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The AWM Affiliates Steering Committee was created in July 2015 as a resource and guide for programming and policies to benefit both the Affiliates and AWM.It serves also to channel and strengthen the Affiliates network through collaboration with and promotion of itsmembers. Monthly conference call meetings consider issues such as: Affiliates priorities, design of promotional materials, social media outreach and effective ways to communicate and exchange ideas.The minutes of each meeting are distributed to all Affiliate members.Composed of executive directors and curators who represent Affiliate members in nine states throughout the United States, the Steering Committee members are:
- Miriam Farris – Curator, Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
- William Griffith – Curator, William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak
- Tad Jones – Executive Director, Will Rogers Memorial Museums
- Cindy Lovell – Executive Director, The Mark Twain House & Museum
- Kara McLaughlin – Executive Director, The House of Seven Gables Settlement Association
- Janet L. Mintzer – President and CEO, Pearl S. Buck International
- Ashley Olson – Executive Director, The Willa Cather Foundation
- Allison Sansone – Executive Director, The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park
- Julia A. Whitehead – Founder and CEO, Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library
- Pam Buckles – Director, AWM Affiliates Program
- Paige Nerenberg – Affiliate Recruitment, AWM Affiliates Program
Miriam began stewarding the Carl Sandburg family collection in 2010 after graduating from the Public History program at UNC Greensboro. She has served as curator of the Carl Sandburg Home in North Carolina since 2012. Before pursuing museum work, Miriam earned a Master of Philosophy degree in English from Fordham University, where she focused on American literature. While living in the northeast, Miriam also began studying literary house museums. In addition to curating material culture and archival collections, Miriam researches and writes about historic buildings. Her greatest literary wish is to one day visit (or build!) a recreation of the home of Harriet Jacobs.
William has served as curator of Rowan Oak, the Antebellum home of William Faulkner since 1999. Before coming to Rowan Oak, he was Curator of Collections at the University Museum at the University of Mississippi. William was raised in east central Illinois where he was educated at Southern Illinois University, the University of Illinois, and completed museum internships at theMuseum of Northern Arizona and the Oriental Institute.
Tad he received his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Tulsa. He ran for the Oklahoma legislature at the age of 25 and won an open seat in Rogers County in 1998. He served as the House Education Appropriations Chairman for four years and ended his term as the Majority Floor Leader in the House. Tad was term limited in 2010 after 12 years of service. In June of 2010, he became the director of the Grand Lake Association where he helped coordinate the building of a multi-million facility to host the Bassmaster Classic Fishing Tournament and other national fishing events. In September 2014, Tad became the Executive Director of the Will Rogers Memorial Museums in Claremore and Oologah.
After serving as Executive Director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, MO, Cindy became the Executive Director of The Mark Twain House & Museum in Connecticut.She holds a B.A. and M.A. from Stetson University and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She has held tenured faculty positions at Stetson University in Florida and Quincy University in Illinois. A consummate hooky player who fell in love with Tom Sawyer in the fourth grade, Cindy later dropped out of high school. She has published two children’s novels and has authored dozens of articles, textbook chapters, and essays. She has been a contributing writer for The Huffington Post since 2010. Cindy co-authored Down the Mississippi with CNN Reporter Neal Moore. In 2011, she wrote and co-produced with Grammy Award-winner Carl Jackson, Mark Twain Words & Music, which tells Twain’s life in spoken word and song.
Kara assumed the directorship of the House of Seven Gables Settlement Association 2013.There she works closely with the Board of Trustees and staff to refine, develop and implement a progressive program for The Gables’ fundraising, marketing, exhibits, finance, collections management, educational activities and community outreach. She oversees all aspects of the organization, including policymaking, planning, organization, staffing and operations. Prior to joining The Gables her career included almost twenty years in the field of human resources management consulting, serving several years as the President and CEO of The Survey Group, a regional compensation consulting firm.After leaving The Survey Group, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and taught math for four years in the Salem and Danvers public schools. Born and raised in Salem, Kara received her B.A. from Wellesley College, MBA from Northeastern University, and M. Ed. from Lesley University.
Janet discovered the amazing life of author, activist and humanitarian, Pearl S. Buck when she came to Pearl S. Buck International as Vice President & COO in February 2001, after 8 years of service as the Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County. She was promoted to President and CEO in September, 2001. Driven by her passion for children, Janet successfully developed independent affiliated organizations to serve children in the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and The Philippines, while continuing operations in Vietnam and creating a strong partnership and new programs in China. Her commitment to building cultural competence led to development of programs promoting international exchange and diversity appreciation. She also led a $2.8 Million capital campaign to restore the Pearl S. Buck House National Historic Landmark Museum. A native of Philadelphia, Janet received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Temple University.
Born and raised in Red Cloud, Nebraska, Ashley has been a member of the Willa Cather Foundation staff since 2008 and has served as the organization’s Executive Director since 2014. She previously worked as Director of Finance and Associate Executive Director, becoming an integral leader in the Willa Cather Foundation’s $6.7 million capital campaign to create the National Willa Cather Center. Ashley holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a certificate in fundraising management (CFM) from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She oversees the management and operation of the nation’s largest collection of nationally designated historic sites dedicated to an American author, including six properties owned by the Willa Cather Foundation and six sites known collectively as the Willa Cather State Historic Site, owned by the Nebraska State Historical Society.
Allison has been a staff member of The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park for nine years and was named Executive Director in 2013. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s journalism school and is a veteran editor, reporter and writer. She has authored four books and writes extensively on media, politics and culture. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and many other publications, and has earned awards from the Associated Press Editors Association, Illinois Press Association and many other journalism organizations. Her nonprofit work includes fundraising for the West Suburban Humane Society, the Greater Chicago Ferret Association, Aspire Children’s Services and the Daily Cardinal Alumni Association, where she mentors college journalism students. She lives in Oak Park, IL with her husband, daughter and pet ferret Claire.
Julia is the founder and CEO of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. Her background includes serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and writing and editing for Random House, Inc., the Military Officers Association of America, and the state legislatures of both South Carolina and Indiana. Julia taught English to 100 children in Thailand in 2000 and worked for nearly nine years as a medical writer for Eli Lilly and Co. before leaving Lilly to open the Vonnegut Library, a museum, art gallery, and national education center. With degrees and certificates from the University of South Carolina, George Washington University, Seton Hall University, University of Indianapolis, and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Julia shares her love of Vonnegut with veterans, students, teachers, and general readers. She and her husband attorney/author/poet J.T. Whitehead have two little Hoosier boys who are being raised to read banned books and practice random acts of kindness.
Pam is the vice president of Strategy Associates, Inc., a global consulting firm. She spent 13 years in the Executive Education division of the Brookings Institution managing seminars on public policy and international relations for senior corporate and government executives from the U.S and foreign countries. Pam is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and holds A master’s degree in international management from the University of Maryland.
Paige most recently has spent time volunteering at Manna Food Bank and A Wider Circle, and teaching for Share Our Strength.