Staff & Board
Our mentors are hard-working, creative professionals, dedicated to the art of mentorship as well as to their own writing, illustration and storytelling projects.
Below, meet the talented pros who make up our Inklings community.
Society of Young Inklings is always looking for creative individuals to join our thriving community! Check out our current opportunities here.
Founder And Executive Director
Author of the From Sadie’s Sketchbook Series and Spilled Ink, the award-winning Inklings Writers’ Notebook, Naomi is passionate about sharing her love of writing and creativity with young writers. Naomi’s background in improvisational and story theatre as well as her arts education work in Chicago, Portland, and the Bay Area has convinced her that creative play is a doorway through which learners can find inspiration and transformative learning experiences.
Naomi loves to play in many ways, but some of her favorites are tap-dancing, sketching, experimenting in the kitchen and playing with her Portuguese Water Dog, Lexi. Naomi has a BA in Theatre Arts from Seattle Pacific University and has studied theatre with the Piven Theatre Workshop and ACT. She also has a Masters in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University.
Sarah joined the Inklings team in 2015. Her love for organization and problem-solving along with her passion for arts education make her a key partner in handling the behind-the-scenes tasks that help keep the Young Inklings wheels turning.
Sarah is a life-long musician and book-lover. She graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and spent several years in music education prior to working with Society of Young Inklings. Sarah loves reading, going to the beach, and good coffee (sometimes even not-so-good coffee). She lives in Central Florida with her husband and her two children. You can follow her on Instagram @fromsarahsbooknook.
Daisy is a Florida/Georgia girl at heart. She was born in Jacksonville, Florida now residing in the charming city of Savannah, Georgia. Daisy serves as the Administrative Coordinator and uses her love for organization, helping people, and processes to support the team with the daily tasks at Young Inklings.
Creative writing, listening to music, and her love for art expression is the foundation of what fuels her. Well, maybe not the piece of chocolate she would prefer to have for breakfast. Daisy’s downtime is spent with her three beautiful kids, reading a book at the local coffee shop, slowly strolling through museums, and spending time outdoors with music in her ears. You can follow her on Instagram @with_love_dd.anne.
Director of Youth Publication Programs, Mentor
Membership Experience Facilitator
Born and raised on islands in New York and Rhode Island, Travis has always pulled his creative inspiration from the outdoor world. He says that “nature feeds my own innate sense of wonder.” A teacher in humanities and outdoor education for over 20 years, working with kids from pre-K through Middle School, Travis jumps at every opportunity to support kids with their creative expression. Whether it be through music, visual art, creative writing, nature engagement, or design thinking, helping a child find and connect to their authentic voice is Travis’ wheelhouse. As the Young Inklings Membership Facilitator, his interests and expertise come together to provide an engaging experience for our member community.
Travis has a BA and teaching degree in English Language Arts from Hobart & William Smith Colleges. He is also the founder of Parent Sidekick, a parent and family coaching and support company. When not gallivanting outside, Travis can be found writing children’s stories, songwriting, designing hands-on family games, and adventuring with his wife, Bonnie, little baby, Quinlan, and very demanding husky, Juna.
MENTOR ADVISOR, Mentor
Kelly Hoy has been a public and private school teacher for more than 20 years. After completing her degree at the University of Rhode Island, she started her public-school career as a computer specialist at Crim Elementary in Bridgewater, NJ and as a third-grade elementary school teacher in Dunellen, NJ. She then moved to California private schools: teaching special education at Star Academy in San Anselmo, fifth-grade at Phillips Brooks School in Menlo Park, and currently, fifth-grade humanities at Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco. Teaching and writing are her passions. She has published a number of case studies and analyses in several editions of Anita Woolfolk’s best-selling psychology text, Educational Psychology. Her goals as a teacher are to develop an appreciation for the unique stories of her students, strengthen their voices, cultivate empathy, and advance social justice, as they all grow academically, socially, and emotionally.
Ravi is a Global Product Manager in the field of polymers and plastic films. He has been involved in new product development all his professional life and continues to develop new strategies and new products. He has a Master’s in Textiles from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Wake Forest University. He came to the US as a student to pursue higher education. Ravi likes to travel and play tennis. He has 3 children and has experienced first-hand how good writing skills can facilitate access to great opportunities. He is passionate about encouraging children into trying new and creative pursuits.
