ITHAKA: What surprises you most about being a Senior QA Engineer at ITHAKA?
Aparna: “I have a journalism degree! That’s my background. To see how far I’ve come, from new-hire-without-a-computer-science-degree to senior-level engineer, is pretty crazy when you think about it.”
My first experience with Agile coaching was really fun. I like doing things that help people. And doing things like that — playing around in different areas of work, trying new things — is supported and encouraged here. Seeing the work that came to fruition at the end of a sprint was like, “We have this thing that we deliver! That is so cool!”
It can be scary to meet with your supervisor and say, “I’m not sure I want to do coding forever.” But here, managers want to know what your interests are, how they can help you. They are very supportive in that way. Being able to have open, honest conversations really leads to trust.
It’s been eleven years and I am still excited to go to work everyday. There’s always something to figure out. There’s always something we’re trying to do better. I don’t know of any other organizations that welcome, say, reaching out to its president to share your thoughts on something. Here, I know that if I emailed Kevin Guthrie, he would read it, take it seriously, and open up a conversation about it. I never feel lost on projects because of that transparency around what we’re all trying to achieve and how we all work to get there.
ITHAKA: What do you enjoy most about your job?
Esther: I love learning new things and challenging myself. When I started I was kind of intimidated! Everyone here is so smart. So, I thought, “I have to up my game here!” But everyone is also very encouraging. I appreciate open communication, and that’s what you get here. Lots of support and clear communication.
Working in an environment that encourages career development has positively impacted my professional and personal life. At ITHAKA you are encouraged to learn, get uncomfortable, and investigate new experiences. For instance, after looking into business analytics, I got better at organizing my everyday life! We often have these impulses to learn things and get better, but we get bogged down. So if there is another person, especially a manager, who’s telling you “No, you should go do that!” — it prompts you to take the time and focus on whatever it is you want to learn or get better at.
ITHAKA: Of our five core values, which resonates most with you?
Lenny: Trust. It feels good knowing there are multiple teams across the organization who are experts in their own fields, in their own departments, in their own kinds of specialties, who are just a call away.
I am the Account Development Manager on the International team. My job allows me to tap into my previous experience as a librarian and archivist, which I love. I enjoy engaging directly with those communities.
My primary motivation is knowing that I am able to help institutions through difficult decision-making processes. We’ve been offering expanded access to thousands of librarians across the world, dating back to March 2020. It’s really nice to talk about our charitable mindset as an organization versus always having sales-based conversations.
Kevin M. Guthrie is an executive and entrepreneur with expertise in high technology and not-for-profit management. Kevin was the founding president of JSTOR (1995) and Ithaka (2004); the organizations merged in 2009, becoming known as ITHAKA and continuing under his leadership. Today, Kevin leads the ITHAKA staff of more than 300 people across four locations, empowering a diverse set of teams from technologists and designers to content experts and researchers.
Previously Kevin co-founded a software development company serving the needs of college and professional football teams, and later served as a research associate at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where he authored The New-York Historical Society: Lessons from One Nonprofit’s Long Struggle for Survival (Jossey Bass). In 2017 Kevin edited Ever the Leader: Selected Writings (1995 – 2016) William G. Bowen (Princeton University Press). His diverse background also includes experience as a professional football player, a sports broadcaster and producer, and a consultant for the Oscar-winning motion picture Rain Man (1988).
Kevin serves on several nonprofit advisory committees and boards including Princeton University’s Keller Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, LYRASIS, Media Source, Inc., and Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Kevin holds a BSE in Civil Engineering from Princeton University and a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University.
As Chief Financial Officer, Arielle Ali is responsible for guiding and overseeing ITHAKA’s financial planning activities and reporting, in collaboration with senior leadership, department heads, external partners, and ITHAKA’s Board of Trustees. Her role encompasses managing ITHAKA’s short-term financial stability while fostering long-term financial and strategic success, including promoting sustainable growth in alignment with the organization’s mission.
