Our people make the difference.
Mascot’s staff is experienced in the various disciplines that converge in the world of publishing. From industry strategists, to marketing gurus, to creative types, to grammar nerds, to bean counters, we have the right people in the right positions to help authors navigate the nuances of the publishing marketplace.
We Love Books
While Team Mascot is composed of individuals offering unique backgrounds and skill sets, there’s attributes that we all share: We’re passionate about books. It’s this appreciation for the written word that provides important context and perspective to our work and enables us to offer knowledgeable direction to our family of authors.
Publisher, CEO, Author
As the CEO at Amplify Publishing and Mascot Books, Naren Aryal is a recognized publishing industry expert. Naren advises authors, thought leaders, and various organizations on the opportunities and challenges that exist in the evolving publishing world. He’s guided the company’s growth from a single children’s book in 2003 to becoming one of the fastest growing and most respected hybrid publishing companies in the world. Today, Mascot Books publishes hundreds of books a year across all genres, and Amplify Publishing is a leading nonfiction imprint specializing in “big ideas” from some of the most reputable names in business and politics.
Naren frequently speaks at publishing and business events about the importance of developing compelling content and a robust author platform. He is also the author of How to Sell a Crapload of Books: 10 Secrets of a Killer Author Marketing Platform.
Prior to entering the world of books, Naren worked as a lawyer, advising technology companies in the Washington, D.C. area. He holds a B.S. in Finance from Virginia Tech and Juris Doctor from University of Denver.
Senior Acquisitions EditorBen enjoys helping aspiring authors achieve their dream of publishing their books and enjoys working with so many different projects and genres. He received his B.A. in Communications with a Concentration in Media Production & Criticism from George Mason University. He greatly enjoys film, television, and books, especially ones that make him chuckle. He is excited to join the Mascot team and show off his ping pong skills in the office!
Senior Acquisitions EditorWorking with books is Jess’s dream job. Ever since she was little, she knew her passion in life was to help authors publish their stories. When she was a creative writing student at University of North Carolina Wilmington, she experienced the writing lifestyle and adored working with her classmates to achieve their publishing dreams. Graduating with her B.F.A. and publishing certificate allowed her to pursue her goal of helping authors put their stories in front of readers. She loves spending her days reading manuscripts, chatting with authors about their work, and exploring the wonderful northern Virginia area.
Acquisitions EditorJulia Steffy was the kid under the covers at night with a book and a flashlight. Now, she’s passionate about helping manuscripts become books. As a member of the Acquisitions team at Mascot, she helps authors fulfill their goals of publishing a book. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Villanova University with a B.A. in English and three publishing internships under her belt. In her free time, she likes to watch Shark Week reruns and try cooking something edible.
As a word-loving, detail-oriented, coffee-addicted reader and writer, Nina found her home as a senior production editor at Mascot Books. Prior to moving to the Washington, D.C., area, she worked in editorial at a New York publishing house. Her favorite part about her job is helping authors see their book dreams realized, from the very beginning conceptual stages to the final printing, and everything in between. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh (Hail to Pitt!) with a B.A. in Writing and a B.A. in Communications, and attended New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute before beginning her career in publishing.
A reader of all things and a writer of some, Nina’s favorite books include The Kings and Queens of Roam by Daniel Wallace and Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. When she’s not lost in a book, you can find her doing yoga in her living room or cooking in her kitchen. Nina lives in the D.C. area with her husband and her incredibly vocal, smart, snuggly miniature pinscher, Teddy.
Senior Production EditorA lover of puns and stories, Nicole is excited to fulfill her lifelong dream of bringing books to life. This Oreo and pun fanatic enjoys dabbling in poetry and scriptwriting in her free time but loves that her role as a production editor with Mascot allows her to work in all kinds of genres. Nicole graduated from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi with a B.F.A. in Creative Writing and a B.A. in English, and cherishes the uniqueness the Deep South has to offer. When she’s not composing her next pun, she is either traveling the world with her husband in search of the best coffee nook or checking off her movie watch list.
