Our Staff

cynthiaCynthia Sherry
Group Publisher

Cynthia Sherry, group publisher for Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books, has been with the  company since 1989. She has held financial management as well as executive editorial positions at Independent Publishers Group, Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books. As publisher for Chicago Review Press, she oversees the editorial, marketing, publicity and book production of about 60 titles a year under five different imprints, including Chicago Review Press, Lawrence Hill Books, Academy Chicago Publishers, Council Oak Books and Parenting Press, and manages a publishing staff of 15.


jerry 2Jerome Pohlen
Senior Editor 

Jerome Pohlen acquires adult nonfiction, including US history, LGBTQ, nature, popular science, and DIY titles, as well as children’s nonfiction and activity books. His recent acquisitions include Never Silent, Giovanni’s Ring, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, Ellis Island and Immigration for Kids, Tied Up in Knotts and Hilde on the Record. He has been with Chicago Review Press since 2001. Prior to joining CRP, Jerome was the editorial director for Learning Resources, an educational toy company; taught fourth and seventh grade in the Chicago Public Schools; worked as an engineer for Martin Marietta; and served in the US Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BS in mechanical engineering and received his master’s in elementary education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has written 12 award-winning science kits; 23 books for adults and children including Oddball Illinois (and nine other Oddball titles), The Apollo Missions for Kids, Chicago Baby, Albert Einstein and Relativity for Kids and Gay & Lesbian History for Kids; and articles and op-eds for the Los Angeles Times, The Advocate, Stars and Stripes and the Chicago Reader



kara 2Kara Rota
Executive Editor 

As Executive Editor, Kara Rota has been acquiring and editing for Chicago Review Press since 2019, focusing on music, film, pop culture, and true crime titles as well as other nonfiction. Previously from 2014 Kara worked at Macmillan, acquiring and editing cookbooks, business books and other nonfiction for multiple Macmillan imprints including Flatiron and St. Martin's Press. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she also served as director of recipe website and Macmillan portfolio company Cookstr.com and host of the Clever Cookstr podcast. Thrilled to be back in her hometown, Kara is a third-generation Evanstonian and her first job (besides babysitting) was at Chicago’s Green City Farmer’s Market.



Alicia Sparrow 
Acquisitions Editor 

Alicia Sparrow has been in the book industry since 2013. Her interest is in diverse stories and authors across cultures. As an acquisitions editor for Lawrence Hill Books, Council Oak Books, and Amberjack Publishing, she is looking for nonfiction by and for BIPOC voices. She is also interested in heartfelt, pulse-pounding YA, and children’s books for Chicago Review Press that are sweet, appropriate, and narratively rich. Some sci-fi/fantasy stories are welcome and women-focused fiction for Amberjack.


michelle 2Michelle Williams
Executive Editor

Michelle Williams has been with Chicago Review Press since 2006. She began in a project editor role, moved to developmental editing, and then served as managing editor. As the executive editor she now oversees the metadata management for the CRP seasonal lists and coordinates with the IPG teams. Michelle also focuses on refreshing backlist titles with new editions to keep perennial titles in front of new audiences, as well as bringing new imprint acquisitions to the forefront. She acquires new for the Parenting Press imprint as well, seeking expert advice that speaks to today’s parenting experiences.


devoni 2Devon Freeny
Managing Editor 

Devon Freeny began working for Chicago Review Press in 2006 as a project editor. As the managing editor, he now oversees editorial production for CRP’s widely varied list. In his two decades in publishing, he has been involved in all aspects of the production process, from acquisitions to developmental editing to layout and design. He graduated with honors in English language and literature from the University of Chicago.



ben 2Ben Krapohl
Assistant Project Editor 

Ben Krapohl joined Chicago Review Press in 2019 as an assistant project editor. Previously, he worked as a writing intern with digital news source Nashville Post. And though he hasn’t been working with books long, he’s got quite the résumé when it comes to adoring them. He graduated from Taylor University with a major in professional writing and a minor in creative writing.


francesFrances Giguette
Assistant Project Editor 

Frances joined Chicago Review Press in 2021, having worked with customers, authors, bookstores, and publishers throughout her time in the book industry. Whether it’s finding that book with the blue cover for a bookstore customer or ensuring books arrive for a last-minute event, Frances loves to get great stories into people’s hands. And at CRP, she’s proud to help foster those stories. Frances also adores horror in all its forms and believes video games are the new art frontier.



