Glen Ellyn Newcomers Club Board Member Candidates

Exec Board Candidates


Stephanie Hood

Stefanie Hood

Candidate for President

Glen Ellyn Newcomers is a wonderful group that builds relationships and a sense of community. The group caters to such a variety of interests and has given my family so much through the years. I am truly thrilled to have the opportunity to give back.

I was born and raised in the city of Chicago. While I will always have a love for Chicago, I always knew I wanted to raise my family in a smaller community. When I became pregnant with my first child in 2015, we knew it was time to begin looking for our new home. After visiting countless locations, we fell in love with the quaint downtown, tree-lined streets, and historic homes of Glen Ellyn. I could see my children growing-up here. In our search for a new hometown, we also found a 100 year old house that needed some TLC and has become a never-ending but rewarding project over the past few years. We now have a four and two year old who also keep us quite busy! 

In regards to my other professional and personal interests, I currently work part-time as an attorney. I’m also a Commissioner for the DuPage Housing Authority and volunteer in other groups within our community. Joining and participating in Newcomers has been so much fun and has facilitated what I hope to be lifelong friendships.  In 2018-2019, I volunteered to plan Couples Night Out. This past year, I joined Programs which is responsible for the Activity Fair, Jayne Shopping Event, Election Night, and the Year End Dinner.  

I am so grateful for the amazing women I have met in Newcomers. It’s such a great feeling to see so many familiar and welcoming faces when going to events, walking around town or out with the kids. It would be such an honor and joy to serve as its President. 

Exec Board Candidates

Vice President


Crystal Bleecher

Candidate for Vice President

I moved to Glen Ellyn in 2017 from out of state and had absolutely zero connections in the area.  GE Newcomers was a life saver. My husband and I met some amazing people and developed wonderful friendships through attending Newcomer events.  I’m honored to be nominated as Vice President and I’m excited to give back to the club that was so warm and welcoming to us when we were new to the area. 

I grew up in Southern Indiana but moved away from the Midwest after graduating from Rose-Hulman (Terre Haute, IN) in 2005.  My work as a chemical engineer took me to Pittsburgh and then Denver, where I met and married my husband Rob in 2015. After getting married, we decided to set off on a big adventure.  We purchased an old sailboat, spent a few months outfitting it for living aboard, and set out cruising the Bahamas and the Caribbean for 18 months with our two dogs. Through this experience, I was able to obtain a Captain’s License through the US Coast Guard. 

When we returned to the US in 2017, we knew we were ready to grow our family.  We fell in love with the Glen Ellyn community and purchased our home in November of that year.  We welcomed our first daughter in November of 2018, and we are expecting our second daughter in June.  

I work with start-up companies in the sustainable food, material, and fuel industries.  As a chemical engineer, I’m responsible for the design work required to scale-up their processes from laboratory/pilot scale to commercial production.  I’m passionate about sustainability and it’s exciting to work with companies that have the potential to have a lasting impact on our environment. 

I’ve been volunteering for GE Newcomers for two years now.  Along with Stefanie, I was a Couple’s Night Out activity leader in 2018-2019 and this year I served on the board as a member of the Programs committee.  My favorite thing about Newcomers is that the more I get involved, the more I get out of the organization. I’m really looking forward to making new friendships and growing existing ones through the club this year.   

Exec Board Candidates



Beth Muren

Candidate for Treasurer

I am honored to have been nominated to serve on the next Glen Ellyn Newcomers executive board.  This club has truly been a great avenue for me after moving back to the area.

I actually grew up in Glen Ellyn and recently moved back to the area 2 years ago with my husband and almost 3 year old daughter.  We have lived in the Naperville area as well as Logan Square in Chicago.  There was never a doubt in my mind about moving back to Glen Ellyn to raise our daughter.

After my first year with Newcomers, I decided to partner with Toni Nielsen for Couples Night Out Activity Leads. My role as an activity leader has truly shown me how effort and planning goes into each and every event.  I truly have enjoyed being more involved in Newcomers this year, and I cannot wait to do more next year.  I am a person that loves to meet new people and go to as many events as I can.

In my professional career, I am a Supply Chain Manager for a Manufacturing company that makes Medical Devices.  I am currently managing 2 manufacturing facilities and over 45 direct reports.  While this keeps me very busy, I am someone motivated and driven by having a lot on my plate, especially when the activities are fun and attend like the Glen Ellyn Newcomers activities!

Exec Board Candidates

Assistant Treasurer


Toni Nielsen

Candidate for Assistant Treasurer

I am so honored to be nominated for the position of Newcomers Assistant Treasurer for next year. I had so much fun planning activities for Couples Night Out this past year and look forward to being even more involved with the group in 20-21. I am a bit of an organization geek so Assistant Treasurer will be a good fit.