Production EditorLauren has been working and playing with the written word since she was only a few years old (her first short story was about the final thoughts of a melting ice cream cone). A love of the art and substance of the English language has been at the core of her personal and professional ambitions for decades. Since her early forays into the realm of writing, she has worked on all sides of the process: by furiously researching, analyzing, and copy editing, Lauren helps writers create polished, original books. She believes in the power of communication to get things done, and throws herself into every project to make sure it is better than when she began it. Lauren has a B.A. in English from The College of William and Mary, and is currently pursuing her M.A. at George Mason University. Before joining the Mascot family, Lauren was the Press Coordinator at NextStop Theatre Company, and brought to life myriad academic texts for university professors in her capacity as a research assistant. She loves exploring the American South, particularly its rural landscapes, small towns, and used bookstores. Sometimes, she dreams in cartoons.
Production EditorA Texan by birth, Puerto Rican by blood, and reader by nature, Claire is thrilled to be working her publishing dream job at Mascot Books. After a four-year love affair with modernist novels, Claire graduated from Reed College with a B.A. in English and a much-too-long thesis on feminism and the postcolonial flower garden. She’s worn many hats in her life, from copy editor and romantic advice columnist to graphic designer and Spanish Fulbright scholar, and continues to don those different hats at Mascot, where she enjoys having a hand in every stage of the publishing process. She loves reading—on and off the clock—and can often be found dancing tango, watching Jeopardy!, or brushing up on her Spanish. ¡Wepa!
Production EditorFrom a young age, Jenna has drawn inspiration from heroines in books of all genres—from Jo March to Hermione Granger. Her passion for reading has led her to enjoy a career in writing and editing for more than ten years in the aerospace, corrections, and education industries. Jenna is a proud Spartan, having earned her B.A. in English from Michigan State University, where she studied publishing, creative writing, and professional writing, and worked for several literary journals on campus. When she’s not helping authors bring their stories to life, Jenna likes to curl up with a big cup of coffee, a good thriller or fiction title, and her opinionated orange tabby cat. Jenna lives with her husband in Northern Virginia where they can usually be spotted at one of the many local wineries, enjoying a night at the theater, or taking to the skies flying small airplanes and hot air balloons.
Creative DirectorWorking with Mascot since 2004, Danny routinely awes authors (and Naren!) with his many talents. His contributions include award-winning illustrations, snappy print and web design, eye-catching covers, eBook conversion, web games, and app development. Danny is proud of his alma mater, Auburn University, where he graduated with a B.F.A. in Graphic Design and Illustration. War Eagle! And if you look carefully, you can see Danny in every book he illustrates as he always includes a caricature of himself. It’s a perk of the job.
Graphic DesignerMatthew is an innovative graphic designer and digital painter, best known for his abstract covers and work in Photoshop. He graduated from the Art Institute of Washington with a B.A. in Graphic Design and began toying with personal design projects, which included laying out his neighbor’s book. He soon found he had a knack for it and went on a quest to find a job where he could put his talents to work. Thus, he joined Team Mascot! Now he creates unique designs catered to each individual book he comes across. Legends say he has many names: Matt, Matthew, Matty G, McFly, PBG, and Gonsalves. Matthew is also known for his preposterously high standards for food and critical analysis of French Fries, which are his favorite food.
Graphic DesignerLuisa has always had a love for expressing herself through art and creatively transforming her surroundings. Her goal is to craft a powerful connection between her work and other people. Through design and bringing authors’ ideas to life, she has found a perfect fit in the Mascot family. She graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in graphic design and has since honed her skills through illustration and her work at Mascot. A coffee addict and movie enthusiast, she spends most of her free time visiting coffee shops and keeping an eye out for new movie releases.
Graphic DesignerCaitlin is a graphic designer hailing from Roanoke, Virginia. She is also a proud overachiever and a firm believer in the transformative power of good design. She first fell in love with print media and letterforms during a college typography course, which gave her the opportunity to design her very first book. The experience changed her life and would (eventually) lead her to Mascot Books, where she gets to put that same passion to use everyday. Caitlin has a B.F.A. in graphic design from Liberty University and an A.A.S. in communication design from Virginia Western Community College. When she isn’t experimenting with various Adobe programs, she can be found curled up on her couch playing indie games or re-watching Disney movies for the zillionth time. Or possibly both.
