The Greenwich Library Board of Trustees elected new officers at their meeting in May. The following were elected: Peggy Edersheim Kalb, President; Hank Ashforth, First Vice President; Diana Seaton, Second Vice President; Philip Lochner, Secretary; Ian Murray, Treasurer; and John Blankley, Member-at-Large.
Peggy Edersheim Kalb, President, has been a Greenwich Library Trustee since 2018. She is Senior Editor for the Yale Alumni Magazine – a full-circle move following a long career in print and broadcast journalism after graduating from Yale in 1986. Kalb is also a co-chair for the Greenwich chapter of Room to Read and is on the advisory board of the Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior. She has fond memories of bringing her young children to story times and mommy-and-me programs, and she wants to make sure the Library continues to be a valued community resource. “I am excited to join the conversation about where the Library goes from here,” Kalb says, “and I hope that together we can ensure that the Library means as much to this community going forward as it has in the past.”
Hank Ashforth, First Vice President, has been a member of the Board since 2017. He is the Executive Vice President of The Ashforth Company, the diversified real estate company that has been in his family since 1896. Ashforth graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1980; he also serves on the board of Columbia Green Technologies, The Freshwater Trust, and the Stamford Energy Improvement District. Ashforth is a founding member of Stamford 2030 and is a member of the Urban Land Institute and Oregon’s WPO chapter. “Our family has been involved with Greenwich Library for many generations,” Ashforth says, “and it is important that the Library remain the information hub that it has always been.”
Diana Seaton, Second Vice President, has been a Trustee since 2020. She is the Executive Director of the American Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum and was previously Vice President at the advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather. Seaton has an MBA from Harvard; she is the founder and co-chair of the Greenwich chapter of Room to Read, and she is involved in the Junior League of Greenwich and HBS Community Partners. Seaton not only has the usual memories of time spent at the Library searching through books and attending events, but remembers “gathering with friends and family during town blackouts.” “I look forward to serving on the Board as this irreplaceable institution implements its new vision and expands its services in the Greenwich community,” Seaton says.
Philip Lochner, Secretary, has been a Trustee since 2016. Before retiring in 1998, he was the Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Time Warner. He earned his law degree from Yale and a doctorate at Stanford, and he served as a commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission in the early 1990s. Lochner currently serves on the board of FHI360 and Family ReEntry. Lochner describes the Greenwich Library as “vitally important” to not just his family, but also the town and its citizens. “Like many public institutions, the Library can only thrive and fulfill its mission with the support of the Town of Greenwich and everyone who uses the Library,” Lochner says. “I hope to contribute in some small way to seeing it succeed.”
Ian Murray, Treasurer, has been a Trustee since 2018. He is a Managing Partner at the investment firm Peak Ten Capital; he was previously the head of technology research at Narragansett Asset Management and a portfolio manager at Straus Asset Management. Murray has degrees from The Wharton School and Dartmouth, and he is involved in the professional organizations like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of New York. A Greenwich native, he remembers spending childhood afternoons at the Library and watching as the institution grew. “With the growth of the internet and mobile digital content, the role of libraries is changing,” Murray says. “Greenwich Library is advanced in its thinking about these changes and has plans to transform itself in order to retain its position as an important institution and community center.”
John Blankley, Member-at-Large, has been a Trustee since 2019. He is the CEO of computer consulting and systems integration company Flagship Networks Inc., which he founded in 2000. Blankley has a master’s degree from the University of Oxford, and he has also served on the Town’s Finance Board and on the Democratic Town Committee. “A library is the essential repository of human knowledge and culture and there is no better example than Greenwich Library,” Blankley says. “Serving on this board is one of the highest callings in our volunteer community and I am honored to join the board as it undertakes a major project of renewal and expansion.”
Four new trustees were also recently elected to serve on the Greenwich Library Board at the annual meeting of the Friends of the Greenwich Library. Rosario Brooks, Michael Freitag, Pete Schwartzstein, and Sonal Seth will each serve three-year terms.
Rosario Brooks is currently the director of The Greenwich Spanish School, which she founded in 2010 to provide a bilingual preschool education option to the community. Brooks also serves as a member of the Greenwich Early Childhood Education Directors Group and as a consultant with The Stop Abuse Campaign. She graduated from The National Autonomous University of Mexico in 1972 and has also earned a Director’s Certificate in Early Childhood Education. “I have always felt that the Greenwich Library is a phenomenal and responsive resource in our community,” Brooks says. “As an early childhood educator – and one who is fluent in Spanish – I am eager to assist the Library in addressing the areas of technological infrastructure and language.”
Michael Freitag is no stranger to the Board – he previously served from 2014-2021, including as First Vice President, and has now been reelected to another nonconsecutive term. Freitag is a partner at the public relations firm Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher. He graduated from Yale University in 1986 and has since volunteered with its local alumni association chapter. Freitag credits his lifelong love of reading and learning to an early teenage job shelving books at his local public library. “That experience instilled a strong and lasting respect for the role that libraries play as a community’s connective tissue,” he says. “I believe the Greenwich Library’s mission is as vital and relevant as ever, particularly as technological innovation continues to impact the quantity – and quality – of available content.”
Pete Schwartzstein is the Vice President of Program Research for MSNBC and CNBC. He graduated from Harvard University in 2004 and then spent two years working with Teach for America. Perhaps because of this teaching experience, he is thrilled when his three elementary-aged children check out stacks of books for themselves. “Over the years, Greenwich Library has become a home away from home for my family,” Schwartzstein says. “I am grateful for everything the Library has provided to my family, and I am excited to play a role in shaping its future.”
Sonal Seth has had a long career as an analyst and investments officer; she is currently working in strategic initiatives and investments at Mastercard. She received her Masters in Finance from the London Business School in 2003, five years after earning an MBA at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. Seth serves as an advisor for the Mahila Housing Trust, a non-profit focused on economic empowerment for women in India. She views the Library as another significant community resource that deserves time and investment. “The Greenwich Library has responded to the challenges and opportunities presented by the changing landscape by providing differentiated services that best serve our local community,” Seth says. “I am excited and honored to serve on the board and help advance its mission to support the varied needs of its diverse community.”
The Greenwich Library system consists of the Main Library and its Byram Shubert and Cos Cob branches. The mission of Greenwich Library is to provide exceptional resources, programs and services that promote the joy of lifelong learning and discovery, and to offer a welcoming place for people to gather and share experiences. With 1,800 programs and events per year, the Library seeks to serve as the cultural and intellectual crossroads of the community. Greenwich Library’s circulation is among the highest of public libraries in Connecticut and has been named a five-star library by Library Journal for 11 of the past 12 years for the high number of patron visits, circulation, use of public computers and attendance at more than 2000 programs per year. Greenwich Library is located at 101 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Cos Cob Library is located at 5 Sinawoy Road in Cos Cob. Byram Shubert Library is located at 21 Mead Avenue in Greenwich. More information is available online at www.greenwichlibrary.org or by calling 203-622-7900.