Board of Directors
Mary Phillips - Executive Director, President
Mary recently retired from her Business Manager position for a large Georgia university. Her professional life included assisting entrepreneurs develop small businesses, co-owning a technology company as well as volunteering in community organizations. She has been a member of the GCLS from the beginning and has served on the board of directors since 2009. Currently she grandparents, is an UBER driver for her nieces, and enjoys adventures with her partner, Trinka.
Beth Burnett - Director of Education
Beth Burnett is Co-Manager of the GCLS Education Program, manages the GCLS Writing Academy, and is a Director of Membership on the Board. She is a graduate student in Creative Witting on a PhD track, and has published three novels with Sapphire Books Publishing, with a fourth on the way. Beth also teaches women's empowerment classes and brings her passion for empowering women to her Director of Membership role, as well as to our Writing Academy students.
Taylor James - At Large Director of Membership
Having spent the last years of her working life running her own business, Taylor James recently retired so she could focus full time on writing and literary education. Taylor has written nine romance novels with themes ranging from sports to poker and is currently working on a cozy murder mystery. A champion of emerging lesbian voices, Taylor volunteers much of her time and attention to new and upcoming lesbian writers. She is a member of the JEWEL book club, a wildly popular lesbian fiction book club in Dallas, Texas. Taylor brings her considerable talent to GCLS as one of the Directors of Membership.
Aschlie Lake - Director of Volunteers
Hailing from the great state of West Virginia, Aschlie Lake, Director of Volunteers, obtained her BA in Political Science in 2012. She worked in management for over ten years before moving into the healthcare setting, where she is an administrative assistant for the Director of Emergency Medicine Operations. Aschlie joined the GCLS board in 2013, where her keen skills in management are used in coordinating volunteers across the US for the various GCLS events held year-round.
Mercedes Lewis - Director of Events, Secretary
Mercedes is a retired veteran of the United States military, having served over 20 years in the United States Army. During that time, Mercedes worked in Signal Corp and in the Intelligence field. After leaving the military, Mercedes attended the University of Phoenix and received a dual Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources and Business. Mercedes joined the GCLS in 2005 and became an active volunteer. She was elected to At-Large Director of Membership in 2012. In the fall of 2013, she was appointed by the Board to become our Director of Events, and is responsible for our regional events and participation in events by other organizations, such as Women’s Week in Provincetown, Women’s Fest at Rehoboth Beach, LCLC (Left Coast Lesbian Conference), and Lone Star LesFic Festival.
Nikki Little - At Large Director of Membership
Nikki Little is a voracious reader of many different genres and is a reviewer at C-Spot Reviews. She received both her undergrad and master's degrees at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Anthropology, specializing in mesoamerican archaeology. Nikki works as a physical scientist in the DC area, where she lives with her wife, two awesome mutts and an indifferent cat. When not working, you can probably find her knitting or reading (or both). She attended her first GCLS conference in 2013, and now serves on the board as one of three Directors of Membership.
Ann Roberts - Director of Organization, Chair
Ann Roberts joined the GCLS in 2011 and currently serves as the Director of Organization. An award-winning author, Ann will celebrate Independence Day at this year’s conference in a special way: she will have retired from public education after 28 years of service. She intends to spend more time writing, supporting the GCLS, and learning to play her dusty ukulele. Her latest novel with Bella Books, Pleasure of the Chase, was released in March.
Alison Solomon - At Large Director of Membership
Alison grew up in England, and has called many places home. She currently lives in Gulfport, Florida with Carol, her partner of 23 years, and their two rescue dogs. Alison has published numerous writings in a variety of print media. Her short stories have been published in the USA and Mexico and she is the proud author of her debut novel, Along Came the Rain, Sapphire Publishing. When not writing, Alison may be found chasing dolphins in Tampa Bay, messing up her knees because she insists on playing tennis, or planning a trip.
Carleen Spry - Director of Outreach, Vice-President
Carleen Spry has a BS and MS in Communication, an MA in Theatre, and PhD (ABD) in Communication and Performance Studies. Carleen joined the Golden Crown Literary Society in 2008 and has attended every conference since 2009. In 2010, Carleen volunteered to manage social media for the organization and soon after was enlisted to serve on the Board of Directors as the Director of Technology and later as Director of Outreach. She currently serves on the Executive Committee as Vice President.
Sandy Thornton - Director of Finance, Treasurer
Sandy retired from AT&T in 2000 and started reading lesbian fiction almost full time. She is Director of Finance and is an officer of GCLS (Treasurer). She is a leader of the Dallas JEWEL Book Club, a board member and treasurer of the Dallas League of Women Voters and the League’s Education Fund, Chair of the Board of Directors of GO Federal Credit Union, and a volunteer for the Dallas Police Department. In addition to her insatiable desire for reading, she enjoys playing bridge and golf.