Board of Directors 2018-06-01T16:05:44+00:00

Board of Directors

Deborah Gershbein
President

Having lived in Streeterville for almost 30 years, Deborah joined the SOAR Board of Directors in 2014, and she is now serving her third term as President. She joined the organization because she truly believes in SOAR’s mission to preserve, promote and enhance the quality of life and community in Streeterville.  She is inspired by the many changes she has seen in the neighborhood over the years and has made it her goal to build and celebrate community. She enjoys all that Streeterville has to offer- the lakefront, the river, the skyline, the parks and meeting the people that call Streeterville home.

Brian Butler
Vice President

As an Illinois native, Brian Butler has called Chicago home since 2006 and became a Streeterville resident in 2013. Since 2016, Brian has been on the Board of Directors. Since childhood, he has been inspired and amazed by Chicago’s architecture. He believes that Streeterville’s economic and social diversity is a strength that allows Streeterville to remain the world-class neighborhood that it is. When he isn’t volunteering with SOAR, you can find him walking his dog around the neighborhood or singing in a neighborhood choir.

Clare Hennessy
Secretary

Looking to join an organization that would allow her to contribute in more ways than just writing a check, Clare joined SOAR in 2014 in hopes of using her marketing skills to advance the organization. Joining the board in 2015, Clare stays involved with SOAR because getting to know the members makes Streeterville feel like a small neighborhood rather than the bustling area it is. She is inspired by the impact SOAR can have on the neighborhood, and when she isn’t volunteering with SOAR, Clare spends time with her family and friends, travels, and always has a project or two to keep her busy.

Howard W. Melton
Treasurer

Howard joined SOAR in 2000 and has served on the board since 2006. He enjoys the convenience and excitement of living in the City of Chicago and stays involved with SOAR due to his belief in the importance of neighborhood involvement. He is inspired by the opportunity to improve Streeterville and the city at large. When he isn’t volunteering with SOAR, Howard is a practicing attorney, is involved in civic affairs, and is the author of several books.

Judy Aiello-Fantus
Farmers Market co-chair, Land Use & Development co-chair

For over 15 years, Judy  has been a member of SOAR. In 2015, she joined the Board of Directors. Judy joined SOAR looking for an opportunity to get involved and give back to the community. She has a desire to help build a strong neighborhood as well as a sense of community within Streeterville. Nature, especially Lake Michigan, art, music, and politics all inspire Judy. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, reading, and exploring the city.

Joel Brosk
Governance/Legal Committee Vice chair and Safety & Well Being Task Force Vice chair

Joel has been in SOAR for the past 13 years and joined our Board of Directors in 2017. He joined because he saw the positive impact our organization had on the neighborhood day in and day out. He is committed to living in the City of Chicago and knows that Streeterville provides the best quality of life to its residents. He is inspired by the opportunity to influence someone’s life in a positive way. When he isn’t volunteering with SOAR, Joel enjoys biking, winter sports, traveling, and trying new foods.

Christian Ficara
Nominating Committee, Vice chair

Attracted to our organization due to the integral role we play in influencing neighborhood decisions, Christian joined SOAR and the Board of Directors in 2014. He loves Chicago and knows that living in Streeterville provides him with a front row seat to everything the city has to offer. Inspired by creativity and hard work, he believes that immersing oneself in diverse and exciting experiences can take you to places you never thought you’d go. In his free time, Christian is pursuing his masters degree and enjoys traveling to new places.

David Hampe
Membership Task Force co-chair

Wanting to give back and serve the Streeterville community, David joined SOAR in 2015 and became a board member shortly after. He feels he’s part of an organization that makes Streeterville a cleaner, more wonderful place. David is a student of life, so when he isn’t volunteering with SOAR, you’ll find him at live concerts, exercise classes, continuing education sessions, or on his boat “Par-A-Dice” in the summer.

Mario W. Hollemans
Parks Task Force co-chair

A 3rd generation resident of Streeterville, Mario W. Hollemans joined SOAR in 2012 and in 2013 became a board member. Mario became a member due to his intimate knowledge of Streeterville. This expertise, as well as his dedication to public service, has allowed him to work to further community goals and enhance the quality of life for Streeterville. When he isn’t volunteering with SOAR, Mario continues to serve the community through other organizations.

Robert Johnson
Safety & Well Being Task Force chair

After seeing SOAR’s flower garden at Lake Shore Park, Bob decided to see what our organization was all about. He became a member in 2015 and joined the Board of Directors in 2016. He enjoys living in an exciting neighborhood with such active community support. Bob is inspired by his ability to use his previous safety experience to help keep Streeterville a safe, thriving community. In his free time, Bob continues to give back by supporting Chicago’s 5-11 Club.

Bob Levin
Membership Task Force co-chair

After enjoying his work on the Streeterville Neighborhood Plan, Bob Levin became a SOAR member in 2012 and joined the board in 2013. SOAR is a place where he can lend his expertise, and he is inspired when he can use his creativity within our organization. He’s stays involved with SOAR as he knows Streeterville will continue to grow and evolve. When he isn’t giving back with SOAR, Bob serves the community through other organizations and enjoys playing tennis.

Gail Spreen
Land Use & Development Task Force co-chair

Gail joined the organization and Board of Directors in 2002 and since then has contributed to significant city planning efforts. From improving the plans for some projects to actually stopping other developments from being built, Gail enjoys being a part of SOAR due to our power to make a true difference in the community. She’s worked in Streeterville real estate for the past 21 years and works to keep the history of the area alive – from Cap Streeter to the present. In her free time, Gail enjoys boating, working on historical projects, and spending time with friends and family.

Board Member Emeritus

Mary Baim

Maury Fantus

Jim Houston

Irene Newman

Edward Pearl