Don McLoughlin, Candidate for Vice Chairperson

I joined the Brookdale Park Conservancy in 2015 as a volunteer in the Rose Garden. I currently serve as BPC Vice Chair and am running for reelection. The Brookdale Park Conservancy is a great organization with a long history of accomplishments that benefit the park. I think we are poised to take things to the next level and I’ve spent the past year as Vice Chair focusing on internal issues that help lay the foundation for that future.

Among my tasks in the past year have been working with the strategy committee to create a new BPC vision and mission, establishing a membership committee, establishing a bylaw revision committee, establishing a relationship with an external accountant, and even working to improve our insurance coverage. All of this is with the intention of setting the stage for upcoming years.

Over the next two years, I’d like to see the BPC really grow its membership base and more actively engage its general membership. I’d like to see us establish an ongoing five-year project plan/wish list that will help us communicate our vision for the park to the community and also serve as the basis for pursuing grants and additional fundraising. Mostly I want to help the BPC better engage our community in this wonderful local gem that we have in our midst – Brookdale Park!

Gregory Babula, Candidate for Assistant Treasurer

Like many newcomers to the area, the classic Olmstead-designed “serene oasis” that is Brookdale Park immediately captivated me when I moved to Bloomfield in 2006. Regularly visiting for walks, or to simply contemplate the natural beauty of the park, I was pleased a few years ago to discover the park had a staunch advocate, steward, and protector in the Brookdale Park Conservancy. The Conservancy has logged many wonderful achievements since I first joined, and I would like to see the organization continue its work to preserve, protect, and restore the park in a way that balances the needs of park users and the community with the natural and historical significance of the park. I believe that I can best put my skills and experience to use in supporting the work of our volunteers by providing support on the administrative side of the organization in the role of Assistant Treasurer. Our current treasurer has worked hard to create a member/supporter relationship management and fundraising database, and I think that my background would be an asset in working with the treasurer and other board members to help to leverage that database to grow the Conservancy’s base of membership and financial supporters.

Relevant Civic Experience: Brookdale Park Conservancy Membership Committee Chair, Bloomfield Historic Preservation Commission; Member, Bloomfield Planning Board; Member, Bloomfield Environmental Commission Education: BS – Accounting, Rutgers University; MS – Information Systems, New Jersey Institute of Technology Professional Experience: Software Developer

Lauren Havens, Candidate for Assistant Secretary

Community and working towards the common good are central to my personal and professional interests. Engaging with the Brookdale Conservancy meets the intersection of my personal desire to positively engage with the local community and professional abilities. I work remotely for the University of Michigan as a librarian and project manager, so my work is separated from New Jersey. Being part of the Brookdale Conservancy would allow me to put effort into my local community in a personally rewarding way. I love connecting with people who are trying to do good and working for the greater good that helps us all. I strive to get information into the hands of people who need it, and I enjoy the background work that makes that possible, including organizing files, sending communications, and ensuring appropriate access to content. I am fortunate to live close to the Brookdale Park, and I benefit from its resources when I take my daughter to the playground, dog to the dog park, and use the walking trails myself. I would like to give back and help ensure that the Park and the Conservancy thrive.

Krysten Bowden, Candidate for Trustee-at-large

My name is Kristyn Bowden and I have been volunteering with BPC for three years. During my time volunteering with BPC I have been a member of the planting committee, as well as a contributing member on the restroom renovation project, NJ Tree Foundation 2018 tree planting, and graphic documentation of BPC contributions to name a few projects.

In addition to being passionate about Brookdale Park and the work BPC does, I believe my 13 years of professional experience as a landscape architect could prove me a valuable resource as a board member for BPC. My professional projects have included designs for many urban and county parks ranging from new parks to renovations and restorations.

My vision for Brookdale Park is to continue creating an authentic public space for the benefit of all local residents while staying true to the history and original park plan. A place where daily public opportunities for recreation, education and leisure are abundant. I believe this vision combined with my professional background and demonstrated commitment to Brookdale Park would make me an ideal board member for BPC.

John Nance, Candidate for Trustee-at-large

My wife and I live in Bloomfield with our two children—second- and third-graders at Brookdale School. I am an attorney at a small litigation firm in Newark. Most of my practice has involved representing parties in real estate disputes, but I have also handled a number of corporate and transactional matters. I also have a master’s degree in public and non-profit administration. I think I could best serve the Conservancy by focusing on governance and legal issues—helping ensure that it has an effective and responsive corporate structure in place and that its policies and procedures follow best practices. (I am currently working with Don McLoughlin and Susan Schulz on updating the Conservancy’s bylaws and charter.) I can also help the Conservancy navigate legal issues or problems that arise.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of A Clearing In The Distance—the Witold Rybczynski biography of Frederick Law Olmsted—which I read immediately after its publication in 1999 and still resides on my shelf. I have been interested in Olmsted and his landscapes for many years. Brookdale is a remarkable public asset. I’d be honored to play a part in helping ensure its vitality and longevity.

Sarah Olson, Candidate for Trustee-at-large

My name is Sarah Olson and I am running for the position of Trustee-at-large. I have been a member of the Conservancy for several years and while this would be my first board leadership role it is not my first effort working in a leadership position. I have spent my working life in the fashion industry, clawing my way up the corporate ladder to become the first female VP in the Woolworths organization at the age of 30, switching to sales where I started and led the large size division for a women’s sportswear company, and eventually owning and leading my own company for 8 years before I retired. Currently I am a CASA and advocate for and mentor 6 teenage foster youth. This requires good people skills, resourcefulness, the ability to organize and self-start, and perseverance amongst other things.

Brookdale Park is my backyard….literally! For this reason, I have a vested interest in what goes on here. As an active member I have participated in volunteer clean-up efforts, plant watering during drought, lead volunteer efforts such as the BMW group volunteer days, planted bulbs from May in Montclair, been a member of the planting committee, worked the booth at Art in the Park, researched invasive plant management using goats, and attended monthly meetings amongst other things. I love this park; not only is it beautiful but it has provided me and my family years of tranquility, a sense of community, and a healthy environment for exercise. At this time I would like to play an even more active part in its stewardship.

Our Conservancy is growing and has a talented and devoted board and membership. If I am elected to the board I promise to continue the excellent work of the current board and will add new ideas, energy, and thoughtful consideration of all park-related issues. It would be an honor for me to play a part in continuing the mission of Brookdale Park to insure that generations to come will be able to enjoy the park as we have.