Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Regional Team

SCBWI regions are run by member volunteers like you! Several lead the region, while many more volunteer in their counties, at conferences, and at local events. When you volunteer, you learn more about the industry and your craft. Join us! Contact any of us to volunteer.

Co-Regional Advisor

Colette Weil Parrinello

Colette loves to see children get lost in reading. She is proud to serve SCBWI for over 8 years, first as ARA and now Co-RA. She is a blogger, author and speaker, and uses her MBA and UC California Naturalist Certification to write eco-fantasy chapter books about the paths, hills, and roads she runs on throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia. Colette’s articles can be found in Faces and AppleSeeds magazines. She also writes for publications in the health care industry. In addition to her freelance writing, she’s a management geek and marketing consultant to non-profit organizations, small businesses, health care companies, and county government.


Colette Weil Parrinello

Co-Regional Advisor

Keely Parrack

Keely Parrack is finishing her third YA novel. She writes urban fantasy/sci-fi thrillers and occasionally kids non-fiction on whatever takes her fancy, from robots to Harry Potter CGI. She is a board member of the Enchanted Inkpot, (a website for readers and writers of fantasy) works as a social network consultant at her local indie bookstore, and is the owner of Parrack Prints, a card company specializing in handprinted animal haiku cards. A transplant from England, Keely now lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where she lives with her husband, son, and crazy kitten.

Keely Parrack





Illustrator Coordinator

Julie Bayless

Julie has a BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and a BFA in Animation/Illustration from San Jose State University.  Prior to delving full-time into writing and illustrating picture books, she worked for Electronic Arts and freelance as an animator.  She has won three “Best Portfolio” awards at SCBWI conferences in the past two years, and her debut picture book, “Roar!”, will be published by Running Press in 2015.


me smiling at the little girls_sm_cropped

Illustrator Meeting Coordinator

Susan Szecsi

Susan is a a freelance illustrator, 2D artist living in Berkeley, CA. She was traditionally trained in two prestigious art studios in Hungary where she happily immersed herself in fine art and teaching until a few years ago she fell in love with illustrating. Susan has lived in four continents and works with clients from all over the world like Oxford Designers and Illustrators, UC San Francisco, or TSI Lab from Hamburg. Susan holds an MA in English Language and Literature. She is a proud owner of

susan_szecsi_illustrator 512p




Sonoma County North Bay Meeting Coordinator

Colleen Dwire

Colleen studied literature and illustration at UC Berkeley and is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She is a printmaker and is on the path to write and illustrate picture books. Adventures of the Hotel Sisters (2015), a middle-grade book by local author Sandy Baker is her first published collaboration. She loves to make art and to print letterpress editions on her Vandercook press.


Colleen Dwire

Napa County Meeting Coordinator

Jenny Pessereau

Jenny Pessereau dreams of opening a Unicorn Swap Shop where she would exchange tiny bags of leprechaun gold for stories about underworld cities and magical creatures. In the meantime, she pretends to be a normal person who writes middle grade fantasy and adventure, and has a regular family. She joined SCBWI in 2003 to work with a critique group in Napa and, unless intergalactic Vermicious Knids have carried her off, you will still find her there.



Marin County Meeting Co-Coordinator




Marin County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Merriam Saunders

Merriam loves to weave a bit of magic and twists into her stories. Although she started writing YA, it is her middle grades and a picture book that her rockstar agent is currently hustling while she waits (and waits) for good news. She peels herself off her computer only to soccer-mom her three kids (well, only 2 now. One’s in college) and to shrink heads as a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in her office in Kentfield. She works mostly with families that have kids with ADHD & Autism, and (shocker!) that’s what a lot of her books wind up being about. Fun facts: she is addicted to crochet, grew up in the Boston area, used to manage the Ansel Adams Trust, lived in Japan and France, is a dual Italian citizen, and her dog, Lucky, vastly prefers her husband. 


Merriam Saunders

Contra Costa County Meeting Coordinator

Zainab Khan

Zainab has a BA from Boston University. A former elementary and preschool teacher, she scribbles quirky, interactive picture books in her journal. She also writes about multiculturalism, social injustice, poverty, disability and loss–all issues dear to her heart. At night, when the world lays dreaming and the veil to the heart is lifted, Zainab pens poetry emanating from the throes of her soul. When not writing, she enjoys traveling the globe with her husband and two kids.


Zainab 135

Alameda County Meeting Co-Coordinator

Annemarie O’Brien

Annemarie O’Brien is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, Lara’s Gift (Knopf, 2013).  She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches writing courses at UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Pixar. She is the founder of the blogs, World Reads and Dog Reads, which post author interviews about books set outside the United States and feature dogs, respectively. Annemarie has an MBA in international business which paved a path to working overseas in Russia, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, and Bosnia where some of her stories are set. When Annemarie isn’t writing, she’s carting her daughters to soccer games or taking long walks with her borzoi dogs.


Conference and Intensives Registrar

Louise Henriksen

Baby chicks, butterflies, flowers and finches are a few of Louise’s favorite things. She can be described as a farmer’s daughter, a farmer, a dietitian, a software product manager, a business owner, a writer, an artist, and an aspiring illustrator. She is always learning!  Louise has an MS, MBA and is working on a third master’s degree. Louise’s writing and art focuses on nature and farm fun.



New Member Welcome and CritConnect Critique Group Coordinator

Nanette Heffernan

Nanette spends her days writing middle grade eco-adventure stories, blogging (, homesteading, and volunteering. She draws on her education as a MBA, certified Master Gardener, and Sustainability Consultant, to grow over half her family’s food, run the District Green Team for her local school district, and sit as VP on the board of Sustainable Lafayette. She is pleased to share her efforts have earned her three Environmental Awards of Excellence. Nanette lives in Northern California with her husband, three children, eight chickens, and cast of characters from her books who she chatters with daily.


Nanette Heffernan 135

Social Media Coordinator



Website Volunteer

Michelle Rodes

Michelle Nassopoulos Rodes, MFA, is an author/illustrator in Walnut Creek, CA. She is a member of the Northern California Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and is currently Website Coordinator for the North and East Bay Region. Michelle works in watercolor and colored pencil. She is interested in whimsy, drama, vivid color, and fanciful environments.  


Co-Regional Advisor