Jillian is a Senior Manager at Holtzman Partners and prides herself in the strong and positive relationships she develops with her clients performing financial statement audits, internal controls compliance, and growing the firm’s transaction advisory practice. Prior to becoming a CPA in the state of Texas in 2006, Jillian earned a B.S. in business administration and an M.S. in accountancy from Baylor University. She began her accounting career at Deloitte in Houston prior to moving to Austin in 2008. Why do I serve? Education is the springboard of opportunity in America, and fundamental reading is the foundation of education. By focusing on the common goal creating positive reading experiences for children, educators, and parents, and by sharing effective tools and strategies to do so, we can help kids develop the tools they need for success. Favorite Book: Mister God, This is Anna by Fynn
Michelle is an experienced, responsive and personable commercial attorney representing AT&T in telecommunications, technology and outsourcing transactions and complex service and product sales to large enterprise customers. In addition to working as an attorney, she is also an independent skin care consultant for Rodan + Fields, partnering with the doctors who created Pro-Activ. She’s a former President of the ZACH Theatre Board of Directors and was active in the United Way of Greater Austin’s Women’s Leadership Council, which supported Success by 6.
Lindsey is the Development Coordinator at the Office of Innovation and Development with Austin ISD. She was born and raised in Austin, and though she has lived in cities throughout the country — Boston, DC, New York, Berkeley — she says she’s back in Austin for good. Lindsey is passionate about creating more equitable educational opportunities and outcomes for historically underserved children. This passion drove her to teach high school Spanish, first as a Teach for America educator in Washington, DC and later at a high-performing public school in Lower Manhattan. Lindsey has been working in the Office of Innovation and Development in Austin ISD for almost five years, where they seek to increase external resources for the district’s 130 campuses and over 81,000 students. Lindsey holds a Master’s in Teaching from American University, a Master’s in Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Spanish and Women’s Studies from Wellesley College. In her spare time, Lindsey enjoys yoga, traveling and spending time with her husband and their three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, whose favorite activity is reading!
Brian is from the great state of South Dakota. He has fond memories of going to his local library (only open on Saturdays from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm) and finding Hardy Boys mystery books to get lost in. Books, along with some great mentors, helped Brian see beyond the corn fields. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Bellevue University. Today Brian’s career is finance focused (planning, budgeting, and analysis) but he still makes time to read. In 2011, Brian and his wife made Austin their home. Brian is a Senior Analyst at Hyperwallet. They enjoy taking their oversized golden retriever on adventures, sampling local breweries, and swapping the cars for bikes on the weekends.
Drew has over 30 years experience in creating and coding computer systems and websites for the Texas Comptroller’s Office. He proposed and created the Comptroller’s first website in the early 1990s and led the team that designed, updated and maintained the site for 20 years until he retired in 2012. Now self-employed as a consultant and website developer, Drew has extensive experience supervising professionals, in project management and in all aspects of website development. He has lived in Austin since 1965 and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Why do I serve? My life was vastly improved by adults who took the time to help me learn about the world around me and how beautiful life can be. Books and reading were a huge part of expanding my world and my parents read to me long before I started school. Those stories sparked my imagination more than anything else and I remember how exciting it was. Favorite Book: Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Mary worked for many years at the American Heart Association with the CPR and Advanced Life Support programs. The leadership opportunities at AHA prepared her for the volunteer work she is currently doing with many organizations. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Zoology. Why do I serve? I enjoy meeting new people, doing what I can to help those in need, and helping to make Austin a better place for all of us. Books open up an entirely new world to all of us. They allow you to see the world from the perspective of others, which in turn helps us to be more tolerant of others and their viewpoints. Favorite Book: Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Charlie was born in South Texas (Corpus Christi) and moved to Austin, TX at the age of seven and have lived in the area since. He attended Pflugerville High School and went to college at Texas State University in San Marcos graduating with my Master’s in Accounting. Charlie has worked in public accounting as an auditor for 12 years and is currently a Senior Audit Manager with Atchley and Associates, LLP (a local CPA firm in Austin that specializes in not-for-profit entities). Why do I serve? He also served as an auditor on the BookSpring audit engagement for 2 years and got to work with Emily Cicchini and learn more about the organization during that time. Charlie has a great interest in being involved with BookSpring and assisting with the organization’s mission. Favorite Book: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Crystal is a Senior Relationship Manager/ Vice President of Commercial Banking with Bank of America Merrill Lynch . She is native to Wimberley, Texas with over 13 years’ experience in the banking industry. She joined a small consulting firm out of college and went into commercial banking after getting her MBA at the University of Texas. Crystal enjoys being active in the community and giving back in areas of education and employment. As a commercial banker focused on middle market companies in the Austin area, Crystal has a portfolio of clients in various industries, both for-profit and not-for-profit. She is charged with bringing new clients into the bank and helping business executives finance working capital needs, asset acquisition, ownership changes, and expansion plans. Crystal is always looking to connect people and help others to achieve their highest potential. In her spare time, she appreciates the creative vibe that comes along with the local music scene, hiking trails, lakes, and rivers.
