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Lambda Literary Foundation is pleased to announce new Board members and a shift in Board leadership for 2013. S. Chris Shirley assumes the role of President and Susan Atkins assumes the role of Vice President. Sue Greer and J. Michael Samuel will serve second terms as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively.
This new phase in the Board leadership at Lambda Literary augurs well for the continued growth of the Foundation as it celebrates its 25th Anniversary this year.
S. Chris Shirley brings a wealth of corporate management experience to the Foundation and is also the author of the young adult novel, Playing By The Book. He is represented by Sterling Lord Literistic.”I am thrilled and honored by this opportunity to work with my fellow Lambda Literary Foundation colleagues and the broader literary community to seek out new and creative ways to nurture, celebrate and preserve LGBT literature,” said Mr. Shirley who lives in New York City. “I look forward to our building on the Foundation’s 25 years of success.”Susan Atkins, who also serves as Board Chair of the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, has over two decades of experience in communications management in life sciences and technology. She is the Library Commissioner for the City of San Diego and also brings to LLF her many years of experience in philanthropy and working with other nonprofit organizations.
“It’s so important to honor and encourage our storytellers,” said Ms. Atkins who lives in San Diego. “Understanding only comes from awareness, and telling our stories is the best way to make that happen.”
Also joining LLF’s Board of Directors is author and activist Jacob Anderson-Minshall; former Congressman and current Chairman and CEO of Continental Heritage Insurance Company, Edward Feighan; and journalist and Vice-President of the American Institute of Bisexuality, Denise Penn
S. Chris Shirley, President
Chris Shirley is an award-winning writer/director and a Global Communications Manager for Citigroup, where he directs live corporate events and writes articles, speeches and web content.
Chris also creates family-oriented entertainment including “What’s Your Name,” a music video that aired nationally and made the annual MTV-Logo Top 10. He wrote/directed the award-winning short film, “Plus,” which played at film festivals internationally. His young adult novel, Playing By The Book, will be published by Magnus Books in winter 2013. He is represented by Sterling Lord Literistic.
Chris received his Bachelors in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University and later completed his MBA at Columbia University, where he served as class president. He studied filmmaking at New York University.
Susan Atkins, Vice-President
Susan Atkins currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the national Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a political action committee dedicated to training and electing openly LGBT people to all levels of government. She has over 20 years of communications management experience in life sciences and technology. Susan founded one of the most successful agencies in the United States providing investor and public relations exclusively to life science companies and organizations. She founded the agency in 1999, and sold the firm to Porter Novelli in 2005. Susan currently serves as Library Commissioner for the City of San Diego. Previously, she served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of BIOCOM, the largest regional trade association for the Life Sciences, and on several for profit and non-profit boards associated with health care. Susan’s additional experience includes five years as President and Board Chair of Diversionary Theatre, one of the longest running LGBT Theatres in the country. She has twice been honored by the LGBT Center of San Diego: Renee E. Richards Lesbian Health Award (2003) and the Extraordinary Achievement in Philanthropy (2009). Susan’s educational background includes an MBA from Pepperdine University and MA and BA degrees in Mass Communications and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma.
She resides in La Jolla, California and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, with her wife, Crystal Weathers.
J. Michael Samuel, Treasurer
J. Michael Samuel is Manager and VP of Professional Practices in Audit at Union Bank. He has held a simular position in Wells Fargo Audit after he retired from the Federal Reserve 12th District as a Audit Director. He is a frequent guest speaker on audit practice and has appeared throughout Silicon Valley and San Francisco at numerous audit and control conferences for the International Institute of Auditors, Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Reserve Bank System. For more than 15+ years he has served as a facilitator and group leader for the University of California AIDS Health Project, a Shanti volunteer for more than four years, and served on the founding board of Directors of Golden Gate Performing Arts. He also has served on the Food For Thought AIDS Food Bank Sonoma County Auction committee.
Sue A. Greer, Secretary
A former market research consultant, Sue A. Greer received her PhD in journalism & mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With a focus on political & issues polling and strategic audience analysis, she built an international clientele that included newspapers, magazines, government institutions and non-profits. From 1999-2004, she was director of research of TRAC Media Services, which provided programming and fundraising support for public television. Under the pseudonym KG MacGregor, she published Golden Crown Award finalist Just This Once with Bella Books in 2005. Her sixth Bella novel, Out of Love, won the 2007 Lambda Literary Award for Women’s Romance. She collected Golden Crown Awards for Out of Love, Without Warning, Worth Every Step, Photographs of Claudia (romance), and Secrets So Deep (romantic suspense).
