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Meet the Organizers

Volunteers of the Month
Thanks to Erin Kelly and Elisabeth Shake for helping lead our new SIG groups.


January Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Linda Goldman of Altogether Organized for being our long time BCPO Liaison! . 

  Linda Goldman of Altogether Organized


December Volunteer of the Month - 
Thanks to Mackenzie Scott of Mission 2 Organize, our new Social Media Ambassador. 

 Mackenzie Scott of Mission 2 Organize 

November Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Jamie Martin of Destination Organization for leading our new tech SIG. 

  Jamie Martin of Destination Organization

October Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Carolyn Burnham for stepping in to volunteer as the chapter's A/V backup and for making CDs of all the chapter meetings for our library. 

 Carolyn Burnham of Burnham Creative Group, LLC

September Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Angie Noll of Norita Co. for leading our Business Special Interest Group.

  Angie Noll of Norita Co. 

August Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Angela Loveless of Actually Organized by Angela for volunteering to co-chair the Social Committee.
    Angela Loveless of Actually Organized by Angela 
May Volunteer of the Month - July Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Erin Kelly of Arranged by Erin for leading our new Special Interest Group. 
  Erin Kelly of Arranged by Erin 
June Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Elisabeth Shake of Yourganized for leading our new Special Interest Group.
  Elisabeth Shake of Yourganized 

May Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Maggie Panagakis for her help with tracking and welcoming cars to the 2016 De-Clutter Drive Through (on her birthday!).

Maggie Panagakis of Strategies for Organizing

April Volunteer of the Month - Thanks to Ev Greenberg for her help maintaining the member access to NAPO Chicago's own POINT.

  Ev Greenberg of R-Cubed

March Volunteer of the Month - Thank you to Caroline Guntur for being our terrific Twitter Ambassador!

  Caroline Guntur  The Swedish Organize

February Volunteer of the Month - Thank you to Joi Wallace for helping organize the CAM expo!

  Joi Wallace of Your Creative Organizer



January Volunteer of the Month

Thank you to Laurie Neumann for her above and beyond the call of board member duty in setting up the membership on the new Chicago POINT community.

  Laurie Neumann  The Innovative Organizer



November Volunteers of the Month

Thank you to Charlene Orsine and Laura Waller, the Chapter's Librarians, for their hard work in resetting and rejuvenating the Chapter's lending library of books, CDs, and conference recordings.  After all, librarians are the original professional organizers!


  Charlene Orsine

  Organized Memories by Charlene, LLC




  Laura Waller

  The Department of Organization



October Volunteer of the Month


   Yuzu Sasaki Byrne of Neatopia, LLC

Years in business: 1 year 3 months

How did you choose to become a professional organizer?  I’ve always had a knack for organizing and working with people to develop plans that get things done.   After I left a corporate job, my goal was to find a job that is fun, gives me some flexibility, and makes a difference in people’s life. The first job came to mind was Professional Organizer. I joined NAPO & NAPO Chicago Chapter to learn more about the profession.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer?  When I am organizing, I see a vision or the potential of a space. It is a lot of fun to make the vision a reality. I love the process of a transformation. Also, I don’t feel that organizing is a “chore” or “work.” To me it is a fun activity and time passes so fast because I get really engaged.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?  I held various HR positions with a Chicago-based financial information provider for over 20 years. I led Human Resources initiatives that align with the company’s business strategy and was responsible for recruiting new employees, coaching and developing leaders, supporting reorganizational efforts, and managing various company-wide and business unit specific projects. It is a great company to work for and people there are AMAZING! I feel that I grew up there and I’ve learned a lot!

What do you like to do in your spare time? I love traveling, going to movies, spending time with friends, gardening, and reading. I’ve been practicing Yoga for several months, but I cannot meditate for the life of me. Every time I try, I start creating a mental list of “things to do” in my head.

September Volunteer of the Month

Leslie Conneely

Formerly Space Simplified; though recently transitioned to Design Consultant at California Closets

Years in business: 8

Volunteer of the month for running the new and prospective member calls for the last year.  


