Board of Directors
Book Harvest is governed by a Board of Directors whose wide array of talents and deep commitment to our cause nourish our vision of books and literacy support for all children!
Tabitha Blackwell, ChairDirector of Networks and Programs, Funders Together to End Homelessness
Tabitha Blackwell is currently the Director of Networks and Programs for Funders Together to End Homelessness and was the inaugural Executive Director of Youth Forward for five years. She joined the Book Harvest board in 2013 because it afforded her an opportunity to once again work with a literacy-based organization — something she had done earlier in her career, when she was on staff at the international social enterprise First Book.
Tabitha holds a Master’s of Science in Management: Nonprofit and Association Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Campbell University.
Sandy Heard, SecretaryStrategic Planning Consultant
Sandy Heard has spent a career invested in the science of positioning and persuasion. Starting with her first job in advertising at Ogilvy NY, she began developing a toolkit of strategic, marketing and communications expertise to navigate any sector. Moving back to her home state of NC to embark in entrepreneurship (and to teach as an adjunct professor at alma mater UNC-Chapel Hill), Sandy founded advertising and consulting agency Heard & Associates. For over twenty-five years, she and her team helped grow flagship brands including Michelin, Gerber, Hanes and Nestle through multi-year strategic planning and creative execution.
Most recently, Sandy teamed with physician partners as CEO and co-founder of Bivarus, a health IT company centered on its own novel Bayesian-based platform. Acquired by the established category leader, this technology allows major health systems to use real-time patient feedback to transform patient experience and outcomes.
Sandy began volunteering with Book Harvest in 2015, and has been a member of the board since 2016. She was the inaugural chair of the Strategic Planning Committee and has led development of Book Harvest’s flagship and subsequent multi-year strategic plans.
Sarah Wood, TreasurerAttorney and child advocate
Sarah Wood is a lawyer by training who also holds a Doctorate in Latin American literature from Yale University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Romance Languages and Literature from Harvard University. She is a volunteer court-appointed Guardian ad Litem for abused and neglected children and a volunteer court advocate for the Durham Crisis Response Center. She chairs the board of Durham LEAP and also serves on the board of the Choral Society of Durham.
The happiest hours of her life so far were spent reading with her three (now adult) sons, and she loves coming across old favorites while volunteering at Book Harvest.
Laura Bastian WebbMarketing Professional and Volunteer
Laura Bastian Webb founded and ran her own consultancy serving authors and small book publishers for a number of years. Prior to that, she worked in marketing in a variety of industries, including publishing and financial services, She is currently studying to teach Pilates and serves as a volunteer for a number of Triangle organizations, with a particular focus on education and literacy.
Laura has volunteered with and supported Book Harvest for years. She also serves as a board member and Secretary for the Bastian Family Foundation, and she is a member of the Scholarship Committee for the Triangle Community Foundation.
Laura has an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill, a Master’s of Arts from University College London, and a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan.
Juan CanalSenior VP of Finance, Latino Community Credit Union
Originally from Bogotá, Colombia, Juan Canal came to Durham to get his MBA at Duke in 2009. Although he planned to go back home right after graduation, Juan is now Senior Vice President of Finance at Latino Community Credit Union, where he uses his expertise in finance, strategy, and marketing to offer opportunities to immigrants, helping them build wealth for their families.
As for why he joined the Board at Book Harvest, Juan explains, “Several years ago I had an idea, inspired by a book where I learned about the importance of reading aloud to children. I wanted to go back to Colombia and visit the poorest neighborhoods to read to the children and teach their parents about the importance of reading. I cannot make that happen, but Book Harvest is doing it here and I am so happy I can help in any capacity for this noble and important work.”
Kyle CavanaughVice President for Administration, Duke University
Kyle Cavanaugh, MBA, is the Vice President for Administration at Duke University, with strategic responsibility for human resources, security and police, emergency management, parking and transportation, and other administrative functions.
