Executive Director: Tree Swenson
Tree Swenson has been the executive director of Hugo House since early 2012. She previously spent ten years as executive director of the Academy of American Poets in New York, where she launched the Poem-a-Day program and started the annual Poetry & the Creative Mind event at Lincoln Center. Swenson was the executive director and publisher at Copper Canyon Press, which she co-founded, for twenty years. The Press produced books from poets including Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize–winners, and garnered numerous national awards. She also served as director of programs at the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is a former board president of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). She holds an MPA degree from the Kennedy School at Harvard.
Business & Operations: Ana Lester
Ana Lester has been an arts advocate in the Seattle area for a decade, supporting fundraising and strategy planning efforts for arts organizations including Spectrum Dance Theater, Bellevue Arts Museum, On the Boards, University of Washington Museum without Walls, Fremont Abbey Arts Center, and ArtsFund. Before joining Hugo House in September 2016, she worked on assignment at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supporting grantees and partners during investment shaping. Currently, she is the Development Chair on the Board of Directors for Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra and a member of the Seattle Arts Commission. She holds an MFA from Seattle University in Arts Leadership, a degree in Museum Studies from the University of Washington, and a BA in History with a minor in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Brockport.
Communications & Marketing: Molly Woolbright
Molly Woolbright was a book buyer and bookseller at The Elliott Bay Book Company for five years, where she worked on the staff-written book review and established a consignment program for chapbooks and literary journals. She also led a team of copywriters at a local e-retailer and worked as a freelance editor and writer before joining Hugo House in May of 2016.
Development: Louise Kincaid
Louise Kincaid has worked in nonprofit management and development for over 25 years. Prior to joining Hugo House, she was the Development Officer at the Institute of Flight, Executive Director for Mercer Island Center for the Arts, and Director of Development for Village Theatre. From 1992 to 2002, Louise was the Executive Director of Northwest Chamber Orchestra, where she led the organization to a 10-year period of remarkable organizational growth, fiscal stability, and artistic excellence. She graduated from the University of Michigan with two graduate degrees in Musicology and Music Performance.
Development & Administrative Assistant: Nicole McCarthy
Nicole McCarthy received her MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics from the University of Washington Bothell. Before coming to Hugo House, Nicole worked as a bookseller at King’s Books, a happy helper at Wave Books, and as the managing editor for a few local literary journals. Her work has appeared in Glass: a Journal of Poetry, The Shallow Ends, Ghost Proposal, the 2018 Best American Experimental Writing Anthology, and others. She also occasionally teaches for the Write253 program, offering classes in experimental creative writing to youth in Tacoma.
Education & Programs: Christine Texeira
Christine Texeira grew up in Kent, Washington, and received her MFA in fiction from the University of Notre Dame, where she taught creative-writing courses and worked on various literary journals. She is interested in cosmology, French fries, and James Joyce. Her work has appeared in The Conium Review and Moss.
Events: Rob Arnold
Rob Arnold has spent the past decade in publishing and literary advocacy, co-founding the online magazine Memorious and holding editorial roles at Ploughshares, Fence Books, The National Poetry Series, Grid Books, and Aevitas Creative Management. He was also a digital marketing specialist at Beacon Press, and associate director of PEN New England. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, The Gettysburg Review, Hyphen, Poetry Northwest, Yes Poetry, and The Ocean State Review, among others.
Finance & Accounting: John Peterman
John Peterman graduated from UW Business School and worked as a senior analyst in financial forecasting and analysis. A little while ago, he moved to a little ski town in Colorado to write and fly down mountains. His first novel died in the silence when it met the world. His second novelette earned an honorable mention in competition. This will likely alter humankind forever…is a phrase he often whispers at 2 a.m. after he closes his laptop and looks to the stars. He returned to the coast knowing that the power of storytelling would be at the core of any and all future endeavors. He is happy where he landed.
Youth Programs & Administration: Robert Babs
Robert Babs came to Hugo House after several years as the Education and Outreach Associate at Meany Center for the Performing Arts. He has also held positions as the Admissions and Operations Manager of the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Marrowstone Music Festival and as a staff instructor of elementary instrumental music with Seattle Music Partners. A Seattle native, Robert is a graduate of the University of Washington where he completed bachelor degrees in both History and English Language and Literature, with minors in French and Music. He has a particular fondness for American and British Literature. He currently serves as the Alumni member on the Meany Center advisory board.
Program Assistance and Front Desk
Amanda Alfonso, Juliana DeFilippis, Sarah Johnson, and Ryan Owens
Andrew Booth, Ian Denning, Ben Podawiltz, Drew Santoro, and Max Delsohn
Dick Gemperle (President) is a retired architect currently on the Board of Seattle Opera, where he chairs the Facilities Committee, which is currently overseeing a $60M building project adjacent to McCaw Hall. He has been Manager of the King County Architecture Division and chair of building committees for St. Joseph School and Jubilee Women’s Center. He is a member of a book club, subscribes to REP, ACT, OSF, and Intiman, and occasionally participates in amateur poetry seminars.
