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Michael Ansara, Co-Founder

After 25 years as an activist and organizer, Michael has founded and led three successful businesses. He serves on the boards of Mass Poetry, Echo Ditto, and Tupelo Press. He has 3 children and 6 grandchildren and lives with his wife Barney Arnold in Carlisle, MA.

Heather Coughlin

Heather currently serves as Advisor for Maternity Neighborhood in the Charlottesville, Virginia area and as the Advisor in Residence for .406 Ventures, a company that provides capital and support for early stage technology companies in Boston. Prior to these roles, she worked as a Consultant with CareFuze consulting and a Strategic Advisor with CoPatient. Heather has a strong track record of strategic, operational and financial leadership. Heather earned her BA from Vanderbilt University and her MBA from the Yale School of Management.

Donna Glick

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Donna served as Director of the Huntington Theatre Company’s Department of Education and Community Programs.  Donna designed and implemented model theatre education, performance and community programs, including the award winning partnership with Codman Academy Public Charter School in Dorchester, MA, which earned a 2003 Champions of Arts Education award from the Massachusetts Alliance for Arts Education.  Other original programming includes The August Wilson Monologue Competition Residency Program, Not Waiting on the World To Change, an anti-bullying playwriting and performance program, and Know The Law, named one of the top 50 arts-in-education programs in the country. During her tenure, Donna served the Huntington Theatre Company as an ambassador to the City of Boston. She has served as a panelist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism. Donna holds a B.A. in Drama/Literature and an MFA in Acting from Boston University. In 2016, Donna received a Masters Certificate in Creative Educational Leadership from Boston University. At the close of her tenure at the Huntington, Donna was awarded an Official Citation from the State Senate of Massachusetts recognizing her years of service as the Education Director at the Huntington Theatre Company.

Amy Gorin

Amy has served on the Executive Board and in many other leadership roles of Temple Beth Elohim for many years. She also serves on the board of the Commission on Jewish Continuity & Education and previously on CJP’s Adult Learning Steering Committee. She is Chair of the Leadership Development Institute, a leadership development initiative of CJP. Amy also serves on the board of Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly and is a member of the Board and Strategic Planning Committee for Community Servings. Amy served as Co-Chair of both the initial and re-election campaigns for Governor Deval Patrick. An experienced mediator, Amy has provided mediation training for corporate and non-profit executives and middle and high school students across Massachusetts. She received her B.A from Connecticut College.


Gregg LeStage

For nearly 20 years, Gregg has been a management consultant specializing in leadership development, sales effectiveness and organizational change. As a Boston-based partner in McKinsey & Co and other consulting firms, he has worked with executives across a wide range of industries. He earned his BA from Trinity College and his MA and PhD in English Literature from Oxford University, where he also taught and served as President of the Oxford Poetry Society. His collections of poetry, Small Gods of Summer (2013) and Hope Is a Small Barn (2017), were published by Antrim House Books.

Nicco Mele, Co-Founder, Chair

Nicco is Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Most recently he served as the Senior Vice President and Deputy Publisher of the Los Angeles Times. He is a leading expert in the integration of social media and Web 2.0 with politics, business, and communications, pioneering the use of the internet for Governor Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential race and revolutionizing political fundraising and American politics. He founded Echo & Co., a leading internet strategy company that has consulted with leading political campaigns, Fortune 500 companies, and nonprofit groups. He is the author of The End of Big: How The Internet Makes David The New Goliath. Nicco was born in West Africa to foreign service parents. His wife, Morra Aarons, is also a well-known internet entrepreneur and blogger.

January O’Neil, Massachusetts Poetry Festival Executive Director Emerita


January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands (2014) and Underlife (2009), both published by CavanKerry Press. A third collection, Rewilding, will be published by CavanKerry Press in fall 2018. She was the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival from 2012 - 2018 and is an assistant professor of English at Salem State University. She is a board of trustee member with the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and Montserrat College of Art. Misery Islands was selected for a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Additionally, it was selected by Mass Center for the Book as a Must-Read Book for 2015, and won the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award.

January’s poems and articles have appeared in or are forthcoming with the Academy of American Poets, American Life in Poetry, Harvard Review, Harvard Review’s Renga for Obama, Green Mountains Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Paterson Literary Review, Rattle, Ploughshares, SouWester, North American Review, The MOM Egg, Crab Creek Review, and Cave Canem anthologies II and IV, among others. Underlife was a finalist for ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, and the 2010 Paterson Poetry Prize. In 2009, January was awarded a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant. She was featured in Poets & Writers magazine’s January/February 2010 Inspiration issue as one of its 12 debut poets. A Cave Canem fellow, she runs a popular blog called Poet Mom.

Previously, January was a senior writer/editor at Babson College. She earned her BA from Old Dominion University and her MFA at New York University. She lives with her two children in Beverly, Massachusetts.