HIGHLAND PARK IMPROVEMENT CLUB
2022 BOARD MEMBERS
HPIC is a volunteer-driven non-profit and the Board is no exception. All Board members are unpaid neighbors working to ensure the continued viability of HPIC for the good of our neighborhood.
Board Meetings are on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 7pm.
President: Rhonda Smith | Board Member since 2007
Rhonda first started as a Trustee working with the old guard (and a HUGE set of keys!). After serving 1-1/2 years replacing carpet, sanding floors and fixing doors, Rhonda was elected as the Board President. At that time, the Board recited the Pledge the Allegiance to the United States flag and used a gavel to bring meetings to order. The flag remains, the gavel is now retired, but the spirit of Robert’s Rules lives on.
Rhonda’s leadership on the Board has since overseen a complete overhaul of the Board membership, a growth in club membership and dedicated volunteers, a 501.c.3 non-profit organization designation, and with the collaboration of many others, it has become a place where people want to be, a place that is the heart of the community. Rhonda’s greatest happiness has come from the many friendships she has made in the neighborhood. New friendships continue to spark and old ones grow deeper. These connections have become the backbone of HPIC and provide strength in the community. Rhonda has and will continue to collaborate with her many cohorts to make HPIC an even stronger presence and valued resource in the community for years to come.
Vice President: Shannon Harris | Board Member since 2019
Photo and bio to come.
Treasurer: Julie Schickling | Board Member since 2008
Stewardship Focus: Strategic planning and programming, grant writing, web, technology and graphics contributor.
Bio: Julie has lived in her Riverview home since 1992, and for many years the building with the big parking lot on the corner of 12th and Holden remained a benign mystery to her. Eventually she attended meetings there of the (now dormant) Riverview Neighborhood Council. At one of these meetings, Al Spry and Martha Mallett, Board members of the Highland Park Improvement Club at the time, came to ask for the neighbors’ help to keep the club going. At what seemed like the eleventh hour, a group of neighbors (many of the current Board) realized that they needed to join the club and become active members in order to help save it, or the club would be dissolved and its building sold. This core group of people worked through old ideas, new ideas and all kinds of challenges, and has become a group of friends, while adding new friends, volunteering together to make HPIC into the community gathering place it is now – a vital part of a great neighborhood.
Julie has a home office where she does CAD and graphics work for her small company, Teknograf. She enjoys gardening and is always curious to see what an unfamiliar plant might grow up to be.
Secretary: Gretchen Heiden | Board Member since 2009
Super Power: Has nerves of “Steel”
Stewardship Focus: Raffle coordinator for Highland Park Uncorked, bartending and kitchen support for Corner Bar, support the club, its board and membership as needed.
Bio: Gretchen has lived in Highland Park/Riverview since 2001. After serving as the co-chair of the Riverview Neighborhood Council for 2 years and serving as the Delridge Representative for 3 terms on the Neighborhood Matching Fund City Wide Review Team, was contacted by HPIC legacy members to come to the HPIC meetings and to become involved with them and help the save and reinvigorate their club and membership. Gretchen also co-hosted an HPIC table a at least 2 Gathering of Neighbors event put on by the Delridge Neighborhood Development Association (DNDA). Since those early meetings and by building on the relationships that came from them, it has been an adventure well worth taking and looking forward to many more years in the best neighborhood in Seattle. When not involved with the club, Gretchen works for Nucor Steel Seattle and enjoys walking her dog in the neighborhood and gardening.
Trustee: Kay Kirkpatrick | Board Member since 2008
Stewardship Focus: Garden maintenance and oversight, general building maintenance, Signage and Membership committee lead, Giant Garage sale organizer, Highland Park Uncorked and other HPIC event decoration lead.
Bio: Kay has lived in Highland Park since 1999. After years of walking by HPIC she started attending membership meetings there and came to that “ah-hah moment” realizing our neighborhood had inherited a free clubhouse. Not something you see every day in these times in the big city. All we had to do was take some responsibility for it, and enjoy it like those before us. The activities and connections she has made there have become one of her favorite things about Highland Park. Kay has an art studio practice in the neighborhood and does public art installations around the region, as well as working as a librarian for The Seattle Public Library.
Trustee: Nickie Jostol | Board Member since 2009
Bio: Nickie received the call to help save HPIC from being given to SSCC in 2009. She was part of the initial group of newbies who worked tirelessly gaining the trust of the elders resulting in the club being given to the neighborhood under the Boards stewardship. She has given countless volunteer hours as a Trustee, Secretary and on various committees. She continues to serve on the Board and looks forward to a new group of volunteers putting in time to keep this neighborhood gem growing. She feels fortunate to be a member of this community of great neighbors.
Trustee: Billy Stauffer | Board Member since 2014
Super Power: Finding free stuff
Stewardship Focus: Architectural committee and general building maintenance.