Dan Grausz (Vice President) worked in the cruise industry from 1988-2013 serving in various capacities with Holland America Line, Seabourn, and Windstar Cruises including Vice President and General Counsel, Sr. Vice President, Fleet Operations, and Executive Vice President, Fleet Operations. When Dan left the industry, he was responsible for 15 Holland America Line ships, 6 Seabourn Ships, over 15,000 officers and other crewmembers, more than 150 shoreside employees, and total annual operating budgets in excess of $500 million. Since leaving Holland America in 2013, Dan has worked with Forterra NW and currently serves as their Senior Director, Strategic Projects. Dan has a B.S. Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. He did his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania where he earned both a J.D. from the Law School and a MBA from The Wharton School. Dan lives in Mercer Island, Washington with his wife, Clare Meeker. On Mercer Island, Dan has been an elected member of the City Council since 1999.
Sarah Kuipers (Treasurer) is an attorney with Kowan & Cordon, LLC, where she focuses her practice in tax planning and complex transactional structuring. In the course of her legal career to date, she has provided counsel to a wide variety of clients, from large multinational companies to mom-and-pop businesses. Sarah received her LLM in tax from NYU, her JD from the University of Virginia, and her BA from Swarthmore College. She lives on Bainbridge Island with her wife, the poet Keetje Kuipers, their young daughter, and their doodle Prairie. Although Sarah has fallen in love with the Pacific Northwest, she remains devoted to her Philadelphia sports teams.
Victoria Mabus (Secretary) is a longtime resident of Seattle and currently lives in Leschi with her two dogs Sage and Ivy, and occasionally with one of her two grown sons when they boomerang home. Victoria recently retired from a career in banking, during which she served as Operations Director for HomeStreet Bank and in various senior leadership roles for Bank of America. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for The Valley School and volunteers for the Seattle Humane Society. She is an avid open water swimmer and a recreational bicyclist. Victoria has been a student of Hugo House for the last decade, which has served to increase her appreciation for the written word, but sadly, has not helped her progress from dabbler to accomplished poet.
Allison Augustyn is an award-winning writer and editor. She was a rock music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and Seattle Times, and contributed to the book Kill Your Idols (Barricade Books, 2004). She is co-author of the PROSE award-winning Gems and Gemstones (University of Chicago, 2009), and opened five exhibits as a media writer at The Field Museum of Natural History. She has also worked as a marketing and development consultant for nonprofits in the U.S. and Africa. She is currently transitioning into writing fiction, and takes classes at Hugo House. In 2015, she was awarded a Washington State Artist Trust residency for fiction, and published stories in The Masters Review, Doll Hospital, and Whole Terrain.
Dick Cantwell is a Capitol Hill resident and business owner, having co-founded Elysian Brewing Company in 1996. His previous life, however, was as a writer, which he has carried forward with books and articles on beer and brewing. He received a variegated education at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and has lived in many parts of this country and abroad. He sat for several years on the Board of Directors of the Brewers Association, is the current president of the Washington Brewers Guild, and sits on the Board of the New Belgium Family Foundation.
Sean Clemmons is a writer, entrepreneur, and investor who resides with his family in Madison Park. He earned his MFA from the University of Washington and has published stories in a handful of journals including Gulf Coast, Copper Nickel, and The Cream City Review.
Donte Felder is fueled and inspired by the students he teaches at Orca K-8, an alternative school in South Seattle. Besides exploring the formation of the United States and the philosophy of story, Felder is energized by the many possibilities that are presented when writing a screenplay. Felder is a graduate of Goddard College where he received his MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on screenwriting. Felder is happily married and has three wonderful children.
Tamara Corcoran Hendry grew up in Washington D.C. but has always had a passion for the majestic beauty of the west coast. She is a classically trained marketer and has managed top tier brands and businesses at leading companies like Adidas, Intel, and Starbucks. Her expertise spans Brand Management, General Management, and Innovation. When not developing brand strategy, she loves spending time with her two children in the great outdoors, discussing politics, or curling up with a good book.
Stacy Lawson is a writer, yoga instructor/owner of Red Square Yoga, and a keyboard activist dedicated to improving quality of life by writing on public education, Middle-East peace, women’s issues, health, and the environment. Her work has appeared in Under the Sun, Drash Northwest Mosaic, r.kv.r.y quarterly literary journal, Raven Chronicles, and Sunday Ink: Works by the Uptown Writers. Stacy lives in Seattle with her husband, two sons, and her four-legged writing partner, Juneau.
Mary Jo Newhouse is a longtime resident of Montlake. She practices as a healthcare attorney in Seattle, prior to attending law school she was a nurse at Childrens Hospital in Seattle. She grew up in Eastern Washington on the family farm which raised hops, fruit trees, and wine grapes. She and her husband have three adult children and she continues to dabble in the family wine business.
Maggie Orth is a writer, technology artist, and entrepreneur. She has experience both as a business person and artist. She ran her own technology art and design studio, International Fashion Machines, for ten years and was named a United States Artists USA Target Fellow in 2007. She has volunteered to develop technology curricula at numerous schools and served on panels at local arts organizations. She holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, a Masters of Science from MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies, and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.
Executive Director Tree Swenson serves as an ex officio member of the Hugo House Board of Directors.