The GardenWorks Project’s vision and mission is driven by its leadership and staff. Our leadership team of board and committee members provide us expertise and strategic direction to improve our community, one garden at a time.
Please connect with us if you are interested in committee and/or board membership or would like to meet with a board member to learn more!
Jennifer’s earliest and fondest memories of gardening were with her father in the backyard of their New Jersey home. Though she is admittedly too scared of bugs to become a full-fledged gardener in adulthood, Jennifer has enjoyed food and feeding people since childhood. This affection led her to pursue a career in the hospitality industry including positions in foodservice, catering and event planning. After volunteering with Northern Illinois Food Bank processing donations, she learned about food insecurity and wanted to help on a deeper level that aligned with her interest in nutrition. In 2018, Jennifer had the honor of working with The Gardenworks Project on its fall fundraiser and fell in love with its concept and mission. She looks forward to learning more about gardening and helping to eliminate food insecurity in her adopted home. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Science in Foodservice Management from Johnson & Wales University and an MBA from Roosevelt University. In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys cooking, exercising, and reading. If you'd like to connect with Jennifer, her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy became a gardener by accident over 20 years ago when her sister encouraged her to start a container garden on her apartment balcony. Initially intrigued but not enthused, she followed her sister’s suggestion and a deep love of growing things was sparked. Volunteering as a University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners for over 15 years, Nancy has many opportunities to talk with other home gardeners about helpful growing practices. Being a part of a special organization like The GardenWorks Project with a mission to reduce food insecurity through garden builds and education is a privilege. Nancy holds a BS from Eastern Illinois University and works in the financial services industry as a CFP. Other joys besides gardening include reading and volunteering at her church. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Emily became interested in gardening after taking a food insecurity and accessibility class in college, and has come a long way from growing basil and parsley in her dorm room. She majored in Nonprofit Management at Indiana University, and was able to volunteer at a couple of gardening initiatives around Bloomington. She is the Donor Relations Coordinator at the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans. Emily is so excited to combine her love of gardening and fundraising to help continue The GardenWorks Project's growth and impact in the community. Outside of work, Emily likes to tend to her garden, knit, and read.
Matt Tansley is a Land Use Planner with the Kane County Development and Community Services Department. He provides staff support for the implementation of various county long range and strategic plans, including the Kane County 2040 Plan, Growing for Kane Report, and the Kane County Food Hub Feasibility Study. He also coordinates the activities of the Kane County Planning Cooperative, an interdepartmental working group of planning practitioners representing the Departments of Development, Health and Transportation; as well as publishes the group’s monthly newsletter. Matt holds a B.S. in Political Science from Bradley University and a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. For the past four years Matt has served as Secretary on The GardenWorks Project’s Board of Directors. Matt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amanda Bryant has been gardening with her Mom since before she can remember. Now, she loves sharing her love of gardening with her husband, son and anyone who will listen. Amanda began volunteering with The Gardenworks Project in 2017 and became a lead during the 2018 season, shortly before joining the board. She earned her BA from DePaul University in International Studies and is also a registered yoga instructor. Being a part of The GardenWorks Project has given Amanda the great opportunity to combine her great passions: helping people become more connected with their bodies while also helping them become more connected to their food. To connect with Amanda, please email at email@example.com.
Joy’s experience in gardening began in her parents’ large plot, where her summer tasks included everything from tending the plants to prepping produce for canning and freezing. A retired human resources professional who divided her career evenly between corporate and nonprofit organizations, she relocated often, primarily in the Midwest and East coast. During that time, her interest, ability, and the size of her garden grew. She currently has a kitchen garden at home, and two community garden plots in Naperville that provide weekly produce to 12 local families as well as her own. She has a Master of Leadership Studies degree from North Central College and an interest in delving into the things work didn’t always leave her time to pursue, most recently taking up the piano, yoga, and international travel. Joy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bill has participated in a Master Gardener program, written a gardening column for a local newspaper, and taught gardening classes at his local park district. He was introduced to The GardenWorks Project through an online course in Urban Sustainable Agriculture at College of Dupage, where he learned about the realities of national and local food insecurity. Bill recently retired from a long career as a Bond Underwriter with CNA Insurance in Chicago. He welcomes the opportunity to pursue his passion for gardening in this leadership role with The GardenWorks Project. Bill can be reached at email@example.com.
Teri is an avid gardener and annually starts seeds in the spring for her bungalow kitchen and cutting gardens. She first learned of the GardenWorks Project while wandering at a local garden center and attending a volunteer event. Teri was immediately drawn to the mission of the GWP and the commitment of the board, staff, and volunteers to bring vital resources to our community. She began as executive director in May of 2023 and brings over 20 years of experience in community engagement, fundraising, event planning and volunteer management. She has served as a community relations coordinator, communications director and most recently a community outreach coordinator all within the field of public education. Teri holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marquette University. Teri loves growing and sharing plants with family and friends and spending time with her husband, three children and three grandchildren.
Eileen relishes bringing people together in support of a worthy cause. She has spent the past few years working to benefit her community through the non-profit, Winfield Education Foundation, where she discovered that many of their community partner organizations are connected to The GardenWorks Project. After learning about GWP’s beautiful mission, it seemed like the perfect place to continue her efforts. Eileen is thrilled to help advance GWP’s innovative efforts to improve food access and equity and empower people with the resources to overcome hunger for themselves and their community. She also spends a good deal of time, alongside her husband, guiding three small humans to one day grow into kind and responsible adult citizens. Eileen would love to connect with like-minded folks interested in joining our efforts to address local food insecurity through volunteerism, donations, or corporate sponsorships. To connect with Eileen, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jackie’s earliest memories of gardening begin on the south side of Chicago with her father in the backyard of her parent’s home. While she grew up witnessing neighborhoods turn into food deserts, she did not know of the term or how widespread it was until college where she earned her BS in Nutrition & Dietetics. Her first experience with urban agriculture was with Chicago Lights as a chef mentor for their after-school cooking program. In 2021, she chose to leave the healthcare world to make a difference in our community's food system. She spent the following summer as an intern with The Talking Farm and has since dedicated her time to learning how to grow food. Jackie is thrilled for the chance to combine her passions for food and nature. To connect with Jackie, please email email@example.com.