Board of Directors
Kate flaim, President
The daughter of a librarian, Kate is a lifelong bookworm and library enthusiast. Currently a freelance journalist and writer, she has worked at Fortune Magazine and written for Fast Company, Fit Pregnancy, Chicago Magazine, and others, in addition to working as a strategy consultant and an academic editor. A native Oregonian, she and her husband have lived in Cambridge since 2007 and are regulars at the Main Library and the Boudreau Branch. The mother of three, including two Cambridge Public School students, she is a firm believer in the importance of libraries as tools of social justice, opportunity, and equity.
Shahid Azim, Treasurer
Shahid Azim is a serial entrepreneur who has taken breakthrough technologies form labs at MIT to market. Currently, he serves as CEO of REACT Neuro, an VR based brain health platform combining digital biomarkers with AI to enable proactive, data-driven primary care. Previously, Shahid was the Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Harvard University, where he advised labs across campus on early stage venture creation based on disruptive innovation. Prior to this, he was founder CEO of at Lantos Technologies (3D Imaging) and Quanttus (Continuous Cuff-less BP), both of which were MIT spin outs with venture backed funding where he built teams across Cambridge and Palo Alto. He has raised over $50M in early stage venture capital from top tier VC's in Boston and Silicon Valley. Additionally, he is an active angel investor with MIT Angels and advisor to a number of technology startups and funds. He has an MBA from Sloan School of Management and a post graduate degree from Harvard University.
David Sandberg, Secretary
David owns Porter Square Books in Cambridge. Previously, David practiced law for about 30 years, including 14 years as General Counsel of ITA Software in Cambridge until its sale to Google in 2011. He is involved in several local non-profits, including serving as Board Chairman of the Actors' Shakespeare Project, as a board member and sometime drama director of the North Cambridge Family Opera, and as co-founder of the Porter Square Books Foundation, which promotes literacy in local schools. David’s love of the Cambridge library system intensified when his daughters became regular visitors to the West Cambridge Branch Library.
Ed loves libraries and thinks that they are among the most important public services a community provides. He has been a private investor and consultant for early-stage technology companies since 1996. Prior to that, he held a series of executive positions at Ziff Davis, Lotus Development, Microcom, and Data General. He and his wife, Laura Roberts, have lived in Cambridge for 30 years, and are the enthusiastic curators of one of the city’s first Little Free Libraries.
Jill is a Marketing, Communications, Public Relations and Development professional who has helped gain support and recognition for organizations. She recently published the evocative words of her daughter, who lived with cancer for nine years, in Sing Every Morning: An Inspirational Guide to Take on Your Life’s Journey. Jill’s fondness for libraries is, in part, fueled by the experience of her Dad who, at a young age living in a poor district in the segregated South, gained fluency in French and German by frequenting the local library, underscoring Jill’s belief that libraries can level the playing field for all!
Kay is a strategic marketing and investor relations consultant with her own firm, K. Calvert Consulting. Kay has been a managing partner of a family-owned real estate company based in Charleston, SC since 2007. She has been a member of the Essential Partners’ Board since 2011 and Board President since 2013 where she has been involved in the Public Conversations Project. Kay’s background includes more than 20 years of experience with technology-oriented companies.
Cathy is Executive Director of the Institute for Applied Computational Science at Harvard University, and a 20-year resident of Cambridge. Previously, she was the publisher of Harvard Magazine, and a director of business development for The New York Times. She has loved libraries since first learning to read after joining a summer book club in Garden City, New York, as a 7-year old. Her favorite book of all time is Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth.
Mahmood Firouzbakht is a life-long resident of Cambridge and a product of the Cambridge Public School system. After graduating from college, Mahmood taught history at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School for several years. After teaching at CRLS, Mahmood attended law school and practiced commercial real estate law at the prominent Boston law firm of Nixon Peabody. In 2015, Mahmood founded Boardman + Company, a local real estate development firm which he is actively operating. Mahmood, his wife and two children currently live in Cambridge and are active members of their community. Mahmood has loved spending hours in the Children’s Room of the Main Library with his family over the years.
Susan was Director of Libraries for the City of Cambridge from 1993-2016. During her celebrated tenure, she initiated public access to the Internet, free public computers, electronic resources and e-readers. Under her leadership, library use increased and the Main Library was expanded. She is former President of the Massachusetts Library Association and was selected by the American Library Association as an outstanding library advocate of the 20th century. Susan is an outspoken advocate for free public libraries, open access to information, intellectual freedom, and confidentiality of library records. She earned an MLIS from Simmons, and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.
