Candidates for CHCA Board of Directors

News April 8, 2011 0 Comments

The following 18 candidates are running for a seat on the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors. This year, eight total seats are available. The top eight vote getters will win those seats for three-year terms. Members of the Chestnut Hill Community Association may vote by the ballot located on page 14.

Below, all 18 candidates were asked to describe themselves and why they want a seat on the board. They appear in the same order in which they appear on the ballot/.That order was established by a random drawing.

 

Megan Seubert

Megan Seubert

My name is Megan Seubert and I am running for an at-large seat on the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board of Directors.

I visited Chestnut Hill for the first time in 2004 with a friend who had attended college in Philadelphia. I knew after just one afternoon that Chestnut Hill was now top on my list of “Great Places I’d Like to Live.”

In September 2006, my work brought me to Erdenheim. During the few years I rented an apartment there, I frequented Chestnut Hill’s annual festivals, Pastorius Park concerts, as well as Stag and Doe nights.

My career took me to King of Prussia in July 2009. It wasn’t until November 2010 that I found my way back to the place I feel most at home – Chestnut Hill. My boyfriend and I now rent an apartment that is perfect for us, right on Germantown Avenue.

I am a retailer, and work on the Avenue. John and I are members of the The Morris Arboretum, and volunteer with The Stagecrafters Theater. Over the course of the past five months, I have volunteered with the Chestnut Hill Community Association to help with the 2010 Holiday House Tour and the 2011 CHCA Blood Drive. I look forward to helping with the 2011 Pastorius Park Concerts.

I regularly attend the monthly Board of Directors meetings, as a community member, because I am passionate about Chestnut Hill and want to see it succeed. My goal is to be as involved as possible. As a newer resident, I offer fresh ideas and insights with regard to the future of our neighborhood – yours and mine. It would be a privilege to serve on the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) Board of Directors. I respectfully ask you to vote Megan Seubert in this year’s election.

Janice Manzi

Janice Manzi

Incumbent

As a wife, mother, homeowner, CHCA board member, and realtor living in Chestnut Hill since 1982, I have become one of the elders of the community.

I was born and raised in a sweet New England town and came to Philadelphia after graduating from Vassar to pursue a career in marketing and advertising.  I was drawn to Chestnut Hill for its architectural beauty and its easy access to the woodlands of Fairmount Park.  It was reminiscent of New England, but with a particular Philadelphia air.

Nowadays, I can’t walk a block on Germantown Avenue without running into someone I know. Through my work in real estate, I have brought many new people into Chestnut Hill and delight at watching their families flourish here.  We have an incredible neighborhood: the schools, the churches, the civic organizations, the sports leagues, the clubs, the parks, the social events, the art and cultural institutions, and the commercial district.  The vibrancy of the community and the talent of the people who live here are exceptional.

My role as a board member, which I have been since 2004, is to stay abreast of the changes in Chestnut Hill, and make sure that change moves us in a positive direction.  Change is inevitable, but with committed and curious people in positions of influence, change can honor the past, as well as position us for the best future possible.

I have been involved in major community issues: the bridge on Germantown Ave. at Northwestern; making East Bells Mill one-way; fundraising events like the wine tasting at Woodmere and the Holiday House Tour for several years.

As do all of us, I want my life in Chestnut Hill to be safe, stimulating and rewarding.

I humbly ask for your vote so I can have a hand in the good works of Chestnut Hill.

Susan Bray

Susan Bray

I am a physician who has worked at Chestnut Hill Hospital for many years. I currently chair the ethics committee there and sit on the ethics committee at Hahnemann, where I work part time in nephrology and in bioethics.

I have lived in the area since the 1970s, raised a family and had my children educated in area schools. I reside in Chestnut Hill and love it! I love Chestnut Hill, its village atmosphere, the passion of its citizens to preserve our way of life here and its astounding beauty.

I am hoping to earn a seat on the board of CHCA so that I may have input into decisions that affect the very functioning of Chestnut Hill. In addition, through our good works, effective programs, fun activities and marketing of those good things, I expect that we will increase membership and community participation in the many activities of the CHCA.  I will work to increase funds donated to support programs of the CHCA, such as Pastorius Park concerts, pocket gardens, CHCE, and other physical and social aspects of Chestnut Hill life.

