Susan Benton, President and CEO, Urban Libraries Council

Susan BentonSusan has worked with libraries and local governments for over twenty 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 (ICMA).

Sarah Campbell, Executive Director, Portland Public Library (ME)

Sarah CampbellSarah Campbell is Executive Director of Portland Public Library, the largest library system in Maine. She served as Associate Director until 2015, and prior to that as Department Head for Lending Services, Technical Services, and Systems. Sarah was the founding Director of Library and Learning Resources at York County Technical College (Wells, ME) before coming to PPL. Prior to working in libraries, she coordinated professional development opportunities for allied health, education, and human service professionals at the University of New England (Biddeford, ME). She currently serves on the Maine Library Commission, as a founding member of the region’s education collective impact partnership “ConnectED,” on the Board of the Maine Infonet collaborative, and as a delegate to the OCLC Global Council.

Timothy Cherubini, Executive Director, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)

Timothy CherubiniTimothy Cherubini was named COSLA’s first Executive Director in June 2014 and leads that unique, highly motivated, collaborative organization in its goal to strengthen libraries and their contributions to a technology-driven society by leveraging state library agencies’ collective national reach, peer network, cross-state lens, recognized field leadership, and ability to partner. Prior to joining COSLA, Timothy held key positions with the SOLINET and LYRASIS library consortia where he worked closely with the Edge Roundtable through Edge’s soft launch phase. He also has extensive experience in academic libraries including positions at Duke University, Emory University, and the Ohio State University.

Seth Ervin, Associate Director, Access and Organizational Initiatives, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Seth ErvinSeth Ervin started his career in libraries in 2008, serving as Teen Specialist at The Loft at ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center, a branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. In 2012, he began serving as the Spangler Library Manager at ImaginOn, until becoming the Associate Director of Access and Organizational Initiatives in 2015.

Seth provides overall management of the Library’s collection of materials, coordinates the Library’s principal process enhancement initiative (WorkSmart), and provides strategic direction and oversight to the Library’s volunteer program and digital strategy.

Deborah Fallows, Contributing Writer, The Atlantic

Deb FallowsDeborah Fallows is a writer and a linguist. For the last three years, she and her husband, writer James Fallows, have been crisscrossing the country in their small plane, reporting on the reinvention of small towns for The Atlantic’s American Futures project. Included in that work has been her extensive reporting on local public libraries.

Deborah has written extensively on language, education, families and work, China, and travel for The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, The LA Times, and The Washington Monthly. Her latest book, Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin lessons in Life, Love, and Language, is based on her three-year experience living and working in China. Her first book, A Mother’s Work, about work-life balance, was published in 1985.

Most recently, she was a senior research fellow at the Pew Research Center and before that, director of data architecture for Oxygen Media. Previously, she was Assistant Dean and Assistant Director of Admissions at Georgetown University.

Lucie Faulknor, Producer, Serendipity Films

Lucie FaulknorLucie Faulknor has a long and diverse career working with artists and arts organizations. She produced and researched Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans and has worked with award-winning directors Dorothy Fadiman and Lynn Hershman-Leeson in the areas of fundraising, publicity, outreach and community engagement. Lucie has also produced Dublin Ireland's first Women in Film & Television film festival and presented a lecture series that included Laurie Anderson, Bobby McFerrin, Wayne Shorter, Sydney Pollack and others. She has worked for a number of prestigious arts institutions including City Arts & Lectures, SFJAZZ, Palace of Fine Arts Theater, the Irish Arts Foundation, Stern Grove Festival, Yerba Buena Gardens, Dublin (IRL) Fringe Festival and for a number of individual performing and visual artists including Jim Campilongo, Storm Large, Tracy Snelling and Kevin Woodson. She has a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco’s School of Business & Professional Studies and a B.A. in Arts Management from San Francisco State University.

G. Shawn Hunter, Founder & President, Mindscaling

Shawn HunterShawn Hunter is a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, and currently Founder and President of Mindscaling, a company dedicated to creating beautiful, and intelligent online learning products. Until July 2015, Shawn was Executive Producer & Vice President for Leadership Solutions at Skillsoft. For over a decade he has interviewed, collaborated with, and filmed, hundreds of leading business authors, executives, and business school faculty in an effort to assemble video learning solutions. He started this journey as an entrepreneur, and later expanded that business for Skillsoft. Shawn originally co-founded Targeted Learning Corporation with his father Hal Hunter, Ph.D., which was acquired by Skillsoft in February 2007.