Lauren is a 20+ year resident of Cambridge and is a VP at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, specializing in residential sales in Cambridge. One of her favorite parts of the job is introducing her clients who are new to Cambridge to all that the city has to offer. From introductions to city council members to tours of the library and high school, to connections with school personnel and youth sports coaches, Lauren loves being a connector between all the great parts of Cambridge. Lauren is a mom to four kids (two sets of twins!) and they have all been avid library users since the day their first “Born to Read” free tote filled with baby books - courtesy of the Cambridge Public Library - showed up on their doorstep soon after the birth of her older boys. Lauren has also served on the board of directors at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education and the Cambridge Tennis Club.
Isaiah returned to Cambridge in 2002 to lead the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, having served as music director of Covent Garden’s Royal Ballet and conducted orchestras on six continents. Since 2007, he’s taught at the Berklee College of Music. A lifelong learner and former Trustee of the Boston Athenæum, Isaiah celebrates those qualities in the Cambridge Public Libraries that distinguish them among their peers and looks forward to enhancing the availability of all our Libraries’ wonders.
Katie, in her role as the Executive Vice President of Harvard University, is responsible for the financial, operational, and administrative endeavors of the University. She was pleased to join the CPLF Board in 2016, given the pivotal role the library plays in the lives of so many Cambridge residents, and feels honored to serve on the CPL Board alongside such “outstanding and committed colleagues.”
Shippen has practiced law in Cambridge since 1979 where he has also been an engaged supporter of the growth and success of several well recognized local nonprofits over the past 35 years. Shippen’s enthusiasm for CPL is evident from his willingness to serve as the second President of the Foundation Board (2016-2022), and his ready avowal that he “loves Cambridge Public Library!”
Tamara Rogers retired at the end of 2018 as Harvard’s Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development after a 40 year career at the University, which included senior roles in admissions and financial aid as well as in development. She now does fundraising consulting, and serves on the Learning and Community Outreach Committee of the MFA’s Board of Advisors and as a Charter Trustee at Phillips Academy. A favorite youthful library memory is being denied access to The Agony and the Ecstasy at her public junior high school in Lowell - until her mother wrote a note to say that "Tamara is allowed to read anything she wants”! Tamara believes the Cambridge Public Library exemplifies a powerful commitment to knowledge, learning, and service to the community.
Sheila has served as Dean for Administration and Finance for Harvard College since 2014, having moved to Massachusetts from New Jersey. She was thrilled to find a vibrant community and to contribute as a volunteer in Cambridge’s Participatory Budgeting process, on the Cambridge Local First advisory board, as board member for Harvard Student Agencies, and now, on CPLF’s Board.
Stan is a lawyer whose law practice focuses on merger, acquisition and general corporate work, primarily for privately-held companies. He was born at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge and has lived continuously in Cambridge since 1980. His interest in libraries derives from a lifelong interest in reading and the wonderful experience his three children (now adults) had at the Cambridge Public Library. As a member of the Board, Stan’s goals are to enhance the experience of Library patrons, and to expand the Library’s range of services, so that its benefits are extended to as many Cantabrigians as possible.
Kaija Langley, Ex Officio
Kaija is currently the Director of Development for the MIT Libraries and the Chair of the Cambridge Public Library's Board of Trustees. Previously, Kaija raised money for The Nature Conservancy and the Museum of Science. When she isn't raising money for local non-profits, she reads and writes picture books and novels for children. In addition to her role as Chair of the Trustees for the Cambridge Public Library, she serves on the board of Baldwin for the Arts, a safe space for BiPOC artists in literature, visual arts, and music composition founded by Jacqueline Woodson. Kaija's love of the Cambridge library system started (and continues) when she moved to North Cambridge in 2016 and began her first (of many) trips to the O'Neill Branch Library to talk books and share stories with the dedicated and amazing staff.
Maria McCauley, Ex Officio
Maria is the Director of Libraries for the City of Cambridge and a member of the American Library Association (ALA) Executive Board. She comes to the CPL from Santa Monica, CA where she served as Director of Libraries. Maria has also worked for the Somerville Public Library and the libraries at Northeastern University. Her research has been published in College & Research Libraries and Library Management Portal. Maria describes the Cambridge Public Library as a “learning, creative and sharing space for everyone, where knowledge and skills are attained, people are welcomed, and dreams are realized.”
Katie Welch - Foundation Director
The granddaughter of a children's librarian, Katie has always been a lover of literature. She became Director of the Foundation in July 2018 after spending four years at home with her two young girls - Isabelle and Charlotte. She was the Director of Development and Marketing for Riverside Community Care and The Guidance Center for seven years, and currently serves on the Roosevelt School Site Council in Melrose, MA. When she's not at work, Katie enjoys trying new recipes, travel with her family, and reading the latest historical fiction.
Yinuo shi - Development Associate
Yinuo Shi joined the staff of the Foundation in August 2022 and is thrilled to work alongside the Director and the Board to promote and sustain a vibrant and inclusive Cambridge Public Library for all. In her free time, Yinuo enjoys acrylic painting, biking through Boston, and writing dystopian fantasy!
About page header photo © Stu Rosner