Last month, Haymarket Center welcomed Heather Way Kitzes to its Board of Directors. Heather was selected for the Board due to her long career of public service, her work with multiple non-profits and community organizations such as Lakeview Pantry and Lakeview YMCA, and her previous service to Haymarket as a volunteer and member of its Leadership Council.
Heather is the Assistant Director of Government and Community Affairs for the Chicago Cubs, and through her position she works with institutions both public and private to build consensus on local issues and maintain strong relations within the community.
Heather sat down for an interview to discuss what brought her to this point and what excites her about Haymarket’s future.
Q: There is no shortage of organizations in Chicago that do excellent work, so what was it about Haymarket Center and its Board that attracted you?
HWK: There were many factors. I believe strongly in Haymarket’s work and its mission. I started volunteering here in 2008 and I joined the Leadership Council soon after that. I feel that Haymarket and the resources that it provides are indispensable, and to be a part of the solution to this public health crisis is an honor.
Q: Your past experiences in public service sound very impressive. Is there a particular position or experience that you feel uniquely prepares you for your role at Haymarket?
HWK: I’ve done fundraising projects in several of the organizations that I’ve worked with and those always excite me. Working on the gala committee for Haymarket is quite fun and I’m looking forward to doing that again.
Q: If you were able to eliminate one falsehood or misconception that people have about substance use disorders, what would it be and why?
HWK: I would get rid of this idea that overcoming substance use disorders (SUD) is a matter of willpower, or that experiencing one exhibits a lack thereof. People with SUDs don’t have choices, and the idea that if people wanted to stop then they just could isn’t true.
Q: What are some of your personal hobbies? What do you like to do when you’re not working with Haymarket?
HWK: I like to bake. I have a very strong Christmas cookie game that I’m very proud of. My daughter in first grade has started to help me in the kitchen, so we have fun together there.
Q: As the Assistant Director of Government and Community Affairs for the Chicago Cubs, what is your favorite memory of Wrigley Field?
HWK: Definitely winning the World Series and victory parade afterwards. The day of the parade, we left Wrigley and headed downtown. Going down Clark was amazing and seeing all the fans; and my son was with me for the parade. That was nothing short of incredible.