Shawn’s new book Small Acts of Leadership: 12 Intentional Behaviors that Lead to Big Impact (Bibliomotion) will be published October 4, 2016. From simply taking care of our rest and exercise to building our self-confidence and embracing challenges, Small Acts of Leadership will guide you through a series of incremental steps you can take to build a stronger version of yourself and make a broader impact in the world. Weaving in personal life stories and meaningful interviews with business leaders around the world, Shawn presents the reader with twelve critical competencies that are consistently present in the daily behaviors of today’s most successful leaders.

Maggie Jacobs, Director of Educational Programs, New York Public Library

Maggie JacobsMaggie Jacobs was appointed Director of Educational Programs for The New York Public Library in January 2013. In this role, Maggie directs P-12 educational and public programming services throughout the Library. Before joining the library, Maggie served as Vice President of Development for an education advocacy organization that works to eliminate the achievement gap through passage of state laws that reform public schools. She spent a number of years as Director of Youth Initiatives at the American Museum of Natural History where she developed and implemented a redesign of the Museum's out-of-school time programming. She was the founder and Executive Director for Brainstorm After-School, Inc., a comprehensive after-school program for middle and high school students in Harlem and taught middle and high school history at The American School in Switzerland. Maggie holds a B.A. from Harvard University, M.P.A. from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, and J.D. from Columbia University's School of Law.

Crosby Kemper III, Director, The Kansas City Public Library

R. Crosby Kemper IIICrosby Kemper III is the Director of The Kansas City Public Library and former CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. In 2003-04, he chaired the Commission on the Future of Higher Education in Missouri for Governor Holden. He served on the board of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation which operates Monticello; and the boards of the Kansas City Symphony, Union Station and Lapham’s Quarterly. Crosby helped Marilyn Strauss found the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and was its first Board Chair. He also founded and chaired the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. He co-founded and is chairman of The Show-Me Institute, a libertarian public policy think tank for the state of Missouri.

In 2008, Crosby received the Difference Maker Award from The Urban League of Kansas City; and he and the Library received the Gold Medal for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services presented at the White House by former librarian, Laura Bush. In 2009, he was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame by the Kansas City, Kansas, Community College Endowment Association. In 2010, he was appointed to the Missouri Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission by Governor Jay Nixon, and received the William F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service from William Jewell College and the 2010 Harmony Humanitarian Hoffman Legacy Award. In 2012, he was an inaugural recipient of the Prime Time Champion Award issued by the Shepherd Center Central, and received the 2013 Public Administrator of the Year Award – Nonprofit by the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration.

Dr. Chris Kuehl, Managing Director, Armada Corporate Intelligence

Chris KeuhlDr. Chris Kuehl is a Managing Director of Armada Corporate Intelligence. He provides forecasts and strategic guidance for a wide variety of corporate clients around the world. He is the chief economist for several national and international organizations – Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, National Association of Credit Management, Finance, Credit and International Business and the Business Information Industry Association. He is also the economic analyst for several state accounting societies – Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Kansas.

Prior to starting Armada in 1999, he was a professor of economics and finance for 15 years – teaching in the US, Hungary, Russia, Estonia, Singapore and Taiwan. He holds advanced degrees in economics, Soviet studies and East Asian studies. Chris is the author of Business Intelligence Briefs and Executive Intelligence Briefs – both publications from Armada. He is also responsible for the Credit Manager’s Index from NACM and Fabrinomics from the FMA.

Richard Kong, Director, Skokie Public Library

Richard KongRichard Kong is Director of Skokie Public Library, an award-winning institution that serves a diverse population of 65,000 just north of Chicago, Illinois. Richard began his library career in the Ann Arbor (Michigan) District Library and Thousand Oaks (California). He then relocated to Skokie Public Library, where he assumed responsibility for adult programming and technology, overseeing development of an early digital media lab. After three years of progressive management experience at Arlington Heights (Illinois) Memorial Library, he was recruited to return to Skokie Public Library as deputy director in 2013 and was promoted to the top position of library director in July 2016.

