Staff + Board


Youth Programs Manager: Keliko Adams

Keliko Adams (she/her) is an educator, artist, bibliophile, and dog enthusiast. She received her BA in English literature from Linfield College and her M.Ed in curriculum and instruction, with an emphasis on equity in education, from Lesley University. She has been working with youth and for youth for over 20 years in Hawaii (her home); Albuquerque; Washington, D.C.; Japan; and the Pacific Northwest. She believes in the power of words and stories and recognizes how these are used to influence future generations. Therefore, she spends much of her free time drafting manuscripts and paper illustrations for her future career as a children’s book writer and illustrator.

Development Associate: Ally Ang

Ally Ang is a poet, nonprofit development professional, and cat parent. They hold a BA in sociology & Asian American studies from Wellesley College and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington. Prior to joining Hugo House, they worked for the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) and Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center (BCNC). Ally’s work has been published in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, the Journal, Muzzle Magazine, and elsewhere.

Interim Executive Director: Rob Arnold

Rob Arnold is a Chamorro poet with nearly two decades of experience in literary publishing and related positions, most recently as an agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Previously, he co-founded the online journal Memorious, and worked with Ploughshares, Fence, Beacon Press, PEN New England, the National Poetry Series, and Grid Books. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, the Gettysburg Review, Hyphen, Poetry Northwest, Yes Poetry, RED INK, and the Ocean State Review, among others. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has received support from the Somerville Arts Council, the Jack Straw Cultural Center, and Artist Trust.

Marketing Director: Shawn Baker Gibson

Shawn Baker Gibson (she/her) is a nonprofit communications professional and avid reader born and raised in Western Washington. She has over a decade of experience working with nonprofit arts organizations in the Seattle area, including Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, Cultural Access WA, Pottery Northwest, ACT Theatre, Intiman, TeenTix, and many more. Shawn holds an MFA in Arts Leadership and BA in Theatre Arts. When not working or reading, she is usually fawning over her dog, going on bike rides, or finding new arts experiences to explore in the city.

Finance & Operations Manager: Sophie Berman

Sophie Berman (she/her) is a sunset, hiking, and cycling enthusiast who oil paints and updates her Goodreads account in her free time. Sophie honed her finance and operations skills at and Raaka Chocolate, a sustainably sourced craft chocolate maker in Brooklyn, NY. Sophie holds an MA in gender & sexuality studies, having written her dissertation on the intersecting constructions of sexual and racialized citizenship in the US, and a BA in linguistics (and math). She has lived in four countries on three continents, working on both her Spanish and English language skills.

Registrar & Program Associate: Lily Frenette

Lily Frenette (she/her) was once told she read too many books and should do something else with her time. She ignored that and added writing to her repertoire. Graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, she studied creative writing, photography, and environmental issues. When not writing or reading, she can be found hiking, taking photos, listening to podcasts, cheering on the Kraken, or talking about her home state of Minnesota.

Marketing Associate: Megan Gallagher

Megan Gallagher studied creative writing at Western Washington University. Before joining the Hugo House team part-time in January 2019, she interned at Bellevue Arts Museum, KCLS, and Artist Trust. She also currently works as the Communications Coordinator at BAM and as a library page. Outside of work, she likes to run, cook, and play with her dog.

Events Curator: Catherine Harris-White

catherine harris-whiteCatherine Harris-White (SassyBlack) is a multifaceted creative force with a focus in the performing and literary arts. A graduate of Cornish College of the Arts, Catherine has fostered a thriving solo career, writing, composing and producing all of her music with over 17 projects released since 2014. As a writer, she has written interviews, reviews and opinion pieces for CRACK Magazine, Okayplayer, and Tom Tom Magazine and used to co-write the column “Ladies First” for Seattle Weekly. Catherine is currently writing her first musical as part of the 5th Avenue Theatre’s First Draft program as well as releasing numerous musical projects. 

Front Desk & Program Assistant: Tom Ianelli

Tom Ianelli unenthusiastically attended a Hugo House class as a requirement in high school. He ended up liking the class so much he decided to start writing fiction. After getting a degree from Emory University in creative writing and comparative literature, in his quest to become a writer he has served at a few burger restaurants, was a barista at coffee shops in DC and Seattle and worked in the factory at Theo Chocolate where he roasted the beans. He likes to skateboard.

