Meet Your ABC Board of Directors
The board of directors is made of up cooperative members who serve one- or two-year terms. The board is elected by members, and is the decision-making body for the co-op. Board elections occur annually at the member meeting.
Jen cannot remember a time in her own life when books and reading were not important. She loved reading so much that she majored in English Literature for her undergraduate degree. It was there she learned more about the importance of putting the love of literature into the hands and imaginations of the youngest. With a MA in Early Childhood Education, she went on to work for Head Start where she has been for 15 years. The first 10 of these years were spent here in Asbury Park, where a huge part of her work was focused on getting books into the community and teaching families how to read together. Although she is now a Center Director in the Freehold Head Start, she still has a heart for the Asbury Community and co-heads the Trinity Church youth program. She has seen the wonder and joy of reading in her own daughter and in the children she has taught, and there is no greater joy. Working with ABC, she continues this work of bringing a love of literature to people of all ages in this community.
Books have always held a special place in Michael’s life. His mother taught him to read at an early age and she always had money to spare when the Bookmobile came to town. While others were stocking up on toilet paper at the outset of the pandemic, Michael was at words! buying a bagful of books.
A graduate of Villanova University’s Honors Program, Michael favors biographies, classic novels, poetry and histories. Along the way, Michael also managed to read a fair number of law books - he is an attorney who has represented several Asbury Park businesses.
While Michael believes that Asbury Park is a very special place, he cannot imagine an Asbury without a vibrant independent bookstore. Michael is honored to serve on the initial ABC Board and is committed to giving his time, efforts and talents to this great undertaking.
Originally from India, Rumu DasGupta has been in the US for 48 years. She lives in Freehold, NJ. She is a sociologist and has been a teacher for almost 40 years, 30 of which were as professor of sociology at Georgian Court University. She is now professor emerita, having retired three years ago. She considers herself a public sociologist believing that the insights of sociology must be applied to lay the foundations of a society where every human being is given all they need to live and thrive and realize their human potential to the fullest. She is delighted to be a part of the Asbury Book Cooperative which she envisions as becoming an important and indispensable resource for the Asbury Park community to grow and thrive to its fullest.
Heather Lennon Vieiro
Heather Lennon Vieiro is a big believer in independent book stores and the power of community. She has worked in children's book publishing for twenty five years, with a background in sales and marketing. Heather is excited to part of ABC's next chapter. She lives in Middletown with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Kate Lydon (Treasurer)
Kate Lydon has been a resident of Asbury Park since 2014 when she and her husband purchased a bed & breakfast in town. While running the B&B, she became close with the Asbury Park small business community and a trustee of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce. Kate currently works for Salt Hotels in revenue management and previously worked in investor relations at a private equity firm in New York City. She has two young children, loves reading, cooking, good TV and afternoons on the beach.
Liza Minno Bloom (Co-op Manager/Book Buyer)
Liza is an educator, community organizer, and bookstore enthusiast who is committed to building accessible and democratic community spaces in Asbury Park. Over the years, she has taught in Sociology and Gender Studies departments, and she works as a popular education racial justice trainer for a few organizations. She has worked at bookstores since college. She is passionate about helping to build a place that fosters community investment and supports the activist and art worlds of Asbury Park.
Michael Newton (Secretary)
Michael Newton is a writer living in Avon, NJ. He is a former bookseller at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. He is also a former associate editor at Zone Books. He is currently a member of the editorial collective at Ugly Duckling Presse. Michael manages ABC's used book section, and he curates the online sales on the stores Instagram account. He is passionate about bookstores as places of community, solidarity, and imagination.
Patricia A. Patton
Patricia spent 18 years as a tourism professional and 15 years as a solopreneur before starting her current work as a Market Consultant in the cannabis wellness space. Her passion as a social entrepreneur began with community board work in the early 90s raising funds for social investment in micro South African businesses. Her long time interest in the future, innovation, and entrepreneurship are part of the trajectory that led to her current focus on cannabis and hemp as driving economic and cultural forces specifically relating to longevity. She is a well-respected writer, content strategist, and advocate for older adults and baby boomers.
Patricia’s consultancy supports hemp and cannabis brands that focus on wellness and older customers. In addition, she facilitates nuanced client market activations through co-branded events, publications, podcasts, and speaking engagements.
She is a grandma who continues to thrive because she remains open to change and innovation. She has traveled widely to host experiential retreats and dream adventures and coached midlife women. She currently serves as a member of The Asbury Book Cooperative and the SXSW Board of Advisors.
Jan Sparrow (Special Director)
Jan Sparrow lives books (that is not a typo). Yes, she loves books also, but books are a huge part of her life. Jan was a professor of communication, a Merrill Lynch financial advisor and yes she sold cars. After becoming a VP of Leadership Development at Merrill Lynch Jan left and co-founded ASGMC, Inc. in 2000. She opened words! bookstore in Asbury Park in 2009 and has been bringing books and events to the AP community ever since. She currently serves on the Board of the Asbury Park Library.
Janet Torsney (Board President)
Currently director of the Keyport Free Public Library, Janet has been a trustee for the Asbury Park Library and a proud public librarian in Montclair, Bradley Beach, Caldwell and Summit. Prior to becoming a librarian, she worked in communications and public affairs for UN agencies and nonprofits like Save the Children and the United Negro College Fund. Janet moved to Asbury Park with her family in 2011.
Hannah Walker (Board Vice President)
A native New Jerseyan, Hannah Walker has lived in Asbury Park since 2012. Currently the Institutional Marketing Manager for Two River Theater in Red Bank NJ, her professional life has included time in journalism and government communications, with the occasional freelance or retail stint on the side to support her inveterate book-buying habits. Hannah spends time not marketing and/or theatering in baking, running, indulging a low-grade witchy streak, and badgering her dogs for cute pics to put on Instagram. You can find Hannah most often browsing the aisles for fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, romance, and anything with a really jazzy cover design.
Meet Your ABC Booksellers
(Thanks to Adrian Bacolo for the Bookseller Portraits. Find Adrian on IG: @adrianb718)