How did you choose to become a professional organizer?  I decided to become a professional organizer because, well, I love to organize! I read a newspaper article featuring an organizer and her client (I wonder if it was a now-fellow NAPO-Chicago member?); before then I had no idea that it was even a thing.  I researched, found NAPO-Chicago, attended a meeting and joined before I even had business cards.  That changed the trajectory of my life, for sure.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer? I love meeting clients in their homes and helping them solve problems.  There is no better feeling than finishing an organizing session with a client and seeing the relief, hope and confidence I helped her to find within herself.  This summer I decided to focus more specifically on the influence that good design can have on living a more organized life, and joined California Closets as a Design Consultant.  While I’m not taking residential organizing clients anymore, I’ve had fun consulting with my NAPO colleagues to help their clients who are looking for beautiful, functional custom storage solutions!

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?  I worked in Marketing and Communications at YMCA of the USA and the Chicago.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  Drive my teenage daughters around.  Oh, wait, did you say “LIKE” to do?  That’s just what I do.

August Volunteer of the Month


Anita Birsa

Anita Birsa Interiors, LLC

Years in your business: 7 years



How did you choose to become a professional organizerWorking at an Interior Design firm, I found myself naturally incorporating organizing skills into my work; helping clients evaluate their space and understand how storage and organizational systems make their homes more efficient and functional. I naturally think about spaces and furnishings in terms of both design and function, so I always strive to bring both beauty and order to spaces. When I began working independently ten years ago, I found previous Design clients and colleagues requesting more Organizing work from me, and I realized that my niche was helping busy clients create homes that were both beautiful spaces and organized places!

What is your favorite part of being an organizer?

I know how much our environment can impact our well-being and quality of life, and I think 

everyone has dreams of how they want to feel in their home, but often they don’t know what 

that will look like, or how to make that happen. Organizing gives us a solid place to begin making 

changes, and can be the catalyst for much larger transformations. Since joining NAPO-Chicago, 

I’ve come to appreciate how wide the opportunities in the field of Professional Organizing are, 

and how as PO’s we can each apply our own unique skills and expertise to create work that is 

interesting and unique. 

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer? Previously I was with a Chicago Interior Design firm and prior to that my career 

was in Marketing.

What do you like to do in your spare time? The line between work and spare time can get 

blurred, so I enjoy activities that can get my mind completely off of work and inspire my 

creativity. That usually involves taking advantage of the many cultural offerings in Chicago 

(especially live music) and sharing that with friends.

July NAPO Chicago Board Members 


Elaine Quinn

The Solopreneur Specialist

Years in business:  14

Years on the Board:  8


How did you choose to become a professional organizer?   When I was unexpectedly downsized from my corporate job, I realized I had been planning, organizing and executing business strategies for my entire career. So I used that experience to start my own business. Now I help other solopreneurs do the same for their businesses.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer?   I love helping people create a successful solopreneur business recognizing and repurposing the skills they already have!

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?   Sales and marketing management in the pharmaceutical industry

What do you like to do in your spare time?  I’m a amateur expert in Ancient Egypt and a docent at the Field Museum, where I inspire visitors to learn more about that fascinating civilization.



Laurie Neumann

The Innovative Organizer, LLC

Years in business: 4

Years on the Board:  over 2 years – serving my 3rd term as Membership Director


How did you choose to become a professional organizer? Since I was a child, I’ve thrived on creating order out of chaos and making information accessible. After leaving the corporate world and spending several years at home with my kids, I realized what I enjoyed most about my various career and volunteer roles involved organizing, and that organizing was what I was meant to do. From there, I joined NAPO and NAPO-Chicago, then created my company.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer?  I love helping homeowners and small businesses simplify, by decluttering their homes and offices, making the important things easier for them to access and enjoy.  Relieving my clients of the burden of their clutter and helping them achieve their vision is incredibly energizing to me.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?  For nearly two decades, I worked in the food industry in various roles including process engineering, project management, and productivity.  I provided technical leadership and operations support for food manufacturing systems, developing and executing productivity improvements and cost reductions.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  I enjoy exercising, the outdoors, cooking and hanging out with my family, riding my bike, and traveling.


