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.


Martha Bakos Dietz


Martha has been on the BHA Board since April 2008. She is a member of the Executive and past chair of the 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.

Erika Belsey Worth

First 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.

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.

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.

Kevin Reilly


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.

Christopher Melling


Chris joined the Board of Governors in 2017 and became an Officer in 2018.  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.

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.

Cheryl Baker

Cheryl moved to Brooklyn Heights from Philadelphia and Boston in 2017, and has been busy involving herself in this community ever since. She volunteered at the BHA Show House, assists the Promenade Gardens Conservancy, and has been appointed to the Executive Board of the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange. She also volunteers at the National Museum of the American Indian. Cheryl became a BHA governor in 2018.

Before retiring, Cheryl enjoyed a long career in public education as a teacher, school administrator and district leader. Subsequently, she supported educational improvements through quality review and strategic planning initiatives, nation-wide. In addition to K-12 education, Cheryl’s interests include historic preservation and protection of our green spaces. She holds degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Johns Hopkins University and the Pennsylvania State University.

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.

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 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.

Jane Platt

Jane and her husband Radey Johnson and their two daughters have lived in Brooklyn Heights since 2010. A graduate of Bennington College, she received her Ph.D. in psychology from Yale. Following graduation she joined the faculty at Harvard and eventually moved on to New York University School of Medicine where she taught, did research and also ran a private practice as a licensed psychologist. Now retired, she has volunteered with the BHA since 2012, and joined the Membership Committee in 2017 and the Board of Governors in 2018 where she will continue to work on membership issues. Jane also volunteers at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange and is on the board of The Alex House Project, a Brooklyn-based non-profit that offers parenting classes as well as educational and vocational support to young single mothers.

Susan Restler

Susan has lived in Brooklyn Heights for 40 years. Her first career was with JP Morgan where she led strategy and marketing for the private bank. In 2003 she co-founded Knowledge in the Public Interest, a facilitator of online collaboration. The company developed a model of collaborative online professional development for teaching faculty that was acquired in 2018. Susan chaired the board of Packer Institute during the conversion of the St. Ann’s church into the Packer middle school. She is a graduate of Radcliffe College/Harvard University and the Columbia Graduate School of Business. Susan and her husband Peter have two children.  

Sara Sargent

Sara has lived in Brooklyn Heights for more than a decade, calling Montague Street, Monroe Place and, now, Pierrepont Street home. She has degrees from Swarthmore College and Northwestern University, and she is currently a Senior Executive Editor at Random House Children’s Books. In her leisure time, Sara is a member of The Heights Casino, volunteers with New York Cares and 826NYC, and most mornings can be found running through Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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.

Koren Volk

Koren joined the Board of Governors in 2018. She and her husband moved to Brooklyn Heights in 1995. Now retired, she is the Project Manager of the Promenade Garden Conservancy, joining the group in the garden on Tuesday mornings and assisting in the Conservancy’s annual fundraising efforts. She also volunteers as an adult education tutor for Imani House of Park Slope. She has recently served as president of her Montague Terrace coop. In her free time, Koren retreats to her painting studio in Sunset Park. Before retiring, Koren worked as a research analyst for Deutsche Bank, Barclays Bank and CIBC. She holds degrees from the University of Regina and the University of Western Ontario.

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.

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