Board of directors maintain play and inclusivity

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By Shanin Thomas
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING – The Old Town Commercial Association’s Annual Meeting and Winter Mixer created a friendly, comfortable and productive meeting, emblematic of its new mission.


A voting ballot handed to OTCA members in the beginning of the group’s Annual Meeting and Winter Mixer. (photo by Shanin Thomas)


Karen Stefl (left) and Jennifer Estill hand out awards during the OTCA’s Annual Meeting and Winter Mixer. (photo by Shanin Thomas)

Karen Stefl, president of OTCA’s board of directors, said Old Town’s goal this year is to create the idea of play and inclusivity. In fact, the bylaws require diverse board members with different skill sets. Members like to roll up their sleeves and create playfulness during meetings, she said.

Jennifer Estill, OTCA board of directors at-large member, calls Old Town the “Sesame Street for adults.”

“This place is a family — a weird, eclectic and nutty family,” Estill said.

Members of the board of directors know preserving and supporting Old Town’s homegrown and passionate character so local business people can succeed is important, Estill said.

OTCA’s Board of Directors

OTCA‘s board of directors for 2014 were voted on Wednesday, Feb. 5, during the mixer.


Louise Gradwohl waits to distribute awards during the OTCA’s Annual Meeting and Winter Mixer. (photo by Shanin Thomas)

Louise Gradwohl, executive director of OTCA, said board members are elected or re-appointed every three years by those who have an OTCA membership. An application must be approved and each candidate must be a resident, property owner or employee of Old Town. 

New Members

This year OTCA members elected the four candidates, Tony Beyers, Sarah Christiansen, Lucas Anthony and Ian Smith, who ran for four open positions. 

Beyers, Old Town property owner, and Smith, a material scientist and environmental specialist at Triterra, will serve a second term to the board. Christiansen, owner of Katalyst Gallery, and Anthony, coordinator at TechSmith, are new to the board.


Ian Smith speaking during the OTCA’s Annual Meeting and Winter Mixer. (photo by Shanin Thomas)

Although Smith does not live in the Old Town area, he said the board gives him the opportunity to be a part of something and his business a voice.

Christiansen said she plans to create more of a retail presence on the board.

Comments? Contact Shanin Thomas

Graphic JRN 300 Story 2

Old Town Community Association organization chart (created by Shanin Thomas)

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