Katie Bermingham is originally from the San Francisco Bay area. She first moved to Chicago over 20 years ago and moved to the Northcenter Neighborhood ten years ago looking for a neighborhood with a sense of community and strong schools for her girls. Katie’s daughters Izzy (16), and Maddy (11), attend Lane Tech High School and Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School. Katie is the Director of Franchising for Potbelly Sandwich Shops. She is looking forward to deepening her community involvement and giving back to the Northcenter neighborhood that she and her girls have made home! When she is not working or hanging out with her girls, Katie coaches her daughter Maddy’s basketball team and enjoys traveling, cooking, and bicycling.
Marla Espeseth and her husband Eric moved to Northcenter from Logan Square in 2009. Their two children both attended Bell School and their oldest is a freshman at Lane Tech HS. Marla and Eric have been involved in Bell fundraising and sports programs. Marla is an Operations Director for a locally based software company. She is excited to join the board and play a more active role in the Northcenter community. When not working, Marla enjoys travel, photography and exploring the city.
Renée Girardin has lived in Chicago for 20 years with her husband Sean. They were attracted to the Northcenter neighborhood in 2010 when they were looking for a strong community with a good school for their daughter. Coonley was that school! Renee has been actively involved with Coonley where she worked with the Arts Department at the school and helped with fundraising as a board member of Friends of Coonley. Renee is a Communications and Graphic Design freelance professional and was recently a Communications and Events Director of a 47th Ward Aldermanic Campaign. In her free time, Renee enjoys coaching softball at Welles Park, attending concerts, pilates and her interior design hobby!
Larry Griffin (Treasurer) and his wife Mollie have lived in Northcenter since 2010. For five years, Larry and Mollie lived on Lincoln Avenue, enjoying the many locally owned shops, restaurants and bars. In 2015, the Griffins added son Nicholas, and moved to a home near Addison and Hoyne, gaining more space for toys, while remaining close to all they love in Northcenter. Larry is an attorney and works for Beazley, a business insurance company. Larry previously served as a commissioner for Wicker Park/Bucktown Special Service Area #33, and actively supports several non-profits, including the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and 826-Chicago. On weekends, Larry enjoys cycling, craft beer and cheering on Tottenham Hotspur, London’s finest soccer club.
Liz Hinard and her husband Jon ventured north from Lincoln Park to the Northcenter neighborhood 16 years ago and it was one of the best decisions they ever made. Their 2 sons, Billy and Henry attended Bell school and CPS high schools. Liz spent 14 years as a critical care nurse before changing gears to a career as a full time real estate broker with @properties. She has been a participant in the Northcenter Garden Walk for several years and is excited to join the board and take a more active role in the Northcenter community. In her spare time, Liz enjoys cycling, Cubs baseball with her boys, traveling and of course gardening.
James Nathan offers a multi-faceted perspective to the NNA board. His background incorporates journalism, public relations, law and the real estate industry. He has been active in NNA since becoming an original member of NNA’s Zoning Committee and is the committee’s current chair. Raised at Irving Park Road and Clarendon Avenue, Jim graduated from Lake View High School, returning to Chicago after earning degrees in business and law. In 1986 Jim bought the home he and his wife Mary Jo occupy today on Seeley Avenue. Jim started his career at the Chicago Tribune as an editor and writer, primarily covering residential real estate. After 14 years at the Tribune, Jim moved into public relations, working at several agencies before starting his own PR consultancy, which he operated until retiring at the end of 2019. Jim was a contributing editor for Real Estate Forum magazine (now Globe Street) and volunteered for 15 years as a Chicago Architecture Foundation docent, specializing in the work of Frank Lloyd Wright. During that time, he served on the board of the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation in Oak Park for several years. He is eager to contribute to the NNA board, working to build a stronger, more connected community and speak up for our community’s long-term interests and immediate needs.
Sally Smith (Vice-President) has over 40 years in Marketing, most recently as Marketing Director with Johnson Financial Group, based in Racine, Wisconsin, Sally is now semi-retired, taking on select consulting projects, while enjoying pickle ball, and waiting for warmer weather to start playing golf again. She’s also enjoying her new boxer puppy, Herlihy, and looks forward to walking him in the neighborhood very soon. Sally’s previous community involvement includes membership of United Way of Greater Milwaukee’s Women’s Leadership Council, Planning committee member, Wisconsin Better Business Bureau’s Annual Torch Awards for Ethics, and President, St. Clement Parish Parish Council. For the past 1-1/2 years, Sally has been a committee member of NNA’s Compassion In Action, working to find ways for our neighbors to provide more outreach to seniors who choose to age in place in Northcenter. She is also a member of Catholic Charities of Chicago’s planning committee for the annual Golf Outing.
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.
Dave Tomke moved to Chicago in 2010 and has lived in Northcenter with his dog Coach since 2017. Over the past decade, he has lived in multiple Northside neighborhoods before finally finding the right community here in Northcenter. Dave has spent his entire time in Chicago working for Softchoice Corporation – an IT reseller based out of Toronto – and is currently a Director of Sales in charge of the US Public Sector business. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, frequenting the Grace & Leavitt Tavern, and working hard to ensure that his Chicago-born nephew grows up to be a long-suffering Detroit fan like the rest of his family.
Michelle Weber (President), her husband Fred, and their three sons moved to North Center in 2006. All three boys graduated from Bell School and her two oldest will graduate high school in 2018. Michelle is a public relations, marketing and communications professional, and consulting for nonprofit organizations in Chicago and beyond has been a hallmark of her career. She is passionate about community engagement and is excited to deepen her involvement in North Center. When not working, she enjoys traveling to national parks with her family, yoga, neighborhood walks, taking care of her three chickens (no not the kids, real chickens!), and dreaming up ideas to improve peoples’ lives. Yep, it’s open-ended on purpose.
NNA Advisory Board
Kathleen Abbott is originally from a small farm town in northern Illinois and moved to Northcenter in 2007 after stints on the south side and San Francisco. She has been active in the University of Chicago Alumni Association (Go Maroons!) in various capacities for many years and in local organizations like the NNA zoning committee, 47th Ward Transportation Committee, and the German International School Chicago. Kathleen is an attorney for the State of Illinois and you will likely see her on her bike hauling kids around the neighborhood. She lives near Damen and Berteau with her husband, Stephen, 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 are both graduates of Bell School and CPS high schools. Gretchen has been a Northcenter Neighborhood Association Block Captain and Garden Walk Volunteer for many years. In her free time, she enjoys painting, gardening and exploring the many great neighborhood restaurants. Gretchen works in Admissions and Outreach for Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
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.
Kate Kreinbring 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.
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.
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.
Jill Stein 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.