July Volunteer of the Month


Terri Albert       

The Chicago Organizer

Years in business: 9



How did you choose to become a professional organizer? My parents made me a t-shirt at age 10 that said Neat Freak, so I think it was pre-destined! I got let go of a job in the corporate world after spending 20 years working, and met an organizer while volunteering and jumped right in sub-contracting for other organizers before opening up my own business.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer? I find it very gratifying to help people in need. We really change the way clients move forward with their lives when, for example, their entire house is unpacked a few days after they’ve moved in; their desk is clear and papers are filed so they can actually get work done; closets are purged of clothes they don’t wear; basements/attics/storage units only contain items they need and can find (because we’ve  labeled the containers!!)   

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer? I sold advertising space for national consumer magazines for 14 years and then found speakers for business conferences for 6 years.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Yoga or muscle conditioning classes at my health clubs. I’m in two book clubs and love seeing plays, so I subscribe to five theaters. I’m following several shows on Netflix and HBO Go. I like to prepare simple homemade meals, and I do travel a fair amount. But, I work most of the time, because I love to organize!!  


Meet the June Board Members

Kerry Dexter

Kerry Dexter, Professional Organizer (until I come up with a better name)

Years in your business: 2

Years on the Board: First term

How did you choose to become a professional organizer? After retiring from Nordstrom, I wanted to apply what I had already learned to a new endeavor.  With the experience I had gained in wardrobe consulting, merchandising, moving (7 different cities), inventory control, and process creation there seemed to be a natural progression to helping others organize.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer? Having been there myself, I can totally relate to the individual that does not have enough time to get organized while in transition – job change, move to a new location, business startup, marriage, divorce, new baby or whatever adds additional time demands to an already full schedule.  Helping people establish order and serenity in their environment gives me great satisfaction.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer? Career at Nordstrom that encompassed selling, buying, financial planning, inventory control, and finally a director of customer service.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Ride horses – trail ride, read, hike, cook, exercise, photography

Meet the June Volunteer of the Month




Amy Trager of Amy Trager, Certified Professional Organizer®

Years as a Professional Organizer: 12

Years on the Board: 7


Volunteer of the Month for:  All her work behind the scenes as chapter President.  Being the president means endless hours working behind the scenes, from countless phone meetings and discussions with NAPO National to running an incredibly thorough check of our bylaws to make sure everything is up to par with legal requirements. And, for baking the most delicious desserts.

How did you choose to become a professional organizer? Once I realized it was a profession, I began reading as much as I could about it and talking to as many organizers as I  could find. I started working part-time for another company and immediately loved it!

What is your favorite part of being an organizer? I'm able to see immediate results.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer? A full-time student.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Bake, dance and travel.

May NAPO-Chicago Board Member 



Tracey Thomas

Savvy Spaces Organizing

Years in your business:  4

Years on the Board:  3


How did you choose to become a professional organizer?  I have always loved organizing things, whether it is a closet or paperwork or an event, so when I was looking for a new job and found NAPO it was a great fit for me.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer?  I enjoy helping people and watching the change in a client the stress is relieved during the organization process.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?  I was a corporate event planner.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  Travel, spend time with friends, paddleboard, watch hockey and enjoy good books and good wine.

May Volunteer of the Month


Schae Lewis

Mission 2 Organize

Years in your business:  5

Years on the Board:  4


Volunteer of the Month for: Her tireless efforts on the De-Clutter Drive Thru. A big thank you to Schae for steering us all to the most successful De-Clutter Drive Thru event event!

