BOARD OF DIRECTORS
JULIA HANNA (she/her)
Founder + President
When it comes to her daughter Harper, Julia is determined. Determined to lift up her voice, ignite her spirit and ultimately to create a world where her daughter feels seen and heard. This passion is what drove Julia to start Harper's Corner.
Inspired by stories she's read to Harper over the years, Julia knows words have the power to transform and connect. One of her favorite books to read to Harper is Don't Touch My Hair by Sharee Miller, because as a mother of a bi-racial child Julia saw very early on the attention Harper would receive because of something as simple as her hair and how that would shape her self image. Seeing the world through her daughter's eyes has made Julia recognize she would need to be more than an advocate for her growing up. She wanted to be an ally for all girls - and boys - like Harper who deserve to see themselves represented so they know all they are capable of becoming.
Julia's passion shows up in how she leads. Professionally, Julia strives to build people and companies up. She's deeply aware that over the past 20 years her positions in merchandising for large retail organizations have the responsibility to influence and shape realities. Knowing this, she's determined to deliver results and growth. Moreover, she holds herself accountable to bring her worldview to the table, acknowledging the need to embrace multicultural, diverse and unique perspectives.
To her core, Julia is driven to make a difference for kids in Central Ohio and beyond. A dream she knows has only started to become a reality because of the generous and amazing support the community has shown in response to Harper's Corner since the beginning. And, one book at a time she knows change will be inevitable.
KAT DEPIZZO (she/her)
Co-Founder + Vice President
Kat believes in the power of generosity, which is why her favorite children's book is the timeless classic The Giving Tree.
As a mom, Kat doesn't take her responsibility to raise strong, empowered daughters lightly. She knows it's on her to show both her girls how to be advocates - both for themselves and others - in life. Lifting up her girls to embrace who they are is her ultimate mission, one she has been inspired by them to lean into with everything she has. Watching her oldest daughter own her identity in the LGBTQ+ community continues to drive Kat to use her voice. And, as much as she hopes to instill wisdom in her children, she recognizes they do more for her every day as they teach her what true empathy can look like.
Professionally, Kat has always been a leader who feels the most success when her team thrives. Witnessing an individual find their purpose is her mission, and Kat constantly works to build those around her up. Beyond work, Kat volunteers in her community with schools and organizations focused on mentorship, investing her time to generate more for future generations.
Whether at home or at work the intention is the same - listen to each other, believe in one another and continue to support how and where you can.
ERIN ANDERSON (she/her)
Erin’s favorite children’s book is The Sneeches by Dr. Seuss because it approaches prejudice and inequality in a way that people of all ages can understand and teaches us that everyone should be treated equally regardless of what they look like.
As a mother of two, Erin is proud to support Harper’s Corner educating and enhancing the minds of young people, helping to create a more inclusive and accepting community, one book and one child at a time.
DIANE DEKEN (she/her)
Diane loves The Pout-Pout Fish and the Bully-Bully Shark by Deborah Diesen.
With a degree in electrical and computer engineering, Diane is proud to support the steel and manufacturing industry with many wonderful people. She supports Harper's Corner for many reasons, starting with knowing and loving Harper since before she was born. As a Board Member she recognizes that she needs to do what she can to develop a culture that promotes equity for Harper and other little girls and boys who might not be born into the same advantages and privileges as some.
ERIN KENDRICK (she/her)
Erin’s personal favorite book growing up was Nettie Jo’s Friends by Patricia McKissack. Now, as a mother of a young son, one of her favorite books to read to him is Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes.
For Erin, Harper’s Corner is more than just teaching students, teachers and families about diversity and inclusion. It’s also about instilling confidence in groups of children who are underrepresented. Growing up, as Erin matriculated through a predominately white school district she was thankful to have great examples in her parents and their friends of what was possible for a Black child. However, she knows not everyone has that example. So through books, showing groups of underrepresented children what they can be and do is important and something she’s proud to be a part of.
LASATRA MOORE-WEEMS (she/her)
As a kid, Dr. Seuss and Judy Blume were two of LaSatra’s favorites.
To her core, LaSatra believes that smile and a kind word to others goes a long way. And, that we should all lend a helping hand and treat others as we would want to be treated. As a wife and mom of two sons, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering in her community and serving on a few groups at her church in Westerville.
Originally from Rockford, Illinois, the oldest of four girls, she left when she was 17 years old following her high school graduation. In addition to being passionate professionally, LaSatra believes in her community. She has held a seat on the New Albany Chamber of Commerce for three years and is a graduate of the Westerville Citizens Police Academy.
APRIL PURPER (she/her)
April’s favorite kid’s book is P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother?
As a busy working mom with three amazing kids, April deeply believes in the mission of Harper’s Corner. She sees how all her children, who are very different from each other, need various things. Through parenting she has realized journey that different is good and that we learn so much from each other because of our differences. April shares that she was fortunate to meet Julia through their retail jobs and build a wonderful friendship with her.
Her children, along with Julia and her daughter Harper inspire April to want to make a difference. In joining the Board of Harper's Corner she hopes to educate others on how valuable diversity and inclusion is for the future.
MARY LOU RINGLE (she/her)
Mary Lou’s favorite children’s book is Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin because it conveys how individuals working together can use the power of words to bring about positive change.
As a retired corporate communications professional, Ohio State journalism grad and grandparent, Mary Lou supports Harper’s Corner in the mission to build a kinder, more understanding and respectful world for all children through the experience of reading about differences in people’s lives.
JILL APGAR (she/her)
Jill's favorite children's book is Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer for the inclusive message and playful illustrations!
As a parent, Jill is driven by her personal experience as a Puerto Rican woman growing up in a majority white suburban community. In 2018, Jill and her husband adopted their daughter, Cora, and have experienced first hand the delicate balance of raising a biracial child in today's world. She is committed to advocating for diversity and representation.
She is passionate about the Harper's Corner mission and believes that access to diverse books empowers children to build confidence while encouraging empathy.
TRACIE STEELE (she/her)
Tracie’s current favorite book to read and share is Saturday by Oge Mora because everyone can all relate to having a day that doesn’t go as planned! The story lovingly highlights that no matter our setbacks, we can still find joy in being together.
Tracie has been fortunate to work her dream job as a librarian where she is witness to the power of books to nurture and connect us. There are so many voices in the world, each one unique and special, but for too long only one type of voice has been amplified. Tracie believes sharing stories from all voices will make our lives richer by opening us to others’ experiences and truth. She is honored to be part of Harper’s Corner working to share diverse voices and stories with children and families.
MICHELLE WALTMAN (she/her)
Michelle’s favorite children's books are Spectacles by Ellen Raskin and The Only One Club by Jane Naliboff - because they embrace kids who are different.
As a mother of two girls, Michelle hopes to educate them on the importance of helping others and the need for equality, which is why she's honored to be part of the Harper’s Corner Board!
Professionally, Michelle has a background in nonprofit and association management. And, for the past 5 years she's worked in education as a preschool teacher. Outside of work, as an active member in her community she volunteers with her children’s school and the New Albany Women’s Network. A member of the Jewish Community, she recognizes acceptance and inclusion are major parts of her and her families identity, which is why she devotes time to her local synagogue. All around, Michelle is empowered to give back and pay it forward.