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IBPA Welcomes Thirteen New Committee Volunteers for Fiscal Year 2021

Thursday, July 9, 2020   (2 Comments)
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(Manhattan Beach, CA - July 9, 2020) -- The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the largest independent book publishers association in the United States with over 3,500 members, is pleased to announce the appointment of thirteen (13) new committee members, joining the ranks of IBPA's key volunteers for fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021).

Read more about each newly appointed committee member below. Questions and comments can be emailed to

IBPA Advocacy Committee

The IBPA Advocacy Committee is a standing committee tasked with identifying, prioritizing, and developing strategies to address issues of concern to independent publishers. New committee members for fiscal year 2021 include:

Stephanie Carter

STEPHANIE CARTER: Stephanie Carter is the founder and publisher of Teleion Books, a new publishing company that celebrates the faith and culture of the African-American Christian community. The company’s inaugural catalog is planned for 2021.

Stephanie brings to publishing a passion for edifying and entertaining readers with books that expand African-American representation. She also brings 19 years of business experience in Fortune 100 consumer packaged goods companies. During her career, Stephanie has provided financial insights to guide business decisions regarding new product launches, marketing campaigns, product renovation projects, and overhead cost management.

She holds a Master of Divinity from The King’s University, a Master of Business Administration from UCLA, and a Master of Arts in Education Administration from UC Berkeley. Stephanie and her husband live in Los Angeles.

James Woosley

JAMES WOOSLEY: As a business coach, consultant, publisher, and project manager, James Woosley helps people and organizations move ideas from the dreaming and planning stages to full implementation through his company Insignis Interactive. James sets goals, plans strategically, and makes things happen…for himself and those around him. He is the author of Conquer the Entrepreneur’s Kryptonite: Simple Strategic Planning for You and Your Business and Challenge Accepted!: A Simple Strategy for Living Life on Purpose.

Beyond serving his clients, writing and publishing books, participating as a newcomer to athletic events (Spartan Races, charity bicycle rides, running for no good reason), he is a founding member of the board of education in his hometown of Satsuma, Alabama and served as president of the Alabama Association of School Boards (2017-2019). He is a former United States Air Force officer and has been a certified Project Management Professional since 2004. James is a dedicated husband to his high school sweetheart, Heather, and a doting father to his children, Anna and Ian.

MJ Courchesne

MJ COURCHESNE: Mary Jo ("MJ") Courchesne is the owner and principal rights consultant of Gryphon Publishing Consulting, LLC. A publishing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in trade, academic and direct-response publishing, she has spent nearly 2 decades years specializing in licensing, subsidiary rights, and permissions. She is a frequent and polished presenter on licensing and copyright. She firmly believes that everyone from authors to publishers to corporations should “know their rights” when it comes to intellectual property.

To this end, she instructed in The George Washington University's Masters in Publishing program for 13 years, first for 11 years as Adjunct Professor for a course entitled Editorial Content, Rights and Permissions, and subsequently as Lecturer in a course on copyright. She is a member of the Copyright Alliance, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has also held memberships with other organizations such as the American Society of Picture Professionals and Washington Publishers. She currently serves as copyright consultant within the board of experts of the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE), and is Secretary and board member for The Big Easy in Buffalo.

IBPA Member Benefits Committee

The IBPA Member Benefits Committee is a standing committee tasked with developing a portfolio of membership benefits that are attractive to independent publishers. New committee members for fiscal year 2021 include:

Renita Bryant

RENITA BRYANT: Born and raised in Fort Valley, GA, Renita Bryant received both her B.S. in Management and Master of Business Administration from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. After a few years in corporate America working for Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, Renita founded Mynd Matters Publishing, a reader-centric publishing company dedicated to guiding and supporting new and aspiring authors through their book publishing journey. Since its 2012 launch, the company has seen exponential growth from year to year and she has worked with notable leaders across an array of industries including sports, business, art, and entertainment. Renita has also authored four books: Yesterday Mourning, Remember Me Not, Remnants of Tomorrow, and Reflections of Forever.

Renita has been featured in Forbes, Inc.,, Start Up Buenos Aires, the New Voices Fund, CEO Blog Nation, The Leader Tribune, and Voyage ATL. When she's not busy running her company, she enjoys logic puzzles, connecting with family and friends, exploring the world, writing, and mentoring young women of color.

