Board of Directors & Staff


BOARD PRESIDENT - Executive Board

Kathy Dierkes State Farm Insurance

Kathy is the Owner/Agent at Katherine Dierkes State Farm Insurance, an icon of business on the West End of La Grange for 30 years. As a business owner, Kathy feels that it’s a privilege to be president of the La Grange Business Association, an organization that helps others thrive both personally and professionally. She says it has provided her with valuable insight into how successful business leaders think, create and grow. Her personal mantra of “do good -do well” is carried out in her free time where she likes equestrienne sports, music and anything outdoors.


Fornaro Law

As the managing attorney at Fornaro Law, Phil is known for his ability to succeed where others fail. Over 20 years, he has created a full-service firm to provide quality representation in a variety of legal areas and is adept at establishing a network between clients, Fornaro Law and other professionals. Phil understands the need to give back to the community and currently chairs the West End Arts Festival, and serves on the Legacy Guild Advisory Board, Rotary Club, Little League Baseball Manager & supporter of local charities.

VICE PRESIDENT - Executive Board

FNBC Bank & Trust

Joe is a Vice President & Commercial Loan Team Leader of FNBC Bank & Trust where he takes a great deal of satisfaction in lending money to local businesses and families. Joe serves as Treasurer of the Rotary Club of La Grange, Treasurer of the City of Berwyn and several civic boards. Through the La Grange Business Association, Joe says he has come to know and learn from many incredible people with a passion for the community. Outside of work and volunteer commitments, Joe enjoys outdoor activities, music, reading and traveling - and has a collection of great-looking ties.

SECRETARY - Executive Board

The Legacy Guild

Bill is Secretary of the Board of the Legacy Guild, a non-profit organization that raises scholarship funds for area children who've lost a parent. Bill feels the La Grange Business Association has allowed him and The Legacy Guild to forge lasting relationships that benefit our community. Bill also serves on the Board of the Greater La Grange YMCA and is passionate about supporting local non-profits. On weekends, you might find Bill on the tennis court, stirring something in the kitchen or watching the world from his front porch.

TREASURER - Executive Board


Sally is the owner of Active Souls, a women's fitness, nutrition, and wellness center in neighboring La Grange Park.  As a resident of La Grange, Sally wants to see the Business Community continue to grow and thrive, as she also understands the importance of a healthy local economy.  She is passionate about wellness and can be found running and biking in the area most weekends.  



Peggy is a co-owner at prasino in La Grange. prasino means "green" in Greek, and Peggy and her family have made it their mission to serve only the highest quality, farm-to-table ingredients for their guests.  From the restaurant's design to the kitchen and menu, every choice reflects their respect for a sustainable environment. Peggy's priority is to serve hormone/antibiotic free meats, sustainable seafood, organic produce and eggs, and to buy locally whenever possible. We support Peggy in her family's mission - and encourage you to make buying local your family's mission, too.


(r)evolution architecture

Gioia is the VP of Marketing & Business Development at (r)evolution architecture, an award-winning architecture and interior design practice in La Grange. Gioia says the La Grange Business Association has enabled her to create meaningful relationships, and inspired her to Chair her current committee.  She gives back to the community through her involvement as a Catechist with St. John of the Cross, serving as the District 106 PTC President, and as a part of the Healthcare Access Team with the Community Memorial Foundation.  Family is especially important to Gioia, and she tries to spend as much time as possible with them…running, biking, or even if she has to, playing Monopoly.


Baird & Warner

Negeen is a real estate broker and the City Specialist with the Rouso Group of Baird & Warner, splitting time between La Grange and Lincoln Park. She has been involved with the La Grange Business Association as a member, as the Retail Committee Chair, and most recently in her current position as the Hometown Holiday Chair. Negeen has enjoyed forming wonderful friendships and relationships with other members and believes the organization offers many opportunities for individuals to put down roots, grow their businesses, and give back to the La Grange community.


Horizon Wealth Management

Ryan Williamson is a Partner and Financial Planner at Horizon Wealth Management and a former Board President of the La Grange Business Association. Ryan feels his commitment to the organization has created relationships and partnerships that he couldn’t have achieved independently, and they have motivated him to be a savvier business owner. Ryan also serves on the boards of The Legacy Guild, District 105 Foundation and the Friends of the Library.  On weekends, you’ll find him in the gym or on the guitar.


Smothers Realty

Joan Smothers is a Managing Broker/Owner at Smothers Realty Group, a top-selling firm for the past 20 years. Joan is passionate about all things La Grange and appreciates the personal and professional relationships that have formed from her affiliation with the La Grange Business Association. She also serves on the Board of The LeaderShop.  Joan enjoys reading, fashion and interior design when she’s not out selling homes.


Palmer Place

Since 1990, Steve has been an owner and operator of Palmer Place Restaurant & Biergarten,  a much-loved and family-owned business. He has been a member of the La Grange Business Association for nearly 30 years and twice served as board president. Steve sits on the Village of La Grange Community & Economic Development Commission, the Lyons Township Mental Health Commission, and the Metra Board of  Directors. Steve's an avid supporter of The Legacy Guild and founder of the Brew Moon Beer & Band Fest which benefits local non-profits - and benefits beer lovers, too.


Anderson's Bookshop

Sandra has been with Anderson's Bookshop for two years. She was brought in to open the new La Grange location and has stayed on as the Store Manager. In her free time, Sandra enjoys making art in many forms - her newest art addiction is dry felting.  She participates with an Art collective in Aurora, IL called ArtBar. ArtBar supports local artists and its community and exhibits themed art shows the first Friday of every month. 


Baird & Warner

A long-time banker turned realtor, Steve has lifelong roots in the La Grange area and has served on many boards of our local non-profit organizations. He's currently on the Legacy Guild Advisory Board, the School District 105 Foundation and the Eastern Illinois College of Sciences Advisory Board; he has twice served as board president of the La Grange Business Association. As a stand-out realtor with Baird & Warner, Steve combines his unique knowledge of banking and mortgages with strong negotiating skills to help people buy and sell homes in the area. When he's not out selling homes, Steve sings and fronts the local band "Evil Burrito." Rock on.



Since 2011, Nancy has been at the helm of the La Grange Business Association, directing its expansion as an influential business group. Nancy's passion to strengthen La Grange's reputation as a business hub and a destination for day-tourism stems from her experience in the hospitality industry where she learned how to brand and package excitement while working with Hyatt Hotels. Nancy drives the association's focus on small business growth, diverse member programming and strategic partnerships. When she's not sweating the details of a special event, Nancy likes to sweat it out while digging in her garden - or from the seat of a spin bike.



Using insights gained from a background at the apparel company Spiegel, Lori now has an eagerness for helping local entrepreneurs and small business owners thrive. She's the first person new members encounter with their on-boarding, and she assists them in determining how to leverage their involvement to grow their businesses. Lori's weekly member newsletter is a key source of information about the events, programs and business news in our community. Although she loves nurturing business relationships, her favorite relationships are the family kind where she shares a love with them for travel, golf and the Chicago Cubs.

La Grange photography © Bob Briskey