The Ravenswood Neighbors Association is an all-volunteer, resident-driven organization that seeks to promote the well-being, safety, vitality, and identity of our community by fostering and encouraging stronger relationships between residents, local businesses, and other neighborhood organizations; sharing news and information throughout our network; and promoting local initiatives and programs.
We represent the neighborhood in Chicago bounded by Lawrence, Ashland, Montrose, and Damen Avenues.
Current Advisory Council Members
Andrew Smerczak-Zorza (President / Greening Committee Chair)
Andy has been a part of the Ravenswood neighborhood for over five years. He is committed to helping neighbors become better connected and spotlighting local businesses and institutions. Andy is the chair of the Greening Committee which has helped numerous neighbors and businesses start Illinois native flower gardens in our parkways and on street corners. He works in executive search with a leading global firm, helping companies find top Human Resources talent.
Nara Roth (Communications Chair)
Cassie Brehmer (Events Chair)
Cassie Brehmer has been a resident of Ravenswood since relocating from New York in 2015. Previously a neighbor of the Montrose corridor, she now calls Lawrence/Hermitage home. Cassie works in the art supply industry as a sales rep and frequently travels around the US, Europe and Asia. She loves coming home to her partner Nathan, her two cats Jack and Algernon, and the jazz musicians at Mariano’s. Because she travels so much for work, she likes to spend her free time locally- checking out galleries, getting gluten free pizza at Spacca Napoli, and grilling veggies from Patyk’s farm at the Ravenswood farmers market. She is very proud of her backyard herb and tomato garden and loves to host dinner parties with lots of cocktails.
Lanie Penaserada-Rivas (Community Engagement Chair)
Lanie comes as a new board member having participated in community events as one of the administrators of the Ravenswood Free Box Facebook group and a homeowner of her Sunnyside residence since February 2017 that some may have seen featured for Halloween and Freebox events particularly for the Live music from the porch. Originally from the Philippines, she has easily adapted the community spirit of her culture with an eye on engagement with the neighborhood. She lives with her husband, mother-in-law and daughter who attends a neighborhood school. By day she is in property management of a major Michigan avenue business hi-rise focused specifically on tenant services and relations. She loves traveling and enjoyed doing it just by herself when she was single but appreciates it more now with her husband and daughter. She loves cultural destinations such as Paris, London, San Francisco, & Boston with the plan of completing the alphabet for all the countries she gets to visit. Chicago is definitely one of those cities and checked off the list when she came and decided to make it her home. Had she not started her career as a paralegal and executive secretary at the largest law firm in her country, she may have let her green thumb lead her into horticulture at a grander scale but for now happy to settle with her home and the community areas around here.
Angie Cline (Planning & Development Chair)
Angie has lived in Ravenswood for four years and owns a Two-flat on Hermitage Avenue. As a stay-at-home mom with a school aged child, Angie is exploring ways to serve her community. Prior to moving to Ravenswood, Angie lived in Washington D.C. where she served as a foreign policy adviser for the Department of Defense. In her spare time, Angie likes to head to the lake with her dog for a run and, when weather permits, swim a few laps in the lake.
Sam moved to Ravenswood in 2021 to a charming six-flat with his wife Marina and their two cats, Beli and Theo. As a previous resident of North Center, he is involved with NCNA as a member of their Zoning Committee, continues to serve on the 47th Ward Zoning Advisory Committee, and most recently joined RNA’s Advisory Council. Sam is passionate about improving our beautiful neighborhood, local zoning and development issues and deepening connections within our community.
Originally from Scotland, Sam is currently a Project Manager for a Chicago-based Affordable Housing Developer, where he uses his project management, design and finance skills to develop housing throughout Illinois. Some of the things Sam likes to do in his free time include climbing at First Ascent Uptown, grabbing a coffee from Spoken Cafe, and taking a stroll around the neighborhood to admire our wonderful Ravenswood architecture.