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. Suresh and his wife Brigitte have a son, living in California and a grandson. Why do I serve? There is no other activity more satisfying than service of one kind or another. I have been a Rotarian for a long time and a focus of the Rotary Foundation is early literacy, that combined with my desire for youth mentoring makes BookSpring an ideal place for me to serve. I believe 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: A Tiger in Mulgudi by R.K. Narayan
Ann is Director of Contracts at SHCC, a subsidiary of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin. She has extensive experience in analyzing operating budgets and financial statements, and she serves on various interagency committees that look into policy development and planning. Ann has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. Why do I serve? Reading exposes children to people, places, and experiences outside of their own environment. Favorite Book: Little Bear by Elsa Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak
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
Kali´ Rourke is a retired Mortgage & Title Insurance professional. She has served on multiple nonprofit boards and community councils and is a sustaining member of Impact Austin. She is a proud Mentor for Seedling and the Young Women’s Alliance. Kali´ was honored as one of Austin’s Fab Five in 2016 and as a finalist for Mentor of the Year in the 2017 Austin Under 40 awards. A member of Leadership Austin Essentials Class of 2007, writer, social media dabbler, and public speaker; she currently lends her talents to local nonprofits in many ways. Why do I serve? My life was utterly changed for the better by becoming an avid reader. Favorite Book: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Tamea is the Senior Financial Accountant at Texas Access to Justice Foundation, the leading funding source for legal aid in Texas. Previously, she worked at Texas CASA, Inc. administering grants and PricewaterhouseCooprer, LLC working with clients in a variety of industries. Her financial experience includes budget preparation and management, cashflow forecasting, grant administration, internal controls development and implementation, and financial statement preparation. Tamea has a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies from the University of Texas and a Masters of Accountancy from Colorado University in Denver. Favorite Book: Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
Jillian is Audit Senior Manager at Holtzman Partners and prides herself in the strong and positive relationships she develops with her clients. One aspect of her career that she enjoys most are the mergers and acquisitions due diligence projects because she is able to critically assess financial data from both an operational and GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) financial accounting point of view. 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 leads various internal employee initiatives at Holtzman Partners, such as the Women’s Initiative, Knowledge Coach Committee, Training Committee and Wellness Committee. She is a member of the AICPA, serves on the board for BookSpring and Habitat Young Professionals, and is the treasurer for an organization at her church. 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: Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein
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 active in the United Way of Greater Austin’s Women’s Leadership Council, which supports Success by 6.
Jerry is an Associate Attorney at The Chapman Firm where her practice focuses on construction litigation, contract drafting and negotiation, and other general transactional aspects of construction law. She enjoys problem solving, backwards planning, and helping others reach their goals. Jerry received her undergraduate and law degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. Why do I serve? As a former Teach For America teacher, Jerry understands that literacy is the great equalizer. She is passionate about ensuring ALL children consistently receive quality, age-appropriate books and literacy instruction. Favorite book: From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg
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 entire 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
Kay is the proud librarian at Gullett Elementary School in Austin, Texas. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Education with a specialization in Reading from The University of Texas, she deviated from that career path and spent 13 years in marketing with IBM. Then the decision was made to do what she had always wanted to do, teach. Kay was a 6th grade Math and Science teacher at Lee Elementary School for 6 years. Armed with a Master of Library and Information Science degree from The University of Texas, she was the Librarian at Patton Elementary School for 2 years before landing in the neighborhood where she grew up. Kay has been at Gullett 16 years. Why do I serve? My mother volunteered for RIF, in Austin, for over 20 years. Everyone should have that opportunity to own their very own set of books and whatever I can do to make that happen, I will. Favorite Book: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Beth has more than 20 years’ experience as a communications professional with expertise in writing, editing, web, social media, and program evaluation. Beth has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Science degree in Information Studies, both from the University of Texas at Austin. She and her husband, Gary, have two daughters who are both attending college. Why do I serve? BookSpring combines two passions of mine: reading and helping kids reach their full potential. Favorite book: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
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. Prior to that, Madison tutored third grade students at Zavala Elementary School in reading. 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. They have two sons and well worn volumes of the Harry Potter books. 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 was an early favorite because its main character overcame fear to make a new friend and enter a dynamic new world.
Rebecca leads project and performance management and communications for the Office of Academics at the Texas Education Agency. She previously managed strategic planning, fundraising, and board development at a national, nonpartisan education advocacy nonprofit, and engaged partners and state policymakers to advance the organization’s mission. Rebecca earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University and a Master of Public Affairs at the LBJ School at UT Austin. She grew up in Austin and is happy to be back with her husband and two young kids. Why do I serve? All children deserve the opportunity to develop early literacy skills, and traditional classrooms are important but not enough. BookSpring’s programs embed reading throughout a child’s early years and place an importance on families reading together. Favorite Book: Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson because it reminds me of the imagination young children possess and the fun they can experience with a single crayon!