LLF Board of Trustees

Chris Shirley

S. Chris Shirley, President

S. Chris Shirley is an award-winning writer/director and global head of internal communications at McGraw Hill Financial. His debut novel, Playing by the Book, was published by Magnus Books in June 2014 and selected as one of ten great LGBT summer reads by The Advocate. He is represented by Sterling Lord Literistic. Chris directed ”What’s Your Name,” a music video that aired nationally and made the annual MTV-Logo Top 10. His short film, “Plus,” played at film festivals internationally. Chris received his Bachelors in Industrial Engineering from Auburn University and later completed his MBA at Columbia University, where he served as class president.


Susan Atkins

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

J. Michael Samuel, Treasurer

J. Michael Samuel is Manager and VP of Professional Practices in Audit at First Republic Bank. He has held a similar position in Union Bank and 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

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).


Edward Feighan

Edward Feighan

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.

 Lisa Girolami

Lisa GirolamiLisa Girolami is currently a Director and Executive Producer for Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI), the design and development arm of The Walt Disney Company, responsible for the creation and construction of Disney theme parks worldwide. Her projects included The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the pre show films at Disney Hollywood Studios, the Aladdin Virtual Reality attraction at EPCOT, new magic renovations for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Alice in Wonderland at Disneyland, the redesign of Paradise Pier and Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure, and the current Avatar project at Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World.

Since 1979, previous positions within the entertainment industry included Motion Picture Production Executive, at Disney, Touchstone, and Buena Vista Pictures (Good Morning, Vietnam; Roger Rabbit; Honey, I Shrunk The Kids; Dead Poet’s Society, Three Men and a Baby; Ruthless People; Outrageous Fortune; The Color of Money; Adventures in Babysitting; D.O.A.; Tough Guys; Flight of the Navigator; Ernest Saves Christmas; Can’t Buy Me Love; and Down and Out in Beverly Hills); Production Manager, Assistant Director and Production Coordinator on various film and TV projects including The Terminator; Critters; Re-Animator; Just Like Magic; Summer’s End, and Philip Marlowe; Show Producer for Seuss Landing, one of the themed islands at Universal’s Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios Escape in Orlando; and Creative Director for the Los Angeles County Fair Association.

Lisa Girolami is an author with Bold Strokes Books and her novels include Love on Location, The Pleasure Set, Run to Me, Jane Doe, Fugitives of Love, Cut to The Chase, and The 45th Parallel. 

Ms. Girolami received both her Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters in Psychology from the California State University, Long Beach. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

She happily resides with her wife in Long Beach, CA and may be found at LisaGirolami.com.

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sj Miller

sj Miller, Ph.D., an award winning author, is Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, preparing preservice students to teach middle and high school English. sj earned a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico, an MA from the Hebrew Union College and an B.S. from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to academia, sj was a high school English teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico and since then, has published widely in journals and presented at national conferences on a variety of topics related to teaching young adult literature, anti-bullying pedagogy, undervalued student literacies and identities, challenging the gender binary, multimodal applications of popular culture in secondary classrooms, and cultivating socio-spatial justice dispositions with secondary preservice English teachers. Most notably, sj won the 2005 Article of the Year Award from the English Journal for “Shattering Images of Violence in Young Adult Literature: Strategies for the Classroom,” co-authored Unpacking the Loaded Teacher Matrix: Negotiating Space and Time Between University and Secondary English Classrooms which received the Richard A. Meade award from the National Council Teachers of English (NCTE), and co-authored Narratives of Social Justice Teaching: How English Teachers Negotiate Theory and Practice Between Preservice and Inservice Spaces. sj helped draft the Beliefs Statement about Social Justice in English education and helped pass the NCTE Resolution on Social Justice in Literacy Education, which informed the newly-vetted CAEP Social Justice Standard 6. sj has also co-authored Change Matters: Critical Essays on Moving Social Justice Research from Theory to Policy and Generation BULLIED 2.0: Prevention and intervention strategies for our most vulnerable students.

Currently, sj is executive committee member for the Conference for English Education, consultant for the College Board providing best practices to secondary Pre- and Advanced Placement English teachers, and AP Literature and Composition table leader and AP Grant Mentor. Most recently, sj was appointed as the new incoming co-editor of English Education and coeditor of the inaugural book series with Peter Lang Publishers, Social Justice Across Contexts in Education. 

sj lives in Boulder Colorado with two cats and is a devout runner, swimmer and cyclist. See www.sjmiller.info


