Our People

Karen Nestor

Karen Nestor

Board Member

Thomas V. Chema

Thomas V. Chema

Board Member

Tim Rosenberger

Tim Rosenberger

Director of Business Development

Stephanie Ash

Stephanie Ash

Operations Coordinator

Jessica Isaac

Jessica Isaac

Program and Curriculum Director

Ann Kowal Smith

Ann Kowal Smith

Executive Director

Capria Jaussen

Capria Jaussen

Operations Manager

Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan

Communications and Marketing Manager

Felix M. Brueck

Felix M. Brueck

Chairman of the Board

Anne Juster

Anne Juster

Board Member

Marcia Wexberg

Marcia Wexberg

Board Member

Karen Nestor

Karen Nestor

Board Member

A longtime educator with a specialty in working with urban schools, Karen Nestor has taught at every level from kindergarten to graduate school. She has consulted extensively with schools and teachers, and was a consultant and program developer with the Institute for Educational Renewal, an organization dedicated to providing comprehensive professional services to administrators, teachers, staff, students and families in K-12 education.

Karen serves as Trustee for the Eva L. and Joseph M. Bruening Foundation and has served for many years as Trustee for the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation. She serves as an advisor to, and member of, the Fund for Our Economic Future in Northeast Ohio. Karen holds a BA in English from Barat College of DePaul University, and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Cleveland State University. At George Washington University, she recently completed a doctorate in human and organizational learning, with a focus on how people repeatedly reshape their lives throughout the lifespan.

Thomas V. Chema

Thomas V. Chema

Board Member

Recently retired as the 21st President of Hiram College, Thomas V. Chema holds a leadership role in several national higher education associations including the Council of Independent Colleges, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Annapolis Group, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, the North Coast Athletic Conference and the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges. He began his career with the Cleveland-based law firm of Arter & Hadden in 1971 and became a partner in 1979. He took a leave of absence in 1983 to serve as Executive Director of the Ohio Lottery Commission. In 1985, he was asked to become Chairman of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission. Following his service as Executive Director of the Gateway Economic Development Corporation, Tom has consulted nationally on sports and entertainment-related economic development projects as President of Gateway Consultants Group, Inc.

Tom serves as trustee of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine Health System, St. Ignatius High School, Ohio Hunger Task Force, Historic Gateway Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation, UHHS/CSAHS-Cuyahoga and Kids Voting Program. Tom is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School.

Tim Rosenberger

Tim Rosenberger

Director of Business Development

As Director of Business Development at Books@Work, Tim works to align our offerings with the emerging needs and priorities of business leaders, especially in workplace inclusion, wellness, team effectiveness and culture change. A writer and researcher who is passionate about how literature and narrative can help promote openness and vulnerability across difference, Tim also supports and finds particular inspiration in Books@Work’s community-based programming.

Before joining Books@Work, he spent two years helping companies navigate transformations as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company. Tim also completed a Masters of Divinity from United Lutheran Seminary and remains active in ecclesiastical roles within the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Worldwide Fellowship of the Metropolitan Community Church. He received honors from Georgetown University’s English department for his award-winning undergraduate thesis exploring societal questions raised in the works of Christina Rossetti.

 

Stephanie Ash

Stephanie Ash

Operations Coordinator

Stephanie Ash is an attorney and nonprofit manager whose true passion is working with and helping people. As the Operations Coordinator for Books@Work, she assists with administration, database management and client support. She holds a B.A. in History and Japanese Studies and a J.D., both from Case Western Reserve University. An avid nonfiction reader, Stephanie knows the power of books to build bridges, connect communities, and foster authentic relationships. 

Stephanie previously worked in the legal department at a technology company. Pursuing a passion for nonprofit work, she left her corporate role to work in animal welfare, focusing on customer service, training and volunteer management. When she is not reading, Stephanie can be found listening to jazz, volunteering in the community or watching movies with her rescued dog and foster rabbits.

Jessica Isaac

Jessica Isaac

Program and Curriculum Director

Jessica Isaac is a teacher, researcher and writer who is passionate about understanding the relationship between literacy and socioeconomic class. Her background as a first-generation college student spurred her interest in studying a long-lived group of autodidacts, while earning her PhD in literature, literacy and composition at the University of Pittsburgh. Her award-winning research on amateur journalists has appeared in American Periodicals and Book History.

Jessica has seven years of experience teaching English courses at the college level ranging from introduction to literature, to children’s literature, to written professional communication. She earned a Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014.

As Program and Curriculum Director at Books@Work, Jessica serves as a liaison to the academic community, recruiting university professors, developing curricular and pedagogical tools, building partnerships with academic institutions and spearheading assessment efforts.  In 2015, she was appointed the Books@Work liaison to the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University. Jessica also pursues research on Books@Work’s programs to advance knowledge, and to share insights, on the teaching and study of literature and reading to non-traditional audiences.

Ann Kowal Smith

Ann Kowal Smith

Executive Director

Ann serves as Founder and Executive Director of Books@Work. Previously, Ann served as project manager for EducationWorks, a philanthropically-supported learning initiative whose work gave rise to Books@Work. Ann has also served as Principal with Heidrick & Struggles International and as an Expert with McKinsey & Company. Prior to joining McKinsey, Ann practiced corporate and securities law in private practice with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, LLP and Benesch LLP and in corporate practice with KeyCorp, where she served as Vice President and Senior Counsel.

