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Leslye Winkelman Lyons

Words Alive Founder, Board Member Emeritus

Leslye Winkelman Lyons has more than 25 years of nonprofit sector experience as both a salaried and volunteer professional. As the Words Alive founder, she has served the organization in various capacities including board chair and as its pro-bono executive director. Lyons has facilitated hundreds of book group discussions for adults and youth and serves as a consultant to book groups across the country. She currently writes and distributes Literary Lines, a newsletter for readers and book group members, and served as book review editor of the San Diego Heritage Newspaper for five years. Lyons earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington University and a master’s degree in social work from Yeshiva University.

Jeffrey Goldman


Jeffrey Goldman has been the publisher at Santa Monica Press, an independent book publishing company, since he founded the press over twenty years ago. Santa Monica Press publishes an eclectic list of critically acclaimed and award-winning non-fiction books. Prior to Santa Monica Press, Goldman spent a decade as an arts and entertainment journalist, writing for a variety of newspapers and magazines both nationally and internationally. In addition to sitting on the Board of Words Alive, Goldman is also a member of the board of trustees at the La Jolla Playhouse, where he serves on the Executive Committee and is the co-chair of the Education Committee. Goldman lives in the San Diego area with his wife and two children.

Andrea MacDonald

Vice Chair
Chair, Event Committee

Andrea MacDonald earned her bachelor's degree in speech and hearing from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Following school, Andrea worked as a real estate appraiser, earning many professional designations. In 1992, she moved to New Jersey where she started a residential real estate appraising practice for a leading commercial appraising firm. After returning to California, and as her children grew up, volunteering in the community has been very important to her. Andrea served on the Board for the Solana Beach Foundation for Learning for five years, and was an officer for three years. As VP of Site Development, Andrea oversaw the fundraising for the six Solana Beach School District’s schools. Other organizations that Andrea has been involved with over the years are PTA, Girl Scouts, Miracle League, and National Charity League.

Linda Cipriani


Linda Cipriani earned her bachelor’s degree in English, with a minor in French, from the State University of New York at Albany. Subsequently, she earned her law degree from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She started her legal career in the Houston office of the Department of Energy before becoming an Assistant United States Attorney, also in Houston. After moving to private practice as a litigator with the law firm Mayor, Day, Caldwell, and Keeton in Houston, she joined Crowell & Moring in Irvine, CA for three years, specializing in environmental insurance litigation. Over the years, Cipriani has been involved in San Diego with Del Mar Hills Elementary School, Boy and Girl Scouts, Canyon Crest Academy, and Rady Children’s Hospital. Most recently, among other organizations, Cipriani has helped to form Strong Healthy Empowered (SHE), an education and outreach program at Project Concern International, and also works with the San Diego Humane Society in their pet therapy, education, and outreach programs.

Danny Cung


Danny Cung is an investment strategist at Christopher Weil & Company,. He graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in economics. He is also a Certified Financial Planner Professional.

Orville Brown

Orville Brown is a senior research scientist at Ferro Corporation. He has 14 patents in the microelectronic field. He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics and chemistry from Hunter College of the City of University of NY and his graduate degree in chemistry from Columbia University. He is also involved in Habitat for Humanity Global Village.

Lynne Freeley

Chair, Development Committee

Lynne Bath earned her undergraduate degree at UCLA and her law degree from Southwestern. She is an accomplished litigator in California and Washington State as well as a trained mediator. She presently practices entertainment & real estate law and is the Executive Leader of Amazing Quest, a company she has successfully developed that specializes in corporate team building. Lynne has enjoyed being an active volunteer in the community taking leadership positions in PTA, CAC, Torrey Pines High School Foundation, Girl Scouts, Miracle League and YMCA Camping Board. Lynne has also been active in strategic planning for multiple school districts and community organizations. She loves volunteering for the Words Alive ABG program in National City.

