Meet the leadership and senior editors of National Geographic Books.
Lisa Thomas, Publisher and Editorial Director
Lisa Thomas provides strategic leadership for the National Geographic book publishing program, overseeing the marketing, sales, and operations teams as well as the award-winning editorial group. Over nearly two decades in the National Geographic books division, she has edited New York Times bestsellers The Generals: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, and the Winning of World War II by Winston Groom and The Blue Zones and The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner, and national bestsellers In the Footsteps of Jesus and National Geographic 125 Years, among others. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her family.
Hector Sierra, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Books and Maps
Hector Sierra manages inventory, distribution, operations, and finance for books and maps. Prior to joining National Geographic in 2000, he worked at Simon & Schuster in their trade and audio divisions and at John Wiley with their scientific and technical books and journals. He serves on the management advisory boards of CDS Global and of Penguin Random House Publisher Services. Sierra holds an M.B.A. from Pace University, New York, with a concentration in finance and international business.
Heidi Vincent, Vice President, Marketing
Heidi Vincent oversees all marketing, direct response sales, publicity, and market research activities for National Geographic’s adult and children’s books. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of Connecticut and a B.S. from Ithaca College. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs.
John Lalor, Vice President, Global Sales
John Lalor is responsible for all English-language sales worldwide for National Geographic’s adult and children’s books, including trade, special markets, educational, and custom publishing. Previously he was director of custom publishing at Time-Life Books and director of premium sales and custom publishing at Simon & Schuster. He lives in northwest DC.
Hilary Black, Deputy Editor
Hilary Black acquires and edits personality and platform-driven narrative nonfiction with a focus on psychology, pop science, lifestyle, memoir, self-help, and photography. She oversees the book tie-in program with National Geographic Channel (which produced “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan’s A Short Guide to a Happy Dog and Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk) and the women’s inspiration program, which includes hit titles such as Daily Joy and Daily Calm. She has held editorial positions at Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and More magazine.
Bridget E. Hamilton, Editorial Manager, Newsstand Special Issues, Editor-at-Large
Bridget Hamilton acquires and edits idea-driven nonfiction primarily in the categories of religion, pets, and pop culture. She has worked on nearly every type of book National Geographic publishes—from illustrated reference books to field guides, and from narrative nonfiction to humor and more. Some of her recent titles include @NatGeo: The Most Popular Instagram Photos, and Unconditional: Older Dogs, Deeper Love. Hamilton is the author of The Wisdom of Moms and Amazing Dads. Additionally, she has been the editor of National Geographic Books’ successful newsstand special issue series since 2010, including the best-selling Your Brain in 2012.
Robin Terry Brown, Senior Editor
Robin Terry Brown manages the illustrated reference program for National Geographic Books, focusing on a wide range of subject matter, including history, travel, food and drink, atlases and map books (both quirky and traditional), trivia, fun science, and inspirational gift books. Recent acquisitions include the National Geographic Atlas of Beer with famed brewmaster Garrett Oliver and 1,001 Ways to Slow Down, by best-selling author Barbara Ann Kipfer. Previously Brown was a senior editor at National Geographic Children’s Books and National Geographic Kids magazine and worked as a freelance travel writer and editor. She has an M.A. from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Susan Tyler Hitchcock, Senior Editor
Susan Tyler Hitchcock has 35 years of experience writing and editing adult nonfiction books. She manages National Geographic Books’ science, health, and nature lists, with a special expertise in complex illustrated references. She was acquiring editor of astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s latest two books, including the recent best-selling No Dream Is Too High, and editor of Joel Sartore’s Photo Ark. She manages the growing line of National Geographic field guides including the category-leading birding titles. She has a Ph.D. in English and continues her own personal interest in literary and cultural history.
Susan Straight, Senior Editorial Project Manager
Susan Straight primarily focuses on core National Geographic topics such as history, travel, exploration, adventure, photography, and indigenous cultures. She edits National Geographic’s national parks and state parks books, most recently National Parks: An Illustrated History and Guide to the State Parks of the United States 5th Edition. She developed and edited the best-selling Indian Nations of North America, Great Empires, and the award-winning National Geographic Greatest Photographs of the American West and has worked with a variety of authors, including Bill Bryson, the late George McGovern on his book Terry, Laura Bush on the foreword for Inside the White House, Andrew Coburn on Hallowed Ground, and John Bredar on The President’s Photographer.