Richard contributes actively to the library profession at both state and national levels. He was recently elected to the Public Library Association’s Board of Directors and chairs that organization’s National Conference Committee. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Illinois Library Association and the ALA Center for the Future of Libraries Working Group. Additional honors include serving as a mentor in Synergy: The Illinois State Library Leadership Initiative in 2015 and being named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2012. Kong presents regularly at state and national library conferences.

Janice Kreamer, Chairman of the Board, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Janice KreamerJanice Kreamer is the Chairman of the Kauffman Board of Trustees. She joined the board in December of 2006. She is the retired President and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and Affiliated Trusts. Janice is known nationally for her leadership of community foundations, and especially for her pioneering work focused on donor intent. Under her leadership, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation's asset base grew from $14 million to $1 billion. Today, it is among the leaders in assets, gifts received, and grants made among the more than 650 community foundations across the country. While at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, she was instrumental in creating the Partnership for Children and YouthNet organizations, as well as New Start, a pilot program that extends Head Start to full-day, year-round support. In her honor, the Community Foundation established the Janice C. Kreamer Community Fund with $1 million in assets focused on strengthening area nonprofit organizations.

Janice serves on the boards of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. Her past board service includes the Johnson Foundation, Midwest Research Institute, the Village Presbyterian Church Endowment Trust, and the Kansas City Industrial Foundation. Kreamer has received numerous honors, including the Entrepreneurial American Leadership Award for her pioneering efforts to redefine the leadership role community foundations play in creating regional cooperation across the United States. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce's ATHENA Award for achieving professional excellence, devoting time and energy to the community, and opening the doors of leadership to women.

Michael Lambert, Deputy City Librarian, San Francisco Public Library

Michael LambertMichael Lambert has served as Deputy City Librarian of the San Francisco Public Library since 2014, leading the public services team of the Main Library, 27 branch libraries, Community Programs & Partnerships and Collections & Technical Services. With a career that has spanned both coasts for over 24 years, Michael has managed library operations at the San Mateo County Libraries and for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

He began his career in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina at the Richland Library. While working in the Children’s Department of the Main Library, he developed his passion for libraries and appreciation for their impact in service to the community. He is a proud alumnus of the University of South Carolina with a degree in History and earned his MLIS from USC’s College of Library & Information Science.

John W. Laney, Library Board Trustee, Mid-Continent Public Library Board of Trustees; Member, ULC Executive Board

John W. LaneyJohn 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.

Dawn Logsdon, Director, Producer, Serendipity Films

Dawn LodgsonDawn Logsdon's career has been dedicated to making films about civic issues and city life, particularly at the neighborhood level. She directed and produced Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans (2008) which premiered nationally at the Tribeca International Film Festival. It went on to win the SFIFF Golden Gate Award for Best Documentary and was a PBS Black History Month feature presentation three years in a row. Dawn co-directed and edited Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton (2013) and Lindy Boggs: Steel and Velvet (2008). Dawn edited the Sundance Award-winning Paragraph 175 by Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Freidman, Academy Award-nominated Weather Underground by Sam Green, Emmy award-winning Have You Heard from Johannesburg? by Connie Field, and the Peabody award-winning The Castro by Peter Stein. Short films that she produced and directed include Tomboy, which was exhibited at the Whitney Museum and aired on PBS. Dawn received a BA in Philosophy from UC Berkeley. Her honors include a Soros OSI Media Fellowship, California Arts Council Artist Residency, BAVC Media Maker Award, Djerassi Artist Residency, Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship, New Orleans Contemporary Art Center Artist Fellowship, and the New Orleans Arts Council Award.

Quinton Lucas, City Councilman, Kansas City, Missouri

Quinton LucasCouncilman Quinton Lucas represents the Third District at-large in Kansas City, Missouri. For the 2015-2019 council term, Mayor Sly James has appointed Quinton to serve as Chairman of the Housing Committee. In addition, he serves as a member of the following committees: Neighborhoods and Public Safety; Planning, Zoning and Economic Development; Transportation and Infrastructure; Airport. Raised in Kansas City’s urban core with his mother and two older sisters, he obtained academic scholarships to attend the Barstow School in South Kansas City and later earned an undergraduate degree from Washington University and a law degree from Cornell University.