Nandini Patwardhan

NANDINI PATWARDHAN: Nandini Patwardhan grew up in India and has lived in the US since the early 1980s. She possesses a graduate degree in Mathematics and is a retired software developer.

Nandini co-founded Story Artisan Press in 2019 and has published five books. The most recent is Radical Spirits, a biography of India's first woman doctor and her American champions.

Melissa Serdinsky

MELISSA SERDINSKY: Melissa Serdinsky has been working hands-on in the bookselling and publishing universe for over thirty years. She started at BookStop #1 in Austin Texas and spent 10 years in NYC publishing in a variety of roles ranging from advertising assistant at Macmillan Publishing to acquisitions manager at Sterling Publishing.

After moving to Colorado, she joined Perseus Books Group (PBG) in 2001 where she put all the tools in her toolbox to good use. During her tenure as Vice President, Manufacturing and Digital Ops, she developed an industry-leading digital print program, ran a lean manufacturing program, and was instrumental in the creation of a digital distribution service supporting over 200 independent publishers. Melissa now works independently with publishers to overcome operational pain points so they can get back to doing what they enjoy most as a publisher or as a person.

Kirk Whisler

KIRK WHISLER: is the President of Western Publication Research, Inc., which include a variety of Hispanic media programs: Latino 247 Media Group serving 600+ Hispanic newspapers, magazines, and websites in 180 markets across the USA with a combined circulation of 19 million; WPR Books publishes a variety of Latino focused books including The Nat'l Latino & American Indian Scholarship Directory; and LPNnews news services. Latinolytics has carried out over 440 media studies for Latino publications and organizations like the Screen Actors Guild.

Kirk has spent much of his adult life in community service. In 1982 he was honored to serve as the founding president of the Nat'l Association of Hispanic Publications. In the 1990's he co-founded with Edward James Olmos the 501c3 nonprofit Empowering Latino Futures, formerly Latino Literacy Now, that has produced 67 Latino Book & Family Festivals attended by a combined over 900,000 people. He has also created four major award programs: LLN's Int'l Latino Book Awards (since 1998, 2,897 honorees); the NAHP's José Martí Awards (since 1987, 4,500+ honorees); LLN's Latino Books into Movies Awards (since 2010, 126 honorees); and Caminos Magazine's Hispanic of the Year Awards (1980-86, 252 honorees). Kirk also serves on the National Latino Media Council Board and Los Angeles Latino Int'l Film Festival (co-founder). Previous boards that Kirk served on include Nat'l Association of Latino Independent Producers (co-chair); Commission of the Californias (committee chair); National Hispanic University Board of Trustees; and California Democratic State Executive Committee.

Kirk lives with his wife, Magdalena, an educator, in Fallbrook, California.

IBPA Editorial Advisory Committee

The IBPA Editorial Advisory Committee is standing committee tasked with advising on the direction of the IBPA Independent magazine’s content and overall themes. New committee members for fiscal year 2021 include:

Mary Banks

MARY BANKS: Mary B. Banks is the author of Street Magic: Stories and Tales. She established La Muse Press to teach individuals how to write and publish their books independently.

Mary has earned two graduate degrees in the fields of writing and publishing: a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore (2011) and a Master of Professional Studies in Publishing from George Washington University (2019). For her undergraduate studies, Mary graduated from Johns Hopkins University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars.

David Bushman

DAVID BUSHMAN: David Bushman is an author, publisher, and media professor who was a longtime (27 years!) television curator at The Paley Center for Media. He also spent two years as program director at TV Land.

David is co-president/publisher/managing editor at Fayetteville Mafia Press, specializing in true crime, pop culture, and sports. He is the author of Conversations with Mark Frost, Twin Peaks FAQ, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer FAQ and is currently writing a true crime book about the unsolved 1908 murder in upstate New York that inspired the TV show Twin Peaks.

Roy Carlisle

ROY CARLISLE: Roy M. Carlisle is the Director of Publishing and co-owner of PageMill Press, LLC, with Robert D. Frager. Previously, Roy served as Acquisitions Director for a Bay Area think tank, overseeing the scholarly book publishing program for twelve years. Roy also served on the Board of Directors for the Independent Book Publishers Association from 2010-2014.

