CEO & President, XO Group, Inc.
Mike is president and CEO of XO Group, an internet and media company whose digital and media products include the flagship wedding brands The Knot, The Nest, and The Bump. Previously, Mike was chief executive officer of vente-privee USA, a luxury e-commerce company, and he spent more than four years as director of Google TV Ads and managing director of Google’s Emerging Platforms. When Mike learned that more than two million New Yorkers could not read at an eighth-grade level, he felt compelled contribute his time to Literacy Partners. “I love New York City and believe passionately in the importance of education and workforce development to giving all New Yorkers the opportunity to succeed,” he says. “I’m proud to do my part to help families in New York rise out of the cycle of poverty.”
Katharine Raymond Hinton
Board Co-Chair, Board Secretary
Political Consultant and Writer
Katharine is a political consultant and writer. As a child, her best friends were books and newspapers, and they still are today. She joined the Literacy Partners board because of her life-long belief that everyone deserves the chance to read and to discover new worlds. Before moving to New York, Katharine was a senior adviser on crime and criminal justice to the British Prime Minister. Previously, she worked as a government adviser on welfare reform, youth employment, and justice. Before that, she was director of a think tank focused on social markets and spent several years as a journalist writing about new technology. A dual British and American citizen, she spends a lot of time traveling between New York and London. She believes the First Amendment is one of the finest things ever written.
Board Chairman Emeritus
President, BLJ Worldwide
Born in England, Peter’s presence in the worlds of communications, entertainment, and music began when he became involved in the management of The Beatles. After Brian Epstein’s death, Peter assumed full managerial responsibility. Peter was also director of Apple Corps at its formation. Following the breakup of The Beatles, Peter became president and CEO of the Robert Stigwood Organisation, Inc., a New York-based film production and personal management company. In 1977, Peter formed the Entertainment Development Company. In 1983 he formed Brown & Powers, which is now the present-day BLJ Worldwide, a public relations firm with offices in New York and London.
Parker B. Ladd
Board Vice President
Parker is a retired executive of the publishing company Charles Scribner’s Sons. In his past he also served as head of the New York office of the Association of American Publishers and as a producer at A+E Networks, where he hosted an interview series called Open Book. Parker’s lifelong passion for books led him to Literacy Partners, and today he takes every opportunity to share with others the moving stories of New Yorkers who struggle with illiteracy. In Palm Beach, Parker is widely known for his author breakfast series, which has drawn many notable writers.
Lee V. Eastman
Partner, Eastman & Eastman
Born and raised in New York City, Lee earned both his undergraduate degree and his Juris Doctor from Stanford University where he has served on the Board of Visitors and also guest lectured in the past. Lee is currently a partner at the law firm of Eastman & Eastman. He chairs the Literacy Partners Finance Committee.
Editor at Large, Ballantine Bantam Dell
A widely respected authority on fashion, Alina is editor at large at Ballantine Bantam Dell, a division of Random House, where she develops and edits books focusing on style and fashion. Before joining the world of publishing, Alina was a national correspondent for CNN from 2004 to 2013, as well as a contributor to “American Morning.” She covered groundbreaking news such as the historic unveiling of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech in Chicago following his first election. Alina was also part of the Peabody and Emmy Award–winning CNN team that covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Alina resides in Manhattan, just a few blocks from the home of her favorite children’s book character Eloise, who lived on the “tippy-top” floor of the Plaza Hotel—a dream come true for the journalist who has devoted her career to storytelling at the highest level.
Courtney joined the board of Literacy Partners in 2015, having seen how reading with her own young children influenced their language and vocabulary development. From 2004 to 2009, she worked for Thomson Reuters, where she was a relationship manager and client development executive. Previously, she was a key member of the private client services team for client training in the Americas at Credit Suisse First Boston/Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. An active volunteer, Courtney was an inaugural member of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center Advisory Board. She has also been a committee member and volunteer with The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the Lynne Cohen Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research, and Planned Parenthood of New York City.
Chief Strategy Officer, Dow Jones
Tracy is Chief Strategy Officer of Dow Jones, where she is responsible for corporate strategy, commercial policy and M&A. In her previous career in journalism, her roles included Editor in Chief of the Wall Street Journal, Europe; Editor of FT.com and Editor of the Financial Times’ Lex column. Tracy is passionate about the power of the written word and loves reading, but finds that, after many years as a professional journalist, she now mentally edits almost everything she reads.