Before joining ITHAKA, Arielle gained invaluable experience working with various organizations, where she was instrumental in refining financial processes and enhancing financial performance. Most recently, she served as the Vice President of Corporate Finance at Paramount, where her role included leading a transformational working capital initiative. Arielle’s background also includes financial leadership roles at notable companies such as Cognizant, Scholastic, and Bertelsmann.
Arielle holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from Queens College and is a certified public accountant (CPA). Committed to continuous learning, in 2021 she completed a seven-month custom executive leadership program at Harvard.
Outside of her professional life, Arielle is an avid hiker, reader, and yoga enthusiast. She cherishes spending quality time with her family and two children, finding a balance between her dedication to her career and her personal life.
As managing director, Catharine (“Cappy”) Bond Hill leads Ithaka S+R’s research and consulting initiatives to broaden access to higher education, reduce costs, and improve student outcomes.
A noted economist whose work focuses on higher education affordability and access, as well as on economic development and reform in Africa, Cappy joined Ithaka S+R in September, 2016. She oversees Ithaka S+R’s two program areas, working to help the higher education, library, scholarly communication, and museum communities adapt to the technological and economic context of the 21st century.
From 2006 to 2016, Cappy served as the 10th president of Vassar College. Under her leadership, Vassar reinstated need-blind admissions and replaced loans with grants in financial aid for low-income families. In 2015 the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, awarded Vassar the inaugural million-dollar prize for Equity in Educational Excellence for its efforts to expand access and support to students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. While at Vassar, Cappy also established a first-of-its-kind veterans admission partnership with the Posse Foundation, with Vassar enrolling its first eleven veterans as freshmen in 2013.
Prior to her Vassar presidency, Cappy was the provost of Williams College, where she had chief academic and financial officer responsibilities. She originally joined the economics faculty at Williams in 1985. From 1994-1997, Cappy lived in the Republic of Zambia, working in the Ministry of Finance and with the Bank of Zambia.
Cappy serves on the board of the Yale-NUS College and is senior fellow on the Yale Board of Trustees.
Cappy graduated from Williams College, earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree at Brasenose College, Oxford University. She completed her doctorate in economics at Yale University.
Nancy Kopans is vice president, general counsel and secretary of ITHAKA, and oversees the organization’s legal, compliance, and governance needs. She has served on many copyright and tax-exempt organization committees as well as on boards of directors.
Nancy holds a bachelor of arts in earth sciences from Dartmouth College, a master of arts and master of philosophy in English from Columbia University, and a juris doctor from Georgetown University.
Michelle Lee leads ITHAKA’s technology and content production teams. Working with co-CTO Dale Myers, she is responsible for creating and implementing the organization’s long-term technology vision while overseeing the organization’s engineering, architecture, infrastructure, and technical operations.
Michelle has a track record of building high-performing cross-functional technical teams with a user-centric approach to design and implementation. She takes a holistic approach to technology leadership, combining her strong technical background with an in-depth understanding of business requirements and strategic implications.
Before joining ITHAKA, Michelle was VP of Engineering at Bloomberg Industry Group, where she was leading the engineering organization building the company’s customer facing products end to end in Bloomberg Tax, Government Affair and Government Contract Area. Previously, she held technology leadership roles at The College Board, GeoEye (now Digital Globe), and SAIC. She holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a PhD in information technology from George Mason University, and serves on the organizing board of the DC CTO Club.
As ITHAKA’s Chief Operating Officer, Nathalie Udo oversees our Finance, Legal, and Work Life and Culture units and leads the Operational Excellence team. Under her direction, the team encourages an impact-oriented mindset, improves the work and workflows needed to support our initiatives, and leverages people’s skills and passions to nurture deep engagement with our work. Her diverse background is a powerful asset in this role, contributing to her unique ability to create supportive environments that help organizations learn to recognize and build on their best qualities and behaviors while they consider new ideas and perspectives.