Kay Gurtin

Kay Levinson Gurtin is a Vice President at Gurtin Fixed Income. In this role, Ms. Gurtin assists with various marketing, business development, and human resources aspects of the firm. Ms. Gurtin was co-founder and President of Executive Options, LTD, a firm specializing in placing professionals in part-time and project consulting positions. Ms. Gurtin's pioneering approach to flexible work arrangements was featured in Crain's Chicago Business, The Wall Street Journal, Sun Times, Chicago Tribune, Working Mother, and ABC National News. Kay was awarded Entrpreneurer of the Year Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners in Chicago. Prior to Executive Options, LTD, Ms. Levinson was Vice President of Capital Markets for Bankers Trust Company, where she was one of the company's nationally acclaimed money market sales executives. She began her career in advertising at the Leo Burnett Agency. Ms. Gurtin is the founder and inaugural Chairman of CHEER; a volunteer organization dedicated to serving the emotional and physical well being of children for the University of Chicago Children's Hospital. She is actively involved as a Site Chair with WORDS AL!VE. Additionally, she served on the fundraising board and tutored children for the Sudanese Refugee Network in San Diego. She has been involved in fundraising for numerous private and public educational foundations including: North Shore Country Day School, Glencoe Educational Foundation and the La Jolla Country Day School. Kay graduated from Brown University in 1983 with a B.A. in Organizational Behavior and Management. Kay resides in La Jolla, California with her husband Bill and has a son Grant and daughter Liza.

Kristina Houck

Chair, Communication Committee

Kristina Houck is a staff reporter for U-T Community Press, a group of community newspapers including Del Mar Times, Solana Beach Sun, Carmel Valley News, Rancho Santa Fe Review and Encinitas Advocate. With a background in journalism and public relations, Kristina sits on Words Alive’s board and chairs the organization’s Communications Committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science with minors in English and religious studies from San Diego State University.

Jodi Kennedy

Jodi Kennedy attended UCSD and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. She worked as a television producer, director and writer for over twenty years. Jodi worked for E! Entertainment Television, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Television in Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC. She won two Emmy awards for her work as a senior producer on the nationally syndicated teen news show, "Not Just News." Currently, Jodi serves as a writer and associate producer for KFMB News 8 and remains active in a variety of volunteer roles. She has also worked as a volunteer with Del Mar School's Education Foundation, Children's Hospital, Canyon Crest Academy Dollars for Scholars, and as president of Del Mar TV. Jodi is a proud mom to four amazing children.

Christina La Page

Christina La Page is a district manager for Wells Fargo Bank, where she oversees 10 branches and 170 team members within the San Diego area. She graduated from Cal State San Marcos with a bachelor's in liberal studies.

Rick Seidenwurm

Past Chair

Rick is a graduate of Williams College and Columbia Law School.  In a rare burst of sanity, he left New York and moved to San Diego in 1973.  He is a founder and former managing partner of Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith, one of San Diego's top law firms.  Rick also served as a commercial arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.  He is now fully retired.

Rick began volunteering for Words Alive at Choice Summit in 2009 and founded the Words Alive creative writing program the next year.  He continues to volunteer at Choice year-round.  He joined the Words Alive Board in 2013 and has served as Treasurer, Vice Chair, and Board Chair.

Rick has served on the nonprofit boards of Wayword, Inc., San Diego Writers, Ink, Business Counsel and Fairbanks Ranch Country Club.   He also does volunteer teaching at Del Sur Elementary School and is a mentor with the Access Youth program.

Mike Skerlos

Mike is currently the Senior Legal Counsel for the Government Technologies Division of Qualcomm Incorporated. Before joining Qualcomm in 2010, Mike spent the previous seventeen years working as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office here in San Diego. Some of his additional responsibilities while a prosecutor; included acting as the Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council Coordinator for the Southern District of California, Community Outreach Coordinator, Crisis Management Coordinator, Attorney Hiring Chair, and Human Trafficking Coordinator. Mike has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University, and earned his J.D. from DePaul University in 1995. Mike is originally from Chicago, has a teenage son and daughter, and has lived in San Diego for almost 20 years.

Heidi Weisbaum

Heidi Weisbaum received her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and her Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. After working in healthcare for many years, she went to law school and received her law degree from Southwestern University School of Law. For most of her legal career, she was a Deputy Attorney General with the California Attorney General’s Office in San Diego, specializing in administrative prosecutions of physicians and other healthcare licensees. She is the author of a chapter on administrative mandamus practice for a publication of the California Continuing Education of the Bar. In 2012, she retired from the Attorney General’s Office and currently works part-time as an administrative law judge. Heidi has also volunteered with her local elementary, middle and high schools, among other community organizations. She is now a volunteer with the Del Mar Library.