BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Katherine Hennigan Ohanesian
Founder & Owner, ColLAborate
Katherine (Kate) Hennigan Ohanesian is an owner and co-founder of ColLAborate. Since the firm's launch in 2017, Kate has played an integral role in growing the government affairs and strategic communications firm. Armed with an extensive background in public service in the City of Los Angeles, Kate is one of L.A’s most trusted leaders when it comes to advocacy, policy analysis, public speaking, economic development, land-use, and community outreach.
Prior to launching ColLAborate, Kate served the City of Los Angeles for more than a dozen years. Most recently, she was the Economic Development and Legislative Director for L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz, advising him about business retention, job creation, transportation policy, and economic development.
As a native Angeleno, Kate is passionate about giving back to the city she was born and raised in. Kate is a literacy advocate who is devoted to the creation and support of programs that provide free access to books and reading programs to everyone despite their economic situation.
Kate earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Loyola Marymount University and later received a Master’s Degree in International Public Policy and Management from the University of Southern California.
Kate is an avid fan of classic literature and her drive can best be summarized by her favorite author Jane Austen, “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do,” from Sense and Sensibility.
John Erickson, PhD
Mayor, City of West Hollywood
Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood
John M. Erickson, current Mayor of West Hollywood, was elected as a city councilmember in 2020 with a commitment to uphold the city’s founding vision for a forward-thinking, diverse, and tolerant community. He’s drawn to LA County Library Foundation for similar reasons – to support a Library system that welcomes all and provides access to opportunities for social, economic, and educational success.
John grew up with the library, and today considers it essential, the cornerstone of many communities, including West Hollywood. He appreciates the holistic approach of the library to the community: connecting individuals to learning and a range of services and resources.
Council Member Erickson, originally from Wisconsin, first planted roots in West Hollywood in 2010 when he was selected to intern for the City Council. The internship set him on a path that connected his work for social and economic justice with his passion for public service, and that included serving as Council Deputy to former Mayor Abbe Land.
In 2017, as Governor Brown’s appointee to the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, John served as an organizer for the Resist March and the historic Women’s March, Los Angeles. John, whose past board service includes the National Organization for Women and the national board of ACLU Southern California, is currently the Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles.
John holds a Ph.D. in American Religious History from Claremont Graduate University and a Dual-Master’s Degree from Claremont Graduate University. He has a B.A. in English and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
John Donner brings a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience in government affairs, communications strategy and media relations following a 30-year career with AT&T. As AT&T’s area vice president and external affairs executive director, he was responsible for relationships with federal, state, county and city government officials and corporate leaders, and for AT&T’s corporate giving to nonprofit agencies.
John was responsible for predecessor Pacific Telephone’s public relations, ticketing, lodging and hospitality programs for the 1984 Olympics. He oversaw the conception, design and construction of Pacific Telephone’s permanent communications exhibit at the California Science Center. Following the Olympics, John, then with the Pacific Telesis Group, served as a lobbyist to the City and County of Los Angeles.
In 1984, Pacific Telesis Group was acquired by SBC Communications which then purchased AT&T. His responsibilities were expanded to include leadership of the public affairs team and the monitoring, analyzing and drafting of legislative and administrative activity for the city and county of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District. He also assisted in building coalitions to support AT&T issues before the California Public Utilities Commission, state legislature, Congress and the Federal Communications Commission.
John, a graduate of San Diego State University, remains active in community and civic affairs following his retirement. In addition to his position on the County Library Foundation board, he also serves on the boards of 211 LA County, Los Angeles Community College District Foundation, and Via Care Community Health Center.
Amy Wiwuga is a Los Angeles native who studied communications at Arizona State University. The library wasn’t part of her childhood, but as a parent, she quickly discovered and valued its free academic resources. Amy believes that libraries can open limitless opportunities for our community – and is proud to support LA County Library as a director for its Library Foundation.
Amy appreciates that Library programs emphasize opportunity and equity and address wide-ranging needs across the county. For the last 10 years, Amy has worked in political advocacy, including working for President Obama's issue advocacy arm that championed the Obama and Biden administration's agenda.
Amy has worked extensively on health care consumer advocacy, on tax initiatives to reduce poverty, and on providing economic opportunity to women and People of Color on a national and global policy scale.
Amy lives in Santa Monica with her son, Harrison. Her daughter Madison attends the University of San Francisco.
