THE ROBIN SEAMAN AWARD
Who Is Involved in the Robin Seaman Award?
This award grew out of a partnership between Robin Seaman’s family and Bay Area Women in Publishing, a professional organization co-founded by Robin Seaman and others in 2012. Robin’s family, colleagues and friends serve on the RSA Committee, along with members of BAWiP, and other representatives of the Bay Area publishing community. We’ve been developing this award since fall 2019 to honor and support women and non-binary people from all backgrounds and professional levels who are passionate about publishing.
Heartfelt thanks to all of the people and organizations who are supporting the Robin Seaman Award, including:
The Seaman Family, including Scott Seaman (Robin’s brother) and Laura Seaman (Robin’s niece)
Bay Area Women in Publishing, a professional organization that connects and supports current and aspiring colleagues who identify as women or non-binary, helping them to advance their career goals while building community and a more equitable environment in publishing (co-founded by Robin Seaman and others in 2012)
The Social Good Fund, an organization that sponsors projects that help positively impact and develop local communities into healthier and happier places to live, work, and be
If you are interested in partnering with us, please contact us.
Robin Seaman Award Committee Members
Scott Seaman is Robin Seaman’s brother. He lives with his wife Christina in San Jose, CA, where he served in the police department until he became chief of police for Los Gatos/Monte Sereno. A few months after Robin’s passing in 2019, Scott proposed the creation of this award program to Charlotte Abbott and the BAWiP board, suggesting that it be named after Robin and funded by the Seaman family and Robin’s many friends and colleagues. Knowing how much Robin benefited from the support of her publishing mentors, and how she helped found BAWiP with Charlotte and others, Scott wanted to collaborate on an award that would open doors for applicants who want to make a positive impact in the publishing industry. The Seaman Family, including Scott and Christina’s two adult children, Brendan and Laura, are forever grateful to Robin’s friends and colleagues who have worked so hard to develop the Robin Seaman Award.
Laura Seaman is Robin‘s niece. She runs a nonprofit, lives in the Bay Area with her partner and their rescue dog, and volunteers as a youth soccer coach. Laura credits her aunt Robin with instilling in her a lifelong love of books. One of her earliest memories is of sneaking into her aunt’s study on Christmas Eve to curl up with the copy of Little Women that Robin had let her open early. Laura feels lucky to have had Robin as a mentor and role model, and is proud of Robin’s personal and professional legacies—including as a trailblazer in her industry. She hopes the Robin Seaman Award will support others as they build rewarding, impactful careers in the world of book publishing.
Charlotte Abbott started BAWiP with Robin Seaman in March 2012 to help Bay Area women become recognized as publishing leaders, and began creating the Robin Seaman Award with Scott Seaman and the BAWIP Board in July 2019. She brings 30 years of experience to her marketing consultancy, Futureproof Content, which helps publishing and tech companies grow their audiences with stories that drive results. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Charlotte also serves on the Programming Committee of the Women's Media Group in New York. Earlier in her career, she honed her storytelling and audience-building skills as a journalist at Publishers Weekly and an acquiring editor at HarperCollins and Avon Books. A native San Franciscan and Yale graduate, she thrives on the synergy of living in Brooklyn, New York, and visiting the Bay Area and London regularly.
Katy Beehler (she/her) is Co-Chair of the Robin Seaman Award Committee and a founding member of the BAWiP Board. In 2021, she became the President of BAWiP. Katy is a Senior Product Manager at the tech for social good non-profit, Benetech. She works on Bookshare, a software application for the world's largest digital library for people with print reading disabilities. She has over 15 years of experience in the book industry, previously working for Independent Publishers Group, INscribe Digital, and Borders Group Inc. As a native Michigander, she can often be spotted at BAWiP events talking about Michigan football, the Detroit Red Wings hockey team, and pop (not soda). She earned her BA from University of Michigan and her MA in Jewish Art and Visual Culture from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Guillian Hetzler is Co-Chair of the Robin Seaman Award Committee, and a founding member of the BAWiP Board. She has over 10 years experience in the book industry. Most recently, she was Director of Content and Operations at Benetech, a nonprofit that runs Bookshare, a global digital library for people with reading barriers. Guillian has also worked in client services at INscribe Digital and editorial at Simon & Schuster and Entangled Publishing. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia Publishing Course and is always on the lookout for her next great read.
Cherise Hunter is a founding member of the Robin Seaman Award Committee. She currently works as a freelance consultant for the Nonprofit Center. She received her MBA in Nonprofit Management at Willamette University. She enjoys books, movies, traveling, listening to music, and watching anime.
Michelle Phan joined the Robin Seaman Award Committee in December 2021, while also serving as a BAWiP Board Member and a member of BAWiP’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. She is a publicist at North Atlantic Books, having moved to the Bay Area after graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a B.A. in English and a minor in Asian American studies. She finds life in the Bay Area to be expensive but pleasant.
