Photograph by Michael Nichols/Nat Geo Image Collection
Photograph by Michael Nichols/Nat Geo Image Collection

Our Team

Meet the leadership and senior editors of National Geographic Books.

Management Team

Lisa Thomas, Publisher and Editorial Director

Lisa Thomas provides strategic leadership for the National Geographic book publishing program for adults and directs the award-winning editorial, design, and photo teams. Over 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.

Jennifer Emmett, Senior Vice President, Content, Kids and Family

Jennifer Emmett oversees strategy and content for kids and family media, including National Geographic Kids and National Geographic Little Kids magazines and the National Geographic Kids book program, plus the kids’ website and video development. During her 20 years at National Geographic, 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 the New York Times best-selling National Geographic Kids Almanac.

Hector Sierra, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Books and Maps

Hector Sierra manages operations, finance, sales, and marketing 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 has served 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.

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.

Books Editorial

Hilary Black, Deputy Editor

Hilary Black acquires and edits personality and platform-driven narrative nonfiction, focusing on science, travel, memoir, history, and photography. She oversees the book tie-in program with National Geographic Channel, which produced Cesar Millan’s A Short Guide to a Happy Dog and Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk, and runs the women’s inspiration program, which includes Karen Karbo’s In Praise of Difficult Women, Kara Cooney’s When Women Ruled the World, and the forthcoming Women: The National Geographic Image Collection. 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 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.

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.

Kids Books Editorial

Becky Baines, Vice President and Editorial Director

Becky Baines has spent her career at National Geographic Kids and specializes in acquisition, idea generation, and new book development of educational nonfiction content with a humorous edge. Her latest venture is launching a fiction program that aligns character-driven narratives with the National Geographic Kids brand, marrying science, history, and geography with action-packed middle grade stories under the company’s new imprint, Under the Stars. When she’s not leading the editorial team, Baines co-hosts the “Weird But True Show” on Sirius XM radio’s Kids Place Live. She also has a secret passion spooky, gross, and weird subject matter. Baines graduated with a B.S. in journalism from James Madison University, and looks forward to figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up.

Kate Hale, Executive Editor

Kate Hale leads the kid-driven publishing team, whose list includes fun and creative mass market nonfiction, like the best-selling Weird But True! and Just Joking franchises. She also acquires author- and platform-driven picture books and narrative titles while overseeing strategic planning and acquisition for licensed activity books. These days, she’s keeping busy by editing some upcoming middle-grade fiction titles in National Geographic’s new Under the Stars imprint. 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.

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 the 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.

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 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.