The Board of Trustees of the American Writers Museum in Chicago

The American Writers Museum Board of Trustees is committed to creating a Board that is representative of our country’s diverse population and the audience that the museum serves. Click here to see the AWM Board Diversity Statement.


John W. Estey


M. Hill Hammock

Immediate Past Chair

Roberta Rubin

Immediate Past Chair

Roger Baskes

Vice Chairman

Gail Bent

Vice Chairman and Corporate Secretary

Ellen Clark


Werner Hein

Vice Chairman

Jane Irwin

Vice Chairman

Malcolm E. O’Hagan


Carey Cranston



Marie Arana

Olivia Bedi

Allan E. Bulley, III

Marion Cameron

Joan E. Clifford

S. Leigh Pierson Conant

Carolyn Curiel

Edith Falk

Robert Franden

Jay Hammer

Karen Hale

Julie Justie

Ivan P. Kane

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

Coco Meers

Catherine Mouly

Grove Mower

Richard Murphy

Judy Pomeranz

Dominique Raccah

Chad Riley

Amanda Rutledge

Sarah Schrup

Michael Scodro

Larry Shulman

Trustee Emeritus

Jerre Stead

Importance of diversity for the AWM Board of Trustees

The American Writers Museum’s exhibits, public programs, and youth education program present the diversity of American writers, including many writers from historically underrepresented groups, such as women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ writers. The AWM’s leadership is inspired by these writers, and their profound influence, to create a Board that is also representative of our country’s diverse population and the audience that the museum serves.

As the decision-making body at the highest level of organizational leadership, the Board of Trustees plays a critical role in creating a museum that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and equity. 
As the nation’s only museum dedicated to American writers and their influence on our history, our culture, and our daily lives, we embrace and celebrate our common humanity, and the inherent worth of all people. In celebrating all voices, we must also acknowledge that a climate of intolerance and inequity is a challenge to our values and ideals. The complex issues and dynamics at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, national origin, and religion call for proactive thinking within a museum that uses its platform to celebrate all writers and the relevance of their work.
We believe that the AWM is better able to do this work effectively and with authenticity when it is led by a Board of Trustees that is:


The individual leaders who compose the AWM Board are a reflection of our values and beliefs about who should be empowered and entrusted with the most important decisions. We believe that we can better fulfill our mission by drawing on the skills, talents, and perspectives of a broader and more diverse range of leaders, and that the diversity of viewpoints that comes from different life experiences and cultural backgrounds strengthens board deliberations and decision-making.


By cultivating an inclusive culture, we aim to ensure that all board members are encouraged to bring their perspectives, identity, and life experience to their board service. To create an inclusive board culture, we welcome and celebrate differences and ensure that all board members are equally engaged and invested, sharing power and responsibility for the museum’s mission and the Board’s work.


The Board plays a critical role in prioritizing resources and strategies to ensure that the AWM is accessible and relevant to everyone. With an understanding of current cultural inequities, the Board has a powerful opportunity to strengthen the museum’s impact, relevance, and platform for dialogue.

The AWM Board of Trustees commits to filling vacant Board seats with Trustees who better represent the diversity of the American population, and to have a Board that is significantly more diverse by 2025.