Despite social distancing and the changes to our community in response to the coronavirus, BAPA is working hard to advocate for and improve our community. Helping to make our organization even stronger are three new Beverly/Morgan Park neighbors who joined our staff in March, Brittany Wiley, Cathriona Fey and Tina Jenkins Bell.
Brittany Wiley, BAPA Business Liaison, is working to support and promote local businesses through a variety of initiatives.
“My connection to this community and organization has deep roots,” Wiley said. “I was born in Beverly/Morgan Park and raised to be involved and committed to the growth of this neighborhood. There is something so unique about it. It’s full of love and passion. The people are hard-working and family-focused. I’ve seen first–hand how the community can band together.”
After graduating from the University of Iowa, Wiley spent 8 years in Denver where she opened a women’s boutique. What started as an online store and pop-up shop became a brick and mortar business on one of Denver’s busiest retail strips.
“The experience taught me so many valuable lessons that I can now use to connect with the Beverly/Morgan Park business community as BAPA’s Business Liaison,” she said.
While Denver was an amazing city to work and live in, Wiley missed the Beverly/Morgan Park community and her family. “After finding out I was pregnant with my second child, my husband and I decided it was time to move back to Chicago in 2018,” Wiley said. She and her husband Jason, have two children, daughter Blake and son Lucas. “We couldn’t be happier to be here.”
As Business Liaison, Wiley hit the ground running as BAPA’s connection to the business community. “We are working on some exciting projects like a BAPA Card revamp and new workshops for small businesses,” she said “Most of all, I can’t wait to get to know all of the business owners and help this community in any way I can!” Contact Brittany Wiley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cathriona Fey recently joined BAPA to support community outreach and improvement efforts. She comes to BAPA with a background and experience in both urban planning and commercial real estate.
Prior to her role with BAPA, Fey worked as an urban planning consultant for a civil engineering and urban planning firm based in Chicago, and completed project work across Michigan, Indiana and Illinois. She has extensive experience in commercial real estate and the Chicago market, and was also selected to complete a fellowship with World Business Chicago during which she provided support to the empowering small business initiative, CASE (Chicago Anchors for a Strong Economy).
“I’m excited to be a part of BAPA and continue to utilize and apply my planning and marketing experience to support and enhance our community,” Fey said.
Originally from the South Side, Fey graduated from Mother McAuley High School, then earned Bachelor of Business and Master of Urban Planning degrees from the University of Iowa. She returned to Chicago to work in commercial real estate and, before moving to Beverly/Morgan Park in 2018, lived in Denver with her husband Dan and daughter Fallon. “We moved to Beverly to be closer to family and friends, and to have the opportunity to raise our family in a close-knit, family-friendly community,” Fey said.
At BAPA, Fey is responsible for researching and working on funding opportunities to support BAPA projects and events. She provides planning and promotional support of non-motorized transportation opportunities in the community, and researches and develops plans to improve infrastructure, housing and environmental needs in the community. Fey is participating in the UrbanMain Western Avenue Revitalization Project and serves as a member of the Economic Development Committee to enhance commercial areas throughout Beverly/Morgan Park. Contact Cathriona Fey at email@example.com.
Tina Jenkins Bell is BAPA’s new School Liaison. A 27-year neighborhood resident, Jenkins Bell is also an author, Villager contributor, literary advocate, educator, wife, and mom. She and her husband Earl raised four children. With the exception of her eldest, the children attended Kellogg Elementary School. As for high schools, her children attended Leo, Maria, Brother Rice and Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.
Jenkins Bell is a proponent of education and educators. At the school where her younger sons received their early education, she helped structure and initiate a parent-teacher association as well as a parent council. She orchestrated a teacher’s appreciation event, based off of the Academy Awards, raised funds, and sought resources from the business community and government entities. When asked why she devoted so much time to the schools her children attended, she said, “For our children to be successfully educated, it takes leadership, teachers, staff, and parents and the greater community.”
Those sentiments are the reason Jenkins Bell applied for BAPA’s school liaison position. Though her children are successful adults, she believes in a well-rounded education that will support current students throughout their lives as it has for her children. She’s excited to work with school leaders, parents, and invested parties to make that happen.
Jenkins Bell will be working with principals to spotlight schools and school achievements; overseeing the BAPA Youth Community Service Award for public school 8th graders; planning informational programs and principal networking opportunities; facilitating resources for promoting schools; and serving on the BAPA Education Committee. Supporting neighborhood public schools is part of BAPA’s mission. Contact Tina Jenkins Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org.