Leah Gunn Barrett is currently the Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. She has also been a substitute teacher in the New York City Public School system and an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, supervising capstone workshops in International Energy and Environmental Policy. She previously held senior management positions with The Economist Group and Data Resources (DRI) Europe in London before becoming Environmental Affairs and Corporate Communications Director for Tetra Pak UK. She played a leading role in the UK’s implementation of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, served as the industry representative on the UK Environment Agency Advisory Board, established an environmental management system at the Tetra Pak factory in Wales, and founded an annual Environmental Teaching Award for UK primary schools. Upon returning to the United States, she served as a consultant to a number of environment-related organizations, including Context Group Ltd (London), Ecos (Sydney), and the World Resources Institute. She later became Executive Director of CeaseFire Maryland, the statewide gun violence prevention organization where she led lobbying and communication efforts for an assault weapons ban, and for which work she received the Mayor’s Citation from then Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley. She has a B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Carleton College in Economics and Russian, a Master’s in International Affairs with full fellowship from Columbia University, and a Master’s in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University.
Jonathan Brecht and his wife Paula bought their house at 269 Warren Street in 1969 and have gradually restored the property. Their daughters, Natasha and India, currently attend Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights. Jonathan was born and educated in New York City. He is a graduate of Manhattan College (BA, History) and New York University (MBA, Finance). Upon graduation from college, he entered the US Foreign Service and was stationed in Washington, DC and Jedda, Saudi Arabia. He subsequently returned to New York, obtained his MBA and has worked for Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup in private wealth management for over 20 years. He primarily advises individuals and small businesses in the service industries, arts and professions on a range of financial, banking and investment issues. Jonathan and Paula collect fine art photography. Jonathan is also active in two non-partisan foreign affairs organizations, the Middle East Institute and the Foreign Policy Association.
Michael Cosaboom lives at 123 Nevins with his wife, Diana Son, and sons Wilder, Nate and Dash. They moved to the neighborhood in the fall of 2006. Michael is a technology specialist for museum exhibitions, an avid gardener, and maker of spicy condiments. His main areas of civic interest are traffic calming and increasing green spaces and parks in our neighborhood and the city at large. Now that his children are a little older he’d like to invest more energy in beautiful Boerum Hill.
Marilyn Donahue-Schiller is a native New Yorker who finally returned to her roots three years making Boerum Hill her home. Her background is eclectic. She has been a research pharmacologist, a business owner, a social entrepreneur and non-profit organizer. She likes to think of herself as someone who is supporting the environment movement through her current pursuits as a substitute teacher in the NYC school system both in independent and state schools. She is excited to help Boerum Hill beautify its commercial streets, help residents with her Citizen Pruner tree knowledge and help implement any other new green ideas neighbors might suggest.
Cheryl Gelbs has lived in the downtown Brooklyn area for 30 years - nine in Brooklyn Heights and the past 21 years in Boerum Hill. She and her husband, Mark, are proud parents of two wonderful children; both are graduates of P.S 261 and Brooklyn Technical High School. Cheryl has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from St. Francis College and Master of Science degree in Organizational Behavior from NYU Poly. She recently retired from Verizon after 30 years as a manager in the Telecommunication industry and is currently serving as Treasurer of the 84th Precinct Community Council. Her family has been members of BHA for many years and she has decided to become more active in the Association. “The preservation and enhancement of the Downtown Brooklyn way of life is very important to me as the Borough undergoes a major renaissance.”
Howard Kolins has been President of the BHA for six years. He has spearheaded many board projects: co-chairing the very successful House Tours; serving as the writer and editor of the BHA Newsletter and being the representative on the House of Detention Stakeholders’ Committee to name a few. Howard has lived in Boerum Hill for 30 years both as a tenant and an owner. He met his wife, Carol, a Rockette, when he was a producer for Radio City Entertainment. They have 2 boys one at Murrow High School and the other a recent Brooklyn Tech graduate now enrolled in the Stony Brook Honors program. Howard is a self-employed producer of business meeting, special events and galas. His garage is home to the annual Hoyt Street Association Plant Sale.
