The APA is led by a volunteer board and committees in a variety of areas. They are supported by an Executive Director and APA headquarters administrative office who are available to assist members and prospective members with questions at any time.

The Board of Directors is selected by the voting members (Publishers) and consists of 9 members who hold their position for two-year terms. Affiliate Members – including retailers, suppliers, individual industry professions, voice talent, librarians, and media – may be members of the Board, however the majority must be made up of Publishers per our bylaws. In addition to the Board of Directors, leadership of the APA includes a slate of officers who are appointed annually by the Board of Directors.

APA 2022-2023 Board of Directors' Goals:

  • Be an industry change agent charting an inclusive path to market growth and evolution.
  • Highlight the art, craft and expertise of spoken word experiences.
  • Commit to the effort of increasing diversity within APA membership and board positions. Keep this goal front of mind as we approach every APA objective.
  • Increase the consumer and media awareness of the Audies as an award.

Committees are made up of members who volunteer their time to strengthen the offerings of the APA.

For information concerning the full structure of the association, please refer to its bylaws (pdf). Or listen to the bylaws here.

APA Committees

APA Conference

The APAC committee plans the educational tracks of this premier event for audio professionals with focuses on business and performance. Planning committee members help line up speakers, craft programming focus, write copy for the conference brochure, and assist in helping the day run smoothly. Meetings are held regularly with the association events team to build a strong and worthwhile event with plenty of networking opportunities for all.

Business Track Co-Chairs:

  • Laura Gachko, Recorded Books
  • Victoria Gerken, Podium Audio

Production Track Co-Chairs:

  • Erin Bennett, Narrator
  • Cass Medcalf, Narrator

The Audie Awards® Competition

The Audie Awards® competition is the only awards program in the United States devoted entirely to recognizing distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. This committee administers and ensures the integrity of the competition, coordinating the work of over 200 dedicated judges.

Chair:

  • Mary Burkey, Librarian

The Audie Awards® Gala

The finalists and winners of The Audie Awards® competition are honored at a gala event. Members of the Audie Awards® Gala committee assist with the planning of this celebration including choice of venue and emcee, theme selection, program and script writing and presentation preparation. Meetings are held regularly with the association events team.

Chair:

  • Amy Metsch, Spiegel & Grau

Membership

The Membership Committee works to spread the word about the APA and its mission around the world. This includes working with other committees to enhance membership benefits and create new ways to better serve members. Committee members' participation includes such tasks as welcoming new members, planning and executing webinars, and building the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives: our Mentorship Program, New Narrator Workshops, and the Narration Resources Hub.

Co-Chairs:

  • Eric Barnett, Supporting Cast
  • Caitlin Garing, HarperAudio

Voice Talent Ambassador Program

Voice talent members greet new voice talent members, introduce them to the organization, and are available to answer questions about membership.

Co-Chairs:

  • Romy Nordlinger, Narrator
  • Bob Souer, Narrator

Narrator Webcasts

Monthly webcasts focused on voice talent education.

Chair:

  • Suzanne Elise Freeman, Narrator

Membership Communications

The Membership Communications Committee is responsible for the content, look and tone of the APA eNewsletters, Email Alerts, and Industry News Blog. They work to provide members with up-to-date information on programs and services as well as other industry updates. The eNewsletter is distributed monthly to its membership as an exclusive member benefit.

Chair:

  • Nicole Morano, Pushkin Industries

Nominations

The Nominations committee works with the board and the membership to identify eligible members to run for the board and keep those running informed about the process. Voting members (publishers) select a new board each year.

Chair:

  • Dan Zitt, Penguin Random House Audio

Public Relations and Events (PRE)

Professionals from various areas of the audio publishing industry work together to increase the visibility and profile of audiobooks. Members of this committee meet regularly to improve and share PR opportunities. Committee members do everything from coordinate events to write press releases to stuff goodie bags to design creative marketing campaigns.

Chair:

  • Cassie McNeil, Recorded Books/Tantor Media

Sound Learning is a subcommittee of the PRE focusing on expanding the information about the importance of audiobooks within the literacy cycle.

Chair:

  • Francisca Goldsmith, Librarian and Consultant

Narrators, sign up here to be indicate your willingness to take part in our Sound Learning narrator visits to libraries and schools.