VP, OperationsKristin’s role at Mascot is to make sure everything runs smoothly. She manages the creative hustle of both the production and marketing departments, overseeing a wide variety of titles across multiple genres. The limit does not exist for this fearless leader, as she also works with authors throughout the production process to bring their book ideas to life. A loyal reader of both fiction and non-fiction, she enjoys working on novels, memoirs, and everything in between. Kristin graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Psychology. In her free time, you can find her taking Buzzfeed quizzes, rewatching her favorite TV shows, and searching for nearby concerts to attend. She can always be relied upon for a sarcastic zinger mid-conversation.
Marketing ManagerAlicia often says that her first and best loves will always be books. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in English and a minor in media studies, she became a staff writer at Blavity, followed by a few years in the fast-paced world of DC social justice and nonprofit communications. She likes to think of joining the publishing industry as “finally coming home.” When she’s not working, you can find her at the nearest record shop, Tex-Mex restaurant, or protest.
Marketing ManagerAs an avid reader, bookstore fan, and writer herself, Sky is thrilled to work at Mascot Books helping authors bring their stories to life. A Virginia native, she previously worked in the marketing department of the American Shakespeare Center after graduating from James Madison University in 2019. Sky has a passion for storytelling that influences everything she does in marketing and beyond. When not reading, Sky enjoys listening to podcasts, researching the unexplained, and cross-stitching. She can most often be found at the local coffee shop with her latest read, or scrolling through Netflix.
Retail SpecialistA born and bred Marylander, Caitie graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Go Big Dawgs!) with a B.A. in Media and Communications and a minor in Psychology. During her time at UMBC, she became involved with the campus musical theater club where she did everything from singing and dancing to writing and directing. She was even in a student-written and student-led parody musical about a popular Disney TV show. With her position at Mascot, she is excited to help connect people to great books. When she is not working or trying to make a dent in her to-read pile, Caitie can be found binge watching an entire series of a TV show, listening to one of her favorite comedy podcasts, or taking a well-deserved nap.
An ardent reader, Francys has always appreciated the art of storytelling and connecting people to books. She graduated from Georgetown University (Hoya Saxa!) with a B.A. in English, where her love for publishing and marketing began. When she’s not working, she enjoys reading, learning new languages, taking care of her plants, and painting.
Marketing SpecialistSophia has always believed in the power of storytelling. When she was young, you could find her buried in a book that her dad brought home from his job as a publisher. Sophia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in journalism and women and gender studies. At Mascot Books, she is excited to help authors create their book’s first impression, connecting people to their next favorite read. Aside from working, she can be found hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains, watching Tar Heel sports games, traveling, obsessing over any Little Free Library, eating large portions of pasta, or cooking (and usually messing it up). While she’s doing all those things, she’s often simultaneously playing with her fluffy dog Ella or any other dog in sight.
Director, Bookkeeping and AdministrationDebbie has been with Mascot for almost ten years, and during that time has set up the policies and procedures that have helped the company stay organized during a time of incredible growth. Authors love Debbie as she’s responsible for generating the author sales reports and royalty checks every month. In true bean counter fashion, Debbie gets really excited about spreadsheets (especially those containing nifty formulas)!
BookkeeperCarri has a background in international logistics and corporate management. She has a love for numbers and keen sense of detail, and has been working in accounting for over five years. When she is not crunching numbers, her passion is for the arts and she has studied Graphic Design at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. For fun, she paints and enjoys spending time with her family and goldendoodle. A Virginia native, Carri enjoys exploring her beautiful state and is proud to be a University of Virginia and Old Dominion University Mom!
Assistant BookkeeperLynn has been part of the Mascot team for over a year. She enjoys helping authors on their shipping needs and coordinating the shipment of their books from the printer. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from King University in Bristol, Tennessee. In her spare time, you’ll find her with her children at the beach or volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in the surrounding areas.
BookkeeperAlison was born and raised in Reston, Virginia, and studied Spanish at George Mason University. After graduating she spent six months teaching English in Spain, which was a great life experience. While Spanish was what she studied in school, her twenty years of work experience have been in bookkeeping, using some Spanish along the way. She comes from a family of readers, so she is excited to be part of the Mascot team and learn about the publishing business. In her spare time she likes to read mystery novels, watch crime shows, cook, and work in the garden.