Justin Kavanagh, Senior Travel Editor
Justin Kavanagh has enjoyed a long career as a writer and editor, starting in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland. He has lived in Bordeaux, London, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. His columns and articles on sports, politics, culture, and current affairs have appeared in publications including In Dublin, The Irish Press, The Independent (UK), and 90:00. Kavanagh has worked for National Geographic since 2001, as an editor for NGM International Editions and as Senior Project Editor for National Geographic travel books. Recently, his travels have taken him to a changing Cuba, the Greek islands, a coup-challenged Turkey, and into the heart of Memphis.
Kids Books Editorial
Jennifer Emmett, Vice President, Content, Kids and Family
Jennifer Emmett oversees National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Little Kids magazines, the National Geographic Kids book program, plus websites and video for kids. Emmett has worked at National Geographic since 1997. She has edited more than 100 nonfiction titles for children, including Wheels of Change by Sue Macy, Marching to the Mountaintop by Ann Bausum, National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry by J. Patrick Lewis, and National Geographic Kids Almanac. Prior to editing, Emmett was a researcher for the children’s television program Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? for two seasons.
Erica Jacobs Green, Vice President and Editorial Director
Erica Jacobs Green has worked in book publishing for more than twenty years. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Green has held positions as a children’s book editor at Chronicle Books and as the Director of Publishing at Discovery Channel; she is also the co-founder of the Iceland Writers Retreat. At National Geographic she worked as Senior Editor before assuming the role of Vice President, Editorial Director, Kids Books. Today, she oversees the direction of the list and is always on the lookout for compelling and dynamic stories for children that can be illuminated in picture books, longer narrative nonfiction, or visually through wonderfully weird fact books.
Becky Baines, Executive Editor
Becky Baines leads the kid-driven publishing team, which includes the best-selling Weird But True! franchise and hit 5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) line. She specializes in acquisition, idea generation, and new book development for educational nonfiction category with a humorous edge. Baines’s latest venture is bringing the Weird But True! series to Sirius XM radio with a weekly show on Kids Place Live. She also has a secret passion for spooky books and is busy launching a new fiction program that aligns character-driven narratives with the NG Kids brand, marrying science, history, and geography with action-packed middle grade stories. Baines graduated with a B.S. in journalism from James Madison University.
Marfé Ferguson Delano, Executive Editor
Marfé Delano oversees the preschool line for National Geographic Kids, including board books, picture books, and early reference titles such as the Little Kids First Big Book series. She acquires and edits solo titles for preschoolers and is the executive editor of National Geographic Little Kids magazine. Delano has held editorial positions at Scribner’s Books for Children, Working Mother magazine, and Time-Life Books. Additionally, she is the author of more than 20 books published by National Geographic Kids, including Master George’s People: George Washington, His Slaves, and His Revolutionary Transformation.
Priyanka Lamichhane, Senior Editor
Priyanka Lamichhane oversees the children’s books reference program. She manages and edits a variety of encyclopedias and field guides covering topics ranging from reptiles to space. She also edits NG Kids’ storybook treasuries, which include the star-reviewed Treasury of Greek Mythology, Treasury of Egyptian Mythology, Treasury of Norse Mythology, and Tales From the Arabian Nights. Lamichhane loves working on educational and entertaining content for kids, and as a mom of two little girls, enjoys sharing these wonderful books with her kids. Lamichhane holds an M.A. in Liberal Studies from Georgetown University.
Kate Hale, Senior Editor
Kate Hale edits a comprehensive list of retail-driven nonfiction for children, primarily in the categories of animals, fun facts, humor, and pets. She also acquires author and platform-driven picture book and narrative titles while overseeing strategic planning and acquisition for National Geographic’s activity and licensed book products. Some of her recent titles include Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey and Animal Ark, with photography by Joel Sartore and poetry by Kwame Alexander. On Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live, Hale co-hosts the “Weird But True Show” which covers wacky facts about our world. In 2016, Publishers Weekly named Hale an honoree in their Star Watch program, which recognizes rising stars of the publishing industry.
Shelby Alinsky, Senior Editor
Shelby Alinsky edits and acquires titles with a focus on the Learning, Literacy, and STEM subject areas, including author-driven books such as Welcome to Mars by Buzz Aldrin, Brain Games by Jennifer Swanson, Dining With Dinosaurs by Hannah Bonner, and You Can Be a Paleontologist! by Scott D. Sampson. In addition, she edits the highly successful National Geographic Kids Readers series, the National Geographic Kids Chapter Books series, and the newly launched National Geographic Kids How Things Work series. Formerly an educational editor, Alinsky has experience ranging from developing fun, informative children’s books to creating innovative teaching guides, classroom materials, top-rated educational apps, and consulting for popular kids’ YouTube channels.