Risé is currently a Professor of Communication Studies at Austin Community College and currently is based at the Cypress Creek campus in Cedar Park. She also serves as Assistant Department Chair for the Communication Studies department, where her duties include hiring and evaluation of Adjunct Faculty members. In her spare time, she is an active volunteer with The Junior League of Austin and Alpha Delta Pi Alumnae Association (Greater Austin chapter). Why I Serve: I was raised with a love of books and the knowledge and experience that came within each one. Even today you’ll catch me with a nightstand full of books to read, and I want to help foster that love within children who might not otherwise have it. Favorite Book: Curious George by H.A. & Margret Rey
Madison is an attorney with the Texas Municipal Retirement System. Most of his professional career has involved representing local governmental entities on transactional, governance, or human resources matters. Madison previously served on the BookSpring board during its launch from the merger of Reading Is Fundamental of Austin and Capital Area Reach Out and Read. Madison received law and undergraduate degrees from the University of Texas, where he met his wife Deena Perkins, who teaches high school level social studies after earning a master’s degree in social work from U.T. Why do I serve? Literacy is a gateway to opportunity, and the gateway should be open for children regardless of their background. Involving children in reading not only provides for future opportunities but also strengthens bonds among the family members and teachers with whom they read. BookSpring makes sharing stories possible for many young children. Favorite book? So hard to name only one, but The Mouse and the Motorcycle
Velma has brought 25+ years of industry and higher education experience to Mccombs and placed great emphasis on promoting inclusion and diversity in the programming and employer relationships. Velma has her BBA in Finance and her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin and has had the opportunity to work internationally in Caracas, Venezuela as well as in Tampa, Florida and Indianapolis, Indiana. Her main goal is to create opportunities for the diverse 5000 BBA students through connections with employers. Why do I serve? My youngest son Luke discovered BookSpring over four years ago because of his desire to provide equal access to to resources for all children. I have been involved with BookSpring by assisting with book drives and making the community we live in aware of the need for these resources. I feel that the mission is critical for the future of our society. Favorite Book: The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Audrey and Dan Wood.
Rakima Dolliole Parson has intentionally worked in educational settings, as a therapist, because she understands the importance of access to both mental health services and quality education, particularly for children living in communities with fewer resources. Rakima not only believes that there is valuable work to be done through providing individual therapy services, but she also embraces the responsibility of advocating, providing outreach and volunteering in the Austin community. She is active in working to help enhance the policies related to mental health and education. Why do I serve? She is driven to serve with BookSpring because she knows that reading can allow children the opportunity to see a world outside of their current environment. Favorite Book: Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison
Arthur is the Associate Athletics Director for Football Operations at the University of Texas. He is a Georgia native with more than 23 years of experience as an accomplished administrator. Johnson enrolled at the University of Georgia where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Risk Management and Insurance and a Masters of Education in Business Education. While in graduate school, he began his career in Athletics while working in the Football and Event Management offices. In 2011, Johnson came to Austin to become the Associate Athletics Department Director at the University of Texas. He is responsible for the day-to-day administrative and logistical operations for the Longhorn Football Program. Why do I serve? Arthur has been involved in numerous professional and civic organizations and enjoys watching young people grow and develop.