Research

The Research Committee is responsible for identifying and distributing data to APA members to help them understand and manage their audio businesses. The committee’s two largest projects are the annual Consumer and Sales Surveys. For both projects the committee determines what information the APA wants to know, identifies a firm to conduct the research, works with that firm to develop a questionnaire, and works with the PR & Events Committee to share results with members and to generate media interest in the results. Meetings are held throughout the year on an as-needed basis. Do you have ideas for questions for the Consumer Survey? Tell us here.

Chair:

  • Lori Benton, Scholastic Audio

Ready to volunteer?

The APA encourages participation in committees by all of our members!

Executive Director

Michele Cobb

Michele served on the board from 2001, as a director and officer, becoming Executive Director in 2015. She is a partner in Forté Business Consulting, which provides PR, Sales, Marketing, and Business Development services for the publishing industry.

President

Ana Maria Allessi

Ana Maria is Publisher of Workman Audio. She is a veteran audio and digital publishing executive who previously worked for HarperCollinsPublishers.

Vice President

Samantha Edelson

Samantha is the Vice President of Marketing at Macmillan Audio where she has worked for the past eleven years. She oversees all of the marketing and publicity efforts there, including advertising, social media, and sales management.

V.P. Member Communications

Nicole Morano

Nicole is the publicity director at Pushkin Industries, the audio company founded by Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg. She has also served as the chair of the APA's PRE committee for the past two years.

V.P. Voice Talent Communications

Ronnie Butler

Ronnie is an LA-based actor with over a hundred film, theater, and television credits, (most notably as a regular on "True Jackson VP”). He is a multiple Audie Award Nominee, and has won over a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards. He is a member of the prestigious Atlantic Theater Company, and an adjunct faculty member of Pace University.

Treasurer

Lee Jarit

Lee is Vice President, US Publisher Relations, at Audible. He has had the pleasure of collaborating with all sorts of audio publishers, large and small, to ensure their recordings are made available to Audible listeners around the world.

Secretary

Laura Gachko

Laura Gachko is Vice President of Content at Recorded Books, the largest independent audiobook publisher in the world. As VP of Content at Recorded Books, Laura oversees the acquisition activity for the RB, HighBridge, and Gildan imprints.

Eric Barnett

Eric is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Supporting Cast. In his former role as Manager of Strategic Partnerships for Findaway, Eric launched K-12 direct sales, worked with retail partners around the world, and oversaw the expansion of Findaway’s full-service audiobook production business, Audioworks.

Lori Benton

Lori Benton is the Vice President & Group Publisher for the Trade Publishing division of Scholastic Inc, and President of Scholastic Audio and Weston Woods. Lori oversees the direction as well as the digital strategy of the publishing program for all imprints of the Trade division, and all aspects of Scholastic Audio and Weston Woods.

Lauren Cannavino

Lauren Cannavino is the OverDrive representative to the Educational Book & Media Association as well as the APA. As a Manager of Publisher Account Services at OverDrive, Lauren supports large independent, audiobook, and children’s publishers.

Caitlin Garing

Caitlin Garing is the Associate Publisher of Audio Production at HarperCollins where she oversees the production team that handles all of HarperCollins US audiobook titles, plus Harlequin US. She has produced and directed a number of award-winning audiobooks.

Victoria Gerken

Victoria is Publisher and Head of Acquisitions at Podium, the eighth largest audiobook publisher in North America, where she manages a rock-star-level acquisitions and author relations team.

John McElroy

With 25+ years of experience in the audiobook industry, John's expertise is unique. His production company EljinInc.com is an enterprise-scale platform for talent payment (the largest payer of union audiobook talent in the US), and he also runs Erggo.us, a talent marketplace for narrators.

Sean McManus

Sean McManus has worked within the audiobook industry for over 13 years, holding roles at HarperCollins, Scholastic and Audible. Prior to joining Dreamscape Media in his current role as President, he was located in the UK for 4 years leading Business Affairs and Content Strategy for Audible UK.

Amy Metsch

Amy Metsch is Associate Publisher and Director of Audio Programming at Spiegel & Grau, and was formerly Vice President, Associate Publisher, and Editorial Director of the Penguin Random House Audio. She has worked in the audiobook industry for 19 years and in publishing since 1991.

Dan Zitt

Dan Zitt is Senior V.P. of Content Production for Penguin Random House Audio US and has spent his 23-year career in the audiobook industry. Dan has produced over 2,000 audiobooks, including 20 Grammy Award nominees and 3 winners. He is the creator of casting site Ahab.us and leads a team that produces 1,600+ audiobooks a year.