Board of Directors
National Novel Writing Month is overseen by a wise, tireless, and strikingly good-looking Board of Directors.
Our Board Members
Chris Baty accidentally founded National Novel Writing Month in 1999, and oversaw the event’s growth from 21 friends to more than 300,000 writers in 90 countries. Chris now serves as a Board Member Emeritus for NaNoWriMo, teaches classes on writing and creativity through Stanford University’s Writer’s Studio, makes posters, and endlessly revises his own novels and screenplays. He’s the author of No Plot? No Problem! and the co-author of Ready, Set, Novel. For more on Chris, see chrisbaty.com.
Buster Benson is the founder of 750words.com and has participated in and completed NaNoWriMo twice. The results of one year were self-published and are still available on Amazon under the title Man Versus Himself. During the day, Buster builds products for tech platforms that encourage writing (currently at Slack, previously at Twitter), advises a number of startups, and documents his life and beliefs at busterbenson.com.
Karima Cammell is a painter, author, and publisher admired for her merging of art, business, and personal philosophy. In 2001, she founded Castle in the Air, a shop and classroom in Berkeley, California which grew to become a destination for artists and dreamers from around the world. Her list of award-winning books includes Pirate & Hoopoe, Commonplace Mouse, and Commonplace Birthday, and her creations have been featured in numerous publications including Where Women Create, Victoria, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Faerie.
Sean Hewens is a Senior Designer at IDEO, where he helps companies and other organizations become more innovative at what they do. In the early mornings and on weekends, Sean is also a writer of fiction and the co-founder of The Spun Yarn, which is reimagining how authors get feedback on their manuscripts. Sean is particularly interested in pushing the edges of the places where design-thinking and fiction might overlap. Sean holds a law degree from Georgetown and an undergraduate degree in history and creative writing from Columbia.
Sharon McKellar is the Community Relations Librarian for the Oakland Public Library and has spent her entire adult life working for nonprofit organizations and public libraries. She was a member of the 2015 Caldecott Award Selection Committee and blogs about the Newbery Award on the School Library Journal’s website. She’s passionate about storytelling and especially enjoys the part of her job that involves telling the Library’s story to stakeholders. Since the early days of Livejournal, she has used blogs and zines to share her own stories.
Paul Oh is the Director of Community Engagement at Teaching Channel, an educational non-profit dedicated to improving teaching and learning through video-based professional development. Paul is a graduate of Wesleyan University, a former journalist, and a former public school teacher. In his spare time, Paul roots for his hometown team, the Mets, runs around Lake Merritt, and dreams of updating his blog.
Justin Quimby is a Senior Product Manager at Google, working on Augmented Reality. Prior to Google, Justin spent over a decade in the video game industry, including working on Tiny Speck’s Glitch, leading the game engineering teams for Electronic Arts’ game Spore and building the massively multiplayer games Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, and Asheron’s Call at Turbine. He holds a Sc. B. in Computer Science from Brown University and really, really likes airships.
Julie Russell leads the IT team at Medium.com. In 2001 she launched a web magazine called Be Real which published personal essays. She is on the STEM and Technology committees at Alta Vista School in San Francisco. She’s also a California native who graduated with a BS in Managerial Economics from UC Davis, and eventually migrated west to San Francisco. Julie got hooked on NaNoWriMo in 2011, and will keep you up late talking about how much she loves it and believes that yes, everyone can write 50,000 words in 30 days, and it very likely will change your life.
Tony Shen is the Chief Operating Officer for EdTec, a social venture supporting charter schools throughout the U.S. Tony has directed and consulted to a wide range of organizations in the public and private sectors and, prior to EdTec, managed a rural economic development fund. Tony holds an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a BA from Stanford University. But really, Tony would rather be turning his 2011 NaNoWriMo novel into a rock opera co-starring Carrie Brownstein and Radiohead.
Michael Sippey is co-founder and CEO of Talkshow Industries, Inc., a startup focused on making great conversations easy to discover. Prior to Talkshow, Sippey held senior product roles at Twitter, SAY Media and SIx Apart. Michael has been publishing online since 1995, and is recognized as one of the first dozen or so bloggers, for which he apologizes profusely. Michael has a BA in English from Colgate University and an MBA from Haas at UC Berkeley. He lives in Berkeley with his wife and two teenaged daughters.
Jason Snell has spent two decades writing about the world of technology, and specifically Apple. He was the lead editor at Macworld for more than a decade and now writes and edits his own site, Six Colors, while also providing weekly columns for Macworld and WinSuperSite. He’s also the founder of The Incomparable, a popular-culture podcasting network, and hosts two weekly technology podcasts at Relay.FM as well. He is a graduate of UC San Diego and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism (where he later taught new-media publishing for several years). When at UCSD in the early ’90s, he founded the fiction magazine InterText, which was one of the first magazines distributed worldwide by an obscure computer network called “the Internet.” He has participated in NaNoWriMo six times and has three as-yet-unpublished novels to show for it. He lives in Mill Valley with his wife and two children.