Following are bios for members of the 2014-15 VHCA Board of Directors.
I’ve lived on Rosedale Rd. in VaHi for 12 years and have been an active volunteer in the neighborhood since 2005. My initial volunteer roles were at Summerfest and I also served as editor of the hard-copy Voice newsletter from 2006 until 2010. In 2012 and again this year I served as volunteer coordinator for Summerfest, successfully recruiting and managing over 300 volunteers to support the neighborhood’s largest annual fund-raising event.
I was elected to the VHCA board last year and during this term I served as chair of the communications committee. In this role I’m responsible for the vahi.org website, serve as editor and business manager for The Voice e-newsletter, and generally promote the VaHi brand and raise awareness of association and neighborhood issues through various print and digital media (i.e., I am admin for three different VaHi FB pages). I also served this past year on the Summerfest and parks committees.
I hope to continue helping out with the neighborhood’s communication needs in 2013-14. We have a very active, involved neighborhood and it’s important that we tell our story right and in all the right places. I’d also like to continue to help provide leadership for Summerfest through involvement in that committee and to do what I can to preserve and improve VaHi’s three tremendous parks by continuing to serve on that committee.
I moved to Virginia Highland in 1984 and have a home, rental property and had a business in the neighborhood. My husband and I raised our two sons here and I served on PTAs for Morningside Elementary, Inman Middle and Grady High Schools. We have always been active in our neighborhood.
Our family is in the hotel business (we own the Hampton Inn Northlake Mall) and I have also been a partner in a consulting firm and an international CPA firm. I have a strong business background. I have chaired several industry and professional organizations. I recently completed a Masters degree from Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.
I believe that our individual involvement is what makes our neighborhood such a good place to live so I served on the VHCA Board in 2012 and 2013. I work on sidewalks and streets. This year, the City has responded to requests from us with regard to pedestrian signs, street signs, traffic lights and other maintenance items on the streets. We have also been working on a program to improve sidewalks in Virginia Highland and expect to have 29 sidewalk segments replaced by year-end with collaborative funding from VHCA, the City and property owners.
I have been a homeowner on Rosedale Road for nearly fourteen years where I now live with my wife of ten years, Dana and our 6-year old son, Eric. Since playing sports and earning a bachelor’s degree at UC Berkeley, I have been employed in various sales and sales leadership roles in the technology and now ‘cloud’ computing space, presently managing Southeast enterprise sales for a leading marketing automation company based out of Northern California.
Since living in the neighborhood, I have been fairly active with more ‘street-centric’ community activities, including helping to organize block parties, street yard sales, and at various times working with the City, DeKalb County and other adjoining non-residential neighbors to the East of Rosedale Road to try to remedy various rainwater and sewer-related runoff issues of concern to several homeowners on the street. I have a keen interest in preserving our unique intown neighborhood and the quality of life for all residents it provides.
In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family, gardening, cooking, coaching my son’s soccer team and enjoying our awesome neighborhood and surrounding communities. I am eager to expand my leadership and ‘community’ involvement beyond the work I have done on our street and expand this to the broader Virginia-Highland community. While I have interests in potentially working with the Parks, Planning, Communications and/or Safety committees, I feel my skills and enthusiasm would be a good fit anywhere and I am eager to be of service wherever needed most upon being elected to the Board.
I am currently on the VHCA board. I have volunteered with various organizations in Virginia-Highland since 1997. My husband, Tom Beisel, and I have lived in Virginia-Highland at 1030 N. Virginia Ave. since 1993, and are the second family to live at this address! We have a daughter who is 17 years old and has taken advantage of the amazing quality of life we all enjoy here in Virginia-Highland.
Over the years I’ve volunteered with VHMPA, VHCA History & Preservation efforts, PLAN – reporting to the City of Atlanta from Virginia-Highland as the zoning code was revised, the VHCA Planning Committee and various fundraising efforts of VHCA. Having a passion for preservation, I co-authored Images of America – Virginia–Highland history book with Karri Hobson-Pape. The Virginia-Highland History Center, while looking for a better permanent home, is housed at my offices – Tailfin Marketing. Feel free to stop by and talk history.