Ann is a Research Fellow at EPS@Weatherhead, a practitioner-scholar research community at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). She has also served as Adjunct Professor and Director of Praxis in Weatherhead’s Doctor of Management (D.M.) Program. Ann serves as an Advisory Board Member at CWRU’s Baker Nord Center for the Humanities and a Fellow at the Center for Evidence-Based Management. She holds an A.B. in History of Art from Bryn Mawr College and a M.A. in History of Art from the University of Michigan, in addition to a J.D. and a D.M. from CWRU. Her dissertation examined organizational learning and innovation.

Capria Jaussen

Capria Jaussen

Operations Manager

As a lifelong learner, Capria Jaussen has an eclectic work and education history. For the past 15 years, Capria has participated in a range of work experiences from office management to caring for the needs of handicapped adults. She has done this in several different industries including food, automotive and the arts. She has only one year of university education but has never let that stop her from learning as much as she can from every opportunity and person she comes in contact with.

Capria manages the day to day operations of Books@Work and That Can Be Me, Inc., including administration, marketing, bookkeeping, advancement and outreach. When she isn’t helping with all of the operational aspects of Books@Work, she is usually talking with her young son or riding her vintage motorcycle. Capria is thrilled to be part of an organization that facilitates people reading great books and engaging in intelligent and meaningful conversation, all while on the job.

Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan

Communications and Marketing Manager

As a passionate reader, writer, and learner, Maredith Sheridan has always believed that great narratives can lead to meaningful connection and personal growth. She is thrilled to put that conviction into practice as the Communications and Marketing Manager for Books@Work.

Since 2012, Maredith has worked in the publicity department at The New Press, a nonprofit book publisher in New York City, coordinating media outreach, promotional marketing, and social media. Prior to that, she interned at a variety of bookish organizations including a higher education textbook company, a small literary agency, and an international literature festival. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from New York University in English & American Literature with minors in French and Creative Writing.

When Maredith is not managing the Books@Work blog, social media channels, or other outreach campaigns, she’s usually reading a new crime novel, cheering on Cleveland’s sports teams, or enjoying the city’s excellent food scene.

Felix M. Brueck

Felix M. Brueck

Chairman of the Board

Felix Brueck is a Director Emeritus of McKinsey & Company. He began his McKinsey career in 1983, working in the German and Tokyo offices before transferring to Cleveland in 1996. He retired in 2012. Felix led McKinsey’s Manufacturing Practice in the Americas, building up a lean manufacturing capability. He co-founded the Firm’s Performance Transformation Practice, and led the Organizational Effectiveness Practice in the Americas where he worked with colleagues to develop methodologies and approaches to excite people to embrace fundamental change, with requisite shifts in mindsets and behaviors. Felix’s client work spanned numerous industries from hi-tech to chemicals, semiconductors, solar power, pharmaceuticals & medical products as well as healthcare, focusing on company-wide fundamental transformation as well as work in specific business units or functions, building leadership and technical capabilities. Felix co-authored two books: Simplicity Wins and Quality Pays.

Felix serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET) in addition to holding several board roles in industry. Felix holds a Masters of Mechanical Engineering from the RWTH Aachen in Germany and a Masters of International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Anne Juster

Anne Juster

Board Member

A seasoned educator and leader in education, Anne Juster serves as the Director of School-Garden Partnerships at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. She began her career as a middle school social studies teacher.  A Catalyst Grant winner, she received recognition for innovative curriculum design and teaching. Anne served as Assistant to the Director of the Institute for Educational Renewal in Cleveland, an educational professional services organization and as Program Associate for Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization, where she designed and taught a curricular unit entitled The Dangers of Indifference and chaired Upstander, an exhibit featuring inspiring local heroes. Anne has recently served as Co-Director of Learning Initiatives for the Cleveland Educators for Sustainability.

Anne serves as Trustee for the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and Laurel School, and as an Advisory Board member of Facing History and Ourselves. Anne holds a BA in Education from Middlebury College, a M.Ed. in Education from Tufts University and an MPOD (Masters in Positive Organization Development and Change) from the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.

Marcia Wexberg

Marcia Wexberg

Board Member

A designated Ohio Super Lawyer, Marcia Wexberg serves as chair of Calfee, Halter & Griswold’s Estate Planning and Succession Group. Marcia also serves as an officer and trustee of the Benjamin Rose Institute, a trustee of the City Club of Cleveland Forum Foundation, a member of the In Counsel With Women Board of Directors, a member of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Planned Giving Council and a member of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 1998. She is a member of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s executive committee and a member of the Cleveland Foundation’s Philanthropy and Communications Committee. Marcia has received numerous awards, including the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award (2009) and the Northern Ohio Live Rainmaker Award (2007). Marcia was a Women of Note finalist by Crain’s Cleveland Business (2011).

Marcia holds a BA, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Miami University, a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and an L.L.M. in Taxation from Temple University.