I joined Newcomers shortly after moving to Glen Ellyn in 2018. However, I found myself having difficulty attending events as other things always seemed to get in the way. I was determined to be more involved my second year and was excited when asked to be an Activity Lead. I knew the commitment was what I needed to prioritize my participation in the Club. The Club has allowed me to meet so many people and make new friends. It’s great to have a way to meet women in all stages of their lives. Otherwise, I would have met people through my kids schools but it’s great to be able to connect with others throughout Glen Ellyn. It is so easy as a Mom to let your kids activities dictate your entire social life, I am thankful to have something that is for me and allows me to get out by myself! 

My Husband and I moved to Glen Ellyn in 2018 from Wilmette with our three Boys. We are both originally from out of state and met while living in Chicago. Once we were married and decided to start a Family we began our search for the perfect suburb for us. Having no Family in the area and all of our friends in the City, we had many options. So began our suburb hoping. We began in Arlington Heights, then onto Wilmette and finally Glen Ellyn. A little like Goldilocks, we couldn’t find just the right fit until now, we love Glen Ellyn and will be staying!

I grew up spending my Winters in Florida and my Summers in Massachusetts, as my Family had a seasonal business. I moved to Chicago to attend Loyola and received my Bachelor’s in Biology. After graduation, I spent some time doing research and then decided Lab work was not for me and pursued a career in Pharmaceuticals. I worked in Sales and then Sales Management until deciding to become a stay at home Mom. As a Sales Manager I was responsible for tracking sales, developmental goals and commissions so these skills will help me as I tackle the responsibilities of Assistant Treasurer. I have been at Stay at Home Mom for the last 12 years, but I am our household “Treasurer”. I handle all of our finances, bill paying, taxes etc. Our youngest child receives several types of therapy, submitting and tracking all of our insurance claims is an education in itself. 

Looking forward to a fun and rewarding year with all of you!

Exec Board Candidates

Communications Chair


Jen Zecher

Candidate for Communications Chair

My family and I relocated to Glen Ellyn a little over two years ago. Having moved from Seattle with our 6 month old daughter, a dog and a cat, we searched for a family friendly community for our growing family. After touring some of the western suburbs, we landed in Glen Ellyn for many reasons – the small community, the charming streets and the people we met. After moving, I signed up with Newcomers right away and I’m so glad I did. Not having family within driving distance has been a difficult adjustment, but the support of the women in this club and the Glen Ellyn community has made it an easier adjustment.

Over the past couple years, I have been involved with the club’s Sponsorship Committee and most recently with the New Member Committee. I knew after attending my first New Member social that this was a great group of women to relate to, find new friends and provide me opportunities to get out of the house! Throughout the past couple years, I’ve enjoyed getting to know our members, organizing welcoming events and attending some of the major events like Breakfast with Santa. For the upcoming year, I’m excited to be nominated as the club Communications Chair and continue to help this club go round and round.

A little more about me, I currently work in the city as a Human Resources and Business Operations Manager at a small pharmaceutical startup company and have the flexibility to work from a home a couple days a week. I enjoy working out at Rise, taking our daughter to various park district activities and spending as much time outside as we can. Our daughter is now almost 3 years old and is excited to meet her new baby brother this fall.

Glen Ellyn Newcomers is truly a great club and I’m looking forward to the year ahead!  

Exec Board Candidates

Community Relations Chair


Meredith Hansen

Candidate for Community Relations Chair

Meredith has been part of the Glen Ellyn community since 2017, when she and her husband Gabriel moved from the South Loop in Chicago. She has been a member of Glen Ellyn Newcomers since 2018 and joined the board in 2019, serving as part of the sponsorship and new member committees. 

Meredith is Vice President of International and Special Initiatives at City Year, an education organization focused on helping students succeed. City Year empowers teams of diverse young people to serve full time as AmeriCorps members in schools in 29 cities across the US, including Chicago. City Year also has affiliate programs in the UK and South Africa, which Meredith supports in her role, in addition to leading several high-profile events for City Year. Prior to joining City Year in 2004, she worked for several education and community development organizations in Kansas City and Washington DC, serving in public relations, volunteer management and corporate development roles.


Rachel Schafer

Candidate for Community Relations Chair

I moved to the Glen Ellyn area from Chicago with my husband in August 2015. Glen Ellyn reminded me a lot of my hometown of LaGrange with its size and homey feeling. I joined Newcomers in January 2016 as a New Year’s resolution to start meeting new people in the town we had moved to and it has certainly surpassed all expectations. I first started as the Ladies Tennis Activity Co-lead in 2016-17, mainly because my husband, Blake, was the club’s summer coach and together we started Ladies Cardio Tennis. I then took on Bookworms in 2017-18 as well as Programs Committee. When I had my son in March 2018, it was a bit life changing and there were a lot of unknowns so I took a backseat for a year. This season I came back to Newcomers working on Sponsorship and coordinating social media posts for our sponsors. I am honored to be nominated as the Community Relations Co-chair with Meredith for the 2020-21 Newcomers season. 

