CANDIDATE BIOS FOR SEPT 19TH ELECTION
These are the candidate bios that we have received thus far. If you live in the neighborhood and would like to run, please email a short bio with your name, contact info, and a brief statement of what you would like to accomplish as a VaHi Board member to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In no particular order:
If allowed the privilege of serving on the VHCA Board, my number one goal is to work with all residents to unite, understand the needs of our changing community and keep Virginia-Highland the best neighborhood to live, work, do business and play in.
Moving to VaHi (Kentucky Ave) almost four years ago from New York City, my family (wife, Kerri and daughters, Sloan (5) and Saylor (2)) and I knew right away that we wanted to not only have an address but a home. Virginia-Highland afforded this opportunity early and I’ve been fortunate to meet and speak with many neighbors and city officials through my participation on the Planning Committee and other community activities.
I obviously enjoy our major events like Summerfest and Tour of Homes but experiencing our parks, taking in our commercial nodes, accessing Piedmont Park and enjoying the Beltline are really what make our corner of Atlanta special. I will continue to talk with neighbors in other parts of Atlanta (NPU-F and beyond) to hear about how they are facing their issues, learning what has worked, what hasn’t and how we can put those things appropriately into place from Ponce to Amsterdam, The Beltline to Briarcliff.
My areas of focus include neighborhood safety, neighborhood fiances, proper planning for both residential and business development and continuing to make VaHi’s voice heard on the city, county and state levels.
I currently am the Treasurer of the Civic Association, sit on the VaHi Planning Committee and have assisted with projects effecting the VaHi business districts, parking configurations and bike lanes. I live on Kentucky Ave.
Joshua is a native Atlantan and has lived in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood on Monroe Drive since 2016. He has strong ties to the community with several family members living in various parts of the neighborhood. He has seen the city grow and develop over the decades and believes that retaining the character, safety, and usability of the neighborhood is critical to its continued success.
He has been a board member of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association and co-chair of the Traffic and Transportation Committee since 2018. He also served as a member of the Virginia-Highland Master Plan Update Steering Committee from 2017 to 2019.
Joshua has a background in management consulting and has experience growing small, medium and large companies. In his free time he enjoys outside activities including golf, running on the Beltline and in Piedmont Park, and skiing.
His interests in the neighborhood include traffic, transportation, and parks, however he has a breadth of skills that would translate well into other areas that may need help.
If re-elected to the board, he looks forward to shaping the future of the Virginia-Highland neighborhood and making sure Virginia-Highland continues to be a top residential, business, and social neighborhood in the city.
Chip Franzoni is a new-ish Va-Hi homeowner, and couldn’t be happier. Living in Va-Hi is better than he or his family ever imagined!
Professionally, Chip has held positions from Account Executive to Vice President for companies including Prentice Hall, National Data Corporation, TSI, and Harbinger.
Volunteer-wise, he’s a past president of one of Metro Atlanta’s largest homeowner associations representing 30,000 +/- residents. He served on the board of a nearby YMCA for nearly 15 years. He established and ran a charitable foundation to support under-privileged children with special needs. And he served four years in public office as an elected official – a school board member, his most challenging community service effort to-date.
First elected to the VHCA board last year, Chip dipped his toe into a number of committees trying to find the right go-forward fit. The Planning Committee lit a spark. As did Safety. He volunteered time at Summerfest and Tour of Homes, as all board members do. With Jenifer Keenan, Chip co-championed the Va-Hi street sign branding topper effort and really enjoyed that as a one-off project with measurable results. While he’s still searching for the “fit”, his sleeves are rolled up and wants to do what he can to make Va-Hi even better than the incredible community it already is.
I am a mom, wife, lawyer, and community activist who has lived in Virginia-Highland for 15 years. I take great pride in our neighborhood and have been an active neighborhood advocate on the BeltLine and important neighborhood issues.
I have lived in Virginia-Highland on Rosedale Road for 20 years. I have served on the VHCA Board for the past six years–as a volunteer on the Planning Committee for the first two years, for the entire time as a member of the Parks Committee and as Chair of the Parks Committee for the past two years, and, as President during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 terms.
As Chair of the Parks Committee, in addition to our regular efforts to work with qualified landscape professionals to augment landscape maintenance at Orme Park, John Howell Park, the Triangle at North Highland and Virginia Avenue and at the VHCA-owned North Highland Park, I have also been heavily involved in applying for, securing and implementing several matching grant applications with Park Pride that have resulted in significant improvements to our neighborhood parks. Looking forward, our Parks Committee is now taking initial steps with civil engineers (primarily for watershed management purposes) and the City Parks Department to begin planning to replace and renovate the aging playground equipment at the lower playground at John Howell Park.
For the past two years, while serving as President, I have worked with the Board and our other committee volunteers to conduct yet another successful Summerfest, serving both on the Summerfest Committee and managing t-shirt sales operations, completed the 2nd-phase of a ~$100,000 capital improvement project at John Howell Park.
If elected to serve another term, in addition to continuing to organize and execute the ‘parks-related’ work above, I would like to continue to help to manage Summerfest t-shirt operations and work with the Summerfest Committee on the strategic planning analysis that will occur over the next few months to look at how we can make Summerfest even better and continue to ensure that the Virginia-Highland Civic Association has sufficient capital to continue to give back to this neighborhood in ways the Board and Association deem most critical.
I am fortunate to have been a part of this organization over the past six years and look forward to continuing with VHCA’s good work for another term, if so elected.
