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.

Timothy B. Schmid, Vice President

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 graduating from Clarkson University, he worked as a copywriter and graphic designer in the advertising industry before shifting his focus to real estate, where he has spent the last 30+ years. Since childhood, Tim has been an avid reader and writer, has self-published three fiction novels, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to help Writers & Books pursue its mission to promote and celebrate the joys of reading and writing. He also serves on the Board of Directors for RDDC, as well as Rochester Downtown Partnership’s BID Formation Committee.

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.

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.

Ann Marie Fallon

Ann Marie is Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at St. John Fisher University, Rochester, NY. Previously the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Marylhurst University and professor of humanities and international studies and director of the University Honors College at Portland State University in Oregon, she received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia in 2003. She is the author of Global Crusoe: Comparative Literature, Postcolonial Theory and Transnational Aesthetics and co-editor of Rebels without a Cause? Renegotiating the American 1950s and Community-Based Learning and the Work of Literature. Deeply committed to the humanities as a public good, she published “Everybody Reads: Public Literature Programs” in the MLA volume Service Learning and Literature and a related article in Academic Exchange Quarterly.

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.

Nicole Magats

Nicole is a results‐driven executive at Microsoft Corporation. She has nearly 30 years of proven performance as a transformational leader recognized for her intellectual and creative agility, process‐ and systems‐thinking, and people‐centric philosophy. Currently, she is a Managing Director, leading clients through their AI transformation. She values promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, fellowship, and empowerment, enabling teams to do their best work. Nicole has held roles at Microsoft in Consulting sales and delivery, U.S. Cloud sales and operations, and leading the Western NY sales community. Prior to Microsoft, she held numerous sales and sales leadership assignments over 19 years at Xerox Corporation. Her heritage has influenced her passion for diversity and inclusion. Adopted as an infant, at an early age, she gained the courage to speak her voice and be bold and brave to achieve goals. Her key personal and professional learnings are staying grounded, being self‐aware, and caring for herself and others.

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 is the DEI Operations Manager at Coordinated Care Services, Inc.(CCSI), a Rochester-based nonprofit organization dedicated to providing essential business services in partnership with organizations that improve lives and strengthen communities. Stephanie is focused on implementing CCSI’s strategic initiatives for diversity, culture, equity, and anti-racism to attract, hire, and maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace. A fun-loving, outgoing, and passionate multi-talented Afro-Latina, she enjoys sharing her passion for creativity, inclusion, and diversity through food, theater, community engagement, and education. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational American Sign Language. Happily involved in the community, she serves on the boards of Blackfriars Theatre and Rochester Latino Theatre Company, and is also a member of Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. She enjoys making empanadas, exploring new places, and hearing other people’s stories.

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.

Artistic Advisors

Albert Abonado
Elizabeth Johnston Ambrose
Maria Brandt
M J Curry
Rachel DeGuzman
Calvin Eaton
Shamika Fusco
Debora McDell-Hernandez
Anastasia Nikolis
Henry Padrón

Linda Sue Park
Anais Salibian
Alex Sanchez
Roberta Schwartz
Gaya Shakes
Angelique Stevens
Kristen Walker
Almeta Whitis
James Whorton