Jacob Anderson-Minshall is the author of the Blind Eye Detective mystery series and is currently penning Queerly Beloved about his 22-year-relationship with his writing partner and wife Diane Anderson-Minshall (the executive editor at Advocate magazine). In 1993, the transgender journalist co-founded the national lesbian magazine, Girlfriends and he has since written for a numerous publications (including Bitch, The Advocate, Curve, Windy City Times, Just Out and Women’s Review of Books) and online news sites. From 2005-2009, Jacob wrote the syndicated column, TransNation, which ran in a dozen LGBT newspapers from San Francisco to New York. While living in Portland, Oregon, he hosted his own radio talk show, Gender Blender (on KBOO FM) and launched the monthly LGBT literary salon, QLiterati!. His mystery Blind Faith was a Lambda Literary Award finalist and his first short story, “Chinook,” was included in the Lambda award-winning anthology, Portland Queer: Tales From the Rose City. Jacob has also served as a Lambda Awards judge, reviewed numerous books and written extensively about queer and trans literature. In addition to his publishing experience, Jacob brings to the board a background in fundraising (for such nonprofit organizations as the Sierra Club), marketing (for Girlfriends magazine and the trans book publisher, Homofactus Press) and publicity (for numerous authors including the participants in a book tour Jacob organized). Photo by Ezgi Yurdakul.
Edward Feighan is currently Chairman and CEO of Continental Heritage Insurance Company, a specialty business underwriter based in Cleveland, Ohio. He has formerly served as the Chairman and CEO of two publicly traded companies, as well as the managing partner of a private merchant banking firm.
Beginning in 1972, he held elective office for twenty consecutive years. He served as a U. S. Congressman (1983-1993) representing the suburbs of Greater Cleveland; a Cuyahoga County Commissioner (1979-1983); and as a Representative in the Ohio General Assembly (1973-1979). Congressman Feighan was been recognized as a leading authority on foreign policy and international trade and finance. In 1979, Congreesman Feighan received a Presidential Appointment from President Jimmy Carter to serve on the National Council on Economic Opportunity.
Since his departure from Congress, he has served as a member of the Commission on Privatization in Russia; the U.S. Commission for Improving the United Nations; and Boards of Trustees of the National Institute for International Affairs, the National Council of International Programs, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and The Gay And Lesbian Victory Fund.
He holds a law degree and resides in Columbus, Ohio.
Denise Penn is Vice President of the American Institute of Bisexuality, an organization focused on research and education that has supported over 30 scientific studies in more than five countries. As an advocacy journalist, reporter and editor based in Orange County, California, she has covered issues for the LGBT and HIV affected community for nearly two decades. As a clinical social worker, she has worked with hospice patients and families and designed educational materials. She also produced and hosted an award-winning LGBT community television program for twelve years, interviewing community activists, political figures, and ordinary people with stories to tell. She received BA degrees in English and Social Science Research and earned a Masters in Social Work from San Diego State University.
Jan Zivic, a Lambda Literary Fellow, will be graduated in 2012 in the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco, where she is working on her status as an “emerging” writer. In 2011 she published a memoir piece in the Porter Gulch Review, and more recently, a short story in Temporary Shelter, Eleven Stories, edited by Karl Soehnlein, an award-winning Lambda Literary author.
In 2007, Jan co-founded vibrantBrains, a cognitive gym and start-up listed on Entrepreneur Magazine’s “100 Brilliant Companies” with her wife, Lisa Schoonerman. In previous careers Jan taught English and Film and sponsored the literary magazine at high schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio. After moving to California, she spent more than twenty years in Executive Search with several international consulting firms, as well as founding and managing her own firm with offices in SF and LA, The Zivic Group.
She has received the Cable Car Woman of the Year Award, the Maya Angelou Award for Community Leadership from the Center for Excellence at the University of California Medical School, and a Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of California, PA, all for her community philanthropic and volunteer leadership. Jan, her wife Lisa, and her daughter, Jessica, all live in the Bay Area.