Before joining ITHAKA in 2019, Nathalie managed a major capital program to build our new technology platform in 2014, and she recently partnered with senior leadership to implement OKRs to guide and align our work. Through her business consultancy—InDepth Strategies, LLC—she has helped companies like Royal Dutch Airlines, New England Journal of Medicine, and Alcatel-Lucent with strategic planning, executive coaching, agile mindset, program management, cross-cultural communication, and leadership.
Nathalie has a masters degree in economics and business administration from University of Maastricht, Netherlands, and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC®), a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®), and a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®). She presents at international conferences on a variety of topics. In addition, she is coauthor of Organizational Survival: Profitable Strategies for a Sustainable Future (McGraw-Hill, 2013) and contributed a chapter to Scrappy Women in Business: Living Proof that Bending the Rules Isn’t Breaking the Law (Happy About, 2010). Driven by her passion for the oceans and the planet, Nathalie volunteers for several organizations; currently, she serves as vice chair of the Marine Conservation Institute Board and strategic advisor to Heirs To Our Oceans. She lives in San Francisco and is an active scuba diver, motorcyclist, and skier.
Kate Wittenberg is the managing director of Portico. She oversees execution of a strategic vision for Portico that is deeply informed by the role of scholarly publishers and academic libraries and responds to demonstrated preservation needs of the international higher education community.
Working with the Portico team, she develops Portico strategy as shifts in scholarly publishing, higher education, or other sectors present new needs, opportunities, and challenges for publishers, libraries, college and university administrators, and government agencies in preserving scholarship.
Debbie Barrett is our Vice President of Work Life & Culture. She leads a team of talented professionals who are responsible for building and maintaining a vibrant and positive organizational culture for all of the people who work here. In addition, the team provides all human resources functions, including recruitment, benefits, employee relations, compensation, organizational development, and staff effectiveness.
Prior to joining ITHAKA, Debbie worked in human resources for over 15 years with diversified experience in organizations of varied sizes and industries.
Debbie is committed to nurturing an environment of continuous learning, personally and professionally. She holds a bachelor of science in management, business administration from Montclair State University and a master in business administration, human resources management from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Seymour Douglas has more than 20 years of experience in machine learning, customer, predictive, and data analytics. As vice president of data and analytics, Seymour leads a growing team of data scientists, engineers, and architects who are creating a continuous data-driven learning environment and leveraging our extensive data and content to develop practical applications of data science and machine learning for use in research and teaching.
Seymour specializes in leading organizations in improving and maximizing the value they can derive from their data assets. This includes setting the analytics agenda and priorities, designing processes for gathering data from disparate sources, and merging the data to create and deploy high performance machine learning and predictive modeling systems that can support forecasting, recommender systems, high frequency forecasting, data enrichment, text mining, and revenue assurance. Before joining ITHAKA, Seymour served as vice president of machine learning and analytics at Expedia, where he led teams responsible for computer vision, natural language processing, customer valuation, and user behavior analytics. He has also held leadership roles at Walmart, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, Cox Communications, and Accenture.
Seymour served on the faculty at Emory University and Rutgers, where he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in statistics, microeconomics, international finance, and economic development.
Harmony is vice president of marketing for ITHAKA, where she leads our efforts to tell our story, develop and market our products and services, and build lasting relationships with those we serve. A compassionate people leader and marketing strategist, she inspires our team to deliver creative, impactful campaigns that further ITHAKA’s mission to improve access to knowledge and education.
Prior to joining ITHAKA, Harmony served as VP, Marketing and Communications for Gale, part of the Cengage Group. During this time, she led a global brand relaunch, established technology-driven lead generation processes, integrated marketing campaign strategies and real-time analytics, and cultivated one of Cengage Group’s most engaged teams. As a senior leader in the organization, she also championed company-wide initiatives, seeking opportunities to be a force for positive change. She believes strongly in mentoring and allyship, and especially valued having the opportunity to serve as executive sponsor for Gale’s efforts to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive company and culture.