Bio: Billy and his wife, Carolyn Stauffer, have lived in Highland Park since the spring of 2005. They are busy raising three young boys (Franklin 9, Wiley 7, and Sidney 5) and look forward to Corner Bar EVERY SINGLE MONTH! Billy has been very active in Highland park ever since moving into the neighborhood. He and his wife were captivated by the energy of the neighborhood and moved to action when the city of Seattle threatened to build a jail at the bottom of our little hill. It was during an HPAC meeting in 2010 when Billy became so incensed at the notion of this happening he was quoted saying, “he’d chain himself to a bulldozer before he let a jail get built anywhere near his Highland Park home.” (WSB article here)
Since then he’s calmed down, but the 4 years after that meeting Billy and Carolyn became co-chairs of HPAC (until 2016) and led several other initiatives that hit home just as hard (homelessness, strange humming sounds, and Highland Park elementary, to name a few), too many exciting meetings to describe here. Billy and Carolyn were glad to have handed the reigns off to fresh energetic leaders while focusing on their family. Billy is an architect and a general contractor. In 2014, he was asked to join the HPIC board as a trustee and has been working together with the other members to reprogram and remodel the club to better suit its members.
Trustee: Billy Markham | Board Member since 2015
Stewardship Focus: Providing inventory control, working in the garden, building maintenance, and lending a hand where possible. Our focus is simply to use our skills & efforts to ensure the continued success of this remarkable organization.
Bio: Billy and his wife, Antoinette, bought their house in Highland Park in 2006 and feel completely lucky that they ended up in this neighborhood. They were introduced to the club when their daughter attended dance class there. Soon after, they learned more about Movie Night and Corner Bar through neighbors at their annual Night Out Celebration. The unique nature of the Club and it’s spirited members hooked Billy from the start. Through attending events and volunteering their time, Billy’s family has learned what it means to truly be part of a community. Volunteering whenever they can has allowed them to develop some of their most meaningful relationships. Billy simply could not see living anywhere else. Billy joined the Board as a Trustee in 2015, and has been instrumental at tackling large projects, like leading the effort of building the fence in the courtyard. Billy works for the Port of Seattle at SeaTac Airport, and if he’s not working or fixing something at the club, you can usually find him spending time with his family.
Trustee Emeritus: Blair Johnson | Board Member since 2010
Super Power: Spreading ever changing patterns of light and sound in three dimensions throughout a space.
Stewardship Focus: Audio/Video equipment operation and maintenance, general building maintenance, rain garden maintenance.
Bio: Blair has lived in Highland Park since 2003. A former Chair of the Highland Park Action Committee, he coordinated the Highland Park Summit in 2007 between HPAC, HPIC and other neighborhood groups.After the summit, he became involved in HPIC, joining the Board as a Trustee in 2010. His other interests include home improvement, growing native plants and singing at local karaoke establishments. Blair is a scheduler at Boeing.
President Emerita: Nicole Mazza | Board Member since 2016
Super Power: “Engineering” cocktails for Corner Bar
Stewardship Focus: Programming development, Corner Bar coordination/volunteering, fundraising leadership, technology/infrastructure, finance committee member, volunteer coordination.
Bio: Nicole and her husband Shawn moved to the Riverview neighborhood in 2008 and quickly became involved at the club when we learned that they were planning on putting a jail at the bottom of the hill. They initially became active in the Highland Park Action Committee (HPAC), helping to organize and fight the jail, which ultimately led Nicole to becoming the vice-chair of HPAC for a couple years. This exposed her to HPIC, and the great neighbors that volunteer to sustain the club as a resource for the neighborhood, which she immediately wanted to be a part of.
During a BBQ with neighbors in 2008, the idea for a wine tasting fundraiser was born, which was right up her alley, and Nicole’s been leading the club’s largest annual fundraiser event ever since. She’s since gotten involved in various other aspects of supporting the club – co-founder of HPIC movie nights, bartending at almost every Corner Bar (and making the signature cocktail each month), helping to design a new sign for the building, volunteer outreach, membership engagement, and most recently kicking off a new event, the HPIC Art Lounge. Nicole looks forward to continuing to sustain and improve the club, and shares a true passion with others in making HPIC the heartbeat of the community.
Nicole is a Software Engineering manager at Boeing, and when she’s not at work or volunteering at HPIC, you can find her volunteering in STEM programming development for elementary-aged students, spending time with Shawn and her sweet dog Abby, or drinking wine and hanging out with neighbors.
Vice-President Emerita: Christie Sjostrom | Board Member since 2014
Super Power: Organizer of all things
Stewardship Focus: Holiday Bazaar organizer, HPIC Uncorked team member, Harvest Dinner co-coordinator, Corner Bar volunteer, Movie Night volunteer, Finance Committee member
Bio: Christie has lived in Highland Park since 2003. After doing the Giant Garage sale in 2012, and talking to the Board President about doing a Holiday Bazaar at the club, Christie started volunteering at Movie night and Corner bar. Christie likes to tell everyone that she has found her “Adult PTA” and was hooked. She has become a “Super” volunteer and encourages everyone to volunteer at an event.