BAWiP’s 2020-2021 MENTORSHIP COHORT
DR. KIM BARBER
Dr. Kim Barber is a business professional with an academic passion. She is an advocate for
not only high school students but her advocacy extends to university students as well. Her passion and commitment over the last ten years has focused on several areas to include: increasing diversity, closing the achievement gap, academic excellence, preparation and motivation, to inspire the next generation to successfully reach their destiny. She has worked and produced many conferences, workshops and meetings for students in middle and high school, as well as university freshman and sophomores. Additionally, she is a contributing author in “Teaching through Challenges for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” Her constant perseverance and dedication led her to be appointed by the former Governor Steve Beshear to the Diversity Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee for The Council for Postsecondary Education for the state of Kentucky.
Kausaur Fahimuddin is a recent graduate from Columbia University’s Columbia Publishing Course, where she worked closely with the former publisher of Perigee Books to learn all aspects of publishing, from editorial to publicity to sales. Prior to her completion of the course, Kausaur graduated cum laude from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Her concentration in critical theory and analysis sparked her passion for psychology and activism, both of which proved invaluable to her as an intern at North Atlantic Books. During her internships, she successfully pitched The Adoptive Parents’ Handbook, as well as evaluated manuscripts, proofread upcoming titles, and edited book covers. Currently, Kausaur is a mentee in the Bay Area Women in Publishing Mentorship Program and is an active member of their BIPOC Affinity Group. When she’s not learning about the industry, Kausaur can most often be found creating art or baking sweets.
Mimi Heft is an intuitive art director and multi-disciplined designer. Along with her award-winning book designs for Peachpit and Adobe Presses, Mimi creates compelling brand identities, presentation decks, annual reports, fundraising materials, and music packaging and promotion. Her social media graphics for OneVoice CircleSing increased engagement by 300% and contributed to a 30% increase in revenue. Other clients include Smithsonian Learning Lab, Global Energy Monitor, The Wright Institute, Fenwick & West, Evander Music, Creativity Explored, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, and Wits’ End Parenting. Mimi loves exploring ideas with her clients, understanding their motivations and guiding them toward solutions that satisfy their business needs. Driven to help others succeed, she assesses and reconfigures systems to improve schedules, budgets, and communication; and as a DEI advocate, helps colleagues navigate conflict and achieve resolution through dialogue and mediation. When not designing, Mimi is a musician and composer, and bakes the best darned pies.
Cherise Hunter is an Operations Specialist at Berrett Koehler book publishers. She received her MBA in Nonprofit Management at Willamette University in 2016. She is a member of BAWiP’s Communication Committee and the Robin Seaman Award Task Force.
Shanzeh Khurram is a Pakistani writer who writes about immigrant transitions, identity, and cultural differences; her fiction often focuses on characters that are straddling two cultures. She has written for multiple publications, including Rookie, Mic, The Huffington Post, and The Daily Californian. Shanzeh graduated with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied English and Creative Writing under authors like Robert Hass and Joyce Carol Oates. After college, she explored different fields—working as an Instructional Assistant at Berkeley City College, as a Hearing Representative at a workers’ compensation law firm, and as a Publicity and Marketing intern at North Atlantic Books—before discovering her love for publishing. Currently, she is an MFA candidate in fiction at The New School, where she is at work on her first novel. She is interested in pursuing a career in the publishing industry and is grateful to be a part of BAWiP’s Mentorship Program.
Nia McAllister is a Bay Area born poet, writer, environmental justice advocate. Having received her B.A. in Environmental Analysis: Race, Class, Gender, and the Environment from Pomona College, she has since dedicated herself to working at the intersection of art, writing, and activism. An avid reader herself, Nia applies her passions towards curating literary experiences in her personal and professional life. She is the proud founder and host of the Open Mic series at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and also serves as the book buyer for the MoAD bookstore. Expanding her experience in publishing, Nia also works as the Communications Associate for the partnership publisher The Collective Book Studio. Through all of her work, Nia finds joy in advocating for representation, accessibility, and equity in the literary field. Beyond the shelves, Nia can be found performing at Open Mics, writing outdoors, and taking care of her plants.
