New Directors Appointed to RWA Board

In accordance with our Bylaws and policies, the President of RWA nominated, and the Board of Directors (Board) approved, the appointment of four new members to fill the vacant Board seats. 
Former Board Advisors Maria Powers (PRO), Mellanie Szereto (Chapter), and Barbara Wallace (PAN) will now move into vacant Director-at-Large positions. We thank them for their previous service to their constituencies and welcome them in their new roles as voting Board members. We also welcome new Board member Eliana West, filling a vacant Director-at-Large seat. All four will serve the remainder of the 2019-2020 term, which ends on August 31. Please find their bios below. 
We are in the process of recruiting and nominating strong, diverse candidates for the remaining five Director-at-Large positions and the three open Advisor positions. 

Maria Powers, Director-at-Large
Maria Powers grew up in Southern California. By day she works in Real Estate wrangling contracts and agreements with several government agencies. By night she writes kickass heroines and tough heroes with sensitive hearts ready to be tamed by the girl next door or beaten into submission by the witch on the corner. She has held several positions on her local chapters' boards and was President of LARA twice. Maria was a Golden Heart finalist in 2015 and is currently working on a series of contemporary romances set on the Central Coast of California.

Mellanie Szereto, Director-at-Large
Mellanie Szereto is the author of more than twenty-five romance novels, novellas, and short stories. In addition to numerous chapter and national committee responsibilities, she has served on her local chapter's board in several capacities, including two terms as president and two terms as vice president, and is the current RWA Chapter Advisor. Her service has earned her Indiana RWA's Chapter Service Award (2013) and the RWA Service Award (2016). Mellanie is a member of the Aged to Perfection-SRW, Contemporary Romance Writers, FF&P, IRWA, and NEORWA chapters.

Barbara Wallace, Director-at-Large
Barbara Wallace sold her first novel to Harlequin/Mills & Boon, two years after winning RWA's Golden Heart Award. Since then she's gone on to publish nearly two dozen romance and mystery novels, both traditionally and independently. She is a three time Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice finalist, and has won the Booksellers Best and New England Readers' Choice awards. In 2019, she received an RWA Service Award in recognition of her 24 years of regional and national RWA service.

Eliana West, Director-at-Large
After being approached for advice on writing diverse characters from several members of her writing group Eliana West decided to create a Facebook group where her friends could post questions. Since its creation in 2017 Writers for Diversity has provided a safe space for thoughtful and respectful dialogue, growing to over 600 members from around the world and encompassing all genres. The only child of a black man and white woman who married before the milestone Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court ruling legalized such unions, growing up severely dyslexic, converting to Judaism as a young woman, starting a business and later writing interracial romance allow Eliana to share her passion for diverse characters and stories contributing her personal experience in her workshop presentations and classes. Eliana has served as chair of the Emerald City Writers' Conference and she is a former board member of Mixed Remixed, an art and literary festival celebrating the mixed experience (