How did you choose to become a professional organizer? While miserable at a previous job, my co-worker gushed about what a fabulous job I did at organizing the back office. This got my wheels turning about creating my dream job and two months later the business was up and running.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer?  Changing lives is the best part of organizing. When the work you've done for someone makes their life better, that is the ultimate reward!​

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?  Previous to starting Mission 2 Organize, I worked as a hotel concierge and a flight attendant.​

What do you like to do in your spare time? To be honest, I'm usually working. On the rare occasion that I take a moment off, I enjoy making jewelry, riding my bike and dancing til the wee hours of the night.

April NAPO-Chicago Board Member            


Carolyn Burnham of Healthy Home and Business, LLC.

Years in your business: 4

Years on the board: 2



How did you choose to become a professional organizer? After 20 years in television, I felt like I needed a change to a career with more flexibility where I could work and still be an active part of my children’s lives.  My husband was reading the newspaper one day and found an article about a professional organizer and showed it to me.  I had no idea that people made a living doing this!  It mentioned NAPO in the article.  I checked it out and signed up to go to my first NAPO Conference a few months later.  I realized this would be a great opportunity to take advantage of my organizational skills and have the opportunity to help people one-on-one.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer? I like the feeling of relief client feels once we’ve started, then watch it turn to pride and empowerment as we progress through the project.  I also focus on sustainable living and try to give clients strategies to help them consume more responsibly.  It usually will save them money and time and everyone wins.  Having recently moved to doing more photo organizing, it is very gratifying seeing piles of pictures or electronic files turn into stories the client can finally share.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?  My degree is in Broadcasting & Film and Business. I worked for nearly 20 years in television from production to most of my career as a research director for stations in Rockford, Illinois, Flint and Detroit Michigan.  There I had to manage massive amounts of data and put it in a usable form to use in programming decisions and in the sales department.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  I am also a member of the Batavia Environmental Commission.  I help plan events including Green Night Out at the Movies and Earth Hour.  I am also Chair of Green Fair on the Fox, an eco-festival that takes place in Batavia in August each year.  I don’t have much time left but I love to cook and bake, garden and spend time with my kids.

April Volunteer of the Month


Anna Glielmi

Fresh Look Home, LLC

Years in business: 10


Selected Volunteer of the Month for: serving as the Neighborhood Groups Coordinator

How did you choose to become a professional organizer? After working in Information Technology for many years, I was looking for a “career change” rather than “a new job”. One day I was searching for other possibilities for a career and discovered Professional Organizing. It was listed on a website for unusual jobs along with dog walkers and dog groomers, which looking back is pretty funny. I didn’t even know such a thing existed, but I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do. After attending two NAPO Chapter meetings, I left my job and started my business.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer? My favorite part is the variety of experiences I get to have every day. No two days are the same. I work exclusively with older adults now and I get a real sense of fulfillment from working with my clients. Many of them have family that lives far away or they don’t have a large family to begin with. Helping them do what they can no longer do for themselves is very rewarding.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer? I was a software trainer for a local pharmaceutical company.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  I was born and raised in Chicago an even though I now live in Glenview, most of my social connections are still in Chicago and that’s where I spend a lot of my free time. I love theater, concerts and festivals. Burger fest in Roscoe Village is one of my favorites!

February NAPO-Chicago Board Member


 Angela Loveless 

 Actually Organized By Angela

 Years in your business: 6

 Years on the Board: 5



How did you choose to become a professional organizer?  I started like a lot of other organizers – by helping friends.  I was always ‘the organized one’.  I had a friend call me and ask me to help her organize her walk-in kitchen pantry.  I spent several hours doing it – and loving it.  I left her home energized and with a great sense of accomplishment.  She was grateful and exhausted.  I realized that focusing on a project wasn’t something she could do, and the basic organization I offered was not a skill set that she had.  It was the inspiration I needed to become an organizer. 

What is your favorite part of being an organizer? I love the peace of mind that being organized brings to people, and their sense of relief of being unburdened from their stuff.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?  I graduated in Journalism and Public Relations, took time off to raise my kids, and then became an organizer.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  Spend time with my family, doing yoga, reading.