After school, Quinton returned home to Kansas City, first working for the Honorable Duane Benton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and then practicing business law. At age 27, Quinton was appointed to a law professorship at the University of Kansas. Quinton continues to teach and write on topics primarily concerning business law and government regulation. He also volunteers extensively in area schools and organizations, including serving on the board of directors of DeLaSalle Academy and teaching courses and providing mentorship in area prisons. In 2011, Mayor Sly James appointed Quinton to the Board of Zoning Adjustment, where he worked with the city planning department, citizens, and businesses to support job growth and development. He has also served on the city’s Charter Review Commission and numerous other civic, philanthropic, and professional organizations.

Pilar Martinez, Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Public Library

Pilar MartinezPilar Martinez is the Chief Executive Officer of the Edmonton Public Library, where she is responsible for strategic leadership, supporting the Board of Trustees, financial and budget management and stakeholder relations. She has overall accountability for establishing and executing the Library’s Business Plan in order to achieve the Board’s Strategic Directions of the Board. Pilar has a broad base of experience in library leadership including: advocacy, collective bargaining, strategic and business planning, recruitment and change leadership. She holds a MLIS from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English from Acadia University.

Pilar was the main champion and leader behind the implementation of EPL’s community-led service framework and the Leading From Any Position staff development initiative. She was honored with the Library Association of Alberta’s President’s Award in 2016 for her province-wide contributions to the library field and the goals of the LAA, and in 2012 with the Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship.

Jenna Mayotte, Associate Director, Portland Public Library (ME)

Jenna MayotteJenna Mayotte is the Associate Director of Portland Public Library in Portland, ME, where she is responsible for the delivery and assessment of library operations. Before joining the staff at Portland, she worked at the Simsbury Public Library in Simsbury, CT, as the Business Resource Center Coordinator, where she specialized in helping entrepreneurs and job-seekers. She holds a Masters of Library Science (MLS) from the University of Illinois, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Michigan.

Prior to working in public libraries, she worked at Syracuse University Library, where she served as subject specialist liaison to the Whitman School of Management. Jenna has also worked as a marketing executive for a wealth management firm with offices in Chicago and San Francisco, and in communications for a renewable energy non-profit in Washington, DC. Jenna’s professional interests include career development & strategy, change management, and intellectual freedom. She is a member of the American Library Association, and presents her work at conferences, workshops and webinars.

Keenon McCloy, Director, Memphis Public Library and Information Center

Director Keenon McCloy leads the Memphis Public Library & Information Center (MPLIC), an urban library system with 18 locations, a radio and TV station, a 2-1-1 call center, and diverse offerings of 3,000 programs impacting nearly 3 million customers. Keenon initiated a private funding campaign for JobLINC, a mobile job/career service. She envisioned and secured private support for teen learning lab CLOUD901, one of the largest and most innovative STEAM labs nationwide free for public use.

Keenon champions eliminating barriers to access, connecting residents to the world beyond their communities, and ensuring opportunities for all in a city known nationally for its high rate of disconnected youth (16-24). A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Rhodes College Institute for Executive Leadership and Leadership, Memphis, she was named “Top Leader and Librarian” by Gandhi’s Be Magazine for making a difference in her local and global community.

Joel Nichols, Co-Host, Kansas City Live

Joel NicholsBorn in a small Wisconsin River town, Joel moved to Las Vegas after high school to pursue a career in entertainment, but soon returned to Wisconsin to earn his degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked as a legislative aide to a state representative for a couple years and also began working at a local cable TV station. After working as a reporter and weatherman at WMTV, the NBC affiliate in Madison, Joel came to Kansas City where he helped folks start their days beginning in 1988. Now, Joel brings you fun features every morning on 41 Action News.

Joel co-hosts Kansas City Live every weekday morning at 10. You can also see one-on-one interviews with lots of interesting folks on Nichols at Night, after Saturday Night Live. Over the years, Joel has been a broadcasting jack of all trades including hosting a childrens' show, interview show and doing hundreds of feature stories about Kansas City.

