Conservancy Leadership

Conservancy officers and trustees serve two year terms and are elected at the BPC's Annual Meeting of the Membership every March. 

board of trustees

Mollie Smith, Chairperson

Mollie's leadership is influenced by her passion for restoring and enhancing public parks and her drive to empower community volunteers to become stewards of Brookdale Park. A Bloomfield resident for the past ten years, she enjoys walking and exploring the natural beauty of Brookdale with her husband and three small children. Mollie has a degree in Landscape Architecture and Horticulture from The Ohio State University. She is a former design associate for the award winning Berger Partnership in Seattle, WA and currently works as an independent digital marketing consultant. 

Don McLoughlin, Vice Chair

Don and his wife Sue have lived in Montclair for 17 years and have long enjoyed Brookdale Park. In our crowded and busy corner of the world, Don sees Brookdale Park as a local jewel and a wonderful place that has something for everyone to enjoy.  He began as a volunteer in the Rose Garden and has since worked on numerous projects throughout the park.

Locally, Don is a certified Master Gardener with the Master Gardeners of Essex County, a member of the Glen Ridge Country Club, and a member of the Commonwealth Club in Montclair.  Further afield, Don also supports The Fells Historic Estate and Gardens and the Lake Sunapee Protective Association, both in New Hampshire.

Professionally, Don is an independent marketing consultant with past work experiences at Accenture, MasterCard, and ADP.  Don holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from the University of Connecticut. 

As Vice-Chairperson, Don will have a particular focus on BPC member recruitment and engagement.


Kevin Andreano, Treasurer

As a member and lead volunteer, Kevin has developed a relationship management/fundraising database to record and utilize information relating to the Conservancy's members, donations, volunteer initiatives, and related activities. Kevin is an information professional with a Master's degree in Library and Information Science who has spent his career working with non-profit fundraising and financial management systems, most recently as the Budget and Planning Systems Administrator at Montclair State University. In his free time, Kevin enjoys exploring Brookdale Park with his wife and daughters.

Nykia Wharton, Secretary

Nykia Wharton, originally from Brooklyn, has been a Montclair resident for 3 years. An avid runner, she fell in love with Brookdale Park at first sight. Her passion for volunteerism, led her to become more involved with the park that plays a big role of her life.

She is currently a volunteer coach with Girls on the Run, a non-profit program for girls, grades 3-5. She teaches life skills through dynamic interactive lessons and running games. She is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Essex County, as the voice of children in foster care. As a youth ministry leader, she teaches bible study to youth ages 6-12 at her church in Brooklyn New York. Having just completed her RRCA Certified Run Coach certification, she will be a training captain with Team in Training this spring. She will help train marathoners to complete the Marine Corps Marathon in October while bringing awareness and raising funds for Leukemia & Lymphoma research. 

Nykia lives a short 2 mile run from the park with her husband and daughter.

Gregory Babula, Assistant Treasurer

Newly elected! Bio coming soon…

Lauren Havens, Assistant Secretary

Having lived in Bloomfield for four years now, Lauren loves taking her daughter to the park to play and watching sport events together over a picnic dinner. Lauren believes that it is important to engage with organizations that are making positive progress in the world, and she is honored to partner with the Conservancy, whose work benefits the whole community.  

With a Master of Science in Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill, Lauren currently works for the University of Michigan from her home office near the park in Bloomfield. She is also involved with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair as a preschool Religious Education teacher and other groups there. In her role as Assistant Secretary, Lauren looks forward to learning about the Conservancy, engaging with users of the park, and seeing what fabulous adventures arise. 


Rich Law, Board Member at Large

Rich is a Managing Director with Alvarez & Marsal Valuation Services, LLC in New York.  He, along with wife his wife Marilyn and two children, Anthony (19) and Alexandra (9), have lived in Glen Ridge since 2004.  Since joining the Brookdale Park Conservancy Board in 2014, Rich led the group's successful efforts conducting an electronic survey of over 750 Brookdale Park users.  He also led a working group that addressed bike safety issues in the park.  His areas of interests include enhancing the overall experience for park users, and improving the maintenance of the park.
Rich holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Seton Hall University, and a MBA from the University of Notre Dame.  In addition to his involvement with the BPC, Rich coaches his daughter's basketball team, and is an usher in his church. He is a member of Glen Ridge Country Club where he serves on the Golf & Tournament Committee.

John Nance, Board Member at Large

Newly elected! Bio coming soon…

Sarah Olson, Board Member at Large

Brookdale Park was the first stop that Sarah and her husband Paul made when they drove out from NYC to explore the area for a new apartment.  Since that time they have visited the park on almost a daily basis either for exercise, walking a dog, attending an event, or taking their kids to the playground.  Their backyard in Montclair has been Brookdale Park for over 30 years, literally.

Sarah has been an active member and volunteer for the Conservancy for many years providing help and woman power wherever it was needed.   She feels strongly about improving and maintaining the beauty of the park in an environmentally and wildlife  safe fashion so that it will provide generations of families  years of tranquility, a sense of community, and a healthy environment for exercise.  

After retiring from the fashion industry, Sarah spends her time volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate of Essex County for 6 teenage youth, volunteering for the Conservancy and is a board member of the Montclair Garden Club.  She loves to garden, read, cook, and exercise.


George Prell, Board Member at Large

George was a BPC founding member, elected co-chair in 2010 and chair in 2012. He stepped down as chair in 2014 but continued on the Board as a member-at-large. Under his leadership the BPC, which had seen drops in memberships, was rebuilt by increasing visibility through volunteer projects, increased recruitment and monthly membership meetings. He also initiated periodic meetings of BPC officers with senior County officials and reached out to other park Conservancies, often attending their meetings to share experiences.
He placed strong emphasis on infrastructure, maintenance and safety. He successfully lobbied to have park benches repaired, extensive repairs done in the playground, ball fields and dog park, dozens of hazardous trees were pruned or removed. As membership and volunteerism expanded, George convinced the County to grant the BPC a portion of the Park Maintenance Building, several tools, and a maintenance/golf cart and trailer for transport of people, equipment and water tanks.  He walked the Park multiple times per week, with surveys and checklists in hand, that would many times lead to alerts for needed repairs (sometimes emergency repairs): e.g. water leaks, fallen tree damage, snow and ice removal, thefts in progress.
George is a native of Syracuse, NY. He obtained a B.S. in Chemistry (Clarkson U) and a Doctorate in Pharmacology (U of Ottawa School of Medicine) and was subsequently recruited by Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He now works part-time at the renamed Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and also teaches at Rutgers School of Medicine. George lives in Montclair with his wife Chantal, their children Phillip and Celine, and pup Cocoa. 

Susan Schulz, Board Member at Large

Susan grew up playing on the concrete sidewalks of Queens, NY, for as long as she possibly could on any given day. Nirvana was reached when she was able to play all day in the woods at summer camp. Moving to Montclair 22 years ago, Susan delighted in letting her own children loose to enjoy Brookdale Park.  Susan has a Master of Science degree in Environmental Health from Hunter College, CUNY, and works at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  She is active in the education programs of the City Parks Foundation and strongly believes in the therapeutic value of urban parks. She plans to focus on creating new programming for the public and neighboring businesses to highlight the joy and importance of Brookdale Park to our communities.