I have experience with volunteerism, am currently active in the Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill, am a board member of the CHCE (Senior Center), and chair a small family foundation board. My term as trustee on the board of trustees of the Chestnut Hill Community Fund is coming to an end and I want to continue to serve my community through the board of the CHCA by bringing a strong understanding of finances, decision making and fiduciary responsibility that I, as a board member, would have.

It will be exciting and fulfilling to have the privilege of working as part of the CHCA board. I ask for your vote and thank you for your interest.

Kerry Maginnis

Kerry Maginnis

Born Kerry Sullivan, I have been a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area. One of six children, I have a keen sense of how important “home and community” are to a family. Educated in suburban schools and a graduate of LaSalle University, I started my professional career in a Fortune 500 company.

After that I worked in the development office for a private school in the area and currently, I am a realtor for Elfant Wissahickon Realtors in Chestnut Hill. From that experience, I learned the art of sales, concept of service, strategies for fundraising and event planning.

I have carried it forward in all of my life’s work. My attention to detail, my thoroughness, and my perseverance are my strongest attributes. I presently live in Chestnut Hill with my teenage daughter, Emma. Before that I lived in Wyndmoor.  I am self driven and dedicated to all causes that I am involved in. I look forward to serving the Chestnut Hill community and working on existing programs as well as implementing new initiatives.

George G. H. Coates, Jr.

George G. H. Coates, Jr.

I have lived in Chestnut Hill for more than 20 years.  I grew up just outside of Philadelphia in Gladwyne, attended The Haverford School and then Cornell University, and moved to Chestnut Hill in 1990 after several years in Manhattan following college.  I first lived on East Evergreen Avenue, then with my wife in the gardener’s cottage on Krisheim before we purchased our current house on Bethlehem Pike just down from the Chestnut Hill East train station.  Our family consists of my wife Victoria — an art history professor, archivist, blogger and freelance author — and our nine-year old daughter Gardner and seven year old son Gowen, both of whom attend Germantown Academy.

I’ve spent most of my career in the wine business, first as a vice president of sales for Southern Wine and Spirits of PA and currently as the regional vice-president for wine importer and producer WJ Deutsch & Sons.  Prior to being in the wine business, I spent about 10 years in the restaurant business.

I am running for the board of the CHCA to be more involved in the community I so cherish. I feel my years as a strategic business executive will be of use to the board as it grapples with the issues large and small that confront our community.  The history and architecture of Chestnut Hill are of particular interest to me, both because they are a core reason why I live here and because their preservation is crucial to maintaining Chestnut Hill as we know and love it, a passion personally addressed in the painstaking  restoration of our Victorian house.  I look forward to serving the board in an engaged manner if elected and hope to have the opportunity to do so.

AnnMarie Arment

AnnMarie Arment

Incumbent

I am fortunate to both reside in and run a small business in Chestnut Hill. I firmly believe that Chestnut Hill is a unique neighborhood that hosts a myriad of benefits for its residents and visitors.  I am proud to be a part of the Chestnut Hill Community Association and the CHCA Board of Directors.

My first three-year term on the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board afforded me the opportunity to participate in many events that help strengthen our neighborhood and business district.  I look forward to my fourth year on the Holiday House Tour Committee as well as assisting with the Annual Police and Firefighter’s Picnic and other events.  I think there is considerable progress being made in Chestnut Hill through the Community Association and I am seeking re-election to the Board.  I will continue to volunteer my time for fundraising and other community events.  I am committed to maintaining a forum for all neighbors’ voices to be heard and creating a collaborative approach to local problem solving.  I look forward to working with all of you in the future and thank you for your consideration.

Jonna Naylor

Jonna Naylor

Incumbent

In 1997, I was lucky enough to rent a Woodward home on Benezet Steet in Chestnut Hill and immediately fell in love with our vibrant neighborhood.

For, me it truly was the definition of ‘falling into the clover!’ I have been working with the Mt. Airy Learning Tree since 1998- first as a volunteer and, since 1999, as Executive Director. I am running for a board spot because I love Chestnut Hill and I have had the opportunity to get to know the current board over the past two years by filling an institutional seat for MALT.

My work with MALT has given me a broad appreciation for the people of Chestnut Hill and for the neighboring communities. If elected, I hope to increase the connections of others to Chestnut Hill and Chestnut Hill to the larger community. My partner Janet and I moved to Mt. Airy to purchase a home because I grew up on a cotton farm in the Texas Panhandle, and I needed a little more elbow room. I do love Philly and especially Germantown, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.