Kent Oliver, Director, Nashville Public Library

Kent OliverKent Oliver has served as Director of Nashville Public Library (NPL) in Nashville, Tennessee, since 2012. Under his leadership, the city’s public library has expanded several key programs to promote early reading, adult literacy, STEM, and digital literacy. NPL has also grown its system-wide footprint under his leadership, and in 2015 received a ULC Innovation Award for sustainability for its then-new Southeast branch location. Kent has managed libraries in Kansas, Missouri, and Ohio. Just before taking leadership of NPL, he was Executive Director of the Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio. In 2009, the library won a 2009 National Medal for Museum and Library Service under his tenure.

Kent is a strong intellectual freedom advocate. He received the Stark County Ohio Bar Association’s Liberty Bell award for defense of the First Amendment. He is a three-time President of the Freedom to Read Foundation and has also chaired the Intellectual Freedom Committee of the American Library Association (ALA). His writings on intellectual freedom and defense of the First Amendment have been published in diverse sources, including Forbes and The Tennessean.

Laura Packer, Storyteller, Writer

Laura PackerLaura Packer is deeply committed to performing, coaching, training and facilitating storytelling for individuals and organizations. With over 20 years of storytelling experience, Laura has spoken at a number of prominent education and storytelling conferences, arts festivals, universities, schools, museums, libraries and many other venues. She has extensive workshop and teaching experience including arts festivals and conferences, such as the National Storytelling Conference, and conducting workshops for children, teens and adults. Laura has also taught storytelling classes at Communiversity, Brookline Center for Adult Education, Rhode Island College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rhode Island School of Design; Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias (Lisbon, Portugal), and the First International Workshop on Narrative and Interactive Learning Environments (Edinburgh, Scotland).

Throughout her career, Laura has organized and produced several large storytelling events and performance series, including serving as Co-Chair and Chair of Sharing the Fire – the largest regional storytelling conference in the world – and founder and host of Speak Up Storytelling and Spoken Word in Kansas City. She has released two spoken word recordings: Kansas and Other Stories (1999) and A Passion of Stories (2006). She is the recipient of the 2009 Oracle Award for Service and Leadership from the National Storytelling Network and the 2012 Brother Blue and Ruth Hill Award for Storytelling Excellence, Service and Leadership from the League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling (LANES). In July 2016, Laura won “Best in Fringe” at the Kansas City Fringe Festival.

Steven V. Potter, Director & CEO, Mid-Continent Public Library

Steve PotterSteven V. Potter is the CEO and Library Director of Mid-Continent Public Library. He has been with the Library system since 1988, where he started as a typist after finishing his undergraduate work in history at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. In the years since, Steven has held multiple positions at the MCPL. He was responsible for the system’s first website and the project to bring public Internet computers to the Library. He also managed construction of the Midwest Genealogy Center, and developed the Library’s innovative “Library-To-Go” automated service locations.

Steven is now overseeing the MCPL’s shift to providing library access in a digital age. The new Woodneath Library Center opened in June 2013 and gathers many of these innovative efforts in one place. For these reasons, and many more, MCPL was recognized as a recipient of the 2014 National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. He coauthored The Purposed-Based Library: Finding Your Path to Survival, Success, and Growth, and was named Public Administrator of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration in 2015. He has become a leader in the field of local economic development and its impact on public entities. He serves on multiple boards of directors and is an adjunct professor for the University of Missouri. He holds an MLS from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MPA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Kevin Powell, President, BK Nation, Writer, Humanitarian

Kevin PowellKevin Powell is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip hop voices in America today. Kevin routinely appears in interviews on television, radio, and in print and on the Internet discussing major issues of our time. As an activist, he is the president and co-founder of BK Nation, a new national, progressive, multicultural organization focused on such issues as education, civic engagement, leadership training, health and wellness, social media, arts and culture, and job and small business creation.

Kevin routinely travels nationally and globally as a public speaker, at colleges and corporations, at various institutions, and a wide range of communities, including serving as Hip hop Scholar-in-Residence at the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. As a pop culture curator, Kevin produced the first exhibit on the history of hip hop in America at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, which toured America and overseas. Kevin's humanitarian work includes local, national and international initiatives to end violence against women and girls, as well as extensive philanthropic and relief work, ranging from homelessness to Hurricane Katrina and earthquakes in Haiti and Japan.

