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  • Meet the Team

    We are Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago

     

    Neighborhood Parents Network started in 1980 as a volunteer-run organization. Today, NPN is managed by a full-time Executive Director and a team of part-time directors and managers, and a group of amazing volunteers.

     

    Amy JohnsonAmy Johnson

    Executive Director

     

    Amy joined NPN in 2006. After finding a long-lasting nanny share through NPN, she began volunteering by planning small social events for parents in her neighborhood. With a background in non-profit program management and event coordinating, she moved into a part-time staff position coordinating volunteers in 2012. Amy’s role grew to managing NPN’s programming and events and building partnerships with NPN’s many supporters. She became Executive Director in 2020. She lives in Irving Park with her husband, sons and dog.

    Laura BaginskiLaura Baginski

    Director of Marketing & Content

     

    A proud mom of two boys, Laura joined NPN in 2015 after 10 years at Time Out Chicago. She brings writing, editing, business strategy and social media experience to her position at NPN, which she first joined in 2013 as a new mom searching for a nanny. As Director of Marketing & Content, Laura ensures current and potential NPN members are aware of the many NPN member benefits via social media, blog posts, email and in-person event outreach. She and her family live in Old Irving Park.

    Jana KlineJana Kline

    Advertising Operations Manager

     

    Jana joined the NPN team in 2017 and is responsible for advertising operations. Her experience runs the gamut from small, privately owned companies to global conglomerates. As such, she brings a strong and varied advertising background to NPN. With two Chicago kids, Jana understands the unique challenges of raising children in an urban environment and the importance of finding the resources needed to do so. She is excited to bring both her professional and personal experience to NPN. Jana lives in Chicago’s North Side with her husband, two children and an ill-tempered cat.

    tareemaTareema Jean-Baptiste

    Programs Manager

     

    Tareema has been an NPN member and contributor since 2011. She is a devoted wife and mother of three. As a proud advocate for her oldest son, who has special needs, she has a passion to share with others, hopefully helping them on their journey. Using her Real Estate, event management and special needs parent advocate skills, Tareema will continue to support and facilitate NPN's programs. Affectionately nicknamed "The Connector" by her friends and family, she is excited to share creative and inclusive ways for all families to connect throughout the city.

    liz GElizabeth Gourio

    Events Manager

     

    Elizabeth Gourio joined the NPN team in 2021. She became an NPN member prior to the birth of her oldest child and found the New Moms Group to be very helpful in dealing with the anxiety and isolation of new motherhood. As a transplant from the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, Elizabeth finds NPN to be a reliable guidepost in navigating the struggles and benefits of raising children in Chicago. Elizabeth has a varied work background in the arts, education, sales, project management and technology. She is responsible for managing the numerous events hosted by NPN. Elizabeth lives with her husband and two daughters in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago.

    Lauren Viera-small.jpgLauren Viera

    Content Manager

     

    Lauren joined NPN in 2015 as managing editor of Parent to Parent while navigating her first year as a mom. With a long career in writing for publication as a journalist, and copywriting for Fortune 500 companies, Lauren loves how personal narratives can broaden perspectives and bring communities closer. As Content Manager, she strives to share compelling stories of what it’s like to be a parent in Chicago. She lives in Logan Square with her husband and daughter.

    Sitaara Jones-20210727-small.JPGSitaara Jones

    Senior Social Media Strategist

     

    Combine blogging, social engagement, and content creation and you'll end up with the perfect mixture of all of the things that Sitaara enjoys. A proud mama of three, she enjoys bringing a diverse perspective to parenting and originally joined NPN as a blog contributor. Sitaara couples her experience as a former Chicago Public Schools educator with her experience in email and digital marketing, community engagement, and social media strategy in her position as Senior Social Media Strategist where she loves to make meaningful connections, test out new ideas, and analyze data. When she's not behind her computer, Sitaara enjoys taking in the beauty of the South Side of Chicago with her family. 

    Doloris SchomertDoloris Schombert

    Web Developer

     

    Doloris joined the NPN tech team in 2004. She desires to help families to grow with love. Doloris became a techno-geek when she took her first computer class at DePaul University. When she's not computing, you can find her and her family riding bikes along the lakefront.

    NeliaNelia Opperman

    Accountant

     

    Nelia’s involvement with NPN started in 2005 when she was approached by NPN management regarding tax issues facing the organization. Since then, she continued on being involved with NPN doing various tasks including data entry, event postings, bookkeeping, budgeting and planning, research, audit, tax and financial reporting. Nelia’s work experience includes international tax management positions at Motorola, Aon, and Baxter Labs. She has a BS degree in Education, an MBA, CPA, and attended Roosevelt University and DePaul University.

     

     

    Board of Directors

     

    sharhonda-okonkwo-20220112.jpegSharhonda Okonkwo

    President

     

    An energetic mom of two, Sharhonda joined NPN in 2015. An attorney in financial services and a volunteer Girl Scout troop leader, she brings legal expertise and business strategy, as well as fun, to NPN. She also writes for NPN, sharing her parenting experience. As president of the board, Sharhonda ensures that the work of the board and staff align with each other and with NPN’s mission and goals. Sharhonda and her family live in Bronzeville.

    tamara-roust-20220112.jpegTamara Roust

    Vice President

     

    Tamara joined NPN in 2010, participating in NPN’s support groups, camp fairs, school search events, and social groups. A chief data officer and a volunteer for several local organizations, Tamara shares with NPN her expertise in cybersecurity, business continuity, and information systems, as well as a passion for civic advocacy. As vice president of the board, Tamara leads NPN’s strategic planning. She lives in the Gold Coast with her husband and three children.

    julie-busby-20220112.pngJulie Busby

    Secretary

     

    Julie joined NPN in 2014 as a first-time mom looking for parenting and childcare advice and recommendations. Later, after a great experience using NPN’s school search resources for their daughter, Julie moved into a board position in 2018. As the founder of Busby Group, a top Chicagoland real estate team, Julie brings marketing, communications and sales expertise along with first-hand experience of what it means to be an urban family. Julie is passionate about helping and providing resources for all Chicago families.

    Colleen Callahan

    Treasurer

     

    Colleen has been a member of NPN since the birth of her son in 2018. A controller, Colleen has a finance and accounting background and brings to NPN her years of experience building budgets, comparing budgets to actuals, and using metrics to improve business performance. As treasurer of the board, Colleen advises NPN on all matters of accounting and finance. Colleen and her husband are invested in raising their son in Chicago and building their community in the city.

    jenny-burke-20220112.jpgJennifer Burke

     

    Jenny joined NPN and the board in 2021. As a CPA and tax partner who specializes in helping not-for-profit organizations, Jenny brings business and financial expertise to NPN, as well as advice on navigating the financial complexities of the pandemic. As a new mom making the most of her NPN membership, she brings a fresh perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to the team. Jenny, her husband, and son live in the Loop.

    Anita Chandra-Puri

     

    A primary care pediatrician, volunteer for local non-profit organizations, and mom of four, Anita joined the NPN board in 2018 to give back to the community that her family calls home. She writes articles for NPN and shares her expertise during NPN’s Ask the Expert series on the discussion forum. Anita lives in Lincoln Park with her family.

    danielle-gould-150x150-20220125.jpegDanielle Gould

     

    Danielle joined the NPN board in 2021. An attorney and mom of two, Danielle attended NPN’s Preschool and Elementary School Fair prior to her oldest daughter starting kindergarten and joined the NPN board to get more involved in community matters. She brings her rich volunteer experience, organizational skills, and legal guidance to NPN. Danielle and her family live in Lakeview.

     





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