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BOARD OF DIRECTORS




The Board of Directors is composed of association members who strive to help the organization fulfill its mission. The 2023-2024 board is composed of 12 dedicated individuals who actively plan and implement ways for our organization to grow and connect with the community.

Board terms are three years. A call for applications is sent out at the beginning of each year and, after an interview process, new members are elected in May.

CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS


Marni Berliner moved to Chicago on a whim after college and, after leaving for 6 years, moved back and settled in North Center in 2021 with her family. She was amazed at the strong community feeling in the neighborhood and feels it will be a great place to raise her two young kids. She particularly enjoys spending time along the river path near her house -- a real hidden gem in the city.  After moving to North Center, Marni quickly got involved in planning her street's block party, and is looking forward to utilizing her background in event planning to help organize engaging events for the broader neighborhood community.  She currently works as the Director of Sales at Certasun, a local solar installation company, and is passionate about clean energy and environmental issues.  Marni and her family are avid urban bikers and she feels strongly about creating safer streets for pedestrians and bikes, both in our neighborhood and throughout Chicago.


Christina Carlile has lived in Chicago for nearly 15 years with her husband Jay. They and their two young children moved from Lakeview to North Center in 2019, and their kids attend St. Benedict Preparatory School. Christina spent 10 years at some of Chicago’s top advertising agencies, holding roles in the Strategy and Planning capacity. Christina took a step back from agency life to spend more time at home, and now she juggles freelance marketing and consulting with carpooling to baseball games and dance class. Christina looks forward to more intimately immersing her family into the community and aspires to better connect the NCNA to her local network and to identify untapped opportunities to better engage with the neighborhood.


Inka Cherry (Treasurer) is originally from Germany and is married to a brit. She first moved to Chicago with her family over 11 years ago.  After almost returning to Europe, she and her husband bought and rehabbed an old two-flat in the North Center Neighborhood.  Her two sons attend Lane Tech and Coonley.  Inka has a background in Finance and has volunteered on the Friends of Coonley board for 7 years. She also works part-time as a swim instructor at LSAC, but is looking for more involvement in the broader community. When she is not enjoying pouring over excel spreadsheets, Inka likes to run, swim, bake and be outside.


Shane Devins (Vice President) is an attorney with Clean Energy Counsel, a mission-driven law firm focused on accelerating the transition to sustainability and clean energy. He lives on the corner of North Damen Avenue and West Belle Plaine Avenue with his husband, Ryan. They moved to North Center in 2022, but have lived in the Chicago area most of their lives (the exception being a stint on the West Coast in Los Angeles and Portland). Shane has years of experience on nonprofit boards, including Q Center and Basic Rights Oregon (Equality PAC) in Portland, Shelter Partnership, Inc. in Los Angeles, and Friends of the Parks and SGA Youth & Family Services in Chicago. In addition, he previously served as a Commissioner for the Human Relations Commission in Long Beach, California. Shane is an avid Bulls fan, and in his free time enjoys exploring the latest restaurants and breweries in the City.


Mia Furlong (President) and her husband Mark first moved to North Center in 1994 when they bought their first house on the 2100 block of Cuyler. In 2002 they moved to 3933 N. Hoyne and just last Fall moved to the 2000 block of W. Bradley. Obviously, they love North Center. Mia was born and raised in Chicago, leaving only to attend William College, where she majored in Psych and English. Her first job when returning to Chicago was as a social worker at Thresholds — she actually worked for the Young Adult Program when it relocated from Lincoln Park to North Center. Mia left Thresholds to attend law school at Chicago-Kent. She graduated in 1996 and went to work for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, where she worked in the Staff Attorneys Office specializing in habeas corpus and discrimination cases. Mia resigned in 2017 and since has been active in the League of Women Voters, both registering new voters and organizing candidate forums. She also canvassed for local and national political candidates, and now volunteers at Common Pantry distributing food weekly and helping with fundraising—Mia co-chaired its main fundraiser in 2020 and recently began chairing this year’s event. She also manages the on-line platform used by the pantry for its fundraising efforts and helps third-party fundraisers use it to increase participation.


