David Smith, Chair

David Smith

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 L. Angelo

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

Photo of Catherine Robb

Ms. Robb is the founder and chairman 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, 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 President) of the Austin Film Society, KLRU (where she is Vice-Chair and serves on the Austin City Limits Committee), Humanities Texas, and the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and on the Advisory Council for the University of Texas School of Undergraduate Studies and LBJ School of Public Affairs. She is a past board member of 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

A.J. Bingham

A.J. Bingham is a registered lobbyist and the Legislative Director for McWilliams Governmental Affairs Consultants.

He has represented public and private sector clients before the Texas Legislature, state agencies and commissions, as well as the executive branch on a range of issues, including: cybersecurity, energy, satellite communication, local governments, taxation, and transportation.

Prior to joining McWilliams, A.J. was a staffer for the Texas House Committee on State Affairs, and a Research Associate in the Texas Senate Research Center. He has a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Wake Forest University, and received his Juris Doctor from Washburn University School of Law. Additionally, he attended Austin's elite public high school, the L.B.J. Math and Science Academy (now the Liberal Arts and Science Academy).

Outside of the Future Forum, A.J. currently serves on the Boards of the Young Men’s Business League of Austin and Austin School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He is Co-Chair of the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee, and was a finalist in the 2013 Austin Under 40 Awards Government & Public Affairs category. He is also a 2011 graduate of the select Leadership Austin Emerge program for young professional leaders.

A.J. has called Austin home for over two decades.

Ryann Collier

Ryann Collier

Ryann Collier is an Account Executive and Publicist at Arsenal Advertising + Public Relations 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

Photo of Carsi Mitzner

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

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.

Tim Taliaferro

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

Photo of Mark UpdegroveMark 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.

Aaron Weiss

Aaron Weiss

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.

Contact Us

Sarah McCracken
Director of Public Programs
LBJ Presidential Library
2313 Red River Street
Austin TX 78705


Please be aware that LBJ Library and Museum events may be filmed and/or photographed. Your attendance constitutes your authorization for the LBJ Library to use your photograph, voice, or other likeness for purposes related to the Library, including but not limited to marketing and promotion in both print and electronic forms.

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