SVP of M&A and Strategy, News Corp
Daniel Costello is SVP overseeing M&A and Strategy at News Corp, where he has served in the role since 2013. Before that, Daniel worked in private equity in London after spending more than 12 years as a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times covering business and financial issues across the globe. Costello received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Economics and Japanese in 1995 and his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 2010. Daniel serves on the board of New York City-based Housing Works and the media advisory committee for Human Rights Watch.
Vice President of Global Revenue and Operations, Twitter
Matt Derella is vice president of North America revenue partnerships and global brand strategy for Twitter, where his team collaborates with the world’s most iconic global brands to deliver business results and industry-leading creativity. In 2015, their work was recognized with over 70 Cannes Lions awards. Matt has spent more than 15 years working with brands to innovate across television and digital. Prior to joining Twitter in 2012, he was a director at Google, where he managed partnerships with large agencies and clients. “It’s within our power to make positive change,” says Matt, who embodies that motto as the founder of CAREOKE for the Kids, which has raised more than $1 million for kids with cancer. Find Matt on Twitter @Derella.
President, Samsung Global Innovation Center
David is the president of Samsung Electronics’ Global Innovation Center, a group he founded in Silicon Valley to build and identify new software and services to complement Samsung’s consumer electronics and mobile devices. Previously, he worked in leadership positions at AOL, Google, Time Warner, and NBC. David was selected as Digital Power Player of the Year by The Hollywood Reporter in 2010, serves as an advisory board member to the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and sits on the board of the Television Academy of the Arts and Sciences Foundation.
Partner, Ropes & Gray LLP
As a partner with the law firm of Ropes & Gray, Mark advises hedge funds and other private funds (both domestic and offshore) on all aspects of their business, with a focus on fund formation, management company structures, trading issues, and regulatory compliance. Mark’s experience also includes advising fund managers on and negotiating various contractual arrangements, such as side letters with investors, administrator and other service-provider agreements, and placement-agent agreements.
Director of Marketing, Google Goods
Jesse Haines’s favorite book is The Snail and the Whale, but she is less snail and more gazelle: Jesse is a proud member of the Literacy Partners marathon team. She raises funds for the organization because, “every human being should have access to an education,” she says. When she’s not training, Jesse leads the Google Goods team that designs and builds innovative accessories for Android and Nexus devices. Jesse was among the founding members of the Google TV Ads team and led the Google Display Network and YouTube B2B marketing teams. Previously, Jesse was vice president of brand development for Tommy Hilfiger’s womenswear division.
Lawrence A. Jacobs
Executive Vice President, Global General Counsel, Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Lawrence “Lon” Jacobs joined Las Vegas Sands Corp. in 2016 as executive vice president and general counsel. Previously, he was general counsel at Time Inc., during a rapid transformation of the storied media company. Before that, he served 6 of his 15 years at News Corporation as senior executive vice president and group general counsel, handling business development, securities, governance, and compliance, and supervising 300 international lawyers. A trustee of the New-York Historical Society, Lon never tires of reading about Abraham Lincoln, who overcame a childhood of grinding poverty and through his love of reading became America’s greatest statesman. “Poverty is the hardest obstacle to overcome, and the only realistic way out is through education, which comes from growing up in a family that loves reading,” he says.
John H. Josephson
Chairman & CEO, SESAC, Inc.
John has served since 2014 as chairman and CEO of SESAC, Inc.—the leading performing rights organization in the United States, which represents songwriters and publishers in their right to be compensated for having their music performed. He has been a director of the company since 1992. Previously, John was a managing director at Allen & Company LLC, a privately held merchant bank specializing in media mergers, acquisitions, and sales. John, who joined the Literacy Partners board in 1995, says, “I feel enormously satisfied when I see the positive impact we have on the quality of our students’ lives and how basic literacy skills change the equation for them as parents.” John has also served on the board and chaired Volunteers of America – Greater New York.
