Meet The Board

The BHA Board is made up of local residents with a record of strong commitment to the community. Our governors have professional skills that contribute significantly to our activities. They include zoning lawyers, architects, preservationists, public advocates and people experienced in City administration. Some are also full-time mothers, retired writers, and battle-scarred “brownstone warriors,” all dedicated to serving our neighborhood.

Officers


Martha Bakos Dietz

President

Martha has been on the BHA Board since April 2008. She is a member of the Executive and Board Nominating and Development Committees. She has a BA from Barnard College and a JD from Columbia University School of Law. Following graduation from law school, Martha was a litigation associate for five years and then taught at Brooklyn Law School for 13 years. She has served on the Yuletide Committee of the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, first as a member and then as a co-chair. She was also a member, then president, of the Grace Church School Board and is a member of the Vestry of Grace Church Brooklyn Heights. She sits on the NYU Lutheran Advisory Board, having served as a trustee of Lutheran Medical Center until its recent merger with NYU Langone. Martha has lived in Brooklyn Heights since 1980 and, together with her husband Stephen, has raised her three sons here.


Daniel Watts

Vice President

Daniel has served on the BHA Board since September 2010 and has lived in the Heights most of his life. He is a member of the Executive and Nominating Committees, and has had a long interest in reducing the noise from tourist helicopters operating out of the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. Daniel is CEO of eChalk, which provides a learning management system to K-12 schools across the country, and also serves on the Board of the Heights Casino. Prior to co-founding eChalk, Daniel taught math in a New York City public school and worked for corporate strategy consulting firm CDI. Daniel and his wife, Nadja, are raising two kids in the Heights and are glad to be part of the tradition of civic engagement that has brought landmark preservation, improved schools, new parks, and more intelligent and better planned development.


Erika Belsey Worth

Vice President

Erika moved to Brooklyn Heights in 2001, and joined the board of the BHA in 2012. She ran the House Tour with Judy Stanton for three years, currently chairs the Library and Fundraising Committees, and serves on the Executive Committee. She is a founding partner of Belsey & Mahla Architects, a boutique firm that specializes in Manhattan renovations. Belsey & Mahla’s current projects also include residences in the Hudson Valley and on the Florida coast. Born in New Orleans, Erika graduated from Yale College and the Yale School of Architecture. She lives on Montague Street with her husband and two sons.


Carolyn Ziegler

Vice President

Carolyn is on the BHA’s Executive Committee and serves as the chair of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Committee. She joined the board of the BHA in April 2013. She is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School. She and her husband, Richard Ziegler, have lived primarily in Brooklyn Heights/Cobble Hill since 1975 and have raised three children here. Carolyn was a litigation and matrimonial partner at Flemming, Zulack, and Williamson (now Flemming, Zulack, Williamson, and Zauderer) for many years. She is also presently on the Executive Committee of the New York Regional Office of the American Jewish Committee and co-chairs its National Outreach and Advocacy Committee.


Donald Brennan

Secretary

Donald has been a BHA governor since 2011. He moved to Brooklyn Heights in 1994 primarily for its well maintained and preserved 19th century housing stock, and continues to live here with his wife and three children. He serves on the BHA Executive Committee, chairs the Landmarks and Preservation Committee and has active roles on the Audit and Finance Committee and Nominating Committee. He has been an adviser to the Historic Districts Council of New York and is a former board member of the Brooklyn Dodge YMCA. Through his affiliation with the Urban Land Institute, he teaches urban planning to high school children in the New York City school system. He is the founder and sole principal of The Brennan Real Estate Companies which provide services for marketing and sales, property development, new development marketing and property management with a focus on small to mid-sized residential properties in Brooklyn. He is a former architect, appraiser, and investment analyst.


Kevin Reilly

Treasurer

Kevin and his family have lived in Brooklyn Heights for over 30 years. He joined the BHA Board in November 2014 and is currently treasurer and a member of the Audit and Finance Committee. Kevin retired in 2014 as Ernst & Young’s Vice Chair of Professional Practice and Risk Management after 35 years with the firm.  He was responsible for all of the firm’s national office accounting, auditing, and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board reporting functions.  Kevin currently works with the Ernst & Young Foundation’s Academic Resource Center, a nonprofit entity that develops college-level curricula and other resources to help students with a variety of leading-edge accounting, auditing and financial reporting topics.



