Board of Directors
David Smith, Chair
Widely recognized as an authority in environmental and natural resources law and policy, David Smith returned to Texas – and private practice – after more than a decade in public service in both Austin and Washington, D.C. Mr. Smith has dealt with all major Texas and federal natural resources agencies as counsel, policy advisor or appointed official. As a result, Mr. Smith has a keen understanding of complex regulatory issues and agency processes, as well as strong relationships with key agency personnel.
Most recently, Mr. Smith served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior and Counselor for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, where he developed and oversaw implementation of policies for both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service. In this capacity, he was a member of the Secretary of the Interior’s senior management team, working with political and career leadership across the Department of the Interior, the White House, Congress and other federal agencies. As former Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton noted, “David Smith has a national reputation as a problem-solver in conservation and parks management.” He has testified before both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and has delivered speeches and position papers to national and international audiences on such topics as the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Act, National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Park System, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Mr. Smith went to Washington as one of the Bush administration’s first appointees to the Department of the Interior, after serving on the Bush-Cheney Transition Team in late 2000 and early 2001. He previously served in the Appointments Office of then-Governor George W. Bush, overseeing all gubernatorial appointments in the areas of natural resources, conservation, real estate, housing, finance and water. Before devoting his career to public service, Smith was an attorney in private practice in Austin, where he concentrated on environmental and land-use issues on the federal, state and local levels.
Jill L. Angelo, Chair-Elect
Jill Angelo currently serves as the Chair-Elect of the Future Forum. Most recently, she was the Associate Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at The University of Texas at Austin. In that role, she was responsible for Center’s external relations efforts, including strategic communications, events and outreach.
Prior to joining the Strauss Center, Angelo worked as a director in the government relations practice group of Public Strategies, Inc., giving strategic advice and counsel to clients on public policy and communications issues. She also served as the firm’s acting Chief Operating Officer.
Angelo served in the White House as executive assistant to Counselor to the President Karen Hughes, where she managed day-to-day operations of the Counselor's office and coordinated events and media interviews for President George W. Bush and Hughes. Angelo began working for Bush on his 1998 re-election bid for Texas governor and continued on his 2000 presidential campaign as media travel coordinator. She also worked as a press aide on the successful congressional special election campaign of U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Jill is the Vice President of the Board of Trustees of St. Matthew’s Episcopal School. She is also a board member and former president of the Austin Gladney Family Association, a local organization representing over 400 families in the Austin area who have adopted through The Gladney Center for Adoption.
She received her B.A. from Texas State University and her J.D. with honors from The University of Texas School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Texas.
Catherine Robb, Honorary Chair
Ms. Robb is the founder and Chair Emeritus of the LBJ Library Future Forum. Catherine Robb is of counsel in the Business Litigation Practice Group in the Austin office of Haynes and Boone, LLP. Catherine represents clients in the broadcast industry. Her practice is focused on commercial and business litigation, First Amendment litigation, pre-publication review and editing, copyright and trademark litigation, general commercial litigation, open government issues and privacy concerns. She advises clients concerning media law issues for an extensive array of content providers including online and traditional newspapers, magazines, radio and broadcasters, cable television stations, production companies and music entities.
Ms. Robb is a member of the American Bar Association (and the Women in Communication Law), Texas Bar Association, and the Austin Bar Association. She served on the Judicial Relations Committee for the State Bar of Texas (2001-2004 and 2009) and graduated from The First Amendment Institute's First Amendment Leadership Program in 2002. After completing law school, Ms. Robb clerked for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (Chambers of W. Royal Furgeson) before going into private practice.
She serves as a board member and current Board Chair of KLRU (where she also serves on the Austin City Limits Committee), and serves on the board of the Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council, and the Texas Lyceum and on the Advisory Council for the University of Texas School of Undergraduate Studies, LBJ School of Public Affairs, and the Texas Exes. She is a past board member of the Austin Film Society (where she served as Board President), Humanities Texas (where she serves as an Alumni Board Chair), the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, the Austin Music Foundation, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, and of the American Heart Association (Capitol Area Division). Ms. Robb served on The University of Texas' Commission of 125 (and Service to Society Committee) and is an active member of Leadership Austin.