I hope to continue working with the planning and preservation committees helping to ensure that development in the area supports the neighborhood’s vision. Through proper planning and oversight, Virginia-Highland can represent the best Atlanta has to offer in a vibrant intown neighborhood.
I have lived in the neighborhood on Virginia Circle for over a decade. A native Atlantan, I grew up in Buckhead and had little exposure to Va-Hi. I truly love our community and sometimes can’t believe how lucky I am to be a part of it. Leon, my puppy, is loving the neighborhood as well.
My professional background is marketing. I worked primarily in telecom for 10 years before following an old boss to healthcare. I’ve loved the challenges and education I’ve gained from the switch.
Though a latecomer to neighborhood volunteerism, I have really enjoyed working on the Summerfest organization committee. I became involved in many activities that I had never imagined I would, such as appearing in a TV promo and even fence building. I’ve gotten to know some great people whom I might not have met otherwise. I’ve loved every minute of it.
I look forward to continuing my involvement with Summerfest and serving on the board of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association.
I am a mom, wife, lawyer, and community activist who has lived in Virginia Highland for 11 years. I take great pride in our neighborhood and have been an active neighborhood advocate on the BeltLine and important neighborhood issues.
I served as the Secretary of NPU-F for 7 years and have been a VHCA Board member for 3 years. My service as NPU Secretary and on the VHCA Board has allowed me to develop a deep understanding of the issues facing our neighborhood and the most effective ways to deal with those challenges. My neighbors, friends, work colleagues and fellow NPU and VHCA board members would all describe me as a “go-getter” – when I see something that needs to be improved or changed, I work hard to make it happen!
Since my election to the VHCA board in 2012, I have primarily served on the Planning Committee. In 2013-2014, I was the co-chair of the VHCA Master Plan submcommittee. The comprehensive Master Plan addresses many of the most important topics facing our community, including zoning and development, historic preservation, traffic, parks and open space, environmental issues. I look forward to serving on the Board for 2015 – 2016 term and plan to focus on implementing the Master Plan and the challenges posed by increased development in our neighborhood.
I’m a new resident of Atkins Park/Virginia-Highland, my husband and I bought our house in May of 2013. Originally I’m from the Philadelphia area, two years ago when we visited Atlanta for the first time we knew that the Virginia-Highland area would be where we would want to live. We loved all the great restaurants, historic homes, and walking though the neighborhoods parks.
I work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a molecular epidemiology team that focuses on water borne parasitic diseases.
In my spare time I enjoy travelling and food related endeavors including cooking, tending to my vegetable garden (fending off the squirrels), and trying new foods and restaurants. I have a 4-year-old Australian Shepherd that loves to go for long walks throughout the neighborhood and exploring the great parks that Atlanta has to offer.
After joining my husband in retirement in 2006, we relocated to Virginia-Highland from Gwinnett County. We arrived just in time to enjoy our first Dogwood Festival as locals, relax with our new Elmwood neighbors at the annual street party, and volunteer for, as well as have a blast at, our first Summerfest! I soon lost count of how many times we said “what took us so long to move here” while walking to local restaurants and shops. It quickly became apparent that a key component to keeping our neighborhood so vibrant is the continued contributions of volunteers organized and focused through the VHCA.
I’ve continued to volunteer for Summerfest each year in various capacities. In 2012, I began participating in fundraising for the neighborhood by creating items to sell from recycled Summerfest t-shirts. I joined the Tour of Homes committee in 2013, chairing the sponsorship sub-committee. We raised over $30,000 that year, and in 2014, we increased that to over $33,000. Now the tour committee is in the midst of preparing for the 2015 tour, and this time, we are planning to raise at least $40,000 for the neighborhood. We are eager to show off our neighborhood during the 2015 tour, and create another great tour next year!
Hi…I’m Angelika Taylor. My husband Joe and I moved to Virginia-Highland four years ago with our girls Ally, 16, and Kenzie, 14, to start a new life in the city! Two years ago, we welcomed a baby boy named Jack into our family.
We jumped right into Virginia-Highland headfirst. We bought a house in desperate need of love and affection. I have owned my own business as an interior designer for 14 years. Together, my husband and I run our own company, Taylor and Taylor Homes. We have a passion for renovating homes, selling them and changing neighborhood streets, one house at a time.