Laura Sutherland joined the Robin Seaman Award Committee in August 2020. She was a close friend to Robin Seaman for her entire life, in part because of their shared passion for books, reading and writing. A freelance writer for 30-plus years, Laura is the author of six travel books and hundreds of travel articles and humorous essays. Her participation on nonprofit boards has included Dientes Community Dental care, The Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council, KUSP public radio, Kuumbwa Jazz, and Friends of the UCSC Library. She also helped revitalize the Santa Cruz YWCA, which now operates as the Walnut Street Women’s Center. Early in her career she hosted a women's public affairs and music show on public radio, and she designed a deck of illustrated playing cards that is included in the collections of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and the late Stephen Sondheim.
Ashley Wells Ajinkya
Ashley Wells Ajinkya (she/her) is an Account Manager at Benetech, a software tech non-profit. She works on the Global Certified Accessible (GCA) program, which helps publishers build born accessible content that meets the needs of all readers. Ashley has worked in the book industry for the last 7 years and is an avid reader and book collector. She earned her BA in Graphic Design with minors in Art History and Fine Arts and has over 10 years of experience as a designer. While Benetech is based in California, Ashley works remotely from the mountains of Knoxville, Tennessee and enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, and pursuing creative outlets. She is a member of BAWiP's Robin Seaman Award Committee, as well as mentor in the 2022-2023 Mentorship Cohort, and serves as a DEIA Committee member for the National Information Standards Organization (NISO).
Kate Warne joined the Robin Seaman Award Committee in December 2021, while also serving as a BAWiP Board Member, and a member of BAWiP’s Events Committee. She is Director of Editing, Design, and Production at the University of California Press and is also an advisory board member for the Bay Area–based Publishing Professionals Network. An editor by training, she now enjoys being a manager and is interested in the ways professional relationships drive success in organizations. Outside work, Kate hikes, reads, writes, and sometimes rides her bike.
Helena Brantley served as a founding member of the Robin Seaman Award Committee from November 2019 through December 2021. She is a public relations professional in the book publishing industry who works with scholars, subject matter experts and publishers to promote non-fiction books. Helena established Red Pencil Publicity + Marketing, a Company of One, in 2010, after designing and managing publicity campaigns for HarperCollins Publishers and Nolo Press. Today, she creates promotional book campaigns with a team of subcontractors–graphic designers, editors, copywriters, filmmakers, communications professionals who are also an eclectic mix of working parents, retirees, and students. Currently a board member of Pub West and a volunteer reading tutor, she also recently served on the board of Reading Partners San Francisco Bay Area. A proud native of New Jersey who has lived in Fort Lee, Princeton and Paterson, Helena began her career at public relations and marketing agencies in New York City and Washington, DC. She lives in Alameda, CA, with her husband and two daughters, all avid readers.
Chris Sosa Loomis
Chris Sosa Loomis served as a founding member of the Robin Seaman Committee from November 2019 through February 2021. She is a marketing consultant, specializing in brand strategy, lead generation, market development and new product launches in book publishing and educational technology. As someone who is dedicated to increasing access to education, and to helping people become life-long learners who positively affect our world, Chris enjoys collaborating with those of like mind. Earlier in her career, she held positions at Cengage Learning and the University of California Press.
Kristen Frantz helped found the RSA Committee from July 2019 to January 2020, while also serving on the BAWiIP Board, and as Communications Committee Co-Chair. She is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Berrett Koehler Publishers, where she has worked since 1992. She currently oversees the areas of sales to US trade bookstores, corporations, associations, and authors, plus promotion through publicity and marketing. Kristen has worked in nonfiction publishing since 1989, previously working for McGraw-Hill in its textbook division, and Bull Publishing, a health, fitness, and nutrition book publisher. In her professional life, Kristen enjoys hanging out with smart, fun women, and helping educate others about the industry. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, and striking yoga poses.
Natalie Gomez joined the Robin Seaman Award Committee in November 2023 after hearing firsthand from the inaugural award winners how impactful the grant was in furthering their careers. Originally from SoCal, Natalie moved to the Bay Area for her current role as the Executive Team Assistant at Chronicle Books. Previously, she held an internship at North Atlantic Books in the editorial, marketing, and publicity departments and worked as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. She earned her BA in English Literature and Classical Civilization from the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Sara Fan joined the Robin Seaman Award Committee in December 2023. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her MFA in creative nonfiction at the University of San Francisco. Her essay collection was shortlisted for the 2020 Graywolf Nonfiction Prize. She is the marketing associate for the University of California Press.
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Are you interested in helping women and non-binary people advance in their publishing careers and make a positive impact in our industry? The Robin Seaman Award is a passionate group of women with similar goals. Join us today, and help our award fund make a difference!