2016 Board of Governors


Kerith Aronow

Kerith has lived in the Heights for 15 years, raising two kids in the neighborhood where her husband was born and raised. She graduated from Brown University and worked in TV news production at World News Tonight, 20/20 and The News with Brian Williams. She is a full-time mother and currently the chair of the Membership Committee, which has the goal of reaching out to a new generation of Heights’ residents. She is also the chair of the Community History Project.


Christian Bastian

Chris was born in Brooklyn Heights and moved back to the neighborhood in 1997. He works as Associate Director of Transport Systems Analysis at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which provides insight for his work as chair of the BHA’s Traffic and Transportation Committee. He has been on the BHA Board since November 2011. He is also an adjunct instructor at the NYU Wagner School and serves as a board member for St. Stephen’s School in Rome, Italy. He and his wife live on Sidney Place.


Lorraine Bonaventura

Lorraine is the principal of Lorraine Bonaventura Architect, an award-winning architecture, interior design and preservation practice established in 2004. Before starting her own practice, she was the lead designer for many years at Kohn, Pederson, Fox Architects, focusing on institutional, commercial and hospitality projects. In addition to her current practice, she also teaches architecture and design in the city’s public schools through the American Institute Of Architects’ NYC Center for Arts Foundation’s “Learning By Design” program and other nonprofits. Lorraine is a member of the AIA and a registered architect in New York State. Besides her work with the BHA, Lorraine serves on BRIC’s Contemporary Arts Advisory Council, the board of The Heights Casino and on the Community Advisory Committee of the Brooklyn Public Library. She is also a past president of Grace Chorale of Brooklyn, and served as chair of the AIA NYC Design Awards Committee. She studied architecture and design at the Vienna Institute of Technology and received her BA in Architecture from the School of Design at North Caroline State University.


Lisa Smith-Dince

Lisa is a professor at Brooklyn Law School, where she is the director of Criminal and Judicial Externship Programs and the Prosecutors Clinic. Her family has resided in Brooklyn Heights since the 1980s. She is an appointee to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence. Professor Smith was formerly the Executive Assistant District Attorney for Special Victims in the Office of the Kings County District Attorney. She is currently on the board of the Montague Street BID, the Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn Street BID, and the executive board of the Fulton Mall Association. Lisa welcomes the opportunity to serve on the BHA Board to have more of a voice in community concerns. She is the co-chair of the BHA’s Police and Public Safety Committee, which works closely with the 84th Precinct on neighborhood safety concerns.


Bruce L. Gregory

Bruce moved into Brooklyn Heights from Singapore with his wife, Diane, in 1970 and later bought a house on Willow Street where they raised two children. For several decades, he was a corporate/international banker at Chase Manhattan Bank and later at Wells Fargo. His finance career concluded as the CEO of Beechtree Capital. He served as president of the board of the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School for two years in the 1970s and on the vestry of Grace Church Brooklyn Heights in the 1980s, where he remains active in the church’s legacy giving. In the 1980s, Bruce was treasurer and a board member of The Opera Ensemble of New York, a launching point for young opera singers. He has also been a board member of Nova Antigua, a small Manhattan dance company, and of the Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music. He currently heads Audit Committees at Grace Church Brooklyn Heights and Community Help in Park Slope. For the last five years, Bruce has been a gardener with the Promenade Garden Conservancy, for which the BHA provides support and which has beautified the entire length of the Promenade.


Patrick Killackey

Patrick has lived in Brooklyn Heights since 1992 and joined the Board of the BHA in 2010. He chaired the Transportation Committee until 2015, when he became Board President. He has a masters in public policy and works in the public sector as an operations and financial analyst. Patrick is an avid runner and biker in the neighborhood, on the bridge, and beyond. He and his family live on Orange Street.


Anne Landman

Anne has been a BHA governor since 2014 and has worked on membership and development activities, which included overseeing the BHA Dog Show for two years.  She is currently chair of the Board Nominating and Development Committee. She has lived in Brooklyn Heights since 1986 with her husband, Mark, where they raised two now-grown children. Anne had an international banking career with Irving Trust and Citibank, primarily covering the Caribbean and Latin America. Since then, she has taught at the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue and been a substitute teacher at Grace Church Preschool. She is currently coordinator of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Homeless Shelter and the treasurer of Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, where she was president for four years and directed the purchase of a new building.  She also serves as president of her Hicks Street co-op and is on the advisory council of the Citizen’s Committee for Children in Manhattan.  Anne has a BA from Penn State and an MA from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.