Throughout her career, Harmony has been committed to being a part of mission-driven organizations that focus on improving lives through learning. She has worked with libraries to deliver exceptional research and teaching experiences in academic, secondary, and public library settings and is known to evangelize the awesomeness of libraries to unsuspecting strangers and friends. One of her proudest professional accomplishments was launching Career Online High School, a workforce development and high school completion program that graduated over 4,000 adults across the United States through their public libraries. Currently, she is a board member of EveryLibrary, an organization that helps public, school, and college libraries win bonding, tax, and advisory referendum, ensuring stable funding and access to libraries for generations to come.
Harmony lives in Plymouth, Michigan, with her husband, children, and dogs.
With more than thirty years in the higher education and library communities, Bruce leads our strategy and teams working with libraries around the world to make their collections openly accessible on JSTOR and to use our platform as an increasingly important component of their infrastructure to support teaching and research.
Prior to this role, Bruce oversaw library outreach and access services on a global basis for JSTOR and Portico. Under his leadership, JSTOR participation grew to more than 11,000 academic libraries, secondary schools, research organizations and NGOs, and public libraries in 170 countries, including in almost 70 where JSTOR access is free. Leading outreach for Portico since its inception, more than 1,000 libraries now support our critical work to preserve digital content at scale.
Bruce was an application developer at Virginia Tech before joining VTLS in 1988. Bruce held senior management positions at The Faxon Company and Blackwells, and prior to joining JSTOR in 1999 was executive director of SunGard SCT’s higher education consulting practice.
Bruce has written and presented extensively on information management issues, and is active in the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). He previously served on the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) board, serving as Chair, the Board of Trustees for the Barrington (RI) Public Library, as well as the UKSG Editorial Committee. He currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Committee for the libraries at Virginia Tech.
He holds a bachelor of science in management from Virginia Tech, and a master of business administration from the Pamplin School at Virginia Tech.
Martin Kurzweil is vice president, educational transformation, at Ithaka S+R. The Educational Transformation Program studies and supports the implementation of practices, policies, and innovations that improve equitable postsecondary access and success. Since launching the program in 2015, Martin and his team have conducted research, coordinated cross-institutional initiatives, and advised education leaders and policymakers on topics such as student debt, transfer, state and federal policy, and the use of technology in teaching and advising. Among other signature projects, Martin helped launch and serves on the steering committee of the American Talent Initiative, a 128-member initiative to significantly increase the number of lower-income students enrolled and graduating from high-graduation-rate colleges and universities.
A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Martin has spent most of his career in education research and policy. He was previously an academic fellow at Columbia Law School, where his research and teaching focused on administrative law, federalism, and organizational governance in the context of K-12 and higher education. Prior to joining Columbia, Martin was senior executive director for research, accountability, and data at the New York City Department of Education, where he oversaw school evaluation and internal and external research for the 1.1-million-student district. As a researcher at the Mellon Foundation, Martin studied higher education equity, finance, and sports, among other topics. As a practicing lawyer, Martin clerked for Judge Pierre Leval of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and worked as a litigator at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, and Katz.
Martin has published dozens of reports, articles, commentaries, and book chapters, on a wide range of education-related topics, in both academic and popular venues. He is the co-author of Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education, which received the 2006 American Educational Research Association Outstanding Book Award.
As vice president of published content, John collaborates with publishers and libraries to develop products and programs that support their organizational needs and missions. He works with the more than 2,000 publishers partnered with ITHAKA to make their content available on the JSTOR platform. He also works closely with libraries to develop growth strategies for the journals and books programs to ensure we meet their research, teaching, and preservation needs.
Prior to this role, John led our global Outreach team working with libraries and consortia in 170 countries. He also played a pivotal role in launching and growing both library and publisher participation in the Books at JSTOR program. John has over 20 years of experience in the library community. He worked with SoftLine Information to bring ethnic newspapers online and spent ten years at ProQuest in a variety of roles collaborating with publishers and the library communities.
John was an instructor at Moorpark College for over 12 years and established the first online course at the college, introducing electronic resources into the classroom to expand student learning. He holds a master’s degree in academic research from Humboldt State University and a master of business administration from the Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore. John presently holds a position on the Board of Trustees for OA Book Usage Data Trust.