Program Director, Education: Margot Kahn Case

Margot Kahn Case received her MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University. Before rejoining Hugo House as program director, she spent nearly a decade freelancing. Prior to that, she managed SAL’s Writers in the Schools program and directed youth programs at Hugo House. Her books include the award-winning biography Horses That Buck and the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice anthology This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home. Her next collection, Wanting: Women Writing About Desire, is forthcoming in 2021. Margot’s writing has appeared in the Rumpus, Lenny Letter, Tablet, BUST, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere. In 2019, Jericho Brown chose her poem “Winter” for the Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize.

Special Development Officer: Louise Kincaid

louisekincaidLouise Kincaid has worked in nonprofit management and development for over 25 years. Prior to joining Hugo House, she was the Development Officer at the Institute of Flight, Executive Director for Mercer Island Center for the Arts, and Director of Development for Village Theatre. From 1992 to 2002, Louise was the Executive Director of Northwest Chamber Orchestra, where she led the organization to a 10-year period of remarkable organizational growth, fiscal stability, and artistic excellence. She graduated from the University of Michigan with two graduate degrees in Musicology and Music Performance.

Acting Development Director: Nicole McCarthy

Nicole McCarthy received her MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics from the University of Washington Bothell. Before coming to Hugo House, Nicole worked as a bookseller at King’s Books, a happy helper at Wave Books, and as the managing editor for a few local literary journals. Her work has appeared in Glass: a Journal of Poetry, The Shallow Ends, Ghost Proposal, the 2018 Best American Experimental Writing Anthology, and others. She also occasionally teaches for the Write253 program, offering classes in experimental creative writing to youth in Tacoma.

Education Manager: Daniel Tam-Claiborne

Daniel Tam-Claiborne is an author and essayist whose writing has appeared in Literary Hub, SupChina, the Huffington Post, Kitchen Work, the Shanghai Literary Review, and elsewhere. He brings over a decade of experience in program management and grant writing, as well as in developing, implementing, and evaluating projects for nonprofits. Daniel has spent nearly half of his career living and working in Greater China and is an outspoken advocate for increased global understanding through education, cultural exchange, and storytelling. He holds degrees from Oberlin College, Yale University, and the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and is currently completing a novel.

Program Assistance, Front Desk, and Bartenders

Sarah Johnson, Amy Lin, and Eric Roper

A/V Tech

Jason Glover


Shahina Piyarali (President) is a leader in the Seattle literary and arts community focusing her time and energy on promoting South Asian culture as an expatriate. She has been living in Seattle for over 30 years and is a book reviewer for the Seattle-based publication Shelf Awareness. She serves as co-chair of the National Council of Graywolf Press, a leading independent publisher championing underrepresented and diverse voices. She has been the board president for Tasveer, a local social justice and arts organization, from 2018-2021 and serves on the board of Daarna, a Seattle nonprofit working to empower refugee communities. Shahina is a barrister from Lincoln’s Inn in the UK and practiced as an attorney in Seattle. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Washington School of Law and holds a Bachelor of Law from SOAS (the School of Oriental and African Studies) at the University of London. In addition to her literary interests, she loves to cook and is a barre class enthusiast.

lynn-grantLynn Grant (Vice President) is a writer who lives on Capitol Hill. She works as a developmental editor.

Tim Shea (Treasurer) was born and raised in Montana and graduated from Montana State University as an accidental chemical engineer. Accidental because after six years and three colleges, chemical engineering fit his accumulation of credits. Moving to Washington immediately after graduation, he had a 42-year career as an engineer and economist. Now retired, he has the opportunity to pursue personal rather than professional interests. At one time retirement plans included climbing mountains, rafting rivers, visiting the great cities of the world, reading thought provoking books, and hopefully writing. Two knee replacements later, coffee shops and brew-pubs have replaced the mountains and rivers, but the rest of the retirement plans remain intact.

Mary Jo Newhouse (Secretary) is a long time resident of Montlake. She spent her career practicing law in Seattle, primarily focusing on health care. Prior to law school she worked as a nurse at Childrens Hospital in Seattle. She grew up in Eastern Washington on the family farm which raised hops, fruit trees, and wine grapes. She and her husband have three adult children and two grandchildren. She most enjoys spending time with her family as well as reading and sewing for her grandchildren.

Dr. Elizabeth DeNoma is a freelance editor, translator, and publishing consultant with deep expertise in international literature. She’s worked at University of Washington, University of Wisconsin, Microsoft, Websters Multimedia Publishing, and most recently at Amazon Crossing as a Senior Editor acquiring and editing global literature for translation into English.

