The following members of the PNF steering committee have generously made themselves available to provide insights, share expertise and discuss strategy
Mari Brennan Barrera
Our active members and leaders are numerous, and their contributions are invaluable. From the district precinct captains to the health professionals providing safety feedback to budget proposals. Listed below are the members who lead teams and are the public face, but it is not a comprehensive list of the talent of PNF.
Catherine has been a part of the Natick community for fifteen years. After walking around Natick and seeing “Yes! For Natick” signs during the 2008 recession, she knew she wanted to raise her family here because of the residents’ commitment to their school even during difficult financial times. Since then she has been an active volunteer in Johnson Elementary, Kennedy Middle, and the Natick High School, was the former president of the Natick Cooperative Playgroup, member of Spark Kindness, Natick Soccer Head Coach for six years, and an Assistant Hockey Coach for the Girls Comets. She has a lifelong commitment to building community, and published a book, Becoming Catholic, Again: Connecting the Faith We Live with the Faith We Were Taught, in 2012. She graduated from Boston College with a bachelor’s in economics and a master’s in pastoral care. She now chooses to stay at home to raise her five children. She is a passionate swimmer, tri-athlete, and soccer player.
She has lived in Natick for fifteen years, after marrying a Townie, and now has many in-laws in various roles in Natick Town service. She served as the co-president of the Johnson Elementary School PTO and has volunteered in other aspects for Natick. She graduated from Loyola University-New Orleans with a bachelor’s in creative writing, Fordham University with a master’s in medieval studies, as well as a near-complete (but not quite!) PhD in medieval literature. These skills make her unable to contribute fiscal knowledge, but do allow her to tease MIT students about their deplorable vocabulary skills in her role as Assistant Dean for Distinguished Fellowships. She has worked in higher education for twenty years, and helped establish institutional fellowships advising programs at both Fordham and MIT.
Charlotte first came to Natick more than eight and a half years ago. Last year, Charlotte raised over $5,000 as a charity runner in the 2019 Boston Marathon for the Natick Organic Farm. Previous to choosing to stay home to raise her sons, she worked as an auditor and financial planner for a healthcare company. She earned both a bachelor’s and master’s in accounting at Suffolk University. She now uses her exceptional multi-tasking skills to moderate PNF’s Facebook page. She came to PNF when she learned about the budget crisis we found ourselves in this year, and wanted to become more informed. Since then she has educated herself and others on the complex issues we face as a town. She is an enthusiastic runner, bodybuilder, and donut eater.
Anthony and his family moved to Natick in 2012 after being impressed by Natick’s balance of urban and rural, commitment to their schools, and plethora of family activities. Having played Division I baseball in college, he enjoys volunteering as a coach for little league and with the Comets. He is an accountant that has spent more than a decade at Big Four accounting firms, leading financial audits and consulting engagements. He currently works with Boston Consulting Group as a senior manager. The recent budget crisis has been a call to service for him, and he has lent PNF his experienced ability to think critically about finance. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northeastern University. He is most likely to be found at Chase Arena or on a stool at Casey's enjoying some "all-arounds.
Dani first came to Natick in 2006, after seeking a town that had sidewalks, was a walk to the library, and a house that has a big yard. She has served for three years in the Natick Special Education Parent Advisory Committee, and is currently the co-chair. She has further coordinated the Natick Garden Club’s Earth Day festivities, and regularly contributes as a volunteer at the Johnson Elementary School. This led to her interest in Natick Town government, and an interest in the budget process. She graduated from Smith College with a bachelor’s, and PhD in classical and Near Eastern archeology at Bryn Mawr. She now runs her own small business in Natick, Little Sprout Gardens, LLC, which teaches children science, art, and healthy living through gardening.
Dawn moved to Natick after falling in love with the farmer’s market and town center. She has dedicated herself to innumerable Natick causes, serving as the co-president of the Johnson PTO, member of the Natick Catholic Community Life Committee and religious education program, a Natick little league coach, and the Natick Service Councils’ liaison to Dignity Matters, a local non-profit that provides feminine necessities to women in need. She currently works as a writer and strategist for high-level executives, as well as for reacHIRE, which promotes return-to-work and advancement programs for women. She graduated from Boston University with a degree in communications. She brings her expertise in communication strategy and community building to PNF. Dawn is also an official Boston Marathon weather jinx, having completed both the 2015 and 2018 marathons in some of the worst conditions.
Teaches Math to Masses
After many moves that took her all over the country and abroad to Ireland, Emily settled in Natick seven years ago. She has served on the Johnson Elementary School PTO board for five years, most recently completing her two-year service as co-president. She graduated from Boston College with a bachelor’s in mathematics and master’s in secondary education, as well as Tufts University with a master’s in mathematics with a particular focus on Number Theory. She taught math at the high school level before choosing to stay home with her three sons. You can now find her in the Morse Library tutoring high school students in math, or see her hand while she explains the Natick Town budget on our youtube channel.
After her sister moved to Natick, Kate decided to join her since she saw the strong community values of the town. She has volunteered her time with the schools, and most recently organized a scavenger hunt that raised more than $1200 for the Natick Service Council. She is currently the VP of Product at a healthcare tech company. She is known for asking important questions to our Town leaders, particularly about community health implications of decisions based on the knowledge she has gained through her high-level work in the booming Boston healthcare tech sector. She graduated from Brown University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. You can find Kate enjoying her free time by looking deeply into Natick Town budgets or joining her family in intricate woodworking projects.
Natali and her family moved to Natick from Boston after visiting friends who lived here and seeing how great of a community it is. Within our community she also serves at the webmaster (webmistress) for the Johnson PTO website, and completely revamped it this year. She brought those same skills to PNF, designing and creating the first iteration of protectnaticksfuture.com. She currently works as a web communications specialist at Harvard Business School. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Boston College and a master’s degree in information technology in digital medial arts and instructional design from the Harvard Extension School. This year, Natali has dedicated herself to acquiring the skills needed to pull herself up a cliff, should she ever be dangling from one. She is now up to three pull-ups!
Alicia has found herself volunteering in Natick almost since she moved here, as she can never seem to say no. She currently volunteers with the Johnson Cultural Arts Program, yearbook, has served as a room parents, as well as a dedicated head coach for Natick youth soccer. In her day job, she runs her own consulting business as a developmental psychologist who specializes in research methodology and statistical modeling. She earned a bachelor’s of psychology from Colgate, her PhD in developmental and child psychology from Tufts University, and completed her post-doctoral work at Boston College. She lends her wittiness to PNF’s weekly blog, and her statistical knowledge preparing surveys and digging into the budget. You can find Alicia most days getting delicious food from Eli’s and avoiding yoga.
Town Meeting Guru
Aaron moved to Natick in 2007, and has kids in Natick elementary, middle, and high schools. Aaron is a past member of Town Meeting for Precinct 8 and has coached in the Natick Comets hockey program for seven years. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at Boston University in the Departments of Finance and Computer Science. He earned a bachelor’s in computer information systems from Indiana University Bloomington, a master’s in computer science from Boston University, and a master’s in finance from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. He returned to the call of service in PNF after learning about the post-COVID budget crisis, and lent his knowledge to the budget team to understand the complexities of Town governance. He is an avid runner, having already completed marathons in 22 states, and has run every single street in Natick.