I often eat, shop, and work in Chestnut Hill and think that we should all “shop local” in these shopping and dining districts as they give us such stunning options.Join the CHCA and dig in this Spring.  We have plenty of things that need our neighbors’ help to get done.  And if you like… vote for me and you will have someone always willing to listen, and who will pitch in with you to keep the Hill happening!

Thomas Beatty

Thomas Beatty

I have been a homeowner in Chestnut Hill for the last 13 years. Since moving to the community, I have been active in several events including the Chestnut Hill 4th of July celebrations.  I have been co-chairman and field marshal for the last five years. This has given me an opportunity to meet many members of the area and provide a safe event for the children. I have been married for 30 years to Dana Beatty.

I am currently a director of merchandising for PepBoys. In this capacity, I am responsible for budgeting, sales and inventory for over $30 million a year. This will give me an opportunity to take my work experience and provide help in long term fiscal planning for the association. In the past I worked as an advertising director for a community shopping center and am very aware of how to balance the need for foot traffic verses the need to be a good neighbor to the community.

If elected, I would continue to be involved with the CHCA membership committee and help on building a working relationship between the residents and the CHBA to balance the needs of association. We need to make Chestnut Hill a place that is inviting to new residents and to new businesses. This is the only way that we will succeed.

Chestnut Hill was a unique town within a town when I decided to move to Philadelphia, with small businesses and inviting parks. We can make it that way again by working together and getting the job done.In these times of declining property values, we will need to stay focused on keeping Chestnut Hill a safe and thriving community. If elected, you can count on me to build these bridges to our prosperous future.

Miguel Castenada

Miguel Castenada

Incumbent

Upon visiting Chestnut Hill for the first time in 2007, I immediately fell in love with the worldly charm of this historic area. Having the opportunity to live and work in Chestnut Hill for the past three years has solidified my commitment to preserving the uniqueness of Chestnut Hill.  My quest for another term in the Community Association is an expression of my desire to serve the community that has so openly embraced me and my family. If re-elected, I will serve as a champion for the improvements and initiatives necessary to ensure the continued success of the CHCA and the community it serves.

Gretchen Hatfield Ingersoll

Gretchen Hatfield Ingersoll

I was born and raised in Philadelphia and lived here until graduating from Springside School. I lived in the city while attending the University of Pennsylvania until I received my B.A. in 1965.

I left to attend the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies before moving Nuremberg Germany in 1967, where I attended the Nato School for languages in Oberammergau until returning to live and work in Washington D.C. in 1970.

I remained in Washington D.C. learning retailing then moving on to apply this skill to making money for museums. I created retailing programs at The National Trust for Historic Preservation until moving onto the Smithsonian Institution in 1976. I returned to Philadelphia and Chestnut Hill only to work for then purchase Dorothy R. Bullitt Inc. with my husband in 1979.

We loved Chestnut Hill and thrived on the community atmosphere of the businesses and the residents. An interest in architecture and a concern about the use of land in relation to the environment resulting in perhaps a danger to the future of open space, water purity and wildlife habitats led me to The Chestnut Hill Historical Society Board at least twice where I had a hand in the start of the now famous Preservation Potpourri.

I am extremely passionate about the preservation of the atmosphere and the success of Chestnut Hill. There is a need for more retail shops and for more people to work for the community at large. We are members of the Friends of the Wissahickon without which there would be no “green” in the area in which we all live. I have a husband, Joseph Ingersoll, who is a builder and “master of all trades.” We have two therapy dogs Elvira and Leonard ( well known on Germantown Avenue) who visit Pennsylvania Hospital once a week.

Marilyn Paucker

Marilyn Paucker

Incumbent

This is the third year of my serving on the CHCA Board.  As I stated in my bio when I ran three years ago, for the first few months I would sit and learn just what the board does and how I might be a part of it.  That is just what I did and I have to say, it took some time to understand just what the goals and reasons for the board’s existence are.  Now I know!

The mission of the Chestnut Hill Community Association is to make Chestnut Hill even better that it is!  The money raised in the Fund Drive supports so many important organizations, such as Meals on Wheels, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society, the Center for Enrichment and the Keystone Hospice just to name a few.

Then there are the Pastorius Park Concerts, which have been entertaining families for more than 30 years – do you know of another community that hosts six concerts every summer, concerts that are completely free to the public?  If you haven’t been to any of them, you should give yourself a treat.  Select the one (or two or three) that most appeals to you and take your blanket or lawn chairs and picnic lunch (or buy it at the Park) and settle down for a nice surprise.  The feeling there is what a community should be – families and friends together for an evening of music and being together!