Liz Logback
Subrights and Royalties Associate

Liz joined Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books in 2022. She collaborates with agents and editors on audio, film, and translation rights, while working closely with the accounting department in organizing author royalties. Previously, Liz worked at a literary agency as an intern and fell in love with the book industry. She is originally from Kansas, but moved to the city to earn a bachelor’s degree in writing and literature from Columbia College Chicago.



Alayna Parsons-Valles
Publishing Assistant

Alayna began working as an intern with Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books before joining the staff full time in 2020. Previously, she worked as a marketing intern for Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity as well as serving as the campus editor on her college’s student newspaper, the Anchor. In her spare time, you can find her swimming along the lakeshore or, when it gets chillier, hosting soirees with her book club. She graduated with a bachelor’s in English language and literature from Hope College.  


allison 2Allison Felus
Director of Production

Allison Felus has worked at Chicago Review Press in varying capacities since 2002, most recently as production manager. She oversees all aspects of book production, including budgeting, printing and shipping.  



jon 2Jonathan Hahn
Art Director

Jonathan Hahn has worked in varying positions at Chicago Review Press in editorial, production, and design since 2005. As art director of Chicago Review Press and Triumph Books, he directs the in-house design team and works with a stable of freelancers on additional projects. Some of his most recent work includes the covers for Boys Enter the House, The Real Hank Aaron, Never Silent, Murder in Canaryville, Rajneeshpuram, Power Hungry, The Baseball Talmud, By the Grace of the Game, and The Inhabited Island.


preston 2Preston Pisellini
Senior Designer

Preston Pisellini is an in-house designer for Triumph Books and Chicago Review Press. When not pulling all-nighters to help create instant championship books, he can be found working on covers for the best in sports and entertainment titles. In addition to his design duties, Preston also manages the production of ebooks.


elizabethElizabeth Sheffield
Associate Designer

Elizabeth Sheffield is the associate designer at IPG. She focuses on designing digital and print ads, author materials, and other marketing collateral for IPG, Chicago Review Press, and Triumph Books. Before joining the team full time in 2022, Elizabeth worked for the company on a freelance basis for 6 months. She's from New York and has a BFA in graphic design from the University of the Arts.


jen 2Jen DePoorter
Marketing Manager

Jen DePoorter graduated from DePaul University with her masters in writing and publishing in 2016. Joining the team as the marketing coordinator in 2018, she has bombarded the office with her love of true crime, feminist literature and Amy Poehler.



stef 2Stefani Szenda
Marketing Coordinator

Stefani Szenda started with Triumph Books as a publisher assistant in summer of 2017 before joining Triumph Books and Chicago Review Press full time. Previously, she worked for her local library as well as multiple Chicago sports teams. She has a BA in journalism from DePaul University. Stefani specializes in music, sports, sci-fi and horror titles for Chicago Review Press.



chelsChelsea Balesh 
Marketing Coordinator

Chelsea Balesh graduated from Roosevelt University in 2016 with her BA in Integrated Marketing Communications. Chelsea is excited to work on children’s, middle grade, parenting and education titles as well as CRP’s Lawrence Hill imprint. In her spare time, Chelsea likes to read marine science books and hang out with her pup, Ellie.



natalie 2Natalie Rodriguez
Publicity Assistant 

After graduating from Dominican University, Natalie Rodriguez worked as an intern with Trafalgar Square Publishing in early 2018. She was hired as an IPG publicity assistant after completing her internship. She likes thrifting, horror movies, true crime podcasts and anything pistachio.