Erick Harris (Secretary) lives on the 4100 block of North Leavitt Street, along with his wife Soniya and their two children (Rajan, age 4, and Priya, age 2).  They have been residents of North Center since October of 2019; prior to moving to North Center, they lived in Bucktown for ten years (with pit stops in New York and Abu Dhabi along the way).  Erick is a lawyer by training; currently, he is the General Counsel at Blue Vista Capital Management, a real estate-focused investment management firm here in Chicago.  Previously, he was the CFO for the Americas Real Estate Department at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (a sovereign wealth fund in Abu Dhabi), as well as a lawyer at two national law firms.  He received his JD from Harvard Law School in 2002, and his BA in English and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He's had one additional experience in serving on a non-profit board: in 2011, his wife and he served on the board of Stage Left Theater Company here in Chicago.  They served as board members for about a year, during which time they participated in the planning and production of the company’s annual fundraiser.

James Nathan offers a multi-faceted perspective to the NCNA board. His background incorporates journalism, public relations, law and the real estate industry. He has been active in NCNA since becoming an original member of NCNA’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 NCNA board, working to build a stronger, more connected community and speak up for our community’s long-term interests and immediate needs.


Allison Noback is the General Counsel at the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). She has worked in public transportation since 2008, serving as a Chief Attorney at the CTA and later as Deputy General Counsel and Director of Human Resources at the RTA before becoming General Counsel. She attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She graduated from Loyola Chicago School of Law. Allison has lived in the North Center neighborhood since 2006 with her husband and two daughters. Her daughters attend Lane Tech High School, and Allison spends much of her free time volunteering with her daughters’ activities. Allison is excited to be a board member with the North Center Neighborhood Association and looks forward to working with the board and members.

Nillam Raja is originally from Mutare, Zimbabwe. Recently moved to Chicago with her husband and toddler. Nillam is a makeup artist by profession and studied in the United Kingdom after which she settled in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. Nillam is looking forward to becoming part of the North Center community and serving the neighborhood, making long lasting friendships. Nillam enjoys cooking, trying different cuisines, yoga and pilates. 


Maureen (Mo) Richey has lived in Chicago for over six years and moved to North Center in 2021. Raised in Tennessee, she went to college at the University of Chicago and has lived all over the country, including rural Oregon, DC, New York, and Los Angeles. Maureen also has a Masters in Public Policy and works at a consulting firm focused on affordable housing, homelessness, community development, and public health. She has been a member of the NCNA Planning & Zoning Committee since 2021 and enjoys walking her dog around the neighborhood, spending summers in northern Michigan with her family, reading, sleeping, food and wine, crossword puzzles, and true crime podcasts. 


Kevin Saunders grew up in Philadelphia and moved to Chicago in 2006 to attend law school at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He is a regulatory attorney at a Chicago financial institution.  Kevin, his husband, and their daughter moved to the North Center neighborhood in 2022 after 10 years in Andersonville.    


Sherry Skalko moved to North Center with her family in 2016 and lives in their rehabbed two-flat on Damen at Berteau. Professionally, Skalko specializes in leading teams and driving growth for news organizations, non-profits and mission-based businesses. She spent more than 25 years in the journalism industry at national and local outlets, such as ESPN.com, Patch, Tribune Interactive and The Chicago Reporter. She also has extensive experience in growing membership-based nonprofits, including the Online News Association, the world’s largest organization for digital journalists, and the Institute for Nonprofit News. Her current efforts are focused on environmental and sustainability issues. She is the chair of NCNA’s Environmental Committee, a member of the 47th Ward Green Council and an active volunteer at Coonley, where she is coordinating the installation of a native pollinator garden. It’s her hope to engage North Center residents around environmental issues and collaborate on solutions that benefit the city as a whole.

NCNA ADVISORY BOARD


Kathleen Abbott


Matt Boemmel


Gretchen Decker


Marla Espeseth