Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Austin SCBWI Welcomes New ARA

The new year marks a moment of transition for the Austin SCBWI chapter, as Gayleen Rabakukk concludes her time as Assistant Regional Advisor (ARA) and Lindsay Leslie steps in for her.
“We want to say a huge thank-you to Gayleen Rabakukk for all her hard work for this chapter during the past two and a half years,” says Austin Regional Advisor Samantha Clark.  “While I’m sad to see her leave our leadership team, I’m excited that she’ll still be volunteering for us as her schedule allows.  And I know that Lindsay Leslie will be a great addition to our team.”
Close-up headshot of smiling Gayleen with glasses perched on head

Gayleen Rabakukk

Reflecting on her tenure as ARA, Gayleen notes that what she loved most was creating opportunities for chapter members.  These included “finding just the right speaker to offer craft insights or promoting our published members through The Great Texas Readathon, an Austin SCBWI booth at the Texas Book Festival, and book signings at the Texas Library Association conference.  We also created more opportunities related to equity and inclusion through additional scholarship offerings.  It’s been an honor to serve as ARA, but now it’s time for me to serve family members dealing with health issues.  I know Lindsay Leslie will do an amazing job as ARA and am eager to see what’s next for our vibrant chapter.”

Black-and-white author headshot of Lindsay Leslie smiling and looking to the right against a wood-panel/siding background

Lindsay Leslie

For her part, Lindsay has already had a long relationship with the Austin SCBWI chapter and is excited to step into the ARA role as a way of giving back.  “Back in 2015,” she says, “the Austin chapter of SCBWI and its members welcomed me with open arms when I was new to writing for children.  They have been there through every up and all the downs of my journey.  And the connections I’ve made within these past years have been invaluable.  I couldn’t think of a better way to give back.  Plus, I’m passionate about helping others navigate their way forward in their craft and make connections within this industry.  I look forward to working alongside RA Samantha Clark and illustrator coordinator Rivkah LaFille to continue the fantastic work of this chapter.  Thanks for having me!”
Congratulations and thank you to both Gayleen and Lindsay!