Bill Ptacek, Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Public Library

Bill_PtacekBill Ptacek joined the Calgary Public Library as its CEO in early 2014. Previously, Bill was the Director of the King County Library System in western Washington state, where he led King County to become the Library Journal "Library of the Year" in 2011. In his two and a half years at the Calgary Public Library, Bill has been busy. He is working hard on developing relationships for the Library with government and community groups and partnerships with the school boards.

On other fronts, new initiatives include a full rebranding, a new catalogue and website, a focus on safety at the Central Library, free library cards for all, the growth of the Library’s Foundation, and a refresh in the design and collections at all libraries in the system. Work on Calgary’s New Central Library, headed by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, continues on time and on budget. In the meantime, the Library is getting ready for its completion by piloting new projects and materials throughout the city’s 18 community libraries.

Gleniece Robinson, Director, Fort Worth Library

Gleniece RobinsonSince 1999, Gleniece Robinson has held the position of Library Director for the Fort Worth Library system; she is the city’s first African-American library director. Her work career includes positions with the Library of Congress, University of Michigan and the Dallas Public Library System. Gleniece is the first African American to serve as president of the Texas Library Association, the largest state library association in the country and, in 2013, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the organization. Under her leadership, the Library has led a number of major education initiatives in the city of Fort Worth, including integrating the city’s Early Childhood Matters (ECM) program with the Library’s Youth Services Division to keep the city from eliminating the program; forming a partnership with community non-profits, Fort Worth Independent School District and the United Way to launch Worth Reading 365, a year-round, literacy program emphasizing out-of-classroom education; improving content of early education classes by developing deliberate learning objectives and outcomes aligned with Texas Education Agency standards; and serving as the catalyst for the formation of the Early Learning Alliance, a coalition of more than 30 community organizations, with technical support from the National League of Cities.

Michael Sherrod, ULC Executive Board Chair

Michael SherrodMichael 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. Michael has founded/co-founded ten 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.

Scott Smith, Co-Chair, KC Rising

Scott SmithScott Smith retired in 2013 from HNTB Corporation where he served in a wide range of roles from project Engineer, project manager, department head, principal-in-charge of the firm’s Kansas City and St. Louis offices, chief marketing officer, president of HNTB’s Central Division, director of Strategic Initiatives, board member, and CEO and President of HNTB Infrastructure. Scott was responsible for major projects across the U.S. including highways, bridges, rail, transit, and airports. Scott currently serves as Vice Chair of the Civic Council of Kansas City and of the Board of Trustees of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Scott has served on the Greater Kansas City Chamber Board of Directors and is a Board of Trustees member of MRI Global.

Kristen Sorth, Director, St. Louis County Library

Kristen SorthKristen Sorth became St. Louis County Library’s first female director on November 19, 2013. Prior to being named Director, Ms. Sorth served as the Senior Manager of Human Resources, then Assistant Director of Administration, for SLCL. As the leader of St. Louis County Library District, Sorth has guided the library's building and expansion program to renovate or replace all but one of the library's 20 facilities. She also engages connections throughout the community to increase the reach and depth of service offered throughout the region, an approach that was instrumental to SLCL receiving a 2016 What’s Right with the Region Award.

In 2015, Kristen received two awards for her work with the library. In July, she was chosen as a member of the YWCA Academy of Leaders. She is one of ten selected from a wide array of St. Louis' most accomplished women in corporate, government, educational, nonprofit and entrepreneurial positions. In June, the St. Louis Business Journal named Kristen one of the 2015 Most Influential Business Women. Under her leadership, the Library District has also received numerous accolades including an invitation to participate in the White House Library Card Challenge; a 2015 ULC Top Innovator award for SLCL's summer lunch program; consecutive years as a Top Place to Work by the St. Louis Post Dispatch; and being named the 2014 Missouri Library of the Year by the Missouri Library Association.

Rebecca Stavick, Executive Director, Do Space

Rebecca StavickBefore assuming the role of Executive Director of Do Space in 2015, Rebecca Stavick earned a Master's of Library and Information Science degree at San Jose State University, and worked for nearly five years in the Omaha Public Library system. At OPL, she worked in staff and leadership development, and acted as the library liaison for the technology and startup communities in Omaha. In 2012, Rebecca co-founded Open Nebraska, a local organization focused on civic application development, open data advocacy, and technology education. She served as the Code for America Captain for Omaha, and served as the local community representative for the Digital Public Library of America for two years.