Senior Director of Talent Engagement, ASPCA
Leslie Klotz heads talent relations for the ASPCA, based in Los Angeles, and previously acted as a consultant for One Kings Lane, a home furnishings company. A seasoned public relations executive, Leslie has held top management positions at Banana Republic and Polo Ralph Lauren in New York City and Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles. She also served as vice president of business development for Art + Commerce, a leading agency representing a diverse group of image makers. Leslie also sits on the boards of the AIDS Community Research Initiative of America and the Hamptons International Film Festival.
Chief Executive Officer, Blurb, Inc.
Todd got hooked on Literacy Partners the first time he heard a testimonial from a student who had benefited from the organization. Reading is the lifeblood of Todd, the CEO of Blurb, a San Francisco-based technology company that enables people to self-publish books and magazines. Todd’s career began in the 1980s, when he worked summer jobs for his local newspaper chain. From there he scaled the media world, becoming president of Dow Jones from 2010 to 2012, growing the digital business of The Wall Street Journal into a $300-million engine for the company. He later served as executive vice president and president of the news and sports titles at Time Inc. “The reward to an individual of being able to read, after a lifetime of struggle with limited reading abilities, is very powerful,” he says.
Kate Schroeder O’Neill
Chief of Staff, Office of the Chairman, Bloomberg LP
Kate is chief of staff to Bloomberg LLP Chairman Peter Grauer. She joined Bloomberg in 2002 after having served as director of branding and corporate sales for Links of London and having held several positions at Sotheby’s and Sotheby’s Ventures LLC. Kate is the overall chair of the Fund for Garrison Forest, her alma mater. As a mother who shares her love of books and reading with her two young daughters, Kate’s hope is that “all parents would have the opportunity to share in the experience of reading with their kids.”
Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Simon & Schuster
Having spent her career in book publishing, Liz has witnessed the impact that books make in the lives of readers of all ages. “Literacy Partners opened my eyes to the surprising statistics regarding illiteracy in New York City and the many ways that it affects people and communities,” she says. “It also revealed the incredibly positive news that this can be alleviated, one reader and one family at a time.” As senior vice president for marketing with Simon & Schuster, Liz’s responsibilities encompass traditional and digital marketing, advertising, and promotion for adult and children’s imprints. She previously served as vice president and publisher of Rodale Books and Rodale International, and as director of Rodale DVD, where she published more than 20 New York Times bestsellers, including An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore.
VP Global Strategy for Regional Application Development, MetLife
Sharon Rodriguez has served as the VP Global Strategy for Regional Application Development at MetLife since 2013. Sharon leads the development of overarching strategies that drive transformation across the organization with a focus on human capital, innovation, processes, technology, and change management. Previous to MetLife, Sharon worked for 8 years in various roles at AIG. In her last role there, she oversaw daily business operations as Senior Vice President of Operations and Systems for the Accident and Health business. Sharon began her career in the pharmaceutical industry, conducting clinical research and managing large clinical programs for Pfizer. Sharon earned her Master of Business Administration in Finance and Healthcare Management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Eckerd College.
President and CEO, Story Mining & Supply Co.
Jeff is president and CEO of Story Mining & Supply Co., a Los Angeles-based production company that forges relationships among publishers, authors, screenwriters, and filmmakers to produce high-quality commercial work for film and TV. He has produced Academy Award–winning and Golden Globe–nominated films including Boys Don’t Cry, You Can Count on Me, Nicholas Nickleby, and Proof. Previously, Jeff cofounded the e-book publisher Open Road Integrated Media. He also sits on the boards of the London Book Fair Film and Television Centre, the National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction, and the BookExpo of America, and chairs the Hamptons International Film Festival Advisory Board.
Editor in Chief, Hamptons Magazine, and Editor at Large, Gotham Magazine, Niche Media
Samantha Yanks is editor in chief of Niche Media’s Hamptons magazine, editor at large of Gotham magazine, and executive fashion director of Niche Media’s ten-title portfolio of magazines. At Hamptons, she generates content focused on New York– and Hamptons-based personalities, establishments, and the best that the city has to offer in beauty, business, travel, culture and dining, entertainment, fashion, interior design, and real estate. Samantha honed her talents at Vogue, where she moved up the ranks to accessories editor, and then became senior accessories editor at O, The Oprah Magazine, where she assisted Oprah Winfrey in compiling her monthly “O List.” Samantha is a prominent on-air fashion and beauty expert and a weekly contributor to NBC’s Weekend Today show with “The Scoop with Samantha.”