From 1976 to 1988, Roy served as Senior Editor at HarperOne (formerly HarperSanFrancisco), and then from 2001 to 2006 he was the West Coast Senior Editor at The Crossroad Publishing Company in New York. From 1996 to 2001 he was Co-Owner and Editorial Director at Circulus Publishing Group (Wildcat Canyon Press imprint). In the early 70s he was the General Manager of the Fuller Theological Seminary Bookstore. He has also been a Founding Board Member and former Chairman of the Board at New College Berkeley, and Founder and former Executive Director of the Academy of Christian Editors. He maintains an active membership in S.H.A.R.P., the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing.

Tieshena Davis

TIESHENA DAVIS: Tieshena Davis is the bestselling author of Think Like a Bookpreneur, creator of the Indie Author Legacy Awards (IALA), and the founding publisher of Publish Your Gift®, an international award-winning firm specializing in literary content creation and author branding. She appears widely at professional events, teaching audiences how to leverage writing to advance their business and career goals in competitive environments.

Within the past decade, her work and contribution in the publishing industry has led her to being awarded the 2017 Medical Moguls Academy "Faculty of the Year", honored as Prince George’s County Maryland Top Forty Under 40, and recognized by as 2015 Best of the Best in Publishing.

Tieshena’s advice has been featured in The Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, Rolling Out, Entrepreneur, and numerous other media outlets. She is a graduate of Yale University’s Book Publishing Executive Program and an active Forbes Coaches Council member.

Hannah Gordon

HANNAH GORDON: Hannah Gordon is a passionate storyteller. She began her career as a journalist, with bylines in publications like The Buffalo News, USA Today – College, and others. She transitioned into the publishing industry as the managing editor of the Emerging Revolutionary War book series (published by Savas Beatie) and as a book designer for the Emerging Civil War book series (published by Savas Beatie).

After completing her masters in integrated marketing communication at St. Bonaventure University, she earned a graduate certificate in book publishing from the Denver Publishing Institute. Since then, she has served as the director of marketing and publicity for Buffalo Heritage Press, the communications chair for the Western New York Children’s Book Expo, a communications consultant for a variety of businesses, and a freelance editor, marketer, and designer. In 2019, Hannah co-founded City of Light Publishing, a full-spectrum publisher that aims to inspire people to “Be a Light” be reading books, sharing books, and giving books.

Hannah is also co-founder of Stems & Stories, a forthcoming podcast and digital resource focused on two of her favorite things: stories and plants! You can see what she’s reading, writing, publishing, and planting at @HR_Gordon on nearly any social media platform and at

Sherry Nigam

SHERRY NIGAM: Sherry Nigam is the publisher at SAE International. Over the past 25 years at publishing houses of every size and within nearly every department, Sherry progressed with the industry from using wax machines and checking blue prints to .pdfs and eBooks.

Sherry joined SAE Books (Society of Automotive and Aerospace Engineering) in 2017. Her responsibilities include acquiring and publishing books to advance mobility knowledge and solutions for the benefit of humanity. Under her leadership, SAE Books earned two Silver IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards (2018 and 2019) for outstanding books in the category of Professional and Technology Reference. In addition, The Road to the Top is Not on the Map: Conversations with the Top Women of the Automotive Industry earned a coveted spot in Gary’s Book Club at the 2020 Consumer Electronic Show (CES Las Vegas) attended by over 200,000 professionals.

Sherry has acquired content for over 220 books in subjects from Aeronautics to Cosmetology to Health Care (including a couple of books on Mortuary Science). Her passion for books is shared by her daughters, Stella and Amaya.


Angela Bole, CEO says...
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2020
Welcome, new committee members! All of us in the IBPA office look forward to working with you over the next year to bring significant value to IBPA's over 3,500 members. It's great to have you on the team.
Marta P. Zarrella, MKZ Books, Inc. says...
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2020
Wow, what a talented and experienced team! 2020/2021 promises to be an amazing year for IBPA. Thank you all for sharing your expertise. I look forward to learning so much and being more inspired than ever.

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