February Volunteer of the Month



Jane Ernst

Gator Reproductions, Inc.

Years in your business:  17

Selected Volunteer of the Month for: her help on many projects involving design and print work on behalf of the Chapter.

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How did you choose to start your business?
My background was in graphic design and I been working on blueprints for my dad for years. My family has always been entrepreneurial and when the timing was right to combine the things I had already been doing, we decided to open up a print shop. We originally concentrated on graphic design and blue print printing. As time went along it made sense to add small format printing to complete the services I was providing with the graphic design, as well as color and large format printing for blue prints and signs. Whenever we saw a client need, we filled it by adding another service such as document/photo scanning, web design and virtual assistance.

What is your favorite part of doing your job? My favorite part is graphic design. I can spend 2 hours designing and feel like only ½ hour has gone by. Each client presents a new challenge and a new opportunity to find the best way to solve it.

What was your profession before starting your business? In my adult life, I have always been a graphic designer, but I have had many other side jobs along the way. Those include project estimator, product designer, product installation instructor, product manufacturer and self defense instructor.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I like to spend time with my sons and husband, spend time with my friends, and go in-line skating when weather permits.

January NAPO-Chicago Board Member



Amy Trager of Amy Trager, Certified Professional Organizer® and 
NAPO-Chicago President

Years as a Professional Organizer: 12

Years on the Board: 7


How did you choose to become a professional organizer? Once I realized it was a profession, I began reading as much as I could about it and talking to as many organizers as I  could find. I started working part-time for another company and immediately loved it!

What is your favorite part of being an organizer? I'm able to see immediate results.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer? A full-time student.

What do you like to do in your spare time? Bake, dance and travel.

January Volunteer of the Month



Jen Hadraba of Jen Hadraba

Years as a Professional Organizer: 9

Selected January Volunteer of the Month for:  Her work on the NAPO-Chicago Green Team



How did you choose to become a professional organizer?  It seems like becoming a professional organizer was a career that chose me! I've always had a knack for neatness and maximizing space. As a small child I would get in trouble for sorting my grandma's "junk" drawer(s). It wasn't until adulthood that I realized my grandma was actually a hoarder. Desperately wanting her to "finally get organized," I began researching solutions. The true complexity of clutter and the multitude of people it affected led me to cultivate a passion for the process of organizing.

What is your favorite part of being an organizer?  Through the patience I harvested while working with my grandma, I learned to relish small victories. I love helping clients achieve their "aha moment!" It's that turning point in their mindset that aids in behavioral transformation, providing opportunity to lead a more conscious and fulfilling life. I also empower clients to take responsibility for their choices, encouraging them to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible. I often refer clients to www.earth911.org so they can do their own research on how to dispose of unwanted items. I love when a client tells me that they found a new place to recycle an item or that they shopped their closet or pantry instead of buying something new! It's my mission to spread environmental awareness and make a positive difference in the world.

What was your profession before becoming a professional organizer?  Almost all of my previous work involved helping both people and planet. During my college years, I co-founded Campus Greens at COD and Eco Campus at UIC. I had jobs and internships at a variety of nonprofits involving anything from AIDS prevention to event planning to environmental sustainability. Directly before becoming a professional organizer, I was "sorting" seeds as an organic farmer. I continue to work with a couple of nonprofits as a Certified Direct Support Professional, providing respite for families taking care of developmentally delayed individuals. Additionally, I continue to work on special programs and events for Adventist Health Systems.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  (Spare time? LOL.) I usually keep myself pretty busy with my four jobs, but I always make time for having tea with a friend, baking healthy snacks, church activities, and committing random acts of kindness. I can be found volunteering at the Green City Market and other various eco-events especially during Earth month in April. I also enjoy the simple pleasures of cuddling with my kitties while reading a good book or watching a random documentary on Netflix.


National Association of Professional Organizers Chicago
A 501(c)(3) Organization
P.O. Box 409157, Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: 847-750-NAPO  (847-750-6276)

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