I would like to think that in some small way, I have made some contributions to the community by serving on the board.  I would like to continue to do so.

I remain enthusiastic and energetic about this community and would welcome the opportunity to serve another term, and to do whatever I am able to help keep Chestnut Hill a place that we all love to call home.

Elizabeth Bales

Elizabeth Bales

I was raised in Jenkintown and educated at Germantown Academy but dined at Rose Bud and McNally’s and I bought my prom dress at Dorothy Bullitt.  I left the area and went to Vermont to Middlebury College but returned to attend the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

I accepted a job at the Chestnut Hill Cat Clinic as an Associate Veterinarian and my family and I moved to Chestnut Hill five years ago. I no longer work at the Cat Clinic, but moving from Chestnut Hill is not an option. The commute to work is well worth the privilege of calling this town our home.

I believe in Chestnut Hill.  I believe that to continue to enjoy all of the wonderful things this unique town has to offer, we must give what we can to support it.  I try to do all of my shopping on the Avenue.  It is a pleasure to frequent the stores where I see so many familiar faces, and the shopkeepers know me by name.  My husband and I have Saturday night dates at the great restaurants on the Avenue and bump into our friends and neighbors.  I can walk my daughter to school and continue on for a stroll in the park.

I would like to be a positive, active member of this board.  I am enthusiastic about bringing new businesses to fill the empty stores on the Avenue while being committed supporting the businesses that are already here.  I have a great interest in maintaining the charm and historical character that makes Chestnut Hill so special.  I believe that with positivity, respect for our neighbors and hard work, no problem insurmountable.  We have a very rich historical past and a very bright future.  I hope to be a part of it.

Jean Wedgewood

Jean Wedgwood

Incumbent

Jean Wedgwood and her family are long time Chestnut Hill residents as were her parents before her. She was educated at Saint Leonard’s Academy, University of Pennsylvania and Villanova University. Her father was active in politics in the city of Philadelphia and served as a judge for more than 20 years.

She resided in the city of Chicago from 1975 to1986 where she was Director of Public Relations for Marshall Field’s. She has served two years as a board member, and seeks to further serve as she feels Chestnut Hill faces many challenges in its future. It is her philosophy that Chestnut Hill is a rare and unique ‘village’ within a city, and its traditions and inhabitants wish to maintain and preserve its special heritage, to inspire growth, to attract commerce and create a unity and harmony that is so much at the heart of Chestnut Hill.

Michael Chomentowski

Michael Chomentowski

Incumbent

In 2009, even having been a Chestnut Hill resident for only two years, I knew this neighborhood was worth preserving and serving, and so I got involved with the CHCA.  Now, two years later, my affinity for this neighborhood has grown, as has my commitment to improving the community through an association we can all be proud of.

Over the past two years, I have been a very active board member.  Recognizing that the issue of empty storefronts on Germantown Ave affected us all, I helped form an Occupancy Committee that ultimately resulted in the hiring of our retail recruiter. I co-chaired the Membership Committee and was involved with many of our events.  I also serve on the Traffic, Transportation, and Parking Committee and the search committee for a Community Manager.

I am proud of what the CHCA has accomplished in the past two years and look forward to taking further steps to make this organization worthy of the people she serves.Our CHCA board should continue to listen first and then act for the betterment of the whole community.  While our community includes businesses and institutions, the people who live and work here should have the loudest voice and have their interests protected above all others. It is critical that our board continue to act with transparency, accountability, and respect for its by-laws, and support with pride the Chestnut Hill Local and the quality work done by its staff.

As a homeowner, I want the viewpoint of residents heard, loud and clear. As a father, I want more events for families and neighbors, and I want my son to grow up in a neighborhood that gets stronger every year. If reelected, I will continue to be an active, attentive advocate for the people of Chestnut Hill.

Jan LeSuer

Jan LeSuer

Five years ago I returned to Philadelphia after 25 years away. I graduated from Central High School, attended Penn State, joined the Peace Corps, where I served in Chad, Africa, returned to the U.S. and attended the University of Minnesota where I gained my Master’s Degree in Library Science. My professional and family life was based in the Twin Cities for more than 20 years. I worked for the mayor of Minneapolis, the City Council there, the State Legislature and the Governor’s office as a research librarian. I was elected twice to the Golden Valley, MN, City Council, served as chair of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority there, and was active on the watershed board, among many other civic activities. In 2005 I moved back to Philadelphia and bought a house in Chestnut Hill.