In addition to these positions, Ms. Robb volunteers for several non-profits in the community, including Reading is Fundamental of Austin, Trinity Center, and Volunteer Legal Services. She was awarded the 2007 Austin Under 40 Award in the category of Community Service. In her free time, Catherine runs and does triathlons. Ms. Robb earned her J.D., 1998, with honors, from the University of Texas School of Law. She received her B.A., 1992 from The University of Virginia.
A.J. Bingham is a consultant with Austin-based Strategic Partnerships, Inc. (SPI), a leading full-service government affairs and procurement consulting firm. Prior to joining SPI, he was legislative director for one of Texas’ top lobbying firms, representing private and public sector clients on a range of state and local policy matters. He serves on the boards of the Trail of Lights Foundation and Young Men's Business League of Austin. He also serves as the Chair of Advocacy & Government Affairs for the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce. He was a finalist in the 2013 Austin Under 40 Awards Government & Public Affairs category.
A.J. received his B.A. in Political Science from Wake Forest University, and J.D. from Washburn University School of Law. He has called Austin home for over 23 years.
Ryann Collier is an Account Executive and Publicist at Arrow in Austin.
She has worked on a wide variety of media projects, including the rebranding and reopening publicity of the LBJ Presidential Library in December 2012. Ryann excels at working with organizations to find creative publicity opportunities, and has led local, regional and national campaigns for clients like H-E-B, Jason’s Deli and the Texas Book Festival. Outside of the office, she has donated her time and services to Art Alliance Austin, the Downtown Austin Alliance, Grounded in Music, and The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. In her spare time, she enjoys event planning, cooking and spending time in Austin’s many beautiful parks. Ryann graduated with honors from Texas State University, LBJ’s alma mater, with a B.A. in Mass Communication-Public Relations.
Carsi Mitzner is an attorney working at the governmental relations firm of Adams and Zottarelli, LLC. Previously, she worked for the law firm of Nix, Patterson, and Roach and in both houses of the Texas Legislature. In the House of Representatives, she was General Counsel for a state representative, and prior to that position, she worked in the Senate Office of Engrossing and Enrolling. Before gaining experience in the Texas Legislature, Carsi worked for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to indigent clients.
Carsi was licensed in November 2008 after graduating from the University of Houston Law Center, where she held the position of Service Chair for the Public Interest Law Organization and was trained as a mediator through the A.A. White Dispute Resolution Center. Carsi also attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she received a degree in Communication Studies with high honors.
Carsi joined the LBJ Future Forum in 2008 and became a board member in 2010. Outside of the Future Forum, Carsi volunteers with SafePlace and is active in the Austin Young Lawyers Association.
Blair Newberry is the Director of Retail at the LBJ Presidential Library, managing operations and product development.
Blair’s professional experience began in the marketing department of the Austin American-Statesman in the mid-90’s, managing promotional contracts for more than 30 arts and athletics organizations across Central Texas. From there she focused her career largely on marketing and event planning within the non-profit sector and for the University of Texas at Austin’s Public Affairs office. She was an early adopter of social media technologies and managed several grass roots marketing campaigns for Fleishman-Hillard Public Relations promoting the use of new technology to targeted markets in Central Texas.
Eventually, Blair took over a small, award-winning gift shop on the busy corner of 6th and Lamar known as Sparks Cards & Gifts, managing all aspects of the business for several years. More recently, she was the Marketing and Outreach Director for the Texas Book Festival, growing membership through special events and social media, and managing the Festival’s charitable services including the Reading Rock Stars literacy program and the Texas Library Grants program.
Blair is a proud native Austinite and graduate of the College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of the Dell Children’s Trust of Central Texas, and in her spare time loves to read, cycle, cook, travel, and spend time outdoors with her husband and two children.
