Staff & Board

NaNoWriMo Staff


Shelby Gibbs

Kilby Blades, Interim Director

Former NaNoWriMo Board President Kilby Blades loves the writing community at least as much as she loves writing. She is a USA Today Bestselling author of Romance and Women’s Fiction, a former Writing Salon teacher, and a publishing industry thought leader who presents at conferences nationally and has contributed to publications like Writer’s Digest and Publisher’s Weekly. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and has 20+ years of executive experience in marketing, change management and fundraising in both the private and nonprofit sectors.


Shelby Gibbs

Shelby Gibbs, Chief Operating Officer

Shelby Gibbs joined the NaNoWriMo team as a bright-eyed intern in 2012, and has been hooked on cultivating creativity in everyday places ever since. She is also highly motivated by writing-streak badges. When not writing novels or managing the NaNoWriMo store, Shelby enjoys yoga, swimming, and collaging any blank surface in her house. She also loves dogs. (Send photos!)


Alexander Koval

Alexander Koval, Director of Technology

Alexander Koval believes that technology is a powerful tool for enabling creativity, and he strives to bring that belief to bear in his professional and personal work. A lifelong lover of the horror genre, he has told frightening tales in many forms (from radio theater, to short stories and film, to even the occasional podcast episode) and is always in search of inspiration. When not coding or creating, you may find him at a local pub trivia.

Sarah Mackey

Sarah Mackey, Director of Community Engagement

Sarah Mackey began participating in NaNoWriMo in 2002, became a Municipal Liaison in 2003, and started working for the organization in 2009. She loves finding new ways to help build writing communities and support our Municipal Liaisons. She really enjoys planning novels, delights in messy first drafts, and is extremely bad at everything that comes after that. She is easily distracted by her knitting, her small children, and her cat Weasley. 

Hanne Williams-Baron

Hanne Williams-Baron, Operations Manager

Hanne Williams-Baron believes that the power of storytelling is to "trick adults into knowing they have hearts" (Chen Chen). She writes poems and comics from a place of great love for people and creatures on the margins. With a background in LGBTQ youth work, she's inspired by folks who use their creativity to keep each other safe and dream new worlds. Outside of work, she is most likely to be found writing letters to her pen pals, floating in rivers, or making miniature stacks of pancakes for her cat named Gentle.

Jezra Lickter

Jezra Johnson Lickter, Web Developer

Jezra has been part of the NaNoWriMo team since 2009, when additional staffing was needed for our Script Frenzy program. Prior to joining NaNoWriMo, Jezra spent eight years as a developer with a company specializing in educational software for children with learning disabilities. Jezra believes in utilizing computers to help people learn, improve, and reach their goals. When not writing code or screenplays, Jezra can be found boat building and butchering tunes on the bagpipes.

Josie Gepulle

Josie Gepulle, Programs Associate

Josie Gepulle is a longtime NaNoWriMo fan, spending her teenage years lurking on the YWP forums and procrastinating her novel writing. She loves hearing the unique stories that come from writers all over the world and believes every voice is worth listening to. She enjoys the many different forms storytelling comes in, doing everything from analyzing TV shows to drawing her favorite characters. She can be found scribbling notes with an array of pens and her hamster, Tiramisu, by her side.

Caitlin Darke

Caitlin Darke, Communications Intern

Caitlin Darke is a Bay Area native with a knack for storytelling and an affinity for the evolution of colloquialism. She currently serves as social media editor for San Francisco State University's literary journal, Sutro Review, where she enjoys encouraging students to share their stories. As she prepares for graduation, Caitlin is thrilled to begin her internship at NaNoWriMo with the help of her two feline assistants, Lucifer and Zoe, who are paid exclusively in treats.

Board of Directors

Get to know them!

  • Shannon L. Monroe
  • Josie Brown
  • Karolynn St. Pierre

Writers Board

Get to know them!

  • Gennifer Albin
  • Melissa Anelli
  • Uju Asika
  • Kalynn Bayron
  • Jen Breach
  • Roseanne A. Brown
  • Sarra Cannon
  • Gloria Chao
  • C.L. Clark
  • Alexis Daria
  • Katya de Beccera
  • Aya de León
  • Susan Dennard
  • Mignon Fogarty
  • Angela J. Ford
  • Sarah Gailey
  • Kami Garcia
  • Nicole Glover
  • Lindsey Grant
  • Rachael Herron
  • Hugh Howey
  • Alaya Dawn Johnson
  • Maureen Johnson
  • Darynda Jones
  • Michelle Ruiz Keil
  • Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Mur Lafferty
  • Devi S. Laskar
  • Niall Leonard
  • Angelina Lopez
  • Marie Lu
  • Mia P. Manansala
  • Taran Matharu
  • Mimi Matthews
  • Holly McGhee
  • Marissa Meyer
  • Cass Morris
  • Daniel José Older
  • Danielle Paige
  • Emily X.R. Pan
  • Shameez Patel Papathanasiou
  • Mitali Perkins
  • Karuna Riazi
  • Lani Diane Rich
  • Aisha Saeed
  • Kate Schatz
  • Prince Shakur
  • Amy Spalding
  • Jessica Strawser
  • Nita Tyndall
  • Catherynne M. Valente
  • Yvonne Ventresca
  • Mel Walker
  • Ran Walker
  • Rebecca Kim Wells
  • Scott Westerfield
  • Ashley Woodfolk
  • Jennifer Ziegler