Our family is committed to our neighborhood and community. Our girls have both gone through Inman Middle School and are now at Grady High, and Jack attends International Pre School. We believe in shopping local and we can often be spotted at many of the restaurants, bars and shops around VaHi.
Three years ago I took on the challenge of chairing the Tour of Homes committee for the VHCA. TOH is the neighborhood’s second largest fundraiser and, since I’ve chaired the event, proceeds from the tour have grown from $15,000 to over $50,000. This year should be even better.
If elected to the VHCA board, I’d like to continue my leadership of the Tour of Homes committee, and also look forward to finding new ways to serve the residents of the community that my family and I have grown to love so much.
When my (then four-year old) daughter and I moved from Midtown to Virginia-Highland in 1984, we were the two youngest people on the half-block. If I am not now the oldest, I’m pretty darn close. My particular interests are planning, parks, and public resources, particularly water use and stream issues, a field in which I’ve worked for several decades. Our neighborhood schools that both my kids attended are pretty high on the list too.
I’m grateful for the Virginia-Highland Civic Association’s role in helping shape the history of the community. If the residents of the late 60’s and early 70’s hadn’t organized and stood together with their allies to the north and south, it’s very likely that most of us wouldn’t be living in – and might not even recognize – this neighborhood today. The idea of a huge interstate highway cleaving the Old Fourth Ward, clipping the Inman School parking lot, splitting Orme Park, and blasting through our neighborhood and Morningside seems even more preposterous in retrospect than it did then, but I believe it’s accurate to say that the successful struggle to prevent that road’s construction represented the first defeat of its scope for the (then) Georgia Highway Department. (Thankfully, there would be more, the original huge Presidential Parkway among them.)
It took endless energy and an almost illogical faith in the potential of citizen movements to stop that road. The lasting gifts of that period include are a tradition of openness and a belief in the power of organization that are as important today as they were then. The challenges of our decade are not as obvious nor as dramatic, but the need for a strong and democratic community organization that capably advocates for the neighborhood remains very clear.
I’ve enjoyed serving on the board these last two years. The experience has made me even more appreciative of the Association’s wide range of activities and the volume of effort that our volunteers expend. The challenges and occasional frustrations have been more than counterbalanced by the chance to work with large numbers of energetic, humorous, and hardworking optimists who like to get things done. I’d be pleased to serve another year.
Lauren Wilkes Fralick
Lauren and her husband Frank moved to the neighborhood in 2011. They live on Highland View with their dog Abner. Lauren works in Government Relations for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. On the weekends, you may find her working on one of the many “do it yourself” projects they have going on at their home.
Lauren has been a board member for two years and has been a driving force on the Parks Committee. Lauren looks forward to another year serving the neighborhood.
I recently moved to Virginia-Highland with my boyfriend after living in three other parts of Atlanta. This area is certainly the best. A transplant from Charleston, SC, I studied Historic Preservation and Community Planning at the College of Charleston and soon after earned an MBA at The Citadel. Now I’m working as a commercial account manager on an energy efficiency program across the state. I’ve always enjoyed volunteering, either with Lifecycle Building Center, ULI’s Sustainability Committee, or organizing Earth Day for my Green Team at work.
Since day one of moving to Virginia-Highland, I have been active with the neighborhood through the VHCA Planning and Historic Preservation Committees. I joined the committees earlier this year and have reviewed variances, gathered feedback from neighbors on issues, presented on behalf of VHCA at the NPU, and provided input at Board meetings.
In my free time, I like to walk to our great VaHi restaurants or over to Inman Park, Poncey-Highland, or Little Five. I keep my eyes peeled for free art Fridays around town and enjoy crafting, reading Atlanta news, and planning adventures. I have a diplomatic approach, a desire to contribute, and would appreciate the opportunity to serve the neighborhood.
I’d like to be involved on the board so that I can support the neighborhood with broad initiatives, from master planning to fundraising for our parks. Having served on the Planning and Preservation committees, I understand the time, patience, and dedication needed to create positive changes that keep the neighborhood vibrant. Change is inevitable and the desirability of VaHi is only going to grow. I’d like to be on the board to ensure the character and quality of life in Virginia-Highland continues to get better each year.