Board of Directors

Christine A. Eichelberger, President

Christine retired in 2019 from a 32-year career in commercial banking, most recently as Senior Vice President at Canandaigua National Bank. She holds an MBA from the Simon School at the University of Rochester and an undergraduate degree in mathematics.

William J. Grande, Secretary

Bill retired in January 2022 from Micropen Technologies (now Exxelia Micropen), where he was employed since 2004 as Chief Technology Officer & VP, overseeing the Company’s R&D, new product development, and business development activities. His career spanned both academic and industrial settings and included an engineering faculty appointment at Rochester Institute of Technology and research scientist positions at Kodak, Cornell, and IITRI. An expert in microfabrication for nearly 40 years, he worked in a diverse range of technologies, always with the aim of building tangible, leading edge devices. An avid multidisciplinary researcher, Bill holds 24 US patents in a wide range of technologies including micro bearings, medical devices, and hydrogen gas storage.

Mark Boylan, Treasurer

Mark retired from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in 2019 after 18 years with the university. He is now a part-time faculty member at RIT. Previously, he worked in the corporate world as a marketing executive and was a principal in a local management consulting firm. In addition to Writers and Books, Mark has served with other local organizations, both as a board member and volunteer, including Al Sigl Center, Equicenter, Genesee Valley Club, Hillside Family of Agencies, Memorial Art Gallery, McQuaid Jesuit, Rochester Community Players, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, St. John’s Home, St. Thomas More Church, Simone Center at RIT, and YMCA of Greater Rochester. He is a member of Rochester Rotary and the Country Club of Rochester, as well as three social/literary roundtables, Gaggle, Institute of Fellows and OASIS. Marks lives in Pittsford with his wife Anne. They have two grown children and one grandchild.

John D. Bouchard, Esq.

Vice President of Brown and Brown, John is an honor graduate of the American University in Washington‚ DC‚ attended the University of London, and received his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law. He was a practicing trial attorney in commercial‚ negligence and employment litigation in the 1980s and entered the insurance business in 1990. John formed PoleStar Executive Management as a wholesale brokerage department of Brown & Brown focusing on Directors & Officers‚ Employment Practices‚ Intellectual Property and Professional Liability coverages as well as insurance products related to mergers and acquisitions. In addition, he has served as a consultant to defense law firms and has been retained by publicly held companies to perform audits on D&O and Professional Liability programs for large financial institutions‚ hospitals‚ insurance companies‚ manufacturers‚ real estate developers and high-tech entities. A former Monroe County Legislator, John was a major party candidate for Congress in 1988. He has served and serves on nonprofit boards and mutual benefit organizations in officer roles. He is a member of Philosophers Club, an eighty year-old fraternal organization. A resident of Victor, NY, he has a writing credit for a short film produced by Spirit Clips in Los Angeles, CA, and owns a personal library of 1,500 books.

Jaylene Carpenter

Jaylene joined Bonn, Dioguardi & Ray, LLP, in 2012 as Manager, Accountant, and Auditor. Her responsibilities include managing the firm’s financial and human resources affairs and providing bookkeeping services for clients.

Kevin Connell

Kevin is a Labor Relations attorney at Genesee Valley BOCES, which serves 22 component public school districts in Genesee, Wyoming, and Livingston Counties. Prior to joining Genesee Valley BOCES, he represented clients in private practice with issues related to labor and employment, education, and other public sector matters. He has experience representing both employees and employers, including unions, non-profits, and dozens of public school districts throughout New York State. Kevin is the author of two books on higher education reform, Degrees of Deception: America’s For-Profit Higher Education Fraud and Breaking Point: The College Affordability Crisis & Our Next Financial Bubble. He is a cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Rochester and a graduate of William & Mary Law School. Since his admission to the New York Bar in 2019, he has been admitted to the Western District of New York and United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Since returning to Rochester, Kevin has been involved in several community organizations and associations, most notably as Chair of the Monroe County Bar Association Lawyers for Learning Committee. He also serves on the Board of the Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex. In addition to being inducted into the Next Generation Leader Program and The Order of the Barristers, Kevin was also recognized as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2021.

Eric G. Cook

Eric is Senior Vice President, Financial Advisor, and Senior Portfolio Manager at RBC Wealth Management. Previously, he worked in Manhattan for nearly a decade as a sportswriter and sports programming coordinator, where he learned the value of storytelling.

Jacquelyn Cox-Smalls

Born and raised in Rochester, NY, Jacquelyn is a retired elementary school principal with 33 years of experience in education. She believes that education morphs a child’s life, giving them freedom to think, express, advocate and change the world. Throughout her career in the Rochester City School District as classroom teacher, literacy specialist, teacher coach, and school administrator, her passion has been providing equity and access to urban students with a focus on increasing opportunities for students to engage with creative art experiences and new academic learning. Jacquelyn recently launched Soulchild Studio, Inc: Reimagining Mind and Space with the goals of inspiring freedom of expression through re-vision of thought, voice, and choice and encouraging parents and educators to embrace emancipatory pedagogy at home and in the classroom.

Lester David Friedman

Les is Emeritus Professor and former chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Previously, he taught cinema studies at Syracuse, Northwestern, and American Universities and at the Art Institute of Chicago. He also taught health humanities and bioethics at Upstate Medical Center (Syracuse) and the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University (Chicago). The author, co-author, and editor of over 20 books and numerous articles, his areas of academic specialties include film genres, American cinema of the 1970s, American Jewish cinema, British film of the 1980s, and Health and Humanities. A winner of the National Jewish Book Award (Visual Arts), he authored two screenplays that are the basis of independent films.