Vikrant P. Reddy
Vikrant P. Reddy is a Senior Policy Analyst in the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Through the Foundation’s national Right On Crime initiative, he works with policymakers throughout the U.S. on state and federal criminal justice reforms.
Vikrant has authored several reports on criminal sentencing, corrections, and overcriminalization. He has also written articles for a number of popular press publications including USA Today, the Houston Chronicle, National Review, and National Law Journal.
Vikrant is a frequent media commentator on criminal justice issues. He has appeared on CSPAN’s Washington Journal, NPR’s All Things Considered and Tell Me More, and the Dennis Miller Show. He has also presented invited testimony before the United States Sentencing Commission.
Vikrant has worked as a research assistant at The Cato Institute, as a law clerk to the Honorable Gina M. Benavides of the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas, and as an attorney in private practice.
Vikrant graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Plan II Honors, Economics, and History. He earned his law degree at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and he serves on the Steering Committee of the Austin Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society.
Tim Taliaferro is the vice president of communications and digital strategy for Texas Exes, the alumni association for The University of Texas at Austin, and the editor-in-chief of Alcalde, the award-winning alumni magazine. Under Tim’s leadership, the communications arm of the Texas Exes has expanded to include video, interactive media, television, and podcasting. He oversees the Association’s website, bi-monthly print publication, social media, creative services, media relations, video production, and the Alcalde show on Longhorn Network.
Tim earned his bachelor’s degree in history and Plan II at UT, and his master’s in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School. Before joining the Texas Exes, Tim worked at the Huffington Post on their politics desk, and he helped launched the Chicago page, the Huffington Post’s first local vertical. In his free time, he alternates between running and cycling, and is an assistant coach for Austin Junior Volleyball.
Mark Updegrove serves as the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library's fourth Director in its thirty-eight year history. Updegrove is an award-winning author with over two decades of leadership experience within top media and communications organizations including Time, Newsweek, and Yahoo.
Updegrove is the author of two books relating to American presidents. Baptism By Fire: Eight Presidents Who Took Office in Times of Crisis examines eight Presidents who took office in times of unprecedented crisis, how they dealt the burdens they inherited, the role of character in leadership, and the lessons they provide for President Obama. Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House looks at the post-Presidential lives of our modern Presidents.
Updegrove has been Director of Business Development at Rawle Murdy, a private communications firm. He has also served as Vice President and Head of Sales and Operations at Yahoo! Canada; Vice President and Publisher of Nickelodeon Magazine and MTV Magazine; U. S. Publisher of Newsweek; and spent eleven years in several leadership roles at Time, Inc. including Los Angeles Manager of Time and President of Time Canada, Time's Canadian edition and operation.
Updegrove graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Crystal Wallingford currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff to Ambassador Karen Hughes at Burson-Marsteller, an international communications firm. She also leads the training committee for Burson’s Southwest Market. Prior to joining Burson-Marsteller, Wallingford worked at the Department of Defense for the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness Washington, D.C.
Ms. Wallingford began her career in Washington, D.C. as a political appointee in the administration of President George W. Bush. She held positions in the Office of Management and Budget, and in the Office of Strategic Initiatives and External Affairs. She was selected to do advance work and plan and execute logistics for trips for President Bush and Vice President Cheney, as well as arrival ceremonies for foreign dignitaries on the South Lawn of The White House.
Wallingford is a native Austinite who graduated with honors from Texas A&M University in 2006. During her time at Texas A&M University she worked at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in the Education Department. She is a member of the Friends of LBJ, Women’s Symphony League, the Junior League of Austin and the Austin Young Chamber of Commerce.
Aaron Weiss is a native Austinite and founder of One Story Productions, a documentary production company established in 2006. One Story Productions works with organizations to assist them with awareness in the community and helps them communicate their mission and purpose. Weiss’ passion is to create visual-voices that tell real stories.
Aaron’s work has been shown in the Austin Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival, and the Lights Camera Help Film Festival. Aaron also serves as the marketing chair of the Young Men’s Business League Board of Directors.