In her free time, Amy enjoys the outdoors, live music, and the great wines of the Central Coast. In the community, in addition to her service on the board of LA County Library Foundation, Amy dedicates time to the YMCA, the California Democratic Party, and First Presbyterian Church of Santa Monica.
Coordinator, Political Department - SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West
Shelbi Augustus oversees the Southern California Political Department of SEIU-UHW, the largest western union for healthcare workers in the United States. Under her leadership, her team has led various statewide ballot initiatives, independent expenditures, legislative advocacy, and candidate campaigns.
Shelbi grew up participating in various programs at her local library and credits her love for reading and learning to her teachers and local librarians who were the first to teach her the importance of creativity and innovation.
Her passion for education and workforce development policies stem from her experience as a volunteer teacher and tutor while at Spelman College. During her tenure at Spelman, Shelbi dedicated nearly 2,000 hours of community service to children living in deep poverty where she saw hands-on the staunch difference in resources made available for impoverished neighborhoods.
Because of this experience, she dedicated her career to removing barriers for low-income families by providing and finding opportunities for quality education and workforce development.
Following graduation, Shelbi relocated to Southern California to complete the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, a highly selective fellowship that trains leaders in Public Affairs and Public Policy.
After completing her fellowship, Shelbi worked as a campaign manager for Senator Henry Stern and later, for (then) Senator Holly J. Mitchell where she worked under Mitchell to improve the lives of low-income working families and children through criminal justice reform, increasing housing affordability, California welfare funding, and decreasing homelessness in Los Angeles.
Shelbi’s appreciation for organized labor stems from her grandfather Charlie who was a proud member of ILWU. His hard work gifted him access to the same benefits she fights for everyday in her work for others.
Senior Director, Content Insights - MarketCast
Stephanie (Steph) DeVore brings more than a decade of market research experience to her role with the Library Foundation.
In her current role as Senior Director of Content Insights for MarketCast, she works with public and private sector clients, helping to answer their major questions about how to make marketing, products, programs, and content reach the right audience and strike the right chord.
Steph is a longtime Library Champion, saying, "I grew up going to the library. We moved A LOT for my dad's work, and I always had my head in a book. An exciting weekend used to be simply grabbing my favorite Judy Blume novels, VHS tapes, or CDs off of the library shelf and just losing myself.
Reading, watching movies, and listening to music from the library strengthened my chops in school and eventually took me in the direction of my career.
I currently work at a Market Research firm specializing in fandom, and I get to help streaming companies and studios who are producing content (a lot of the time they are adapting novels)!
My team informs these companies how to strengthen their storytelling, characters, and messages. Without the library, I wouldn't be where I am today!"
Government Relations Manager, Local Public Affairs
Southern California Edison
David Ford is committed to the Library Foundation and its role in impacting literacy. He feels reading is a catalyst to competency in a range of life and work activities. His home library is Topanga Library, a community that like Dave, is committed to a vibrant natural environment. This is also fitting given Dave’s work at Edison to address and educate about wildfire mitigation and vegetation management.
David is a graduate of Ohio University, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He has been employed with Southern California Edison since July 1997. David is a cancer survivor on a mission to encourage more men and women, especially in African American communities, to get screened and care for each other to overcome health risks.
He serves on many boards in addition to the Library Foundation Board of Directors. These include the Greater Los Angeles African-American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC), LA City College Foundation, American Association of Blacks in Energy, and the American Cancer Society in the Los Angeles Central Coast area.
Co-founder & General Partner, Sunset Ventures
Principal Partner, Kumamoto Associates
Kumamoto Associates, founded in 1989, is a California-based, woman and minority-owned marketing, management and communications consulting firm led by Joanne Kumamoto, principal partner, and Alan Kumamoto, founding partner.
The firm has received multiple honors, including the Leadership Award from LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics) and the National Public Relations Multi-Ethnic Award for the national Asian American Donor Program.
In addition to serving as Project Manager for the State Library’s Partnerships for Change, Joanne has participated in projects involving local community development, senior citizen data collection, and a citywide hunger policy program.
With a background in Public Adminstration, she began her professional career administering federal grant programs for the City of Los Angeles Mayors Office during the Tom Bradley administration. Dedicated to community involvement, Joanne has experience developing public information programs on housing, transportation and ethnic communities.