Beverly Gold

Bev is a semi-retired clinical social worker in private practice. She has served as President of the Parent Teacher Student Association of School 23 and School of the Arts in Rochester, NY, as well as President of the Rochester Association of Clinical Social Workers. She has been involved with Writers & Books since inception as member, supporter, and board member.

Celeste Kier

Celeste is Senior VP/Director of Marketing & Customer Experience at ESL Federal Credit Union. A past Board President of Writers & Books, she also serves on the board of the George Eastman Museum and on the United Way Women’s Leadership Council Advisory Board. Formerly, she was a board member of Hope Hall and the SUNY Geneseo School of Business Advisory Council. A native of Pennsylvania, Celeste earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Rochester and her MBA from the William E. Simon School.

Randy K. Morgenstern

Randy is a Rochester native who spent her higher-level academic years and early employment responsibilities outside New York State. She returned to Rochester in the early 80’s to marry her high school sweetheart and raise her fabulous son. Professionally, she contributed to the success of the Jewish Community Center and Israel Bonds, created and curated the perennially popular Jewish Book Festival, and began the Jewish Singles Network. She went on to direct the Women’s Philanthropy Division of the Jewish Federation for 14 years, overseeing over $2 million in philanthropic funds and celebrating over 100 Lions of Judah, the highest giving level for women. Randy now oversees the Human Resources needs of the successful owner-involved business Radio Social, where she is proud to assist an incredible team of 65 committed staff members. Since moving from the suburb of Brighton in 2008 to Rochester’s St. Paul Quarter, Randy is thrilled to have had the time and desire to become involved in all things downtown. Joining the Writers & Books’ board is a dream come true; she looks forward to learning from the organization and giving of her skills and passion.

Stephanie Paredes

Stephanie Paredes is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advocate in the Department of Surgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She previously served as Assistant Director of Multicultural Programs at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), where she oversaw the Women of Color, Honor and Ambition program and directed the institute’s MOSAIC Center. A fun-loving, outgoing, and passionate multi-talented Afro-Latina powerhouse, Stephanie is the owner of Empanadas by Stephanie, co-owner of Beyond Boundaries Consulting, and co-founder of the Rochester Latino Theatre Company. She enjoys sharing her passion for creativity, inclusion, and diversity through food, theater, community engagement, and education; and is committed to building bridges for others to learn about the importance of inclusion, diversity and equity in the theater community, higher education, and the Rochester community. She embraces getting into “good trouble” to disrupt the status quo and encourage others to step out of their comfort zone into the growth zone. In addition to Writers & Books, she serves on several boards in the Rochester area, including Geva Theatre Artistic Council and Blackfriars Theatre. Stephanie’s favorite activities include making empanadas, traveling, acting, and playtime with her amazing son Alejandro.

Timothy B. Schmid

Tim serves as President of Konar Properties, which owns, manages and develops a diverse portfolio of owner-held commercial, retail and multi-family properties throughout the region. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Technical Communications from Clarkson University, he began his professional life in the advertising industry working for a small advertising firm, where his responsibilities included copywriting, proofreading, and graphic design. Subsequently, he provided marketing support to a real estate broker, then shifted his career focus to real estate, obtaining his real estate and broker licenses and representing both buyers and sellers of residential and commercial properties. In his first year, Tim received the Saratoga County Rookie of the Year award for achieving the highest volume of sales of all first-year real estate agents in that county. He then moved into a property management career, where he has spent the last 30 years overseeing large local development projects, from concept through construction; designing and coordinating marketing campaigns; and managing staff, consultants, and contractors involved in these projects. Since childhood, Tim has been an avid reader and writer, and recently self-published three fiction novels. He has been married to his wife, Roseann, for 30 years. They have two children, both of whom are avid writers. Tim is thrilled to have the opportunity to help Writers & Books pursue its mission to promote and celebrate the joys of reading and writing.

David Shakes

David founded the Rochester-based North Star Players, which grew out of public readings of James Baldwin’s writings (The Baldwin Project) and which presented in 2020 “No Struggle, No Progress,” a multidisciplinary theatrical honoring Frederick Douglass and his enduring message of liberation and equality. A Rochester resident since 1976, he is a historical interpreter and oratory coach with a wide range of experience in theatre, independent films and historic reenactments. David was active in New York City in the early-1970s, performing in Harlem with the group Spirit House Movers and Players. He later worked as a counselor and social worker at Lewis Street Center, Rochester, and as a social worker for the Rochester City School District.

Brad VanAuken

Brad is president and founder of BrandForward, Inc., a brand strategy consultancy with clients throughout the world. Previously, he was the vice president of marketing for Element K (now Skillsoft), a leading e-learning company, and director of brand management and marketing for Hallmark Cards, Inc. During his tenure as Hallmark’s chief brand advocate, Hallmark rose to 4th in the EquiTrend national quality brand ranking and received the Brand Management of the Year award. Recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on brand management and marketing, he is the author of Brand Aid: A Quick Reference Guide to Solving Your Branding Problems and Strengthening Your Market Position and The Brand Management Checklist: Proven Tools and Techniques for Creating Winning Brands. He is a much sought-after speaker and writer who has been interviewed by ADWEEK, CNN, Entrepreneur magazine, Forbes magazine, Fox News, HLN, Investor’s Business Daily, NPR and The Bloomberg Money Show. Brad was an adjunct professor of marketing at Avila University and RIT and has been a guest lecturer at many universities, including Harvard, Stanford and Northwestern.