Kasia Metkowski is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley who is excited to launch her career in publishing. While a student, she re-launched Troika, the only magazine for and by undergraduates that featured articles and artwork on Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Russia, and the Former Soviet Union. After double majoring in Slavic Languages and Literatures and Political Economy, she worked in tech and real estate, where she currently is employed now. Her hobbies include reading, blogging about local events in her hometown of Alameda, and writing poetry in Polish.
ASHLEY MARIE MIRELES
Ashley Marie Mireles is a Sales Manager and children’s book author who works with Familius Publishing to help families be happy. Ashley believes that happy home lives can lead to a happier world and hopes that the books she writes, helps create, and sells, will bring us closer to that goal. She has authored four children’s books with Familius and has three more coming in 2021. Her collaborative sales efforts have helped Familius become one of the fastest growing independent publishers for three years in a row. She currently lives in Fresno, CA with her partner and their fur baby.
Michelle Phan is an assistant publicist at North Atlantic Books. After graduating with a B.A. in English from UC Santa Barbara, she moved from SoCal to the Bay Area, where she has found life to be expensive but pleasant. In her free time, she enjoys reading Asian American literature and taking walks around Berkeley, where she currently resides.
Raya Rahman is a children's book author and the founder and editor of a bilingual picture book company called Guba Publishing. She works in partnership with other authors, illustrators and non-profit organizations to publish diverse and multicultural children's stories and learning resources. Raya lives in Oakland, California with her husband and their two daughters.
Frances Baca is a design leader specializing in creative direction, design operations and strategy, and brand communication. She's spent the last eight years at the technology startup Callisto Media in Emeryville, first leading book design and production as VP Design, and currently serves as VP Brand and Design Strategy. Frances began her career in publishing in 1998, establishing a solo practice in San Francisco focused on publication design. She created books and magazines with Chronicle Books, Columbia University Press, McGraw Hill, Verso, Pearson, and Wiley, among others. In 1999, she began a long and fruitful partnership with UC Press on the James Beard Award-winning food and culture journal Gastronomica, where she served as Design Director for 13 years. Frances holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and Bachelor's Degrees in Design and Art History from the University of California, Davis.
Earlita Chenault hails from California’s Central Coast. An avid reader and book collector, she is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she earned a degree in literature from their College of Creative Studies. Earlita has been in the book publishing industry since the summer of 2000 and has worked for several East Bay publishers, publicizing everything from self-help and psychology to memoirs, fiction, and religion. She has been directing publicity at Parallax Press since 2016. When she is not promoting books or reading them, Earlita delights in the Golden State Warriors, football season, traveling, her nephew, and her dog.
Mirabelle Korn is an editor at Chronicle Books, where she has worked since 2014. She holds a B.A. from Scripps College in French and German, and an M.A. from the University of East Anglia in 20th & 21st century literature. Her other career highlights include selling books in Berkeley, editing videos in Paris, and sewing costumes in SoCal. She now lives in her hometown of Oakland. Her list at Chronicle focuses on illustrated classics, visually-driven non-fiction, and art books. Favorite acquisitions include a forgotten short story by Vita Sackville-West, and an upcoming monograph with Ruth E. Carter. She also curates a series of illustrated folklore collections.
Anne Kubek has nearly 30 years of experience in the book industry. Anne is currently the Chief Operating Officer of ReUp Education, an edtech firm based in San Francisco. ReUp partners with universities to bring dropout students back to school and helps them graduate. Anne’s prior role was as Executive Vice President of the San Francisco-based technology company INscribe Digital. Anne led a team specializing in eBook distribution, print solutions, and marketing and analytics for a wide range of publishers. Prior to moving to the Bay Area, Anne held executive positions at Borders Group Inc., including SVP of Stores and EVP of Merchandising and Marketing. Anne was formerly the Board Chair for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping Booksellers in times of crisis. Anne is passionate about the training, professional development, and mentoring of women in the workplace. Anne has a BA from The University of Michigan in English Language and Literature, and an MBA, also from UofM. In addition to her role as President, Anne chairs the Nomination and Governance Committees.
