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.

James E. Johanns

Board Vice President

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.

Dr. Sha-shonda Porter

Board Treasurer

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.

Starla Patterson

Board Secretary

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. As the fundraising chair for The Writer’s Garret who helms annual events such as the Earth Day Book Swap, she is able to combine her professional background in marketing, strong desire to help others, and passion for the arts to help people underserved communities learn to express themselves practically and creatively so that they are understood, valued, and connected to each other.

Michael Clay


Michael has career experience in a number of areas in Equipment Manufacturing; Forecast Management, Product Management, Field Marketing and Customer Service. He is a poet, the poetry editor for a literary/visual arts website and the co-host of a monthly open mic in Dallas. He has been a featured reader and workshop facilitator with other arts organizations in the community for over 10 years. He combines his business experience and a writer’s personal perspective to serve The Writer’s Garret and those who seek to improve their abilities as artists of the written (and spoken) word.

Mark Noble

Board of Trustees

Mark David Noble is a writer, videographer, and multimedia developer who enjoys
working on poetry, plays and short stories. His work has been published in newspapers,
magazines and as lyrics for choral music. He is also a poetry graduate of the C.A.M.P.
project at the Writers Garret, and a retired firefighter from the Mesquite Fire Department.

Julianne B. McCullagh

Board Trustee

Julianne B. McCullagh is the author of the novel The Narrow Gate. She is a Mayborn Literary Conference First Place winner and a Writer’s Digest Literary Fiction winner. Her work has appeared in Rose and Thorn Literary Journal, Ten Spurs Journal, and her online series has appeared on Loyola Press. In her involved history with The Writer’s Garret, she has served as Director of the Community and Mentorship Program (CAMP) and as a workshop instructor.