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


Koren Volk

President

Koren joined the Board of Governors in 2018, and was elected President in 2022. 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.


Jeremy Lechtzin

Vice President

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.


Susan Restler

Treasurer

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.


Christopher Melling

Secretary

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 three 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. His children attend school at Plymouth Church and PS8. Chris and his wife are active in educational philanthropy through PAVE Academy and AmericaShare.



Board of Governors


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.


Raoul Bhavnani

Raoul is a life-long New Yorker with three generations of roots in Brooklyn back to his great-grandparents. Raised in Manhattan, he moved to Brooklyn more than 20 years ago and has called Brooklyn Heights home since 2014. Raoul graduated from Princeton University and since then has been working primarily in the for-profit arena, for firms like Morgan Stanley and FTI Consulting, both in the US and abroad. His career has focused on high-stakes communications work. He is currently Chief Communications Officer of Betterment, the leading digital investment advisory firm in the US, headquartered in New York City. Beyond his day jobs, Raoul has also been involved in a range of non-profit, political and advocacy work, including sitting on the board of The Alliance for the Arts (NYC) and Scenic Hudson (Poughkeepsie, NY), and co-founding The India Center Foundation, an arts organization focused on the American diaspora. Raoul began his involvement with the BHA as a member and then got involved in the BQE task force when the first DoT plan was tabled. Raoul is also a parishoner of Grace Church and lives with his wife, two children and a ruby Cavalier named Cooper.


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.


Jake Brooks

Jake, his wife, Michelle, and their two children have lived in Brooklyn Heights since 2010. Jake is a Professor of Law at Fordham University, where he teaches courses on tax law and property law. He has also taught at Georgetown, Harvard, Columbia, and Brooklyn Law School. Prior to becoming a professor, Jake was a tax attorney at Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston, Mass. Jake and Michelle’s children attended PS 8, where Jake and Michelle were active members and supporters of the PTA. Jake serves as the president of his co-op board and also serves on the board of the New England Society in the City of Brooklyn. He is a past board member of Atlas: DIY, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that provided legal services to undocumented immigrant youth. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.


Carolyn Kramer

Carolyn Kramer is a longtime Brooklynite who grew up in Cobble Hill and moved to Brooklyn Heights in 2012. Carolyn currently lives in Brooklyn Heights with her husband, two children and their dog. Carolyn is a corporate lawyer who served as director and in-house counsel for the investment banking department of Credit Suisse focusing on mergers and acquisitions. Prior to joining Credit Suisse, Carolyn worked as a corporate associate at Cahill, Gordon & Reindel. Carolyn holds a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law. Carolyn also served on the Advisory Board of Grace Church School.


Jennifer LaRusso-Leung

Jennifer has lived in Brooklyn Heights since 2010 and been an active member of the BHA through the Playground Committee since 2015 where she runs annual family events. She cares deeply for the neighborhood and feels passionate about bringing people together through community programming. Jennifer works as a coach for a disability non-profit and as an MBA admissions consultant. She holds an undergraduate degree from Holy Cross and a masters from Teachers College, Columbia. She is also currently pursuing a degree in mental health counseling from Teachers College. She lives in the neighborhood with her husband and children and is a proud parent of both PS 8 and Plymouth Church School, where she is an active volunteer.


John MacIntosh

John and his family have been connected with Brooklyn Heights since 1991. A desire to live in the Heights brought them back in 2007 after ten years abroad. John looks for ways to use his finance and business experience to have a positive, social impact. He is the Managing Partner of SeaChange Capital Partners, a nonprofit “merchant bank” that makes grants, loans, and provides consulting to help other nonprofits—from arts and culture to social services—address complex challenges. Prior to SeaChange, John worked in private equity, management consulting and software development. John has a BSE from Princeton University and did a mid-life Masters in Philosophy and Public Policy at the London School of Economics. He serves on the Board of Directors of the John Jay College Foundation and the Putney School, is an equity investment advisor to MicroVest Capital Management, and is an observer on a number of nonprofit boards in conjunction with his role at SeaChange. He is also proud to have played goal-keeper in more than 150 games for Heights FC. John and his wife Anna feel blessed to have been able to raise four children in the neighborhood.


Betsy Mallow

Betsy Mallow is regularly found sitting across the table in Brooklyn Heights from her husband, Jeremy Robbins, and their two sons, getting beaten in cards or chess. This continues a tradition of family chess across Brooklyn tables, as her father used to play with his family when his dad was the Principal of Thomas Jefferson High School. Betsy currently serves as the Executive Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer for NY State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the State’s affordable housing agency. She also Chairs the Board of a non-profit, the Violence Intervention Program, which works with mostly LatinX survivors of domestic violence. An alumna of Brown University and Harvard Business School, she has dedicated her professional life to building, growing, and transforming organizations in the private, public, and non profit sectors.


Cindy McLaughlin

Cindy, her husband Andrew, and their two boys have lived in Brooklyn Heights since 2018. Cindy is CEO of Envelope, a real estate acquisitions analysis company that uses zoning-based spatial software to search for, visualize, and run scenarios on real estate development potential. Prior to Envelope, Cindy held CEO and President roles in a range of technology companies. Cindy has an MBA from MIT/Sloan, a BA from Mount Holyoke College, and spent 2 years in Congo as a Water/Sanitation volunteer for the US Peace Corps. She also serves on the Tech and Innovation Committee at the Urban Land Institute, on the Board of Trustees at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, and on the multi-stakeholder Coalition for the BQE Transformation.


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.


April Somboun

April and her husband, Jason have lived in Brooklyn Heights since 2013. April is the Education Research and Innovation Manager a the International Rescue Committee’s Airbel Impact Lab, where she is supporting the implementation of projects across the portfolio of education Global Research and Innovation Priorities (GRIP) to reach last-mile children, parents, and caregivers, providing them with quality and sustainable education solutions. She has worked for organizations such as Scholastic, the American Heart Association, and the Council for Economic Education. Throughout her career, she has created multi-million dollar partnerships and marketing campaigns that benefited children and their families with a focus on economic mobility, financial literacy, and health. She holds a Master’s of Public Administration from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s from the University of Washington. April serves on the board of two nonprofits: the Brooklyn Book Bodega and the Laotian American National Alliance. She is also a member of the Poplar Street Community Garden and the Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Community Advisory Council. She and her husband have two children who attend PS 8 and NEST+M.


Jordan Tamagni

Jordan Tamagni lives in Brooklyn Heights with her husband, Michael Schlein, and their two sons, who represent the 6th generation of their family to spend some part of their lives in Brooklyn. A communications consultant currently advising non-profit organizations and other public sector clients, she served most recently at UNICEF as Chief of Editorial and Senior Communications Advisor. Among other previous roles, she was Chief of Staff at the NYC Department of Education’s Fund for Public Schools and senior Presidential Speechwriter at the White House. An alumna of Brooklyn Law School, she is passionate about Brooklyn Heights and New York City generally.



Do you care about Brooklyn Heights?
Support our work today!