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Board of Directors

President: Tony Hernandez Mr. Hernandez brings extensive experience in housing and community development to the GPCC through positions with the Illinois Housing Development Authority and, currently, with CIBC in Chicago. He is also a past president and current board member of the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance and has been involved with the GPCC and the Garfield Park New Communities Program since its inception in 2005. 

Secretary: Marie Cole Ms. Cole is a community resident and an attorney with a practice focusing on domestic relations and legal research. She was also been a long-time small business owner on Chicago's West Side as owner and proprieter of Shine King and Homeport Realty.  In addition to her legal practice Ms. Cole is a volunteer for several community organizations and served on the board of Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.  

Treasurer: Theresa Lipo  Ms. Lipo is a philanthropy and resource development consultant with more than 25 years of experience in the non-profit sector. She assisted the GPCC with establishing a fundraising program after its spinoff from the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance in 2012 through her work with the Walter S. Mander Foundation. Ms. Lipo is a Vice President on the board of the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits, an adjunct counsel with Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt, and is the Senior Manager for Corporate, Foundation, and Public Relations at Youth Guidance.

Michael McGovern: Board Member  Mr. McGovern has extensive experience working with and volunteering for community-based non–profit organizations in the Chicago area and brings valuable housing, lending, and financial expertise to the GPCC. Mr. McGovern has served in leadership positions at Associated Bank and First Sterling, and is currently the Director of Finance for Brinshore Development. 

Angela Taylor: Board Member  Ms. Taylor is a community resident and long-time volunteer leader with the Garfield Park Community Council and one of the founders of the Garfield Park Garden Network. Together with her husband Sam, Ms. Taylor operates one of the Network's largest gardens and also manages the Community Greenhouse, which opened in 2012.  Ms. Taylor's work with young people in the community and her dedication to community revitalization through greening and wellness activities has earned her many accolades, including a recent Chicago Sun-Times feature story. Ms. Taylor is a retiree from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Jaime Zaplatosch: Board Member Ms. Zaplatosch has been active with the Council since 2005, particularly through development and support of the Garfield Park Garden Network. She has expertise in school-based garden programs and community garden design and sustainability through work as Education Director for Openlands in Chicago and her current position as Director of Green Schoolyards for Healthy Communities at the Children & Nature Network.

Taft West: Board Member Mr. West is the Vice-President, Technical Assistance & Sustainability, for Chicago Community Loan Fund, and has experience in market-rate real estate, affordable and public housing management. He previously served as the Director of Property Management Training for Community Investment Corporation. With a 30-year career in real estate, Mr. West has earned awards for his leadership and education efforts, including the 2013 Tenant Champion Award from the Metropolitan Tenants Association. Taft attended the University of Illinois and Roosevelt University, and is a United States Army Veteran.

Mike Tomas: Executive Director Mike Tomas joined the LISC/New Communities Program at the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance as a volunteer and became Executive Director of the Garfield Park Community Council in 2005.  Mr. Tomas has more than 15 years of experience in both community organizing and community development work in both Chicago’s West Side and the southeast side of San Francisco, working closely with residents, government agencies and community organizations to improve the quality of life of those in economically distressed neighborhoods.