Rachel Neumann (she/her/they) is the Director of Strategic Partnerships and a senior literary agent at Idea Architects, a visionary book developer and literary agency. She brings 20 years of experience to leading successful independent publishing houses in both New York and California. She specializes in narrative adult nonfiction and children’s fiction, with an emphasis on reaching new and diverse audiences, expanding the base for experienced authors, and working collaboratively to develop new ideas and platforms. For ten years, Rachel served as the Publisher and Editorial Director of Parallax Press and led Parallax’s transformation from a small non-profit publisher into a multi-million-dollar trade powerhouse. Rachel is based in the Bay Area and speaks and teaches regularly around the country.
Avalon Radys is a book editor, production editor, and author coach with 10+ years’ experience in editorial and publishing. As a founding member of Inkshares, an award-winning book publisher and production company based in Oakland, where she serves as the Director of Editorial & Publishing Operations, Avalon has managed the production of and/or served as editor on over one hundred books. She particularly loves developing literary fiction, thriller, and horror. As a book professional, her goal is not only to help writers craft stories that will break out in a saturated marketplace, but to arm them with the skills to improve their writing to build a career in publishing powerful and memorable stories. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley as a history and English major, while also rowing on the Cal Women’s Varsity Rowing team. She lives in Oakland, California with her husband, their puppy, several chickens, and a handful of rabbits.
Susan Reich's experience in book publishing includes executive positions at three of the 'Big Five.' Most recently she served eight years as President of Publishers Group West, the leading distributor of independent publishers and since 2007 a member of The Perseus Books Group. Prior to PGW's acquisition by Perseus, Susan was for almost a decade President of Avalon Publishing Group as it grew to become a $30+ million independent publisher. Avalon's imprints include Rick Steves, Moon Guides, Carroll & Graf, Seal Press, and Thunder's Mouth Press. Avalon was also acquired by Perseus. Earlier in her career Susan served as Publishing Director of Harper San Francisco, as VP Associate Publisher of Random House, and as Marketing Manager at Simon & Schuster. Susan began her career as a bookseller with Kroch's and Brentano's in Chicago and ultimately became Director of Merchandising for Waldenbooks. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University, and lives and works in Oakland.
Holly Smith has 20+ years experience in Sales & Marketing roles throughout the publishing industry, including Callisto Media, Chronicle Books, and Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYC). She has a life-long love of books, deep scientific curiosity, and enthusiasm for new ideas. These interests merged when she started focusing exclusively on eCommerce innovation for publishers. Most recently she founded, built, and led the eCommerce & Marketing Department as VP at Callisto Media where she was also an Executive Sponsor of the company’s Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging initiative and an adopted member of the Data Science team. She attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business and speaks French, Italian, and Spanish. Holly currently consults with clients on eCommerce innovation in the publishing industry
Beth Weber started her career in publishing as an editorial assistant at what was then Harper San Francisco. She worked as an assistant editor in a new division called HarperWest, and when that division closed, she left Harper to freelance as a copywriter and book project manager for local clients including Peachpit Press, Williams-Sonoma, PGW, and Chronicle Books. After a brief stint as an editor for the alumni magazine of the Haas Business School at UC Berkeley and temporary positions filling in for managing editors and acquisition editors on leave at Bay Books and Chronicle Books, she joined Chronicle as the managing editor of their Children’s department. She has now been at Chronicle for twenty years, serving as publishing manager of Children’s, associate publishing director of Custom Publishing, and now director of Managing Editorial.
Eva Zimmerman has nearly 15 years’ experience developing and successfully launching dynamic marketing and publicity campaigns for a variety of authors, illustrators, and artists. She is currently publicist for the entirety of the children's list at Chronicle Books in San Francisco, where she has helped secure multiple New York Times’ bestsellers, dozens of starred reviews, and features in TODAY.com, Parents Magazine, TIME for Kids, The Washington Post- KidsPost Book Club, Good Morning America, O, The Oprah Magazine, and more. In 2015, she founded Eva Zimmerman Public Relations, where she represented a variety of artists, novelists, and memoirists. As former Publicity Manager for two Berkeley-based imprints within the Hachette Book Group—Seal Press and Avalon Travel, including Rick Steves and Moon Guides—Eva not only managed a dedicated team of publicists and assistants, but developed and coordinated marketing and communications strategies for hundreds of trade and travel titles.
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