Board of Directors

Meet the Board of Directors of NNA... and if you see any of them in the neighborhood, be sure to say hello!

Kathleen Abbott is originally from a small farm town in northern Illinois and moved to North Center in 2007 after stints on the south side and San Francisco. She has been active in the University of Chicago Alumni Association in various capacities for over 15 years and in local organizations like the NNA zoning committee and the 47th Ward Transportation Committee since their respective inceptions. Kathleen is currently an attorney in the Illinois State Treasurer's Office and commutes by bike as much as possible (even with her 3 year old). She lives near Damen and Berteau with her husband, Stephen Waguespack, their two kids and dog. 

Matt Boemmel and his wife Tracy first moved to Northcenter back in 1996. He and his wife have three children attending Bell School. Matt joined the Board of the Northcenter Neighborhood Association as a way to give back to the neighborhood where he and his family have made their home. Matt has been a full time Real Estate Consultant on the north side of Chicago since 1993. Matt is closely involved in his children's extracurricular and school activities. In his free time, Matt enjoys cycling, skiing, local sporting events, and cooking.

Gretchen Decker and her husband, Paul, have lived in Northcenter since 1997. Their two children, Annie and Ted, are both Bell School graduates and are currently in high school and college, respectively. Gretchen has been a Northcenter Neighborhood Association Block Captain and Garden Walk Volunteer for many years. In her free time, Gretchen enjoys painting, exploring the many wonderful neighborhood restaurants, and working to improve her gardening skills.

Kate Kreinbring (President) came to Northcenter when she and her husband bought a house near Western and N. Belle Plaine about two years ago.  Before that, they lived for six years nearby in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, which is how they fell in love with this neighborhood and decided to buy and become long-term residents.  Kate is and has been a Chicago Public Schools teacher in a high school in the Little Village neighborhood for the past nine years.  Her hobbies include vegetable gardening, making pottery, and cooking.

Jesse Lava moved to Northcenter in 2014 after combing Chicago neighborhoods to find the perfect place to live. He loves the neighborhood’s combination of bustle and serenity, with boutiques and taprooms sitting steps away from picturesque residential streets. Jesse is a longtime activist who has worked on issues ranging from criminal justice reform to public health. He got involved with the Northcenter Neighborhood Association to help keep his community vibrant and safe. Jesse’s apartment is near Montrose and Damen.

John Liebert (Treasurer) moved to Northcenter in 2010 with his wife Carmin Ballou. They have two children, the oldest of which just started at Bell School. Having lived in Chicago for nearly 20 years, he is delighted to find the sense of community he always wanted in Northcenter, thanks primarily to NNA. He enjoys biking to work, exploring the neighborhood and fixing up their 100-year-old house. John is an IT business analyst and project manager at an investment management company downtown.

Heidi Pratzer lived in Wisconsin until 2011 when she moved to Chicago to be closer to her two daughters who live on the north side. They specifically picked this neighborhood as the best fit for her and they were absolutely right. In Madison, Heidi was the Director of Nursing Operations at University of Wisconsin Hospital. In Chicago she recently retired as the Chief Clinical Officer for Kindred Hospital. She married her husband, Mike Vrbancic, in Chicago and they live in a remodeled barn in Northcenter. They enjoy family time with their daughters, spouses and grandson, love to cook (and with that comes a passion for shopping and eating), thrive on travel and also very much enjoy outdoor time at their Wisconsin cottage. Heidi continues to be hopeful that someday she will be able hit a golf ball further than she can throw it.


Susan Reed Schwartz (Vice-President) has lived in Northcenter since 1986 with her husband, Ed, and daughters, Emma and Maddie, both of whom graduated from Bell School before going on to complete high school and college. Susan teaches health care at DePaul and is interested in that issue. When not working, Susan is trying to get fit at the Lakeview YMCA or spending time in the garden. In the summer, her home is the neighborhood drop-off site for Angelic Organics produce. Northcenter neighbors and community have given so much to her family and she enjoys giving back through NNA.

Jill Stein (Secretary) has lived in Northcenter for 12 of the past 15 years. She and her husband, Phil Dunn, have three boys who attend Bell Elementary and Jones College Prep. Jill works in the field of change management, with a focus on enablement and education via technology applications, for Accenture. Jill is currently serving as president of the McFetridge Park Advisory Council, where her kids play hockey--Go RiverDogs! In her free time, Jill enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family exploring the neighborhood and city.


Kevin Sullivan and his wife Linda Storbeck moved to Northcenter in 1992. Originally knowing nothing about the neighborhood they were pleased to find a home near entertainment and transportation, turns out Lincoln Ave extends beyond Lincoln Park. All four of Kevin and Linda’s children attended Bell School before moving on to Lake View, Von Steuben, and Lane Tech. Kevin worked on the floor of the Chicago Board Options Exchange for 20 years before moving on to a career in Real Estate with Coldwell Banker. Kevin is an arbitrator with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and a Greeter for the City of Chicago.

NNA Advisory Board

Karen Carter Lynch and her husband, Brad Lynch, moved to Northcenter over 20 years ago when they were just newlyweds. They now live in a sunlit house with kids Annie and Blake and their hound dog, Buddy. Karen and fun-loving neighbors helped start the Northcenter Neighborhood Garden Club, which sponsors the Annual Garden Walk for the Common Pantry. She often “gets lost” in the neighborhood making new friends. In the real world, Karen is an award-winning filmmaker and video producer.

Julie Hobert has lived in Northcenter for over 20 years. She is a mother of four great kids who attended Bell School, Whitney Young, and The Hyde Park Day School. She is active in the Northcenter Neighborhood Garden Club, a founder of the Northcenter Parent Support Group, and is actively involved with Epiphany Church's outreach to Common Pantry clients. She draws and paints in her spare time.

Marnie Schwartz enjoys her family life in Northcenter with her husband, Keith, and their two teenage sons. She and Keith moved to near Addison and Damen in 1997, thinking it would be only for a couple of years.   Northcenter has been a great neighborhood for raising their sons and meeting new friends. Her boys attended Aududon, Bell and Coonley elementary schools. She is actively involved in her sons’ schools, Epiphany UCC and The Welcome Meal (which serves dinner to neighbors every Wednesday night). Marnie owns a small management consulting firm and enjoys yoga, cooking and travel. 

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