Jeremy Lechtzin

Jeremy first moved to Brooklyn Heights in 1997 and was pleased to return to the neighborhood after a recent two-year sabbatical in Spain. He is an architectural historian and technology lawyer. Jeremy focuses his history work on early Brooklyn, currently writing a data-driven analysis of every house built in Brooklyn Heights and creating a digital map of the lost streetscape of the Village of Brooklyn as it existed in 1816. He is a member of the BHA’s Landmarks Preservation Committee. In his legal career, Jeremy was the General Counsel of XO Group (parent company of TheKnot.com) for many years, and now advises several start-ups in NYC and Madrid. Jeremy and his wife Amy Klein are proud P.S. 8 parents.


Christopher Melling

Chris joined the Board of Governors in 2017.  He and his wife Melisa moved to Brooklyn Heights in 2012, where they are currently raising their two children.  Chris graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and has been a real estate investor and operator since 2003, specializing in the acquisition and renovation of distressed properties including some select Brooklyn brownstone renovations and restorations.  He serves as the president of the condominium board at Love Lane Mews and both his children attend school at Plymouth Church.  Chris and his wife are active in educational philanthropy through PAVE Academy and AmericaShare.


Whitten Morris

Whitten moved to Brooklyn Heights in 1979 and returned to the neighborhood in 2007, after graduating from Williams College, with his wife and two children. He heads the Brooklyn office for the real estate firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank which focuses on commercial development throughout Brooklyn.


Steve Rothman

Steve and his family have lived in Brooklyn Heights since 1985. He has served on the BHA Board since 2007. His focus has been twofold: (1) identifying and addressing issues related to the impact of Brooklyn Bridge Park on the surrounding neighborhood, and (2) building out the BHA’s digital communications platform through the launch of the current website. Steve is a strategic communications consultant and retired marketing communications entrepreneur, business builder and creative leader. He founded CCG Metamedia, a pioneering, award-winning digital healthcare communications agency, which became Cell Division before being acquired in 2011. Steve holds an MS from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and a summa cum laude degree in creative writing from CUNY.


Inger Staggs Yancey

Inger and her husband Richard moved to Brooklyn Heights in 2005, where they are currently raising their three boys. She joined the BHA Board of Governors in September 2010. Inger has been involved in the annual house tour and fundraising activities, contributes to the Landmarks Committee, and is the liaison to the Parks Department on tree issues. She graduated from Harvard with a master’s degree in architecture. She is a registered architect, and as a LEED Accredited Architect and a Green Roof Professional, has over 30 years experience creating sustainable architecture. Inger founded Brooklyn Greenroof LLC in 2008 to provide green roofing services for all types of buildings and lectures on sustainability topics.


Jim Walden

Jim joined the BHA Board of Governors in 2017. He has lived in Brooklyn Heights since 1995, where he and his wife are raising their three children. He is a principal of Walden, Macht & Haran LLP, where as a veteran litigator, Jim serves clients in criminal, civil and regulatory matters.  Prior to entering private practice in 2002, Jim served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York for almost nine years, where he successfully tried many felony cases, including complex racketeering trials. Jim previously clerked for the Honorable Anthony J. Scirica, U.S. Judge, Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. He graduated from the Temple University School of Law and from Hamilton College.


Christopher Wright

Chris has been involved in public and private development zoning and land use projects since 1986. He has worked at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the New York City Council and the New York City Department of Education. For the last 10 years, Chris Wright has represented and advocated the interests of real estate entities at city agencies including the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, the City Planning Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals, the Landmarks Commission and the Department of Buildings. He has worked with community groups on pro bono projects such as parks and recreation centers. Chris has served on the New York City Bar Association Land Use, Planning and Zoning Committee and is a member of the New York City and Brooklyn Bar Association. Chris currently works with his law partner in the firm of Simons & Wright LLC, which specializes in zoning and land use.  Chris has lived in Brooklyn Heights for almost 20 years and has been a member of the BHA since January 2011.  He assists the BHA in reviewing current and potential development projects within the Brooklyn Heights community.



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