Kyle came to Duke in February 2009 from the University of Florida, where he started in 2005 as vice president for human resources and, in 2007, was promoted to senior vice president for administration, overseeing a range of business, financial and operational activities.
Prior to joining the University of Florida in 2005, Kyle was associate vice president for human resource services for five years at The University of Texas at Austin, where he led all HR activities and had oversight of the campus police, environmental health and safety, and parking and transportation services.
Previously, he was the chief human resources officer at Rice University and held senior HR positions at Vanderbilt University. Before entering the higher education field, he led health promotion and occupational health services during five years with AT&T. Kyle has served as a consultant on HR and other issues for numerous universities and organizations across the U.S. and Canada. He has held a faculty position for the past sixteen years with the National Association of College and University Business Officers, College Business Managers Institute. Kyle has held adjunct positions and presented extensively on various higher education business topics.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Kyle holds three master’s degrees — in business administration from Belmont, in health promotion and exercise science from Vanderbilt and in special education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his bachelor’s degree in special, elementary and early childhood education from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn. Kyle also teaches the MHS-CLP course Contemporary Human Resources Capital Management.
Mariel ChristianDirector, Library and Information Services, RTI International
Mariel Christian is director of the Scientific Stature Hub in Corporate Communications at RTI International. In this role, she oversees the operations of RTI’s electronic information resource center and the RTI Press, which publishes peer-reviewed, open-access publication that reflect RTI’s multidisciplinary research. Mariel has more than 25 years of experience in the areas of knowledge management, data analysis, and business process improvement. She has led numerous internal initiatives and contributed to external projects requiring bibliometrics data analysis.
Mariel holds an MBA from Meredith College, a Master’s Degree of Library Science from North Carolina Central University, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Methodist College. She is a member of the Special Library Association (SLA) and Carolinas SLA and the EBSCO Corporate Advisory Board.
Linda Shropshire EudyGlobal Human Rights Leader, Cisco Systems
Linda Shropshire Eudy has been a part of the Cisco Systems team since 2012. In her current role, she guides strategies and initiatives which align Cisco with its commitment to global human rights. Her work on corporate social responsibility focuses on the five pillars of policy, governance, stakeholder engagement, training, and advocacy. Prior to Cisco, Linda worked as a residential real estate broker in the Triangle for nearly 20 years.
A graduate of NC State University, with a degree in International Relations, Linda has extensive experience volunteering with and serving in leadership roles with numerous nonprofit organizations. Linda first learned about Book Harvest when a friend took her to volunteer with Books on Break in 2013.
Richard HuntStrategic Marketing Executive and Educator
Richard Hunt is a managing partner with 77 West Consulting, providing marketing and strategy consulting services to start-ups and small companies, focusing on business-to-consumer businesses with significant digital components. He is a highly creative leader and team builder within both start-up, entrepreneurial environments and large organizations. Richard holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Yale University and was the Venture Mentor-in-Residence at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute from 2014 to 2017 and the Mentor-in-Residence at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale from 2017 to 2018. He has been a member of the board at Book Harvest since June 2019.
Tiara LassiterLicensed Clinical Social Worker and Parent Advocate
Tiara Lassiter works as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, specializing in home visiting. She has demonstrated her commitment to parent and child success in numerous roles over her professional career, including as a Parent Advocate Intern for the East Durham Children’s Initiative and as a preschool lead teacher. Tiara brings to her board service a long history of leadership with Book Harvest’s Parent Advisory Team. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from North Carolina Central University.
Ann LeiningerProject Manager, AECOM
Ann Leininger has spent 29 years as a project manager at AECOM managing environmental compliance projects. Her areas of expertise include hazardous waste management and compliance, wastewater compliance, facility audits and stormwater permitting. She holds both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Biology from Stanford University.
Ann first started volunteering with Book Harvest in April 2015, supporting the Triangle Corporate Battle of the Bands, chairing the logistics committee to support Book Harvest’s fundraising efforts. Since then she has chaired the Dream Big Book Drive committee, joined the Marketing and Development Committee and Speakers’ Bureau, and supports the Book Babies team in celebrating our program graduates each year.
