BRAIN TRUST 2023
PubU is developed BY Christian publishers FOR Christian publishers to train, connect, and inspire—through sharing what they know best about their discipline: best-practices, interactive discussions, and action learning.
Brain Trust Lead
Michael Covington is the VP of Publishing & Acquisitions for David C Cook where he oversees their Books business, setting editorial direction and acquisitions strategy. He is responsible for leading a team of high-performing publishing professionals who are passionate about equipping the Church with Christ-centered resources for making and teaching disciples. Michael and his wife Christina live in Colorado Springs along with their two college-age guys, Nate & Sam (plus three cats!)
Children's Book Summit
With more than 25 years in service to Christian publishing, Laura Derico is the Children’s Acquisitions Editor and Content Developer for David C Cook. In her career, including work with Standard Publishing, Lion Hudson, and Barbour, Laura has created a number of devotional and children’s books, along with children’s and youth curriculum projects, and has had the pleasure of editing work from a wide variety of authors, from Francis Chan to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Laura works remotely from her home in Annapolis, Maryland, where she sneakily collects “research” from her two teenagers and reads children’s books aloud to her Weimaraner, who is partial to stories involving the words treat and outside.
Children's Book Summit
Brock Eastman has a degree in Marketing and works for David C Cook leading the Action Bible brand portfolio as well as developing digital product and content for the children’s curriculum WonderInk. Previously he was a producer and podcast host for Adventures in Odyssey and the marketing lead for kids and parenting products at Focus on the Family. He managed the Compassion Experience which traveled across the United States, sharing the true stories of children living in poverty. Brock has been published across the industry with Tyndale, Focus on the Family, Harvest House, P&R, and Destiny Image. He is the author of The Quest for Truth series, Bedtime on Noah’s Ark, Daddy’s Favorite Sound, Mommy’s Favorite Smell, Imagination Station series; Showdown with the Shepherd, Faith and Science with Dr. Fizzlebop, Edge of the Galaxy and more. He writes feature stories and the Dr. Fizzlebop recurring column for Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines. He and his kids host the Fizzlebop YouTube channel, where they help kids connect their faith with science. He loves playing games, cooking with his wife, and reading stories to his four kids each night, who have also been co-authors on several of his projects.
Dean Renninger has been visually telling stories for more than 20 years. He started this journey by studying journalism at the University of Missouri, which taught him that content is king and every great cover is based on the content inside. As a senior art director at Tyndale House Publishers, Dean helps lead a team of 20+ creatives to create covers that powerfully and emotively express the stories inside.
Jamie Lapeyrolerie is an editor for WaterBrook & Multnomah, imprints of Penguin Random House and a writer. She is actively involved in the publishing industry, including The Christy Award® Advisory Board and part of various DEI groups that seek to amplify voices of color. Her own writings have appeared in Christ + Pop Culture, Ekstasis Magazine, and Beloved Women. Originally from Southern California, she is now based in Colorado. You can find her bookish and editorial writings here, her C.S. Lewis and Tolkien substack here, and around social @musingsofjamie.
Edwina Perkins is the co-director of Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She is also the coordinator for Mentoring Moments and the manager for Sensitivity Between the Lines, both with Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Edwina is the managing editor for Harambee Press, an imprint of End Game Press. As a longtime member of Word Weavers International, she now serves as a member of the advisory board. She is an award-winning writer, experienced teacher, speaker, freelance editor, a sensitivity reader and has been published in numerous publications. One of her passions is to address the need for sensitivity and diversity in the publishing industry.
Whitney Walker Alexander
Whitney Walker Alexander serves as the marketing strategist for trade books and kids books for B&H Publishing, an imprint of Lifeway Christian Resources. Whitney received her BA from The University of Alabama in Communications and is a current MBA student at the University of North Alabama. She is a pastor’s wife to her husband, Mat, and they live in Gadsden, Alabama, with their three children, Wattsie, Ford, and Jim, and their rambunctious dogs, Boyce and Althea. When Whitney isn’t marketing books, she is reading books, making to-do lists, and laughing with her family. You can follow Whitney on Instagram at @whitneywalexander.
Jennifer (Jenn) Butenschoen
Production & Operations
Jennifer (Jenn) Butenschoen is the Director of Production and Digital Content at Harvest House Publishers. Within Harvest House, Jenn collaborates with multiple departments to effectively facilitate the creation of company product. She also manages global manufacturing and related industry partnerships and manages, solicits, and develops eBook partnership distribution and licensing agreements. With 27 years of experience in Christian publishing, Jenn has a passion for helping to create beautiful, quality, gospel-centered product that glorifies God and points people to Jesus Christ as the answer to every human need. Jenn lives in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys spending time with her husband, cats, family, and friends. She also volunteers at her home church as a leadership coach. Jenn’s hobbies include glamping, hiking, gardening, and savoring a great cup of coffee while reading a good book.
Production & Operations
Bradley Isbell serves as Chief Operating Officer for Iron Stream Media, where he helps develop strategic plans and goals for the business and oversees day-to-day operational activities, including marketing, editorial, sales, scheduling, and logistics. Iron Stream Media LLC is the parent company of Life Bible Study, New Hope Publishers, Brookstone Publishing Group, Iron Stream Books, New Hope KIDZ, LPC Books, and Ascender Books. Bradley resides in Birmingham, Alabama, where he is an avid Iron Tribe athlete. He enjoys traveling with friends and serves in Zambia yearly with his home church at Lifesong School.
Rights & Licensing
Ellen Hsu (MA, Northern Seminary) is Associate Director of Rights and Contracts at InterVarsity Press, where she has worked in rights and licensing for the past 25 years. Ellen also serves on the Licensing and Subsidiary Rights Association board. Ellen earned a Business Contracts Certificate from Cornell University and has extensive experience negotiating publishing contracts and working with international publishers. In addition to her work in licensing and contracts, Ellen is also a trained spiritual director with a Spiritual Direction Certificate from Christos Center. She grew up in Wisconsin and resides in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Al, and two sons. Some of her favorite leisure activities are reading books, walking, and seeing musicals.