Matt MacQueen is vice president of product and design at ITHAKA. He leads a growing team of product managers and designers on a mission to deliver a platform and product suite that improves and advances research and learning. The team is committed to designing a holistic customer experience, where every touchpoint across brand, marketing, deep product interactions, and outreach are seamlessly conceived and beautifully designed. Matt’s philosophy and ITHAKA’s approach focuses on deeply understanding our users and constituents and developing solutions that delight and further their work in meaningful ways.
Before coming to ITHAKA in 2018, Matt joined the startup Coursera, the largest platform for online university courses, as their first director of product design, completing a tight triad with engineering and product management. Coursera grew from a Stanford spin-out startup to over 100M users. During a 3 year span of rapid growth phase, Matt built Coursera’s product design, UX research and content strategy practice from Series B through Series D maturity. He was interviewed regarding change in higher education in the film Design Disruptors which screened globally in 2016.
Previously, Matt was a design director at Motorola, first in Chicago and ultimately in Silicon Valley, during their rebirth as an all-Android smartphone company. Following an acquisition by Google, Matt directed design of mobile software + service experiences on the Moto X smartphone 2012 with voice recognition, contextual awareness, and a gesture-based camera that set new benchmarks for speed and ease of use.
Matt is a lifelong learner with a deep passion for education and mentorship. He has spoken at design and professional mentoring organizations for under-represented communities in technology. Matt has taught digital product design at the University of Michigan’s Center for Entrepreneurship, and seeks to unite the challenges of educational opportunity with digital technologies.
Heidi McGregor is vice president of Communications at ITHAKA, where she is responsible for nurturing people’s understanding of and connection with the organization. Her focus is both internal and external, working to develop a passionate legion of employees, alumni, and institutional partners, as well as awareness of ITHAKA and it’s mission in its local communities and among the public.
Heidi has worked at ITHAKA in various roles since 1998. She’s served as JSTOR’s director of strategy and director of publisher relations, and most recently as the leader of ITHAKA’s marketing and communications teams. During this time, she has built productive teams of professionals to help the organization and its services thrive, as well as spearheading major strategic initiatives. She has been a passionate champion of ITHAKA’s efforts to share knowledge in new ways beyond traditional educational institutions, including launching JSTOR’s free reading and individual access plans and its online magazine, JSTOR Daily. Before coming to ITHAKA, Heidi got her feet wet in the publishing industry, spending four years at Simon & Schuster. Heidi has served as a board member of the Society for Scholarly Publishing and an advisor to the online resources BioOne and Project AMEEL.
Heidi graduated with a BA in political science and philosophy from Lafayette College (go Pards!) and was a member of the first graduating class in the Media Management Certificate Program at the New School University. She is also a dedicated parent of three, who has served several years on the executive board at her local co-operative nursery school and as class parent in their Dual Language Program.
Angela leads our work to build and sustain a diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) workplace. She works closely with senior leadership, our DEI committee, and individuals throughout our organization to foster a culture that results in positive and inclusive experiences for everyone who interacts with ITHAKA and with our products and services. A thoughtful, passionate leader, she excels at incentivizing leaders and employees to enhance belonging in their daily interactions while bench-marking and progressing DEI efforts across the organization.
Angela is a Navy and Army veteran and certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Coach. She has served as a trusted advisor to business leaders, including as President and CEO of OD Synergistics Consulting LLC, where she helped them assess organizational issues, reshape structures and processes, and build depth of management capability. In her career, she has worked for many well-known companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and McCormick and Company, in roles such as Operations Leader, Human Resources Generalist, Training Manager, and Environmental Health and Safety Manager.
Angela’s work in DEI has included collaborating with leaders to develop and monitor DEI metrics; providing oversight for DEI programs and policies, including the DEI committee initiatives in accordance with local, state, and federal EEOC/AA regulations; and facilitating a wide range of DEI training, including disability, LGBTQ identities, race, gender, working with veterans, building and managing diverse teams, psychological safety, unconscious bias, and preventing and responding to bias in the workplace.
