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Meet the Team


Dia L. Michels

Founder and Publisher

Dia L. Michels founded Platypus Media in 2000 with the goal of creating books that focus on attachment parenting and community. She loves working with the authors and selecting illustrators, and really enjoys developing and licensing world language editions of the books Platypus Media publishes. 


In addition to editing and publishing manuscripts, she has written or coauthored over a dozen books for children and adults. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Dutch, Bengali, Hebrew, Haitian Creole, and Washoe. A popular speaker, Dia presents at healthcare, parenting, and education conferences across the country. She is the mother of three grown children, who still keep her busy with their crazy lives. She also has several cats, and her partner in crime is a sassy corgi named Izzi, who loves to take naps under her desk.

Favorite Children's Book: 

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee

Tommy at the Grocery Store by Bill Grossman


Ali Trujillo

Operations and Finance Manager

Ali keeps Platypus Media running by managing day-to-day operations and logistics. He works with the publisher to implement systems to streamline operations and finances. Ali also works on production coordination, proofreading, and translating Spanish titles. 

Prior to joining Platypus Media, Ali worked at World Wildlife Fund as senior assistant for the food waste program where he managed contract processes for private sector consultants. At WWF Ali also collaborated in admin meetings with clients and colleagues on conservation efforts. He also worked at R Street Institute, a DC-based think tank as a finance and operations associate. Previously he was a production coordinator at Asia Pacific Offset, an international print management company.

Ali lives in Washington, DC. 


Favorite Children's Book: 

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Hannah Thelen

Editorial and Production Director

Hannah just likes to be included, whether it's in the development, editing, and design of books, the translation of manuscripts, or the creation of sweet, sweet workflow spreadsheets. She received her BFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University, where she also minored in print design and technology (and dance). Hannah currently lives in Washington, DC, with a hyperactive rescue kitten named after a pizza restaurant.

Favorite Children's Books: 

The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen

Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields


Caitlin Burnham

Managing Editor and Marketing Director

Caitlin loves all things books, which makes having a hand in the editorial, design, licensing, and marketing phases of book development a dream come true. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a BA in English, and a minor in studio art. Caitlin lives in Washington, DC, where she's constantly visiting her neighborhood's Little Free Libraries and working on new sticker designs for her Etsy shop.

Favorite Children's Books: 

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart 


Marlee Brooks

Senior Editor and Outreach Director

Marlee spent most of her teenage summer nights reading and writing until 4 am. Her love for storytelling and fascination with the behind-the-scenes of the creative process drove her to study Documentary Filmmaking at Ithaca College. She traded her camera and tripod for a pen and paper when she came to Platypus Media as an editor, which has given her a deeper appreciation for storytelling. She lives in Pretty Much, DC (Chevy Chase, MD) with her boyfriend and their large collections of books and house plants.

Favorite Children's Books: 

If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff

Olive My Love by Vivian Walsh

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Emily Nilsson

Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfillment Specialist

Emily loves all types of books, especially fantasy, as a way to escape the real world. Having a knack for organization, she keeps all of Science Naturally's orders and inventory updated, shipped, and easily accessible. She graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in Legal Studies, but is currently going back to school for a Finance degree. Emily lives in Washington, DC, where she enjoys spending her time with her husband, two dogs, and traveling. 

Favorite Children's Books: 

Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley


Darwin Castillo

Information and Technology Coordinator

Darwin has many talents that keep the company afloat, like building and repairing computers, troubleshooting technical difficulties, designing and building storage solutions, and generally fixing everyone's problems. He also has experience in graphic design and home renovation. In his free time, Darwin enjoys mountaineering across the US. 

Favorite Book: 

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes


Sienna Sullivan

Social Media Marketing Associate

Sienna is a rising senior at Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia studying professional writing and psychology. In the office, you can find her editing and proofreading copy, collaborating on concept development, dabbling in website design, and creating killer one-liners. When she's not at work, you can find Sienna innocently ignoring her lengthy TBR list at a newly discovered book store. 

Favorite Children's Books: 

The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald


Izzi Michels

Head of Security

Izzi is Platypus Media's floofiest team member. As the head of security, she spends her time alternating between napping in various positions under Dia's desk and barking at any potential security threats. Outside of the office, Izzi enjoys even more long naps, eating treats, and rolling in the adoration of anyone who stops to pet her on the street.

Interested in joining our team?

Learn more about our Editorial and Marketing Internship Program here.

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