Lou RollinsFormer Director of Special Projects, Duke’s Office of Durham and Regional Affairs
For nearly 30 years, Lou Rollins has been working to improve the quality of life for all the people of Durham. In her roles at Durham Technical Community College and at Duke University, she has supported community-based organizations by providing guidance and leadership, support and resources. From her leadership service with Durham’s YMCA to the Nasher Museum of Art, from the Kiwanis Club to Voices Together, she has been devoted to infusing the lives of the children and adults in Durham with enrichment and opportunity.
Lou holds a Master’s Degree of Arts in Liberal Studies from Duke University and a Bachelor’s Degree from Campbell University.
Taquoia StreetQuality Representative in Participant Services, Fidelity Investments
Taquoia Street enjoys coaching and training associates through her work with Fidelity. She also loves to volunteer and has a passion for helping others. With Fidelity Cares, she enjoys traveling to different schools in Durham and Wake counties teaching financial literacy lessons to students. She has served as Vice President of the PTA Board for W.G. Pearson Elementary School for the last two years; is a co-leader of Girl Scout Troop 1581 in Durham; writes and directs plays for her daughter’s after school program; and has created her own opportunities for helping students with financial literacy, reading comprehension, math, and science through her Dream initiative, founded in June 2019.
Taquoia and her daughter Jade participated in the Book Babies program, where Jade was a part of the first graduating class in 2018. Through Book Babies, Taquoia was able to complete Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training (PFAST) through Durham County Cooperative Extension, and has shared tips with her PTA community, earning her a Bright Stars Volunteer Award from the Durham County PTA in 2019.
Taquoia has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with a concentration in Performance from North Carolina Central University. She has an IMDB credit for the short film Wanna Be, won Best Actress Award for the Atlanta Hip Hop Film Festival in 2006, and has even performed Off Broadway at the Roy Aria Theatre in NY in 2010. During her spare time, she loves to read and write. Reading and writing stories has been a huge part of her life, and with the help of Book Babies she was able to share that passion with her daughter.
Sheronda WitterFleming Manager, NC Center for Afterschool Programs, Public School Forum of NC
Since 2017, Sheronda Witter has been at the helm of the NC Center for Afterschool Programs, working to support and promote afterschool and expanded learning opportunities for schoolchildren across the state. Sheronda has vast experience in program management, analysis, collaboration and youth development. Prior to this role, she served as an Extension Agent of 4-H Youth Development for NC State University wherein she served youth and families in Orange County, NC. Sheronda earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in intercultural youth development from Furman University, a Master of Science degree in youth development leadership at Clemson University and is in the process of completing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational research and policy analysis for K-12 education at North Carolina State University. Academically and professionally, she has been recognized through multiple awards and honors, as well as been inducted into Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi Honors Societies. She got married in the spring of 2018, and she and her husband are delighted to call Durham home.
Pictured: authors Sarah Dessen, Daniel Wallace, and Randall Kenan at Book Harvest’s Dream Big Book Drive on MLK Day; author Kelly Starling Lyons visits Book Harvest with her 2016 counting book, One More Dino on the Floor; author Lee Smith with Book Harvest founder and executive director Ginger Young in November 2015; author Frances O’Roarke Dowell sharing her reason for reading at the 2015 Dream Big celebration; and author J.J. Johnson talks with Durham Mayor Bill Bell at Dream Big on MLK Day.
Book Harvest’s Speakers’ Bureau is a group of volunteers who serve as ambassadors for our organization and for the larger causes of childhood literacy and book access. Speakers’ Bureau members use their knowledge of and experience with Book Harvest to represent the organization at community events, sharing our mission and inviting community members to connect with us in meaningful ways.
Current members of Book Harvest’s Speakers’ Bureau are Liz Jazinski, Ann Leininger, Lori Nofziger, and Taquoia Street.
Want to learn more about Speakers’ Bureau or request a speaker? Contact Communications and Manager Benay Hicks at email@example.com.