A little more about me: I am originally from LaGrange. I studied English/Creative Writing and Psychology at the University of Colorado, Boulder and received my Masters degree in Writing at DePaul University. I have spent my entire career (13 years) working for the Chicago Dental Society. I am currently their Director of Communications. The majority of the year is spent working towards our tradeshow/meeting in February for 30,000 attendees coordinating PR, marketing, publications and numerous other things. My husband Blake and I have a two-year-old son, Eller. He’s the sweetest kid I know. 

I look forward to working with our sponsors again this year. We could not do all the great things we are able to do in this club without our sponsors. Newcomers is an integral part of the Glen Ellyn community and I am happy to have been involved with it as long as I have and met so many wonderful people who have become such close friends!

Board Positions



Plan and oversee major GENC events — 4th of July Parade, Fall Family Fest, Breakfast with Santa, and the Spring Couples Social. Creates the theme, location, and details of these major club events.



Plans and oversees the New Year Activity Fair, a Holiday Social, Election Night, and the Year-End celebration. Plans the agenda, secures/rents the venue, purchases supplies, and handles all set-up.

New Member


Facilitates the Welcoming Socials for prospective new members. Secures hostesses and board attendees for each social. Rotates between socials and has at least one co-chair attend Board meetings. Plans and coordinates at least two Rookie parties for new members and their significant others to meet other new members.



Coordinates members to deliver meals to other members who have welcomed a new baby, are dealing with bereavement, had emergency surgery, or are ill.



Oversees all of the activity leaders responsible for ongoing activities — Bookworms, Couples Night Out, Ladies Night Out, Cooking Club, DIY, Sports – Fitness, Sports – Tennis, Sports – Golf, Parents & Tots, Playgroups, Relocation Support Group, Women’s Professional Networking, and Guys Night Out. Encourages and supports groups where needed and adds all events to the website.



Responsible for tracking membership numbers, updating various associations re: discounts, creating membership lists, managing member directory.


Helps in networking with local businesses to advertise on Club website as sponsors for an annual fee. Manages recognition of sponsors at events, on Facebook, in newsletter, and through Constant Contact.


of Tables

Coordinates all aspects of Celebration of Tables event. Determines and reserves venue, arranges refreshments, recruits table hosts, and represents the Club for the event.



Acts as the liaison to charitable organizations in our area; selects an organization to “sponsor” on a monthly basis and plans club events for them. Will also be responsible for relationship with the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce.

Board Communications Positions


Collects articles from the board members and activity leaders to be printed in the Newcomers News. Distributes newsletter via email twice per month.



Promotes upcoming events on the GENC Facebook and Instagram page. One of Facebook page admins will add new members to group.


Attends, takes photos, and posts photos from major GENC events to the GENC Facebook page. Events include Fall Family Fest, Breakfast with Santa, Celebration of Tables, and Year-End Couples Social. Free membership included with this role.



Manages the overall content on the website, including board information, member news, and other club highlights. Posts content from Newsletter onto website and any additional information, as requested by Board/Activity Leaders. Helps set-up and create PayPal links for special events, as well as email addresses at the beginning of the year.

Activity Leaders


Co-lead Newcomers version of our monthly book club. This includes surveying the Newcomers population at the onset of our year to determine the books that will be selected for the year.


Night Out

Design and plan events aimed at getting couples out to meet one another, may occasionally partner up with other Activities to plan combined events.

Cooking Club

Work with a small team to design and plan events related to cooking/food/drinks, including our Annual Christmas Cookie Exchange. Responsible for creating survey and matching families into Supper Club groups at the beginning of the year.

Do It Yourself

Design and plan fun evenings where anyone can create! Past events have included jewelry making, Bottle & Bottega, door hangings, and a painting party at Out on a Whim.

Guys' Night Out

Volunteer your husband/significant other to plan fun events for members’ significant others to join! Whether it’s watching a game at a Glen Ellyn bar, partaking in Whirly Ball, or playing a game of poker, this group will allow your main squeeze to make some friends as well.

Ladies' Night Out

Work with a small team to plan and host fun ladies’ events geared to getting us out of our PJs and out on the town!

Sports -

Ladies' Tennis

Coordinate bi-monthly tennis sessions open to the Newcomers Community.

Sports - Fitness

Plan events to get our members active, while providing them an opportunity to meet others.

Sports - Golf

Coordinate regular golf outings geared towards women and/or couples.

Parents & Tots

Help to plan and coordinate a monthly event for younger children. Each month the group meets at places like parks, play places, the library, splash pad, bookstores, and in October, Sunny Acres Farm.


Playgroups provides kids with a new best friend and moms with a new tribe. The playgroups coordinator is responsible for connecting moms with other moms so they can plan play dates that are smaller and convenient to everyone’s schedule.



Support for women who have recently moved to Glen Ellyn and would like a little more help getting familiar with the area.

Game Night

Plans events for members to enjoy socializing while playing a board game, card game or other game-themed activity.




Plan fun events around professional networking, as well as personal and professional development.