Leah Matthews moved to the neighborhood 7 years ago. She lives on St. Charles Ave with her husband Todd and two young children (Jonah and Lila). Leah is currently Co-Chair of Summerfest, the Street Captain for the lower half of St. Charles Ave, and in addition, she is on the Social Committee.
She moved to Atlanta in 2006, and immediately fell in love with Virginia-Highland and knew it was where she would make her permanent home. Leah owns 2 businesses, one local that partners with many of the schools, churches, and businesses in the neighborhood and surrounding areas, and one online that helps other business owners around the world. When not working, her interests include cooking, wine, travel, yoga, and volunteer work. Her interests in the neighborhood would be fundraising events, safety, and social activities and events for residents.
Leah hopes to become even more involved in the neighborhood and the VHCA to ensure that Virginia-Highland will continue to be a great place to live for years to come.
Mike Lewis moved to the neighborhood in 2014. He and his wife have two children; one attends Grady HS and the other Young Harris College in NorthGeorgia.
Mike has been active in VaHi through participation in neighborhood events and has supported the schools through volunteerism as well. Mikes background is in marketing. He has worked for agencies inSan Francisco and Atlanta and is currently the Creative Director/Strategist at Grady Hospital.
If elected, Mike would like to help the board address the needs of the changing community, supporting events and projects that help maintain the culture and vibrancy of our great VaHi neighborhood.
Katie moved to the neighborhood 3 years ago, after receiving her Masters in Architecture from the Tampa Bay area. Since, she has been totally obsessed with Virginia-Highland; particularly its history, its walkable scale, the neighborhood vibe, and the diversity of people. She actually tried to move to Portland, Oregon after graduating, but was already addicted to the community here.
Over the last year, she took on the roles of the Communications Chair, Board Secretary, and member of the Social Committee. This included the monthly newsletter and monthly meeting minutes, the VHCA Facebook, an overhaul of VHCA’s website. In the daytime, Katie works with VaHi business owners and investors to beautify & activate the sidewalks of the VaHi business nodes with her nonprofit, Beautify VaHi.
If re-elected, she would like to continue her work with communications to engage as many neighbors as possible and work to bring more events and liveliness to our intown neighborhood.
David Taylor-Klaus brings three decades of experience as a serial entrepreneur spending the last decade as a coach for successful entrepreneurs and senior executives. Through coaching, David’s clients shift from leadership competency to leadership mastery. The result: dramatic shifts in their performance and their career trajectory. David believes that a powerful leader exists in each of us. He empowers his clients – both individuals and teams – to unearth and unleash their leadership potential and take an active, intentional, and dynamic role in their professional and personal lives.
Prior to establishing DTK Coaching, David was CEO of an internet strategy and web development firm he co-founded in 1995 and sold in 2009. As it’s chief strategist, he worked with C-level executives, senior management teams and boards of directors, helping them to broaden their perspectives and see how interactive initiatives support corporate visions and values for positive growth. In the pre-internet age, David was a partner in a technology consulting and systems integration firm focused on advertising agencies, marketing/communications firms, public relations firms, and printers.
David holds such a wide array of professional certifications that he now has more letters AFTER his name than IN his name … He is driven by his passions for growth and creativity. Both his personal and professional worlds clearly reflect a journey in pursuit of excellence, always with a great deal of humor and heart. Known for his sharp intellect and incisive ability to see and say what others do not, David balances his fierce candor with genuine compassion. David and his wife are recent empty nesters, living in the heart of Atlanta with their dogs. A gold-medal rower in the Georgia State Games, an avid cyclist, and an enthusiastic wine-collector (and drinker), David also enjoys kick-boxing, really great dad jokes, laughing with others … and at himself.
I am a stay at home parent turned self-start-up small business owner, with all the chaos that comes with both. I have been actively involved in my kids’ schools including active PTO member at SPARK, served as a liaison on the board for 2 years between my kids school and the larger institution that housed it, room parent for life, and general furniture builder/jack of all trades or anything else the schools may need.
My formal education is in fine art, in sculpture with an ongoing interest in art and design. Before this I worked in technology, and before that served in the Army as a paratrooper.
As I stay at home dad, I am familiar with my presence in a non-traditional role. I am comfortable with asking for things that may be novel, as well as showering gratitude for those who contribute. I am direct in both my praise as well as constructive criticism (no BS). I am known to be the last to speak in a room, as I wish to fully understand the situation before committing my thoughts. That being said, I am not above the occasional stumble, and am the first to take responsibility for misplaced words.
If elected I would look forward to helping the Virginia Highland stay family friendly with outreach and support for all.
Hi, neighbors. I’ve lived in Virginia Highland for 20+ years now. For many of those years, I lived at the corner of Virginia Ave and Briarcliff but after selling my condo, I couldn’t bring myself to leave the neighborhood so I moved to the opposite end of Virginia Ave at Monroe Drive.
My background is in real estate, specifically infrastructure projects such as fiber optic easements and other utility related projects. I recently started focusing on residential real estate. I’m an Associate Broker with Keller Williams Realty Metro Atlanta.
I served on the VaHi Board years ago, around 2010-2011… I think. (It was so long ago that I don’t remember exact dates.) I currently serve on the VaHi Planning Committee and I helped with the VaHi Communications a couple years back. I volunteer with VaHi Tour of Homes, usually registering guests and selling tickets. I try to volunteer every year at Summerfest, my favorite role is to serve the Friday night dinner for the neighborhood when I can.
It would be a privilege to serve the neighborhood again by sitting on the Board. I would like to continue participating in the Planning Committee and other areas that need attention.