Hannah Mason is originally from Michigan. Hannah moved with her family to Kensington, Brooklyn when she was 12 years old. Since then she has lived in several borough neighborhoods including Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights and Bay Ridge. Hannah now lives on Dean Street in Boerum Hill with her partner and three young children who attend PS261 and New Voices. Hannah worked at the Brooklyn Museum for six years as the Exhibitions Manager and has been an active member of the city’s performing arts scene. She currently works as a general manager producing commercial theater. Among the many important issues facing BH residents today, the Atlantic Yards, traffic/transportation and accessible green space are of interest to her. She has been on the board for seven years.
Sidney Meyer has been a resident of Boerum Hill since 1978 and a resident of Brooklyn even longer. He has been a resident of New York City for his entire life, a member of the Brooklyn Community Board 2 for over 10 years and a member of Brooklyn Speaks as Council Member’s Levin’s sometime representative. His work history includes the community representative (among other duties) for a large retailer (Korvettes when it existed); an assistant director of personnel for a State Hospital in Brooklyn; a Driver Safety Specialist for the NY State DMV; a senior executive for a PPO, and an HMO. He is an attorney graduated from Brooklyn Law School (of course). His interests are varied and include extensive travel and trying to keep up with his three grandchildren. He takes great pride in his son Michael and his wife Marian who most of you know (Marian has served the last three City council members with distinction).
Steve Neiman has lived at 248 Wyckoff St for the past 6 years, with his friend Ellen, our dog and 4 cats. In 2010, he retired after 43 years of teaching, 31 of them at the Little Red School House, in Manhattan. As a show of support for the BHA, he frequents Boerum Hill Association meetings. “Communities stay healthy only if people support the work of those who are willing to make the time to monitor community problems and work at improving conditions. Life in Boerum Hill has greatly improved over the past few decades. I'd like to become more active at doing my small part in keeping this good work going.”
Stephen P. Radacinski lives on Hoyt Street having moved to BH in 1982 and currently works as a Security Consultant after retiring from the NYPD at the rank of Sergeant after 20 years. He was also a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army and a graduate of ST. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas.
Tony Rock has lived in Brooklyn since 1985: 1 year in Park Slope, 5 years in Brooklyn Heights, 10 years in Carroll Gardens and 10 years on Dean Street in Boerum Hill. He first visited Boerum Hill when he moved to the City in 1985 (his sister lived on State between Hoyt & Bond) and immediately knew that he wanted to live in Brownstone Brooklyn. He loved the small town feel of the neighborhood. He is married and helped raise two daughters in Brooklyn. Both were born at Long Island College Hospital and both attended the Brooklyn Heights Montessori through 8th grade. His 18-year-old is now in college and his 17-year-old is a rising senior at Packer Collegiate in Brooklyn Heights. He recently retired (or is on sabbatical) from a 25 year career in finance where he worked as a Managing Director and Portfolio Manager for two international companies: France based Credit Industriel et Commercial and Japan based Mitsubishi Trust. He worked for the Mayor's office during the Koch administration (1988-1989) serving as a staff member to the Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development. His primary focus in that position was to help develop the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a small business incubator. He also worked for the New York Chapter of the Volunteers of America for two years (1985-1987) as Associate Director of Development. He wrote and produced that organization's marketing materials including its annual reports and quarterly newspaper. He also wrote fund raising letters and grant proposals. He has an MBA in Marketing from Columbia University Business School (1989) and a BA in History from Hamilton College (1985). He says, “My family and I have loved our life in Boerum Hill and are committed to the neighborhood.”
Dwight Smith is a 26-year resident of Boerum Hill. He currently serves as a Vice President of the Boerum Hill Association, a Community Board 2 board member, a Community Board 2 Parks and Recreation Committee member; and he is a long-standing Hoyt Street Association Garden sale volunteer. He has over 30 years of corporate and government experience in finance and strategic planning. He now works as a consultant.