I have two grown daughters, Karen and Rachel, and live on Ardleigh Street with my wife, Martha Hill.

I love Chestnut Hill. It has the qualities and character that I believe represent the best the future has to offer for our urban neighborhoods. Sadly, in the last several years I have grown familiar with a kind of civic letdown as one new opportunity for Chestnut Hill after another is lost in the tumult of what seems almost like a family food fight that is incomprehensible to newcomers. The natural charm and vitality of Chestnut Hill too often is not allowed to bloom but is nipped in the bud by a certain kind of knee-jerk adversarial attitude to change, the new, and the different. Surely, a more sustainable, can-do attitude is possible here with the tremendous talents available. I represent a form of leadership more responsive to residents, closer to the ground, and positive in long term outlook. I look forward to a dynamic term on the Chestnut Hill Community Association. Please vote for me.

Larry McEwen

Larry McEwen

In my capacities as Co-Chair of the CHCA Development Review Committee for the last six years, an 18-year member of the Land Use Planning & Zoning Committee and a four-year member of the Historical Society Board, I have had an opportunity to review and offer guidance to a wide variety of development proposals from residents, businesses, and institutions.  The work of our committees is known to, and respected by, the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.  I am especially honored to be this year’s recipient of the Chestnut Hill Award, the highest award within the gift of our community.

As a practicing architect in the community and a father of two teenage sons, I’m aware that our built and natural environment needs to provide activities and opportunities for all age groups to foster a sense of belonging and CHCA membership among our future residents and leaders.

With economic pressures, renewed emphasis on conservation of the natural environment we enjoy here, and the potential of a new Philadelphia Zoning Code that will change the way we review development proposals in our community, I see an increasing need for the CHCA Board to collaborate proactively with the Business Association, the Historical Society, the Friends of the Wissahickon and neighbor groups to develop a comprehensive vision for the community’s future; managing Chestnut Hill’s growth in a way that allows it to prosper and evolve while retaining the essential characteristics that have made it a uniquely desirable place to live and work.

I believe my experience and interests can be of real benefit to the CHCA Board in this important area of its mission, and I look forward to making productive connections among our related organizations, and with the City, to our mutual benefit.

Thomas Cullen

Thomas Cullen

Since moving back to Chestnut Hill a little over two years ago I have spent one year on the board and another attending Community Association meetings. I have always felt it important to be involved in my community. As a homeowner and resident of Chestnut hill I believe that the Community Association is the best way to do that. From zoning issues to to concerts in Pastorius park, this organization has a hand in making this a better place to live and on the board or off I plan to contribute. I am asking for your vote in the upcoming election because I believe I can do more on the board than off. Thank you for considering me.

Natalie Blatney-Platcher

Natalie Blatney-Platcher

As a representative of the Chestnut Hill Community Association Board I hope to promote activities in Chestnut Hill that foster a dynamic and safe community.  When my husband and I were first married we resided in Flourtown.  We enjoyed the convenience of a small town, but after the birth of our first child felt we should move out to a large “suburban community” setting that we felt would be “ideal” for child rearing.  What we found was that most of our neighbors pulled into their garages and were never seen outside.  What was more disappointing was that we had to drive our car for every family activity.  By the time our third child was born, we knew that this was not the community we were looking for, and five years ago we moved back to Chestnut Hill.  We can now walk to our church, the library, local stores and restaurants.  We walk often as a family; talking and walking has strengthened our family bond.  It has also brought us closer to our neighbors, as we see them walking as well.  We actively participate and support activities in our community that we believe help to promote and enhance our lives, the lives or our neighbors and promote visitation to our town, including the Morris Arboretum, Fairmount Park and the Wissahickon Watershed.  As a member of the community association I hope to direct my attention towards activities that foster a safe environment for residents and visitors, in particular safety on our streets and in our homes.  I have worked in the past with the streets commission to assess traffic patterns and think that close communication with this department will help to balance both the needs of the residents and our visitors.  I think it is essential that we promote activities that will draw more young families to want to live and work within Chestnut Hill, while at the same time ensuring that we are meeting the needs of the current residents.  I hope that you will consider me for this position.

Want to support the Local? Join the Chestnut Hill Community Association. Membership helps fund what we do. Join today.