Lauren Kalisek serves as the Managing Director of the law firm of Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P.C. in Austin, Texas and has been practicing in the areas of water resources and special districts for more than 20 years. She specializes in providing counsel to cities, river authorities, water districts and other local governmental organizations. Lauren is a native of Houston, Texas and earned her BA with honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 and her JD from the University of Texas School of Law in 1995. Lauren lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Dr. Neel Baumgardner, and their two daughters Emma (17) and Claire (12). Lauren volunteers her time with BookSpring, the Central Texas Foodbank and the Capital Area Master Naturalists.
Eric J. Negron has served as Vice-President & Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial where he provided clients with comprehensive financial planning and advice. In addition, he served as Vice-President & Financial Advisor for Colonial Brokerage a division of Colonial Bank where he served as the financial advisor for private banking. Prior to entering the wealth management industry, Eric worked as a banker for 3 years in Fort Myers, Florida. Eric attended Florida Gulf Coast University to study Finance and Economics. In his spare time Eric enjoys spending time with his family, taking his kids to the park, playing golf, reading, running, basketball and cycling with friends. His community involvement includes: serving as a committee member for the First Tee of Austin, as a member of the Knights of Columbus, and serves as an advisor to the Nick Lefevre Community Youth Fund of Dripping Springs.
Suresh was the president and CEO of INTERA Incorporated, an engineering and geoscience consulting firm headquartered in Austin. Suresh has a doctorate in Chemical Engineering. He and his wife Brigitte have a son, living in California and two grandsons. Suresh wishes to serve the community because there is no other activity more satisfying than service of one kind of another. He has been a Rotarian for a long time and supporter of the Rotary Foundation’s early literacy initiatives, that combined with his desire for youth mentoring makes Why do I serve? BookSpring an ideal place for him to serve. Suresh believes that poverty issues are culturally rooted and not for lack of help, and changing the culture is more than just handing out books. Favorite Book: Big Brother by Pauline Oud
Lydia began her professional career as a school teacher in San Antonio. She taught at a magnet high school where the students were chosen to attend through a lottery drawing. This system was developed so that any student would have the opportunity to get through the door and could then prove their abilities once they arrived. The goal at the school was to “level the playing field” for all who came to the school and to bridge the “opportunity gap” that existed for some of the students by teaching to a gifted and talented curriculum for all, with proper supports in place for those who were intimidated, or ill-prepared, for this curriculum. Lydia learned in her time at the school that earlier interventions in reading and academic opportunities would have served many students well and could affect the most change in a student’s trajectory if there was family support. In her own family she can see how opportunity and early exposure to books has placed her biological children on a path that is rich in vocabulary and curiosity and academic “success.” Lydia can also see how the lack of early exposure to reading and lack of opportunities for her adoptive children has left them in a position of playing “catch up” particularly in reading and vocabulary-building. Why do I serve? She believes in Bookspring’s mission, and is living, first-hand, the need for a nonprofit focused on such a fundamental need. Favorite Book: The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
Ginger attended the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in psychology and an endorsement in special education. After teaching 1st, 3rd and Special Ed at Pillow Elementary in Austin ISD for 33 years, she made the decision to retire. At this time, she is a mentor and plans to volunteer, travel and spend time with her son, daughter, husband and friends. Why do I serve? Being an educator, Ginger knows the value of early reading intervention. She understands that having books at home enhances academic performance for all children and especially benefits children from disadvantaged families. She is proud that Pillow makes sure that every child in the school goes home for the summer with at least 6 new books to add to their library. Now that Ginger is retired, she plans to continue to support programs that promote early literacy programs for all children. Ginger has many favorite children’s books. Favorite Book: The Mrs. Piggle Wiggle series.
Teresa Zimmerman is VP of Marketing at Personify. She is a business leader specializing in the development and launch of traditional and digital strategies that deliver strong returns on investment and significant market awareness. Her expertise in marketing, including sales drivers, consumer behavior and market analytics across industries. She has served on the boards of the American Marketing Association and St. Peter Claver Cristo Rey Catholic College Prep High School. Favorite Book: Where the Wild Things Are is an all-time favorite book, so we can “roar our terrible roars and gnash our terrible teeth and show our terrible claws.”