Gillian Kohli is the co-owner of Wellesley Books, in Wellesley, MA. She and her husband Bill were inspired by their shared love of books, bookstores and all things literary to venture into the independent book business when their local bookstore was put up for sale in 2010. Since then, their four young adult children have all joined them and their longtime staff working in the store. Gillian currently sits on the NEIBA Advisory Council and is a board member for various community and literacy organizations. She has a BS (Mech. Eng.) and a JD from the University of California.
Courtney is the bookstore manager at Trident Booksellers & Cafe in Boston. The store was founded in 1983 by her parents Gail and Bernie Flynn, so she grew up steeped in books, fostering a lifelong love of reading. She is involved in many aspects of the store, including buying, event planning, podcasting, and marketing. Prior to the Trident she worked in marketing at Shambhala Publications. She grew up in Newton, MA, and earned a BA in psychology from Skidmore College. She believes books are the best tool for understanding the human mind, and consumes fiction voraciously.
Suzanna Hermans is a second generation bookseller and co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Millerton & Rhinebeck, NY, which was founded by her father, former NEIBA President, Dick Hermans, in 1975. Though Suzanna is a true general bookseller, her heart belongs to children's and YA books, and she recently served as co-chair of the New England Children's Booksellers Advisory Council. As a passionate advocate for the freedom to read, she currently sits on the Board of Directors of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Suzanna has a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Iowa.
Dana Brigham has been managing Brookline Booksmith for 35 years this August. After a few years, she became a co-owner, as well. Before that an 8 year stint was spent at several Brentano's stores in the Boston area. She was the quintessential english major who wanted to do "book things" and never, ever teach school though her parents insisted she get the "useful teaching degree" at Auburn University in Alabama. Booksmith is entering its 55th year in business in Coolidge Corner with all the deep roots in the community necessary for a vibrant and viable indie bookstore. As a military "brat" growing up, Dana had no roots so truly enjoys those put down in New England and the local, regional and national bookselling community. Reading soothed many a new girl anxiety and is where she still turns for answers, escape, humor and intellectual challenge. Living and working in Brookline means lots of involvement in town organizations and goings on. Her daughter is a nurse practitioner in the Berkshires where Dana tries to visit often. When there is time left over for anything else, gardening is a never-ending learning process.
Laura Cummings has worked at White Birch Books in North Conway, N.H., for more than 15 years, buying the store in 2005, which in retrospect, may not have been the best time. But the store has persevered through hideous construction projects, bad snow years, ice years and the general economic downturn to become a nice little literary outpost in the North Country. Laura participates in all aspects of running the store from the big stuff like buying, receiving and accounting, to working the floor, running the book groups and changing the light bulbs. She has served on the NEIBA Advisory Council and is also involved in her community, recently starting her third term on the school board. She lives across state lines in Maine with her favorite (and only) son and her two cats.
Mike Katz has been the New England field sales rep for, first Publishers Group West, and then both PGW and The Perseus Books Group, since 2004. Prior to that Mike was a bookseller at College Hill Book Store, starting in 1977, and was manager and trade buyer for over 20 years. Mike has been on the NEIBA Advisory Council several times, both as a bookseller and a sales rep. Mike grew up mainly in New York City, obtained his Master’s degree in History from the University of Buffalo. He now lives near the beach in Rhode Island, married to Percy Sutton, an avid reader and bookseller at The Brown Bookstore. Mike has two adult daughters and two grandsons. Formerly a competitive runner, swimmer, and triathlete, Mike now coaches high school distance runners and is very involved with the Rhode Island Track Coaches Association. Oh, and by the way, he is a true lover of books and reading, both fiction and non-fiction.
John LeDonne is the adult and used book buyer and a manager at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH, having joined them in 1998. He began bookselling at the Harvard Coop in the eighties, expecting the job to be temporary, but like many of us fell in love with it and made it a career. He’s been involved in all aspects of the business – selling, managing, receiving, buying, displays (he actually enjoys setting up cardboard dumps).He studied Biology at Tufts University, but enjoys reading nonfiction in a wide range of subjects, especially history, music, film, science, art history and graphic design. John’s constant resolution is to read more fiction (other than mysteries).