Daniella is a global health professional, focusing on advancing health equity, health promotion, and policy advocacy. Her fondest childhood memories are of reading her favorite books (over and over again!) and writing short stories about her family’s travel adventures. She hopes to inspire kids/teens to try new learning experiences and develop good writing skills. Daniella has a Masters in Global Health from Northwestern University, BA in Management from Benedictine University Goodwin School of Business, and BS in Biology/Health Sciences from Andrews University. She enjoys reading, volunteering, and traveling with her husband and family.
Indu is a Program manager and has worked with many large technology companies. She has a masters in Marketing & Project Management and is also a certified PMP professional. She has been actively involved in volunteering organizations like Toastmaster’s International and Project Management institute where she has developed her Public Speaking & Project Management skills and has also held leadership positions. Writing began as a passion when she started participating in essays, speeches & debates in school and over time turned into one of her key strengths at work and she strongly believes writing is the best form of unleashing the thoughts in your mind.
Gina DeCiani is the General Counsel and Vice-President of Human Resources for the Association for Supply Chain Management. She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University in 2014. She also received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Gina has co-authored several textbooks on professional ethics, and she is currently a member of Forbes Human Resources Council and SHRM’s Executive Network. She lives in a Chicago high-rise with her incorrigible maltipoo, Hemingway.
Board Member, board administrator
Oriana Clapper earned her BA in Communication from Santa Clara University (and interned with the Society of Young Inklings) before moving to the east coast to work in publishing at Hachette Book Group and HarperCollins for several years. Back in the Bay Area, she meets monthly with her writing group of ten years to continue to hone her craft for poetry and short stories. She lives in Sonoma County with her husband and her Australian Retriever, Scout
Kesha L. Grant
Erin landed her first writing gig at age eight, when she named herself editor of Spot News, the leading daily newspaper on Jupiter. After that, she wrote her own book of myths – this time with GIRLS in them – and rewrote scenes from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe so that Lucy led the charge instead of her brother.
After earning degrees in creative writing and journalism, she worked in the grown-up (but still fun) world of documentary television, producing, directing, and writing more than fifty shows and specials. But she missed making stuff up. So she started writing fiction again, and got her MFA in writing for Very Wise People, a.k.a. children and young adults. She’s excited to be a part of the Society of Young Inklings.
Erin lives in a 104-year-old house in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband, three kids, and a dog who thinks she’s a cat.
Avalon Felice Lee received a nomination for Best Small Fictions 2022. Her words are internationally published or forthcoming in The Boiler, Brain Mill Press, Kissing Dynamite, The Lumiere Review, and elsewhere. She is pursuing a B.A. in Writing & Literature at the College of Creative Studies in UC Santa Barbara.
Melody Ramie Reed
As an adult, Melody can still be found surrounded by books at the public library, but now she’s behind the desk. She enjoys helping patrons find enriching tales and shares her passion by leading writing classes for adults and teens. Melody is a creative professional with over 15 years teaching children. She has a BS in Computer Science from St. Francis University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. When she’s not writing, reading or revising, she fancies walking her dogs, listening to beach waves, or eating ice cream. She has raised 3 children and lives with her husband near Chicago.
Lisa Frenkel Riddiough is a Northern California-based writer whose projects include picture books, middle-grade, short fiction, and poetry. She earned a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Writing from UC Berkeley Extension and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. Lisa is the author of ELVIS AND THE WORLD AS IT STANDS (Abrams, 2021), LETTERS TO LIVE BY: AN ALPHABET BOOK WITH INTENTION (Running Press Kids, 2022), and the forthcoming PIE-RATS! (Viking, 2024) and EMBARASSED FERRET (Disney, 2025). Lisa is a former sales executive, an avid squirrel watcher, and a frequent baker of chocolate pound cake. Learn more about Lisa at www.lisariddiough.com and on IG @lisariddiough.
Elizabeth Verdick loves to write for all ages, from toddlers to teens. Some of her picture books include Small Walt, Bike & Trike, and Peep Leap. She received her MFA from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has two French bulldogs that (along with her two grown children) are the light of her life. Elizabeth enjoys mentoring because she gets to work with kids who believe in their writing dreams.