By Kristin Boza
We’re thrilled to introduce the new members of BAPA’s Board of Directors. This diverse group of area residents represent a wide variety of backgrounds. Through their experiences, the Board is poised to continue BAPA’s work as a leader in all aspects of Beverly/Morgan Park.
Maggie O’Reilly is the owner of MAYTA Collection, a boutique and ethical fashion label fueled by a love of travel, culture, and tradition. Products include fashion accessories and home goods created from up-cycled textiles and raw materials. She also recently started a meeting and event company, Hummingbird Meetings & Events.
O’Reilly grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park and moved here with her husband in 2011. The couple has two children; Gael is in 2nd grade at St. Barnabas, and Malena will be starting kindergarten there next year. The family is grateful to live within walking distance of the school and enjoy greeting neighbors along their route each day.
“When we made the decision to move back to Beverly, I knew I wanted to make an impact on the community, not only for myself, but also for my children as they grow up,” O’Reilly said. “Over the years, I’ve seen the investment in the neighborhood with small businesses and I have such a passion for being a positive resource to help them succeed and grow. I feel like being on the BAPA board will allow me to connect with the business owners and support them.”
O’Reilly is passionate about helping local business owners generate new ideas or to provide them with additional tools to serve their customers. “I enjoy thinking of new ways to showcase businesses and want to see them all succeed,” she said.
O’Reilly believes that BAPA’s events help attract new visitors to the neighborhood, which helps cast it in a positive light. “It brings me nothing but joy to hear that friends and colleagues from the north side and suburbs come to Beverly to experience what we have to offer,” she said. “From the beautiful architecture, the breweries, and the small women-owned businesses, there’s so much potential for Beverly/Morgan Park to grow in a capacity that is exciting and supportive of the small businesses I’m invested in supporting. If we as a community put our minds together, we can continue to be creative and innovative and people from all the surrounding areas will see the potential our neighborhood has.”
Mike Martin has a fascinating day job that spans his family’s local business– The LAB Nutrition and The LAB Fitness — and Rival Football Camps, where he is the national wide receiver coach evaluating high school receivers for colleges. Martin has inspired and built up countless young athletes as they prepare for football careers in college and beyond. He is also the Vice President of the Marcus Martin Foundation. Named after his late son, the foundation is dedicated to inspiring, empowering and motivating communities, to providing college scholarships and to conducting free youth football camps for boys and girls.
Martin played football in college for the University of Illinois and professionally for the Cincinnati Bengals. After his football career, he worked in marketing as a nightclub promoter. Through all avenues of his professional life, Martin developed a foundation in helping people achieve their full potential.
“I would get information on BAPA and speak to the former board members often,” Martin said. “I realized I could help BAPA achieve some of the things they are seeking to achieve in the community, since I’ve done a lot of event promotion in my past. When they asked me to be on the Board, I was really excited to help out.”
As a local business owner, along with his wife Michelle and daughter Morgan, Martin is focused on expanding The LAB to three other locations this year. “Coupled with my marketing background, I have a strong understanding of what business owners need to focus on to intrigue people and get them in the door,” Martin said. “I always say that if people know who we are and don’t come to our business, there’s not a whole lot we can do about that. But, if they don’t know us, that’s our fault. I want to make sure all business owners in Beverly/Morgan Park know how to market themselves to the community.”
Martin noted that BAPA does a great job of highlighting local businesses, and he wants to help take the assistance a step further. “I want to instill in the business owners that they should make sure they get out there and make the community familiar with what they do,” he said. “I’m very excited about being a part of BAPA and I’m hoping I can bring fresh ideas to the Board.”
Abby Mazza is not from Beverly/Morgan Park, so when she and her husband, Mike, moved here from Logan Square six years ago, she aimed to find ways to get involved and feel like a part of the community. As an environmental engineer with a focus on residential and commercial sustainability efforts, environmental impact assessments, and brownfield redevelopment for and by local government and other public agencies in Chicago, Mazza is seeking ways to increase sustainability initiatives through her position on BAPA’s Board.
“Not being from the area, I saw others with close ties to local family, schools, and church, which we didn’t have,” Mazza said. “I started looking for ways to create a similar connection for our family, too. Events and information provided by BAPA provided volunteer and social opportunities, which allowed me to make connections in the neighborhood.”
Mazzas have two children, Sam, 7, and Nora, 4. Sam attends Sutherland School and Nora will attend for kindergarten there next year. Both kids attended Beverly Montessori and All Day Montessori for preschool.
Mazza has enjoyed volunteering at her children’s schools and with the Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association. She has volunteered for BAPA’s Home Tour, Clean and Green and Garden Walk, and served on BAPA’s Education Committee.
“My first exposure to BAPA was volunteering for the house walk shortly after moving here, and it continues to be my favorite event,” she said. “As a family, we enjoy the Clean & Green and the Ridge Run/Memorial Day Parade. I’ve greatly enjoyed the local business offerings that I learned about through BAPA events and communications. One of my favorites was a cooking class by Cakewalk Chicago at the Ingersoll-Blackwelder House; I still use the quiche recipe!”
“I hope to contribute toward implementing and growing BAPA initiatives that will help others feel welcome and involved while connecting with others,” she said. “I also hope to help identify and increase sustainability initiatives to help both residents and businesses adapt to the ever-changing environment.”
Her goals as a BAPA Board member include learning more about her fellow Board members and understanding the community’s needs. “I feel lucky to have an opportunity to give back to a community and an organization that has helped me and to learn from the amazing current and past BAPA staff and Board members,” Mazza said.
Kellianne McDonough is a former meeting planner who now is a beloved member of the Treadfit staff as a group fitness instructor. She sees her position on the BAPA Board as an opportunity to give back and get involved in the community she loves.
“I love connecting with so many people in the area and motivating them to achieve their fitness goals; working at Treadfit is truly a fun job that I love,” McDonough said. “Treadfit is a totally positive social environment and I get to meet people from all over the neighborhood. Although everyone has varying physical abilities, we all share the goal of working on health, fitness, and mental health.”
McDonough hopes to develop strong relationships with the community and inspire new participation in BAPA events, particularly to new families with younger children. She grew up here and attended St. Barnabas School and Mother McAuley, and she is glad to be raising her three kids, Ryan, 6, Liam, 3, and Molly, 2, here with her husband, Kevin. The kids attend Christ the King School and the Castle preschool, and McDonough has been a volunteer at every event and fundraising effort.
“As a family, we love to walk up to Two Mile Coffee Bar every Saturday morning. We live near Rainbow Cone and Top Notch, so those are our summer hot spots,” she said. “We have gone to every single park in the neighborhood and enjoy visiting our family, who is also local.”
McDonough said she loves every event BAPA puts on, especially the Ridge Run. “[BAPA] events have such as sense of camaraderie and pride for our community. I grew up volunteering for the Ridge Run with my parents; I have many childhood memories of stuffing race day bags for the Ridge Run and spending the day at Ridge Park with my family and neighbors,” she said. “Coming back to Beverly as an adult, it’s so cool to see all those same neighbors still participating. Overall, I am thrilled to be joining the BAPA Board and look forward to what’s to come!”