Some of her standout acquisitions include The Man Who Played with Fire by Jan Stocklassa, A Drop of Midnight by Jason Diakité, P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy, The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen, The House by the River by Lena Manta, An American Princess by Annejet van der Zijl, and The Murmur of Bees by Sofía Segovia.

Elizabeth regularly leads panels at publishing industry events such as the London Book Fair, BookExpo, the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA).

She’s the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship and received the Swedish Women Educational Award.

Dick Gemperle is a retired architect currently on the Board of Seattle Opera, where he chairs the Facilities Committee, which recently oversaw completion of the Opera Center, adjacent to McCaw Hall. He has been Manager of the King County Architecture Division and chair of the building committees for St. Joseph School and Jubilee Women’s Center. He is a member of two book clubs, subscribes to REP, ACT, and OSF, and has taken poetry classes at Hugo House. He came to Hugo House five years ago through the Facilities Task Force for the new home.

Daniel Glasser is a writer and satirist who has been an active member of Hugo House since 2015. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, his passion for writing has been stoked by a series of gifted teachers, starting in high school when he studied with Frank McCourt. He has lived most of his adult life in the Seattle area, where he previously worked as an engineer and engineering manager at Microsoft, specializing in developing software for real-time communications and social networking. He is the holder of more than twenty US patents. In addition to reading and writing, he enjoys traveling with his family and driving and cycling on back roads. He has a BS in computer science from Yale University and a certificate in literary fiction writing from the University of Washington. 

Dottie Hall is an aspiring writer who has benefited from multiple Hugo House courses. With her husband JJ Leary, she has co-authored a cookbook, Cooking with Your Snooks, to share the joy and rewards of cooking with your loved one. She is a retired high-tech marketing executive with over thirty years’ experience. The quintessential startup junkie, she led marketing at companies including Symantec, Tesla Motors, and Microsoft. She holds an MS in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BA in journalism from Georgia State University. She has served on other nonprofit boards including the Alliance for Gun Responsibility Foundation (current), New American Schools, and the Arizona Software Association as well as on various for-profit boards.

Elise Holschuh built her career in general management and marketing, working in product management and marketing strategy for General Mills, US Communications, and Foote, Cone and Belding. Her nonprofit experience has focused on utilizing her professional training on behalf of organizations that matter to her. Most recently she served several years as Board Chair for Path with Art, an organization whose mission is to help transform lives of people in recovery by harnessing the power of creative engagement. Her personal passion in the arts takes the form of writing, a pursuit that brought her to Hugo House for the rich opportunities offered, and then, for the opportunity to serve on the board.

Gary Luke held editorial and executive positions in the book publishing industry over four decades. He recently retired as the publisher at Sasquatch Books in Seattle. Gary worked as an editor of fiction and nonfiction books at Dell/Doubleday, Penguin USA, and Simon & Schuster when he lived in New York. Authors he has worked with include Shawn Wong, Brenda Peterson, Bruce Barcott, Nancy Pearl, Kate Lebo, Jonathan Raban, and Eric Liu. A fourth-generation Seattleite, he received a BA in English from Western Washington State College. He is a past board member of Artist Trust.

Georgia S. McDade, PhD, is a retired English professor who spent most of her career teaching at Tacoma Community College but also taught at Seattle Community College, University of Washington, Renton Vocational Technical School, and Lakeside School. She has volunteered at a number of elementary and high schools as both teacher and tutor and conducted writing classes for all ages. A prolific writer, McDade published Travel Tips for Dream Trips, questions and answers about her six-month solo trip around the world; Outside the Cave I, II, III, and IV, volumes of her poetry; and Observations and Revelations, a collection of stories and essays. Her writing can be found in Leschinews and South Seattle Emerald. Much of her time today is spent organizing events for twenty-eight-year-old African-American Writers’ Alliance (AAWA); McDade was a charter member.

Sharyn Skeeter was fiction/poetry/book review editor at Essence and editor-in-chief at Black Elegance magazine. She’s taught at Emerson College, University of Bridgeport, Fairfield University, and elsewhere in the Northeast. She participated in panel discussions and readings at universities in India and Singapore. Sharyn has published magazine articles, poetry, and fiction. In addition to being on the Hugo House board, she’s on the board of trustees at ACT Theatre. Her debut novel Dancing with Langston (Green Writers Press) won Gold in the 2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Awards in multicultural adult fiction.