Meet the candidates for the 2024 Prairie State Road Runners Board of Directors.
Sharron Simons joined PSRR late summer/early fall of 2021 after moving here from Hilliard, Ohio. Sharron has been part of PSRR for more than 2 years after relocating from OH, she loves the club and would like to see it continue to advance and become the go-to run club in the area for those interested in becoming runners, improving their run, or looking for new friends to run with. Sharron is excited to see what PSRR can do next year and the years to come with an emphasis on listening to the members and taking action when needed. Sharron is no stranger to taking on a leadership role, she has more than 10 years of experience serving on various boards. She has held the following roles: Grundy Will HRA (current President elect, 2023 Technology Director), PSRR Membership Chair (2022), Ohio SHRM State Council (District Director 2018-2021, Diversity Director 2016-2017), and Workforce Readiness Chair 2013-2015), Human Resources Association Central Ohio (President 2019-2020), President Elect (2017-2018), VP Workforce Readiness (2014-2016), Franklin County Loss (2016-2021).
Erica Kesler has been a proud and active member of PSRR for over eight years. With a passion to ensure PSRR is a club for all - Erica has advocated for a “member’s choice race” circuit credit, volunteered in Circuit Race Committee, attended Board Meetings, and voiced opinions in areas she felt the Club could be more inclusive. She has put in effort to understand the operations of the Club by asking questions and seeking opinions from Board members. Leading the 2024 Circuit Committee, she guided the meetings, researched possible race selections, and communicated with the Club president. The Committee encouraged by Erica designed a member survey, evaluated the resulting data, and presented a circuit in November 2023 for the Board approval and member vote. To encourage participation, activities, team building, and fun within the Club, Erica designed a game the Board approved for 2024. Professionally, Erica served on Hospital Leadership Committees, formed & ran journal clubs, currently on a committee to plan employee engagement activities, and served as a union steward & contract bargaining team member. Erica is versed in meeting legalities and etiquette. Erica looks forward to continuing to learn and assist PSRR moving forward into the future.
Steve Topf started running in 2005 to improve his health because his lab numbers were not where they should be. Once he started running regularly, all his numbers came into line perfectly. Steve became a member of PSRR in 2017 after receiving a membership from his daughter Regina for his birthday. Steve has run the Indianapolis Mini, Madison Half Marathon and the Milwaukee Half Marathon. He has run the Shamrock Shuffle as well as the Big 10 10K numerous times. In the past Steve was President of the Religious Education Board as well as on the Youth Group Committee at his Church when he lived in Orland Park. One of his favorite responsibilities was heading up the Teen trip to Appalachia to do outreach work for those in need. They would take 27 teens with eight chaperones for a week in communities going roofing, porch building, painting and many other construction-related activities. Steve joined the PSRR Board as a Director in 2023. He will become Treasurer in 2024. Steve feels his role on the board is to provide ideas and feedback as he likes to view things from an overall perspective and not just issues on an individual basis. He also likes to help when needed. Steve and his wife Lee have three children each, meaning six in law children and a total of 11 grandchildren with one more coming in May.
Susan Bolatto has been a member of PSRR for 2 years. She has been running since 2019 and her first race was the Naperville Women's Half Marathon. Susan is looking forward to expanding the club to be more inclusive to a more diverse group of runners. She would like to develop a more transparent board for all club members to feel welcome asking questions and be more involved with the club. Susan has been on the board for the Lake Will Sportsmans Club as interim treasurer. Susan is also the clerk for the First Presbyterian Church of Braidwood for the past 7 years. She has volunteered at Manhattan Irish Fest 5k and organized Sunday Funday hosted at Braidwood Recreation Club. Susan's hobbies include nature photography and birding.
Jenn Craig has been a member of PSRR for 3+ years. She joined PSRR for friendships and fun. She is dedicated and willing to help. She is looking forward to developing a great circuit and growing PSRR. She has board experience from serving her HOA for over 4 years. In her time on the board, she has served and negotiated with the management company for yearly rates. She also serves as a property asset manager as a side job. Her day job is an auditor for Albertsons Companies. She pays great attention to detail and is results driven. She is ambitious and strives to achieve her goals. She can’t wait to carry this ambition to PSRR. She wants to help grow the 25-35 age group to assist in keeping the club going and ever-changing.
Raquel is starting her 4th year of membership in PSRR. She has been running on and off for the last 10 years but has been consistent and dedicated to the sport for the last 2 years. Originally, she joined PSRR for fun and to learn more about the running community. After witnessing the ambitious goals and achievements of her peers she caught the running bug, and participated in Galena last year, her first trail race. She joined the board at the end of 2022 as an interim member and remained on the board in 2023. She has volunteered for various races and other events and is excited to serve again in 2024. Raquel also worked as part of the circuit committee to help establish this year’s race circuit. Learning so much through her service as a board member over the last year her goal is to ensure that members have a voice and the opportunity to express it, to encourage member participation and volunteerism, and inspire members to have fun through both old and new race ventures. Raquel was also instrumental in ensuring PSRR had a winter pop-up store by collaborating with Rosebud Embroideries LLC to offer beanies for our winter needs.
Gabriela has been a PSRR member for only two years, but she has been active in this group for 14 years as a supporter and volunteer. She has participated in numerous Sunday Funday runs and other PSRR events. Gaby has also been to the Boston Marathon a few times with her running hubby, Javier, and volunteered at the 2022 event. After taking up running a couple of years ago, she’s learning to love a sport that has always been a struggle and a challenge for her. One of her biggest accomplishments is running the 2023 Galena Sky Trail Race and completing 7 loops (20.37 miles). Her biggest race prior to this was a mere 10K. Gabriela wants to give back to the PSRR running community, a group that has welcomed her with open arms and through which she has made some long-lasting friendships. She would love to be part of the work that goes on ‘behind the scenes,’ to assist with any events that this club hosts throughout the year, and to build on extending connections with other similar types of organizations. She is currently serving as a Trustee on the Village of Minooka Board.
Javier Martinez started running when he was eighteen years old while serving in the U.S. Navy. He has been a member of PSRR since 2009 and has completed the race circuit every year since then and usually finishes in the top of his age group. He supports PSRR by completing in many circuit races and group events, volunteers where needed and has been on the PSRR board for about four years. In 2019, Javier was selected by his peers for the 2020 PSRR Hall of Fame. The past few years, Javier has coordinated with the Joliet Park District to obtain a group discount for the Sundowner 5k which has saved the group hundreds of dollars in race fees.
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