SCN's Leadership Team 1997-Present

These women have helped to shape SCN into the vibrant, vital organization it is today. Our grateful thanks to each for her tireless, selfless service. Learn more about our board of directors.

Susan Wittig Albert /Peggy Moody /Lee Ambrose /Jude Whelley /
Pat LaPointe /Lisa Shirah-Hiers /Joyce Boatright /
Penny Appleby /Trilla Pando /Judith Helburn /Susan Wittig Albert


Susan Wittig Albert (Founder; President, 1998-2003, 2015-2017)
Susan Wittig AlbertSusan Wittig Albert has returned as SCN's president. A long-time teacher of writing, journaling, and lifewriting, she founded the Story Circle Network 1997. During her first five years as president, Story Circle established itself as a membership organization, began publishing a quarterly Journal, instituted a number of circles, offered its first national conference (2002), its first LifeLines retreats, and regular Writing from Life workshops. Susan has edited two anthologies for SCN: With Courage and Common Sense (2004) and What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest (2007) and serves as coordinating editor of StoryCircleBookReviews and co-coordinator of the Sarton Women's Literary Award. "I'm delighted to return to the presidency," she says, "and committed to nurturing women writers through Story Circle."
 

Peggy Moody (Executive Director, 2003-present)
Peggy MoodyPeggy Moody joined SCN in 1998, was elected to the Board of Directors and became SCN's webmaster the following year, and was named Executive Director in 2003. She worked for IBM as a programmer, manager, project manager, and web programmer for 22 years before leaving to design/manage websites full-time. Peggy has been a member of SCN's Austin Reading Circle since its inception in 1998 and has facilitated the group for the past several years. She has co-chaired all of the Stories From the Heart conferences, maintains the websites, manages the national office, coordinates communications, and organizes support materials for the Board of Directors. Ask anyone who works with Peggy and they'll tell you that she is SCN's indispensable woman and the key to its success. She lives in Austin TX and Estes Park CO and is an avid photographer, knitter, and reader.
 

Lee Ambrose (Internet Chapter President, 200?-present)
Lee AmbroseLee Ambrose serves as the President of SCN's Internet Chapter, is an active participant in the chapter's e-circles, writes the weekly "Women's Wise Words: A Week's Worth of Writing Prompts," compiles the monthly eletter, and is a contributing editor of the quarterly Story Circle Journal. She also serves on SCN's board of directors and on its Executive Committee. In addition, she is a "NovaStar Reviewer" for StoryCircleBookReviews. About her life outside writing and reading, she says: "When I am not immersed in 'word-working,' I am enjoying nature or working as an oncology/hospice RN at the local hospital."
 

Jude Whelley (2014-15)
Jude WhelleyJude Whelley has attended and presented at Stories From the Heart conferences and enjoyed chairing the Silent Auction. With Becca Taylor, she edited SCN's 2008 True Words Anthology and has published there, in the Story Circle Journal, and in SCN's anthology, Kitchen Table Stories. She has also blogged for One Woman's Day. Her favorite SCN activity is the Lifewriter's online discussion group.

Jude has a B.A. in Psychology, an M.Ed. in Special Education, and an Ed.D. in Special Education (language acquisition and development, literacy, and ethnography). During her 33 years of teaching, she worked with students from pre-school to the doctoral level, finishing her educational career by co-founding a charter school that was featured in Education Weekly.

Jude says that she has found her writing tribe and home at SCN and looks forward to serving as president in 2014-2015.

 

Pat LaPointe (President, 2012-13)
Pat LaPointePat LaPointe has been a member of SCN since 2003. She facilitates two Internet Chapter writing e-circles, a "free range" circle and has facilitated OWL circles. She held positions in management, worked as an editor for four annual trade publications, and was a psychotherapist, focusing on women's issues, for fifteen years. She served as the Director of WomensVoices: An Enrichment Center for Women and has given presentations to various local women's organizations and workshops at local Women's Resource Fairs. In 2012, Pat published an anthology, The Woman I've Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment. She is the editor of the Changes In Life Newsletter for women and is currently working on two novels. During Pat's presidency, SCN offered "Stories from the Heart VI" and a LifeLines retreat. It began offering the May Sarton Women's Literary Award and continued to expand its book review and online class programs.
 

Lisa Shirah-Hiers (President, 2010-11)
Lisa Shirah-HiersLisa Shirah-Hiers holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Composition, summa cum laude from Lawrence University, and a Masters in Composition from UT Austin. A one-time classical radio announcer for KMFA in Austin, Texas, she now pursues a double career as a private piano, theory and composition teacher and freelance writer. She has published profiles and travel pieces in the Hill Country Sun, austinwoman, and Austin Monthly and is a contributing editor of the Story Circle Journal. Her essays have appeared in several SCN books and publications; she is a Star Reviewer at StoryCircleBookReviews and maintains two blogs.

