Samantha Keyes

Board President

Samantha Keyes is a strategic marketing and brand executive with 20 years of experience building b-to-b brands. She has worked in various industries, including IT services, energy, consulting, and health care. From developing insight and formulating strategy to creating integrated and targeted campaigns, Samantha creates opportunities for C-suite executives to engage with b-to-b brands. Currently, she is VP of Research, Intelligence, and Solutions Marketing for Vizient in Irving, Texas.

Dr. Sha-shonda Porter

Board Vice President

Sha-shonda Porter has earned a Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Studies, Humanities and Culture; an MFA in Creative Writing; and a BA in Writing Literature. Over the past ten years of her diverse experience, she has taught in a variety of academic settings, including on-campus, online, and low-residency. She currently serves as Associate Dean of World Languages, Cultures, and Communications at Richland College.

Ford W. Harmon

Board Secretary

Ford is an attorney for Maddrey PLLC – a law firm with a focus on creative-minded clients – such as startups, entrepreneurs, artists of all mediums (including writers), and nonprofit organizations. He primarily conducts transactional work, focusing much of his practice on startup law, contract law, intellectual property law, and general business law.

Outside of work, he has taken on an active role on several committees of the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers and also volunteers with the Genesis Women’s Shelter and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts. He previously served as a Board Trustee for the SMU Media Company, an independent 501(c)(3), which owns, operates, and produces SMU’s campus newspaper. He is avid reader, and he considers writing to be both one of his favorite hobbies and forms of meditation.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Ford received a B.S. in Business Administration with a Concentration in Entrepreneurship from LSU before earning his J.D. from SMU’s Dedman School of Law.

Jeanne Devine

Board Trustee

Jeanne Devine is a Counsel with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, specializing in interpretation and application of banking and consumer laws and regulations. In her spare time, she represents actors, directors and producers in the motion picture, television, and stage industries. Jeanne received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Arts degree in French and International Trade from Eastern Michigan University. She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas, where she was Articles Editor of the Texas International Law Journal and a writing instructor for incoming minority law students. Jeanne has previously been on the Board of Directors of literary organizations, theaters, and acting societies. As an avid reader and published author, she has a strong interest in the literary field and is proud to support The Writer’s Garret.

Sam Garrett

Board Trustee

Sam is a business and technology lawyer with Grable Martin Fulton PLLC, the largest virtual law firm in Texas. After getting a BA in Literature and a law degree, he worked in Atlanta for civil rights judge Albert John Henderson, then practiced law in New York, London, and Virginia, coming to Dallas in 2005. He has written weekly articles for Bloomberg and served as an executive officer and general counsel for an NYSE software company.

James E. Johanns

Board Trustee

James Johanns is a Dallas-based attorney who focuses his practice on commercial litigation. He has a BA in Mathematics and Comparative Literature with a concentration in the interrelationship of the arts and Spanish literature from Indiana University. James moved to Texas to study law at the University of Texas. He is an alumnus of The Leadership Arts Institute through the Business Counsel for the Arts, and a longtime member of the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, and several other arts and culture organizations in Dallas.

Starla Patterson

Board Trustee

Once a child without the means to go to pricey summer camps and after school programs, Starla Patterson now seeks out charitable opportunities that allow her to help bridge the gap between people in need and the educational programs they want to take part in. She is passionate about giving all people the same opportunities regardless of their background, wealth, or experiences. At The Writer’s Garret, she is able to combine her professional background in marketing, a strong desire to help others and a passion for the arts to help at-risk people learn to express themselves practically and creatively so that they are understood, valued, and connected to each other and their communities in a meaningful way.