First Book Leadership
- Kyle Zimmer - President and CEO
- Jane Robinson - Chief Financial Officer
- Chandler Arnold - Chief Operating Officer
- Marilynn Jacobs - Senior Advisor, Marketing and Communications
- Becki Last - Senior Vice President, Engagement
- Carey M. Palmquist - Senior Vice President, Ecommerce
- Diana Peacock - Senior Vice President, Development Alliances
- Bryan Straathof - Senior Vice President, Finance
- Daniel Stokes - Senior Vice President, Administration
- Chris Stine - Senior Vice President, Information Technology
President and CEO
In 1992, Kyle Zimmer, then a practicing attorney, was volunteering at a soup kitchen in Washington, DC. Realizing that the kids she was working with had no books in their lives, she set out with two friends to build a market-driven solution to ensure all children have access to critical books and resources.
More than 20 years and 150 million brand-new books later, Kyle continues to lead First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise she co-founded to ensure that local schools and community programs across the country serving children from low-income families would have a steady supply of the brand-new, high-quality books they so desperately need. Over the years, the organization has built upon its tradition of ‘collaborative disruption’ with
Under Kyle’s leadership, First Book has built the largest and fastest growing network of schools and programs serving children in need across the United States and Canada – over 275,000 at last count – and growing by more than 5,000 per month.
First Book has pioneered groundbreaking new models, including the First Book National Book Bank, which serves as the nation’s largest clearinghouse for new books donated by publishers, and the First Book Marketplace, an award-winning, self-sustaining program that purchases new books and makes them available to educators and program leaders at unprecedented prices. First Book is continually
Kyle’s commitment to innovation and collaboration has earned her a reputation as a social sector leader. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., which is responsible for protecting and overseeing the integrity of Dr. Suess books, properties, licensing and related products, and of the Board of Directors for Ashoka, which works to support the finest social entrepreneurs in more than 70 countries. She also serves on the Youth Venture Board of Directors and as a member of the board for James Patterson’s ReadKiddoRead.
Kyle is a passionate advocate for social entrepreneurship, educational equity, and the importance of literacy to further economic competitiveness and global understanding. Among her awards are the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service Benefitting the Disadvantaged (2016), Peggy Charren/Free to Be You and Me Award from the Ms. Foundation for Women (2016), the Campaign for
Chief Financial Officer
Jane serves as the chief financial officer for First Book and the First Book Marketplace. Jane had a distinguished career with law firm Zuckerman Spaeder, where she served as CFO for two decades as it evolved from a small firm to its current status as a major litigation firm with multiple offices in the United States. Jane has superior skills in financial management and has provided strategic guidance for First Book and its subsidiaries during a period of unparalleled growth. In addition to her financial role for First Book, Jane, together with Kyle Zimmer and Chandler Arnold, serves on the executive management team, overseeing all operations and strategic development for the organization. Jane has a degree in Math and Physics from Arcadia University and she did graduate work at the University of Arizona's Optical Sciences Center.
Chief Operating Officer
Chandler is responsible for First Book’s day-to-day operations domestically as well as at the global level. Chandler, along with First Book’s CEO and CFO, also serves on First Book’s executive management team, overseeing the strategic development for the organization.
Prior to joining First Book, Chandler worked in marketing for The Coca-Cola Company, where he focused on customer segmentation and strategy, and as a management consultant with The Boston Consulting Group, where he advised corporations on profit maximization, public-private partnerships, and organizational design.
Chandler holds an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, where his work centered on harnessing the power of the private sector to advance social change. Chandler is also the founder of the Harvard Emergent Literacy Project and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University.
Senior Advisor, Marketing and Communications
Marilynn leads First Book's Marketing and Communications team in developing integrated marketing, branding and content strategies to raise awareness of the organization’s products and services for programs serving children from low-income families, as well First Book’s position as a global leader in social entrepreneurship. Marilynn has also been a member of the First Book Advisory Board since 2001.
Prior to joining First Book, Marilynn has served in a number of marketing and communications roles with a special emphasis on the publishing industry, agencies and non-profit organizations. As the Vice President/General Manager for Reader’s Digest, she served as the product management and operational lead for all online and offline Reader's Digest-branded platforms in the U.S. and Canada, and for the North American Business Development and Books & Music divisions. She was the lead marketing executive for the launch of O, The Oprah Magazine and Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine, helping to garner both of those titles industry awards and sales records.
Marilynn holds a MA in Arts Management from the University of Michigan and a BS in Communications from Northwestern University.
Senior Vice President, Engagement
Becki Last leads First Book's efforts to register new schools and programs across the country, keep our existing network engaged and active and bring First Book’s resources to more kids that need them. She comes to First Book from a successful career in strategic marketing for companies like USA TODAY, Time Warner Cable, Sprint Nextel and MCI. Becki holds an MBA from the University of Maryland.
Carey M. Palmquist
Senior Vice President, Ecommerce
Carey Palmquist is responsible for assisting First Book's leadership
Senior Vice President, Development Alliances
Diana provides strategic oversight for First Book’s corporate strategic alliance,
Senior Vice President, Finance
Bryan joined First Book in 2012 with more than 15 years of financial management experience in both the nonprofit and governmental sectors. A CPA, Bryan spent five years as the Director of Finance for the Forest Trends Association, an environmental nonprofit based in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he oversaw financial management operations for international development projects at the National Cooperative Business Association, the Citizens Development Corps and at the headquarters of the Peace Corps. Bryan graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in finance.
Senior Vice President, Administration
Dan manages the organization’s Human Resources department, oversees day-to-day operations at First Book’s headquarters, and is involved in other projects at a strategic and operational level.
Before joining First Book, Dan spent his career in accounting, working for publishing and media companies in New York, and the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He spent a decade
Dan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a Master’s degree in Human Resources and an MBA, all from the University of Maryland.
Senior Vice President, Information Technology
Chris leads First Book's Information Technology team in delivering new technology projects to support strategic organizational initiatives as well as IT operations,
Prior to joining First Book, he consulted for IBM and was a Sr. Director in eBay Enterprise where he led Product Development and Service Delivery teams concentrating on
He has 20+ years experience in IT starting as a software engineer, moving through increasing levels of management responsibility in a variety of industries including Healthcare, Telecommunications, Insurance, eCommerce and Strategic Consulting. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Kutztown University.