Jerome Murphy

Jerome Murphy

Jerome Murphy received an MFA in 2011 from the Creative Writing Program at New York University, where he currently serves as ProgramAdministrator, and taught Introduction to Creative Writing to undergraduates in Spring 2011 with an emphasis on exploring the dichotomy between literary and commercial strategies in fiction, and structural and stylistic elements of poetry. He currently serves on the Arts & Science Community Building Team, and is a member of NYU’s Administrative Management Council. As an undergraduate at Stanford University he assisted Diane Middlebrook in researching Her Husband: Hughes and Plath, a Marriage (Viking, 2003), following Middlebrook’s seminar on Plath and Hughes. From 2007-2009 he was Literary Associate at Maria Carvainis Agency, with a particular interest in YA fiction. He currently serves on the Host Committee for Lambda Literary Awards, as Chair of The Gift Bag Committee. His critical writing has appeared in LA Review of Books, The Brooklyn Rail, Lambda Literary and in his monthly feature column Outwords, which he authored for Next Magazine from 2010-2011. (More work is archived online at http://www.ellisonian.org/.) He fondly remembers his time as a clerk at Oscar Wilde Bookshop prior to its 2009 closing, and he currently enjoys literary performance collaborations including Emotive Fruition Poetry Series at the Bowery Poetry Club and Bureau of General Services, Queer Division. He consults for NYU’s alumni series Ink.ed MFA. He is currently particularly interested in anti-violence initiatives.



Sandra Nathan

Sandra Nathan currently serves as Vice President, Programs and Loans for the Marin Community Foundation in Novato, California. In a previous stint in philanthropy, she served as CEO of the Richmond(California) Community Foundation.

Professionally, Sandra has over 25 years executive level experience,which has included positions at the national level with organizations including AARP and the National Council on Aging; and within California’s cities and counties, including San Diego County, Santa Clara County, San Francisco County and the City of Oakland. During her stint at the national level, she worked diligently on social and economic justice issues facing older adults, and at the local level,ensured there are culturally sensitive services and supports for diverse populations, including LGBTQ and people of color. She pioneered in the development of the one of the first outreach programs to older adults at risk of HIV/AIDS and oversaw a strategic plan for older adults who are gay and lesbian.

Currently, Sandra also serves on the Board of Directors of Generations United, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Grantmakers in Aging.


Denise Penn

Denise Penn

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.


John Rochester

John Rochester

John Rochester is a Vice President, Portfolio Manager, Wealth Advisor for Morgan Stanley.  He currently serves as the Board President for Santa Fe Performing Arts – a children’s education, outreach and adult contemporary performing arts organization.  He has served on local community and national boards that address diverse issues such as health/social services, hunger, the arts, children’s education and several LGBTQ organizations.  John has received a number of awards for his charitable work including the National Volunteer of The Year for Colin Powel’s America’s Promise, The Alliance for Youth, What a difference a day makes as well as the Point of Light Award – the United States President’s Volunteer Service Award.

John received his Bachelor of Arts from Simpson College and has been actively involved in media and the performing arts his entire life.  In addition to continuously working in the financial industry for the past 27 years, John has been active in national print and video promotion and he hosted a nationally syndicated financial radio show from 1995 through 2007.  He currently resides with his husband in the town in which he grew up – Santa Fe, New Mexico.


Amy Scholder

Amy Scholder

Amy Scholder has been editing and publishing progressive and literary books for over twenty years. Her visionary style has brought high visibility to her authors, and has been praised for its contribution to contemporary literature and popular culture. She has served as editorial director of the Feminist Press, editor-in-chief of Seven Stories Press, US publisher of Verso, founding co-editor of HIGH RISK Books/Serpent’s Tail, and editor at City Lights Books. Over the years, she has published the work of Sapphire, Karen Finley, June Jordan, Kate Bornstein, Kathy Acker, David Wojnarowicz, Dorothy Allison, Mary Gaitskill, Joni Mitchell, Kate Millett, Elfriede Jelinek, Muriel Rukeyser, Laurie Weeks, Justin Vivian Bond, Virginie Despentes, Ana Castillo, and many other award-winning authors.


Jan Zivic, Board of Trustees

Jan Zivic

Jan Zivic, a Lambda Literary Fellow, received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of San Francisco in 2012.  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.”  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 and her daughter, Jessica, live in the Bay Area.


Want to Join our Board

The Lambda Literary Foundation  is currently accepting applications for a seat on our board of directors.

Please consider what we are looking for:

  • Skills: We need to round out our board skills in many areas, including Legal, Corporate Fundraising, Accounting, Grant Writing, Major Gifts, and Publishing

  • Diversity: We would like for our board to better reflect the diversity of the communities that we serve in areas such as sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, geographic location, etc.

  • Basic Criteria: The board is primarily responsible for fundraising and governance.  Each board member must have the ability to fulfill Board Member Expectations, including the $3,000 Give/Get (the minimal annual fundraising requirement for each board member).

  • Additional Criteria: The ability to promote a collaborative, team environment that is focused on the mission of LLF above all else is also very important

So, if you—or someone you know—has what it takes to be on the Lambda Literary Board, we invite you to fill out the application and submit it to info@LambdaLiterary.org by midnight PT on Tuesday, September 30, 2014.