Skip Navigation
Back to Navigation

Staff

330 Susan

Susan Benton

President and CEO

susanbenton@urbanlibraries.org

Susan has worked with libraries and local governments for over 30 years. Her professional career has been dedicated to assisting city and county executives initiate and manage change in their organizations so that citizens and businesses are receiving the strongest possible services. She comes to ULC from her position as Research, Development and Strategic Partners Executive at the International City/County Management Association.

Lourdes

Lourdes Aceves

Associate Director, Digital Programs

laceves@urbanlibraries.org

Lourdes manages the Edge State Library Program, working closely with state library partners to secure broad adoption across their states. Lourdes supports and builds ULC and Edge's national presence and value at national, state and regional conferences. Before joining ULC, she worked at the Illinois Housing Development Authority to administer a TARP Program intended to help struggling Illinois homeowners avoid foreclosure. Lourdes holds a Master in Public Policy with a concentration in local economic development.

330 Jen

Jennifer Blenkle

Director of Strategic Initiatives

jblenkle@urbanlibraries.org

Jen focuses on designing and leading ULC’s strategic initiatives, ensuring that the programs address the critical issues facing members now and in the future. Her career includes over 20 years of program development and leadership in community and nonprofit organizations. Before coming to ULC, Jen served as the vice president of research and innovation at the Industrial Research Institute and vice president of innovation and new product development at the American Society of Association Executives.

330 Colleen

Colleen Bragiel

Director of Conferences and Community Engagement

mcbragiel@urbanlibraries.org

Colleen has extensive marketing, PR, business development and conference planning experience. Prior to ULC, Colleen worked with several consumer and health care companies on brand recognition, market research and image consulting. Colleen manages the planning and execution of forums, gatherings and programs offered by ULC and its partners.

330 Ximena

Ximena Diaz

Program Fellow

xdiaz@urbanlibraries.org

Ximena supports ULC's programs. She graduated from George Washington University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in international development. Ximena wishes to dedicate her career to racial equity and educational development, whether it be internationally or domestically. Prior to ULC, Ximena interned at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., and at an international development organization in Cameroon called Breaking Ground.

Alisha330

Alisha Powell Gillis

Director of Community Impact

agillis@urbanlibraries.org

Alisha Powell Gillis is responsible for connecting libraries to critical issues in state and local government and developing a culture of data-driven, outcome-based programs among ULC members. Prior to ULC, Alisha served the nation's governors for nearly a decade at the National Governors Association Homeland Security & Public Safety Division. As program director, Alisha was responsible for overseeing all management, operational, strategic and financial activities of the division's homeland security program. Prior to serving as program director, Alisha served in several roles at NGA, including senior policy analyst, policy analyst and program assistant. Alisha holds a master’s degree in global security studies from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hofstra University.

Josyana330

Josyana Joshua

Communications Intern

jjoshua@urbanlibraries.org

Josyana Joshua is a junior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where she is majoring in journalism and minoring in Spanish. Josyana supports ULC's communications, including social media, public relations and website updates. She is passionate about making a difference and hopes to do so in her career.

330 Angela

Angela Goodrich

Finance and Administration Executive

agoodrich@urbanlibraries.org

Angela has dedicated her career to building strong communities. At ULC since 1999, she has supported the creation of national initiatives to advance education and learning, strengthen public access technology, celebrate innovators and communicate the value of the public library in the 21st century. Angela has a Masters of Business Administration from Loyola University-Chicago and over 25 years of nonprofit management experience including the founding administrative director of the Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company.

330 Christine

Christine Merzazada

Finance Manager

cmerzazada@urbanlibraries.org

Christine comes to ULC from Educational Research Service where she was the Office Manager. She has over 15 years of experience working for a nonprofit handling most of the accounting and financial activities for the organization. Prior to her last position, she was responsible for the publication fulfillment process as well as membership invoicing.

330 Nikolas

Nikolas Michael

Communications Fellow

nmichael@urbanlibraries.org

Nikolas supports ULC’s communication and outreach efforts, helping with messaging, expanding ULC’s digital presence and supporting media relations. Nikolas graduated from George Washington University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies.

Josh Headshot 330

Josh Ratner

Program Manager

Josh Ratner supports ULC’s programs and initiatives. Before joining ULC, Josh worked at Active Minds where he managed a national suicide prevention program. In addition to working in the nonprofit sector, Josh has worked as an organizer and a political consultant for elections and economic development initiatives across the New York and D.C. metro areas. Josh is a proud Terp and holds a BA in government and politics from The University of Maryland.

330 Curtis

Curtis Rogers

Director of Communications

crogers@urbanlibraries.org

Curtis leads the development and management of ULC's communications strategies, messaging and branding. Prior to joining ULC, he was the senior marketing manager at the National Club Association. Curtis currently serves on the board of directors of the American Advertising Federation's Washington, D.C. chapter. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from New York University.

330 Matt

Matthew Wims

Project Coordinator

mwims@urbanlibraries.org

Matthew is responsible for supporting customer service, updating ULC’s Knowledge Center and facilitating conversation in ULC e-Discussion Groups. Prior to joining ULC, Matthew graduated from YearUp in 2017 with a certificate in business operations.

Amy 330 Brighter2

Amy Weist

Senior Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

aweist@urbanlibraries.org

Amy is the senior executive assistant to ULC's president and CEO. Previously, Amy served as the director of administration for the executive search firm Vetted Solutions, which she helped launch. She also served as the business manager for the Hydrocephalus Association for three years, and worked for 10 years at the Global Business Travel Association. At GBTA, she worked closely with the boards, committees, chapters, members and staff of the 5,000+ member hospitality association. Prior to GBTA, Amy served as a coordinator and assistant with Communities in Schools and worked for six years in the White House’s Office of Presidential Personnel.