Tricia Suellentrop, Deputy County Librarian, Johnson County Library

Tricia SuellentropAs the Deputy County Librarian for the Johnson County Library, Tricia Suellentrop oversees all operations for 13 locations that serve more than 400,000 residents. Tricia has been with the library since 1998, serving as the Teen Services Librarian, Youth Services Manager and System Wide Services Manager. She received the ALA Sagebrush Award in 2002 for outstanding service to young people and the Youth Services Award in 2002 from the Mountain Plains Library Association. Tricia has co-authored the third edition of Connecting Young Adults and Libraries: A How-to-Do-It Manual with Patrick Jones and Michele Gorman in 2004, as well as the fourth edition with Gorman in 2009. She has also been a contributing columnist for "Teenage Riot" in School Library Journal. In 2005, Tricia was selected as one of Library Journal's Movers & Shakers for her work with teens in the correction system. She regularly speaks at library conferences and gives trainings on library service to teens. Tricia received her B.A. in English from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas and her Masters of Library & Information Science from Emporia State College in Emporia, Kansas.

Lois Langer Thompson, Director, Hennepin County Library

Lois Langer ThompsonAs Director of Hennepin County Library, Lois oversees 41 public libraries, a collection of more than 5 million items, an award-winning website (www.hclib.org), and services to county residents who are homebound, or in senior residences or correctional facilities. Her focus on innovative, sustainable and accessible library service has helped to ensure Hennepin County residents have the opportunity and resources they need to read, graduate, engage, work and learn.

A recipient of Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers leadership award, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Gustavus Adolphus College and a Master of Arts in Librarianship and Information Management from the University of Denver.

Kelvin Watson, Chief Operating Officer, Senior Vice President, Queens Library

Kelvin WatsonAs the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President for the Queens Library, Kelvin Watson's responsibilities include Human Resources, Capital & Facilities Management, Risk Management, Logistics and Security, Technical Services, and he leads the development and implementation of system-wide library technology development(ITD), and content (physical, digital, databases, etc.), e-user experience, e-programs and special services by working across the organization, across the library field and across related industries to create new models of content delivery to public library customers. He was named the 2016 inaugural winner of ALA’s Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession, which recognized him as a public librarian who demonstrates leadership in anticipating emerging trends in services, products and technologies that will enhance the library’s position in its community. He is the immediate past president of the Black Caucus of ALA and serves on the New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, the Metropolitan New York Library Council Board, ALA Accreditation Committee, and on ALA President Elect-Jim Neal's Presidential Advisory Committee. Kelvin is also a lecturer at Queens College’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

Prior to coming to Queens, Kelvin served as the Branch Head, Acquisitions & Collection Development at the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Maryland. Before accepting his position with NAL, he was the Director of Business Development for The Library Corporation, a library automation company, and was the product owner for the Online Selection Assistant. He also held several leadership roles in sales and marketing with Borders Group, Inc. At Ingram Book Group/Ingram Library Services, Kelvin held leadership roles in sales, marketing, collection development, warehouse management (logistics) and library technical services.

Victoria Wegener, Partner, Mainspring Consulting

Victoria WegenerVictoria Wegener is a seasoned trainer and facilitator, and has provided training and technical assistance activities for projects related to afterschool, STEM, digital media and learning, early care and education, and youth development. Wegener currently serves as the Manager for the Afterschool Technical Assistance Collaborative, a group of national organizations providing technical assistance support to the C.S. Mott Foundation's 50 Statewide Afterschool Networks. She also leads the collaboration between the Mott and Noyce Foundations on afterschool and STEM system building. Wegener worked with the MacArthur Foundation's Digital Media and Learning Initiative on financing and sustainability issues focused on Learning Labs and Hive networks. Previously, Wegener was a Senior Associate for the strategic communications firm of Fowler Hoffman, LLC working in the areas of partnership development, strategic communications and coalition building. Wegener also was a Senior Consultant and Senior Associate for The Finance Project, serving as the manager for several national technical assistance and training projects. Wegener holds a master's degree in Social Work from the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America.