Mollie Smith, Chairperson
Mollie's leadership is influenced by her passion for restoring and enhancing public parks and her drive to empower community volunteers to become stewards of Brookdale Park. A Bloomfield resident for the past ten years, she enjoys walking and exploring the natural beauty of Brookdale with her husband and three small children. Mollie has a degree in Landscape Architecture and Horticulture from The Ohio State University. She is a former design associate for the award winning Berger Partnership in Seattle, WA and currently works as an independent digital marketing consultant.
Yuliya Bellinger, Vice-Chairman
Yuliya is the owner/operator of a boutique Glen Ridge landscape design firm and holds a Master of Science Degree in Landscape Design from Columbia University. She is an avid international traveler and perpetual student of all things related to horticulture and design. Yuliya heads up the Conservancy’s volunteer program and is also the lead designer for the Conservancy’s landscape enhancement projects.
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Kevin Andreano, Treasurer
As a member and lead volunteer, Kevin has developed a relationship management/fundraising database to record and utilize information relating to the Conservancy's members, donations, volunteer initiatives, and related activities. Kevin is an information professional with a Master's degree in Library and Information Science who has spent his career working with non-profit fundraising and financial management systems, most recently as the Budget and Planning Systems Administrator at Montclair State University. In his free time, Kevin enjoys exploring Brookdale Park with his wife and daughter.
Nykia Wharton, Secretary
Nykia Wharton, originally from Brooklyn, has been a Montclair resident for 3 years. An avid runner, she fell in love with Brookdale Park at first sight. Her passion for volunteerism, led her to become more involved with the park that plays a big role of her life.
She is currently a volunteer coach with Girls on the Run, a non-profit program for girls, grades 3-5. She teaches life skills through dynamic interactive lessons and running games. She is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Essex County, as the voice of children in foster care. As a youth ministry leader, she teaches bible study to youth ages 6-12 at her church in Brooklyn New York. Having just completed her RRCA Certified Run Coach certification, she will be a training captain with Team in Training this spring. She will help train marathoners to complete the Marine Corps Marathon in October while bringing awareness and raising funds for Leukemia & Lymphoma research.
Nykia lives a short 2 mile run from the park with her husband and daughter.
Raymond King, Assistant Treasurer
Ray is originally from Oxfordshire England and has resided in Montclair for 20 years. He and his wife Anne are great dog lovers. Ray is a daily visitor to the park.
Teri Gatto, Assistant Secretary
A long time Bloomfield resident, Teri Gatto is freelance writer and veteran marketing and public relations professional with long-established record of successful advertising campaigns, branding, video production, publication production, special events, crisis management, and fundraising. Teri was on the BPC board when the organization first filed for and obtained non-profit status.
Robert Crocker, Board Member at Large
Robert has been an active member of the BPC for two years. He is currently working with a small committee to develop an official dogwood collection at Brookdale Park and expand it until it is established as the most diverse Dogwood collection in the nation.
Results-driven, entrepreneurial leader focused on delivering mission on time and under budget, Robert has more than 12 years experience strengthening nonprofits serving communities in the NYC metropolitan area. He is strong advocate for collaboration and collectively leveraging resources to deliver greater impact than organizations could achieve on their own.
Robert has lived in Bloomfield for 15 years.
Susan Jankolovits, Board Member at Large
Susan Jankolovits, a certified NJ Landscape Designer and Rutgers Essex County Master Gardener, has been a Montclair resident for over 30 years. While best known in the park community for her dedication in resurrecting the Essex County Rose Garden, Susan first envisioned and now leads the Conservancy's Upland Woods revitalization project. Stubbornly persistent and often impatient, Susan refuses to accept the words "never" or "can't" and as one of seven children, she relentlessly enforces a familial teamwork mentality among the group.
Rich Law, Board Member at Large
Rich is a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal Valuation Services, LLC in New York. He, along with wife his wife Marilyn and two children, Anthony (19) and Alexandra (9), have lived in Glen Ridge since 2004. Since joining the Brookdale Park Conservancy Board in 2014, Rich led the group's successful efforts conducting an electronic survey of over 750 Brookdale Park users. He also led a working group that addressed bike safety issues in the park. His areas of interests include enhancing the overall experience for park users, and improving the maintenance of the park.
Rich holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Seton Hall University, and a MBA from the University of Notre Dame. In addition to his involvement with the BPC, Rich coaches his daughter's basketball team, and is an usher in his church. He is a member of Glen Ridge Country Club where he serves on the Golf & Tournament Committee.
George Prell, Board Member at Large
George was a BPC founding member, elected co-chair in 2010 and chair in 2012. He stepped down as chair in 2014 but continued on the Board as a member-at-large. Under his leadership the BPC, which had seen drops in memberships, was rebuilt by increasing visibility through volunteer projects, increased recruitment and monthly membership meetings. He also initiated periodic meetings of BPC officers with senior County officials and reached out to other park Conservancies, often attending their meetings to share experiences.
He placed strong emphasis on infrastructure, maintenance and safety. He successfully lobbied to have park benches repaired, extensive repairs done in the playground, ball fields and dog park, dozens of hazardous trees were pruned or removed. As membership and volunteerism expanded, George convinced the County to grant the BPC a portion of the Park Maintenance Building, several tools, and a maintenance/golf cart and trailer for transport of people, equipment and water tanks. He walked the Park multiple times per week, with surveys and checklists in hand, that would many times lead to alerts for needed repairs (sometimes emergency repairs): e.g. water leaks, fallen tree damage, snow and ice removal, thefts in progress.
George is a native of Syracuse, NY. He obtained a B.S. in Chemistry (Clarkson U) and a Doctorate in Pharmacology (U of Ottawa School of Medicine) and was subsequently recruited by Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He now works part-time at the renamed Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and also teaches at Rutgers School of Medicine. George lives in Montclair with his wife Chantal, their children Phillip and Celine, and pup Cocoa.
Carolyn Sharaway, Board Member at Large
Carolyn is the proud of mother of two boys, ages 3 and 5 and is grateful to visit Brookdale Park every day for a walk, run, bike ride or trip to the playground. She leads all aspects of fundraising for the Conservancy because she loves Brookdale Park and believes in the Conservancy's mission to preserve and maintain its inherent beauty and everything it has to offer. Carolyn is passionate about the social sector and developing its resources. She is a Senior Consultant for The Munshine Group, a consulting firm that manages major fundraising campaigns for nonprofit organizations throughout New Jersey and New York.
Sarah Siegel, Board Member at Large
Sarah Siegel is a Brookdale Park Conservancy Board Member at Large, leading educational programming for the Conservancy. Sarah is also the manager of Enterprise Learning Design for the IBM Center for Advanced Learning and has been with IBM in a range of roles for 25 years so far. She has a Master's in Organization & Leadership with a specialization in Adult Learning and Leadership from Columbia University's Teachers College and is married to the president of the Essex County Master Gardeners, Dr. Patricia Hewitt. They have two feline daughters, Phoebe and Toonces.