of mayor. Since leaving office in September 2015, Karl began teaching at Belmont University as a distinguished visiting professor of history and political science. He also joined Boston University in January 2016 as the first “Initiative on Cities Mayor in Residence.” And he joined the ranks of Boston University faculty as a visiting professor in the Department of Political Science with a focus on urban studies. Karl was the Democratic nominee for Governor of Tennessee in 2018. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Vanderbilt Law School.
Janet Hutchinson is the past chair of the Calgary Public Library Board and a member of the Calgary Public Library Foundation Board. 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 a board member, president and past president of the YWCA of Calgary, and six years as a board member and president of the Developmental Disabilities Resource Centre Board of Directors. Janet works at the school library at Clear Water Academy.
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 of Fairborn, Ohio; the city manager of Miamisburg, Ohio; the city manager of Kettering, Ohio; and the assistant city manager and director of planning and city development of Kansas City, Missouri. As president of the downtown council, John was responsible for raising $35 million to retain and rebuild the Central Library for the Kansas City Public Library District. He also served as the chair of the economic development council of Kansas City (three years) during the city’s downtown renaissance. John was named the Kansas City Tomorrow “Person of the Year” in 2004 and named “Trustee of the Year” by the Missouri Association of Homes for the Aging in 2003.
Michael Meyer is an operating partner of McCarthy Capital. Michael joined McCarthy Capital in 2013 and is based at the firm’s headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Michael provides management oversight of portfolio investments. Prior to joining McCarthy Capital, Michael spent nearly 20 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. Michael earned an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Creighton University.
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 City of Tucson, she currently serves on numerous boards, including the Community Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Pima Library Foundation.
Skye Patrick is the director of LA County Library. Committed to breaking down barriers and increasing access for all, Skye introduced the iCount equity initiative, which ensures that the library services and programs address the needs of the diverse communities served throughout Los Angeles County. As the director, Skye continues to reinforce the library’s role in the community as a civic and cultural center, a hub for public information and services and an institution of literacy, innovation and lifelong learning. Skye was appointed to the Urban Libraries Council board in July 2017. In January 2019, Skye was named Librarian of the Year by Library Journal. Under her leadership, the library has also won the Library Journal 2018 Marketer of the Year award and 2019 Library of the Year award, in addition to being named a finalist for the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal in 2018 and 2019.
Mary Blankenship Pointer
Mary Blankenship Pointer, a former 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. She also actively volunteers in various local civic and nonprofit organizations including the board of Dove Science Academy (a STEM charter school). Mary is the CFO of the Council of International Neonatal Nurses.
Jesus Salas is a trustee at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. He is a very active member of the board and very involved in community events affecting the public libraries. He has been a managing attorney and is now a senior attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, a private, not-for-profit law firm in Toledo, Ohio. He has been working in legal services for the past 38 years in various legal aid programs across the country, including a farm worker program. He graduated from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., with a B.A. and J.D. Jesus has been a member of the Supreme Court of Ohio Interpreter Committee and Racial Diversity Committee, in addition to various Ohio State Bar committees. He is involved in a coordinated effort with NORWELD, the State Library of Ohio and TLCPL to help agricultural farmworkers and Limited English Language residents.
Rebecca Stavick is the executive director of Do Space, the nation's first technology library. Since opening in 2015, Do Space has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and in the 2016 American Libraries Design Showcase. Rebecca joined the Do Space project during its earliest stages to lead the development of programs, services and operations. She actively manages Do Space relationships, direction and strategy, bringing technology industry leadership and five years of public library sector experience to her role. Prior to developing the Do Space project, Rebecca earned a Master's of Library and Information Science degree from San Jose State University. While serving as Nebraska’s first Code for America brigade captain in 2012, she co-founded Open Nebraska, a local organization focused on open data advocacy and civic application development. Rebecca is a 2016 "40 Under 40" Omaha Business Executives award recipient.