Lisa joined SCN in 2000 when she began writing with the Internet Chapter's e-circle 10. She has taught numerous writing workshops for SCN's Writing from Life weekends, "Stories from the Heart" conferences, and the Land Full of Stories conference. She joined the SCN Board of Directors in 2004 and established the position of Circles Coordinator, doubling the number of story circles. In her two years as president, the Board undertook an extensive program review and planning effort and created mentorships for new board members. The Online Class program expanded dramatically; the annual Sarton Women's Literary Award was created; and a second blog, One Woman's Day, was launched.

 

Joyce Boatright (President, 2009)
Joyce BoatrightJoyce Boatright, the author of Telling Your Story: A Basic Guide to Memoir Writing, has been writing and teaching memoir since 1990. She teaches at the Carl Jung Center in Houston and is a professor on the academic faculty of Lone Star College-North Harris. In 2005, she began facilitating an Older Women's Legacy Circle at Lone Star College-North Harris. She has been a frequent presenter at SCN's national conferences, and she has co-presented at several Writing from Life workshops in Austin. In 2007, she joined the SCN Board of Directors. During Joyce's tenure as president, SCN's Editorial Service was planned and launched, and the main website was reorganized and rebuilt.
 

Penny Appleby (President, 2008)
Penny ApplebyPenny retired from the high-tech industry to Austin TX in 1997, where she soon became a member of the newly formed SCN reading circle. Joining the Board of SCN in 1999, she became Secretary/Treasurer in 2000. She has also been active in several other volunteer-supported organizations, including being a docent at The Contemporary and church-sponsored ESL class, as well as being active in the American History Club (the oldest women's club in Austin). Under Penny's direction, SCN began implementing a program of online writing classes for women; the book review website underwent extensive renovation and renewal; an online LifeWriters members-only chat group was formed; and SCN's blog, Telling HerStories: the Broad View, was launched.
 

Trilla Pando (President, 2006-2007)
Trilla PandoTrilla Pando joined both Story Circle Network and the Internet Chapter in 2001. As a co-facilitator she helped establish an ongoing OWL group in Bainbridge, GA, and joined the SCN Board of Directors as its first out-of-state member in 2005. While Trilla was president, SCN published three books: a collection of writing prompts titled Starting Points, a collection of members' stories and recipes titled Kitchen Table Stories, and the award-winning anthology, What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest. To celebrate the launch of the book, SCN and Texas State University's Southwestern Writers Collection co-hosted a nature-writing conference, Land Full of Stories. Trilla is a member of the Internet Circle poetry writing circle, contributing editor of the Story Circle Journal and a Star Reviewer at StoryCircleBookReviews. A food columnist for the Dallas Senior Voices newspaper, she has published two books and several short stories. She lives and writes in Houston, TX.
 

Judith Helburn (President, 2004-2005)
Judith HelburnJudith Helburn (Austin, TX) has been involved with Sage-ing® since 1994. She is currently editor of the quarterly Sage-ing International Communicator for Sage-ing International. Judith works with seniors in several other programs in Austin, Texas, including the Older Women's Legacy (OWL)-Circle memoir program of Story Circle Network. She served on the SCN board for 10 years and became the first president after Susan Wittig Albert stepped down. She leads SCN writing groups and writes book reviews for Story Circle's website. Under Judith's leadership, SCN published Discoveries: A Journal and With Courage and Common Sense: Memoirs from the Older Women's Legacy Circle, and work began on the anthology, What Wildness is This. SCN also held its second "Stories from the Heart" national memoir conference as well as retreats and workshops, and offered several online classes. Judith's two children, their spouses and grandchildren live near the Helburns' Austin home. (Lucky lady!) She has been called the "weird" grandmother and is flattered. She and her husband travel often and are under the domination of three cats.
 

Susan Wittig Albert (Founder; President, 1998-2003)
Susan Wittig AlbertSusan Wittig Albert has taught writing, journaling, and lifewriting since the 1970s. In 1997, she published the book, Writing From Life: Telling Your Soul's Story, for women memoirists and lifewriters. The book led to the founding of the Story Circle Network. During her five years as president, Story Circle established itself as a membership organization, began publishing a quarterly Journal, instituted a number of circles, offered its first national conference (2002), first LifeLines retreats, and regular Writing from Life workshops. Susan has edited two anthologies for SCN: With Courage and Common Sense (2004) and What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest (2007). She currently serves as an editor of StoryCircleBookReviews and a co-coordinator of the Sarton Women's Literary Award.