Angela holds an associate in human services, bachelor’s in organizational management, master’s in business administration, master’s in occupational safety and health, master’s in psychology, and Ph.D. in organizational psychology. She is currently the President of the Board of Directors for The Food Pantries for the Capital District, serves as a member of Equinox, Inc’s Development and Domestic Violence Committees in Albany, NY, VP of Programming for SEVA ATD Chapter, and is a dedicated SHRM/USAA Veteran Ambassador.
Susan Sadowski champions strategic initiatives in multiple roles at ITHAKA. As the VP for Partner and User Services, Susan leads the team that focuses on providing the very best experience for JSTOR’s more than 14,000 participants and partners, and on encouraging use of and engagement with our tools. In her role as Chief of Staff, she is developing a supportive, inclusive, value-driven culture in the Technology department. Together, these teams help drive transformative changes for our users, our partners, and ourselves.
Before joining ITHAKA, Susan held positions at Kellogg Company and Borders, leading large regional sales teams and company-wide technical support. Susan is passionate about delivering an exceptional customer experience and developing high-performing teams with cultures of trust and accountability. Susan holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Sullivan University.
Roger C. Schonfeld is the vice president of organizational strategy for ITHAKA and of Ithaka S+R’s libraries, scholarly communication, and museums program.
Roger and the team of Ithaka S+R’s methodological and subject matter experts that comprise the program conduct research and provide advisory services to drive evidence-based innovation and leadership to foster research, learning, and preservation. This has included extensive survey and qualitative research of faculty members and students, as well as leaders such as senior research officers, presidents and provosts, and the directors of libraries and museums. Additional leadership and policy projects have sought to bolster organizational strategy and leadership, diversity and community engagement, and collections management and preservation. The team provides strategic guidance and advisory services for software companies, publishers and other content providers, and academic libraries on the transformation of scholarly communications and the research workflow. Several additional areas of current emphasis include research data services, student basic needs, and higher education in prisons.
Roger currently serves as a board member for the Center for Research Libraries. Previously, he has served on the NSF Blue Ribbon Task Force for Sustainable Digital Preservation and Access and NISO’s Open Discovery Initiative. Roger has testified before the US House of Representatives on government publishing, advocating for strong approaches to digital preservation.
In addition to authoring dozens of research reports, articles, and briefing papers, Roger blogs regularly at the Scholarly Kitchen and tweets at @rschon. With Deanna Marcum, he wrote Along Came Google: A History of Library Digitization (Princeton University Press, 2021), examining structural impediments to digital strategy and the role of an outside catalyst in fostering digitization among research libraries. He also wrote JSTOR: A History (Princeton, 2003), focusing on the development of a sustainable not-for-profit initiative for the digitization and preservation of scholarly texts.
Roger was previously a research associate at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. There, he collaborated on The Game of Life: College Sports and Academic Values with James Shulman and William G. Bowen (Princeton, 2000). He was an Association of Research Libraries Leadership Fellow and received degrees in library and information science from Syracuse University and in English Literature from Yale University.
Rebecca joined ITHAKA in 2019 and is responsible for developing our global outreach strategy and leading our team of 40 professionals dedicated to growing and managing our network of more than 11,000 library partners in 170 countries.
Rebecca has worked with libraries throughout her 30 year publishing career. From 2000-2019, she worked for Oxford University Press in various roles, most recently as Senior Director, Institutional Sales, for North and South America. During her tenure there, she focused on product development, sales and marketing of ebooks, databases and journals, and building relationships with the library community. She was part of the teams that developed University Press Scholarship Online, Oxford Reference Online, and Oxford Scholarly Editions Online.
Prior to joining OUP, she held positions at McGraw-Hill , Elsevier, and HarperCollins. She is a past chair of the AAP/ALCTS Joint Publisher/Librarian Committee and speaks often at industry events, including the Charleston Conference, American Library Association, ACRL, NFAIS, ER&L, and the Association of American Publishers/PSP Division seminars.