Board of Directors


Timothy Ballenger

Timothy Ballenger is an investment consultant with Allianz Global Investors, a diversified active investment management firm.  Prior to that role, Timothy worked in a marketing capacity for a public finance investment bank and as a paralegal for one of New York’s top white collar criminal defense firms. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College and a native of East Texas. Timothy’s interests include lifestyle, travel, food, men’s style and blogging. He is currently testing recipes and ideas in hopes of producing a work in the nouveau Southern cuisine category.




Tamiko Beyer

Tamiko Beyer is the author of We Come Elemental (Alice James Books, winner of the Kinereth Gensler Award and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist) and the chapbook bough breaks (Meritage Press). Her poems have been published in The Volta, Tupelo Quarterly, Quarterly West, and elsewhere. She is a former NYWC workshop leader, a former mentor for Girls Write Now, and a founding member of Agent 409, a queer writing collective in New York City. More





Jonas Blank

Jonas Blank is a Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at NBCUniversal, focusing on content distribution. In his spare time, he is a Senior Editor at NYCTaper, a free music blog and archive of area live shows. Jonas has written for publications such as The New Republic, FHM, Congressional Quarterly, and The Washington Post. He is a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School.




Louise Crawford

Louise Crawford, Secretary

Louise Crawford is the founder of Brooklyn Social Media, a firm devoted to PR and social media for authors, artists and entrepreneurs. Since 2004, she has published the popular Brooklyn blog Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn. She is also the founder of the Brooklyn Blogfest, an annual networking event for bloggers, and Brooklyn Reading Works, a monthly thematic reading series at the Old Stone House in Park Slope now in its ninth year. More






Atiba Edwards

Atiba Edwards

Atiba T. Edwards is the co-founder and executive director of FOKUS. Born on the island of St. Vincent, he grew up in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  After receiving his Bachelor’s in Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, he returned to NYC and spent several years working in the Investment Bank division of JPMorganChase and Nomura Securities as a Fixed Income Research Analyst. Atiba currently co-leads a middle school in Prospect Heights where he serves as the Director of Operations. He currently serves on the board of an elementary school.

He also runs FOKUS, a not for profit arts organization that increases public access to the arts and uses the arts to build communities which he also co-founded while in college. Additionally, Atiba is a hobbyists in photography, poetry and DJing.


Marian Fontana

Marian Fontana, Chair

Marian Fontana has been a writer and performer for over twenty-five years. Her articles have appeared in The New YorkerVanity Fair, The Guardian and more.

Her memoir, A Widows Walk (Simon and Schuster, 2005), was included in People magazine’s Top Ten Great Reads of 2005 and the Washington Post’s Book Raves of 2005. A Widows Walk was also on the New York Times best-selling biography list and was nominated for the Books for A Better Life Award.  More



ben groom_cropped

Ben Groom


Ben Groom is a blogger and freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald and has been published by professional services firms. A trained lawyer and economist, Ben is a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, where he specializes in social impact work. He has advised many non-profit and humanitarian organizations including the United Nations World Food and Environment Programs, the United Nations Global Compact,  and the Australian Red Cross.




 Aaron Zimmerman

Aaron Zimmerman

Aaron Zimmerman founded NYWC based on the success of the workshops he began in April 2000 at The Prince George, a supportive housing community for low-income, formerly homeless and special-needs populations. He has been leading creative writing workshops since 1997 through Manhattan Writers, a writing workshop program he founded. In that time, he has worked with hundreds of writers of all genres, ages and backgrounds. More