OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Colin Bird- Board President

Colin moved to the Hermosa neighborhood in 2014 in search of his first home. Prior to that, Colin lived for several years in two separate communities in Chicago; Logan Square and Lincoln Square. Colin grew up in the Chicagoland area, in the suburb of Oak Park. After moving to Hermosa, Colin sought out a group where he could meet neighbors, learn about the community and volunteer his time to better his new home. After an extensive search, he realized that no such group existed but he had continued to hear from neighbors that the neighborhood struggled from a lack of vision. After being inspired by the new leaders cropping out of the 2014-15 municipal election, Colin decided that he could help his community by bringing together neighbors to form the group he was seeking.

After communicating with neighbors online, the initial founders of HNA met at the Levee Bar. Colin does not have a background in community organizing but has quickly developed the skill by engaging and educating neighbors, canvassing, and leading the direction of HNA. Colin graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana with a degree in Sociology and Pre-Law. Since graduation, Colin has worked in the automotive industry as a journalist and, more recently, an analyst. Colin also created his own automotive website and oversaw a staff of nine freelancers, helping to oversee the editorial budget, style, production and editing and hosting of the site and podcast. Colin has combined his expertise of journalism—distilling important facts and presenting them—with his expertise in task-oriented management and business planning to help develop a long-term sustainable strategy for HNA. This includes the development of a community center to help ground the community with a sense of identity and with resources so that Hermosa can stand up on its own.

As HNA president Colin is responsible for the strategic vision and is primarily responsible for the success or failure of this organization.  Colin will directly oversee the business strategy, marketing and outreach, as well as be directly responsible for human resource needs, hiring and firing, and compliance with safety and other legal regulations. Colin will also primarily be responsible for setting the budget and with supporting the operating plans. Colin is also responsible for forming partnerships with our not-for-profits, political organizations and City, county and state departments.  

 

marilynn lopez - secretary

Born and raised in Chicago, Marilynn spent her early years in Humboldt Park and has been living in the Hermosa neighborhood for the last 12 years. As a resident of Hermosa, she is interested in bringing unity to her neighborhood and improving the quality of life of her neighbors.

Marilynn is currently enrolled in the undergraduate Marketing program at Loyola University Chicago. She spent 6 years working in the banking industry and is now an Operations Manager for a real-estate company in Lincoln Park.

An active member of the community, Marilynn serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Hermosa Neighborhood Association (HNA). She is also set to sit on the TIFF Fund Research Committee for the HNA.

 

sean elliot - board member

Sean initially connected to the Hermosa Neighborhood Association through a close friend while pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  As part of a final class project, Sean volunteered to help create the institutional structure of the HNA and continued to be involved with the HNA upon the completion of his degree.  In addition to having formal training and education in non-profit management, community organizing and program evaluation, Sean has worked in the non-profit sector for nearly five years and is a former resident of the nearby Logan Square community.

 

joshua "xeno" martinez - board member

Joshua “Xeno” Martinez has been a resident of Hermosa since 2014. Originally from New York City, he moved to Chicago in the summer of 2013 and resided in Logan Square. For nearly a decade Mr. Martinez has worked as a social worker, assisting underrepresented communities of color with the acquisition of permanent housing, public assistance, and advocacy. While a student at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York he co-founded the Coalition, which created the Ethnic Studies department in order to diversify the course curriculum and represent communities of color in a predominantly white university.

Mr. Martinez is an established digital artist and graphic designer. In 2008 – 2013 he functioned as the Creative Director for Being Latino, a communication platform designed to educate, entertain and connect all peoples across the global Latino spectrum. With over 4 million followers on Facebook, Mr. Martinez played an integral role in the branding of the company and several of their initiatives.

As the Creative Director for HNA, Mr. Martinez has utilized his marketing/branding expertise to create HNA’s logo and overall branding. Mr. Martinez is also a strong organizer and wishes to utilize his organizational skills to ensure that Hermosa is seen as a strong powerful and diverse community.

 

Maria villagomez - board member

Since 1988 Maria Villagomez has lived in the Hermosa community with her husband Carlos. Their two daughters Vanessa and Michelle and two sons Steven and Carlos, Jr. were born and proudly raised in this area of Chicago they call home.  Ownership of a larger home brought their search further west of the city. Prior to living in Hermosa, Maria and Carlos lived in the Lincoln Park and Lakeview communities. 

Maria has always been a proud supporter of the community.  In 1999, Maria volunteered at St. Philomena as a catechist teacher; teaching the catholic faith and preparing CPS 8th grade students for their first communion for 3 years.   From 2001- 2003 she was appointed and served as a church extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.  And, most recently she has become a board member of the HNA, Hermosa Neighborhood Association.   Maria feels that elevation of the community is paramount “because a community is more than sidewalks and light-poles it is the individuals and how and why we connect with each other…”  Maria believes Hermosa is united by a common thread that is our strong demographic, that when unified it can produce a strong voice for positive change.

Maria envisions that HNA will act as a unified voice for residents, facilitate issues and activities affecting the Hermosa neighborhood.  She perceives the association facilitating neighborhood social activities that foster relationships with residents and organizations that promote improvements for the Hermosa community. She would want the HNA to be involved and her to be deeply involved in the creation of alternative solutions for our youth to deter them from engaging in undesired activity; eroding the next generation of undesirable cliques.  And eventually, for the HNA to locate a permanent residence in the Hermosa community in which we can co-habitat as a Community Center that would be used for as an information zone providing services to the youth and seniors.

Maria has various skills that will complement the mission of the HNA.  She has worked in corporate America over 25 years in capacity of portfolio manager, analyst, and human resource project manager which included the creation of various internship programs from inception.   She also was a key volunteer at the Chicago Marathon for 6 years honing in on her project and event management skills.  And most recently, a cancer mentor angel for Imerman Angels, one on one cancer support.  

Finally, Maria strongly believes community is about finding each other and a place we can all call home. 

 

warren johnson - board member

Warren went to high school at Kelvyn Park where he played football, baseball, and basketball. He was an all-city player. Warren was the prom king, homecoming king and voted most athletic of his high school class.

He went to Robert Morris College where he lettered in both basketball and baseball his first year before joining the U.S. Marines Corps during Viet Nam to serve his country as a patriot and proud American would do. He played for the Marine basketball team and won the league championship.

Warren played semi-pro football with the Gladiators for a number of years and won the city championship in 1972. In 1979 Warren purchased The Levee bar, a popular establish in Hermosa located at 4035 W Fullerton Ave. It is at this bar that HNA was formed and has continued to host its general monthly community meeting. Through the years, Warren has enjoyed playing, coaching, and sponsoring a variety of sports and activities. These include football, softball, basketball, golf, bowling, darts, and pool. Warren has won city championships in darts and numerous other awards. He has won many league championships in pool and still plays for his Levee team. He takes pride in young players that develop under his guidance. He may even teach you some of his trick shots he learned from his father in law.

He won more than 50 park district league championships in 16" softball. He has coached many young players into becoming 16" Softball Hall of Famers. In 2012, Warren was inducted into the 16" Softball Hall of Fame and has a brick featuring his name at the 16" Softball Hall of Fame museum in Forest Park.

If the timing is right you may get Warren to do a few magic tricks for your entertainment and have a Jameson or 2 with him.

Warren has 4 children and 2 step children who have all worked at The Levee. He also has 10 grandchildren who enjoy spending time and playing with their Grandpa!