Joanne is president of the Little Tokyo Legacy Foundation and Advisor to the Coro Foundation. In addition to LA County Library Foundation, she serves on the board of Little Tokyo Business Association. She is a former chair of the American Women for International Understanding and received its Bernice Behren Award.
Joanne attended Ventura College and earned certification in adult learning from the University of Southern California.
Dr. Laura Rosenthal
Field Manager, DDC Public Affairs
Laura Zahn Rosenthal, PhD., is a former Malibu City Councilmember and two term Mayor. She currently works for DDC Public Affairs, concentrating on energy and environmental programs and issues/policies in California. Advocacy, outreach, government relations and policy development are all part of her background and interests.
Laura is a Clinical Psychologist with a long-time private practice, including consulting, clinical trial work and mentoring.
As an elected official, Rosenthal was an LA County Library Commissioner from 2012 – 2018, working closely with fellow commissioners and staff on funding and development of countywide projects and programs. She was instrumental in starting the popular Library Speaker Series at the Malibu Library, her home library.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts (BA) and the University of Southern California (PhD), Laura is dedicated to literacy, innovative Library programs, and sharing and growing the Library Foundation.
Jacob (Jake) Stevens
Vice President, FARING
Jacob (Jake) Stevens is a Vice President at FARING, a privately held, progressive real estate firm in West Hollywood. He is responsible for public communications and coalition building centered on pedestrian-oriented commercial and residential properties.
Jake has extensive experience raising funds in political and social campaigns and he is active in the LGBTQ+ civic community. He serves on multiple boards for local organizations that, like the Library, promote access and equity for a stronger community.
Jake grew up in Eagle Rock and attended Occidental College, where he majored in Politics and was a Centennial Scholar. Past jobs took him to Capitol Hill, New York City, and Chicago. He now lives in Highland Park with his partner Dr. Thadeus Dowad and their rescue dog Graham.
Jake remains committed to his alma mater - he serves on Occidental College’s Board of Governors and was elected as the 2022 Young Alumnus of the Year. He is serving a third consecutive term as President of the City of Los Angeles East Area Planning Commission and was appointed to the California State New Motor Vehicle Board by Governor Gavin Newsom. Jake's first job was as Deputy to the Mayor of West Hollywood, where he supported local youth outreach and organized literacy programming across the City.
Libraries have always been part of Jake’s life, and he values the opportunity and impact they create, especially for those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to vital resources.
Partner, Capital Group
Brian Wong is a Partner at Capital Group, an investment management firm with over $2.5 trillion in assets under management. Brian is responsible for investments in the telecommunications, cruise lines and cable and satellite sectors.
He has 19 years of investment experience. Prior to joining Capital Group, Brian was an international research analyst in equities at Fidelity Management & Research in Hong Kong. Before that, he was a private equity associate at TPG Capital in San Francisco and an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York City.
He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in economics with concentrations in finance and management from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania graduating summa cum laude.
Brian serves on the Board of the Toigo Alumni Endowment Foundation, which funds fellowships to build stronger, more diverse organizations through the inclusion and advancement of under-represented talent.
Brian grew up in San Diego, where he would often walk to the library after school to read and to participate in community activities. Brian is based in Los Angeles and enjoys visiting libraries with his two young children. Brian is grateful for our county libraries for enabling his children to explore their thirst for knowledge and to engage in activities to give back to the community.
LA County Library (non-board position)
LA County Library Director
Skye Patrick was appointed LA County Library Director on February 1, 2016. She has held leadership roles at Broward County, Queens Public Library, and San Francisco Public Library. Skye manages the Library’s $201 million annual budget and is responsible for the operation of the Library’s 86 locations and a mobile fleet, providing resources for any of the county's 10 million residents across more than 3,000 square miles.
Most recently, the Library expanded its reach with Books Unbanned (with funding from LA County Library Foundation) to offer a Books Unbaned Card to any teen in California to access the Library's collection of ebooks and e-audiobooks.
Skye is committed to breaking down barriers and increasing access for all. She introduced the iCount equity initiative, which ensures that library services and programs address the needs of the diverse communities served throughout Los Angeles County. As Library Director, Skye continues to reinforce the Library’s role in the community as a civic and cultural center, a hub for public information and services, and an institution of literacy, innovation, and lifelong learning.
Under Skye's leadership, the Library has also been awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Medal in 2023, Library Journal 2018 Marketer of the Year award, and 2019 Library of the Year award. Skye was named Librarian of the Year in 2019 by Library Journal.