North Flatbush Female Leaders (pt.4)

North Flatbush BID Board Chair Regina Cahill has been on the NFBID board of directors for 36 years. In addition to being the long-time board chair, at one time Cahill served as Executive Director of the BID. “But hey, I thought NFBID is only 33 years old!,” you might say. In fact, Cahill was a member of the Triangle Parks Commission, the North Flatbush Avenue Betterment Committee formed by merchants, property owners and residents which ultimately gave rise to the North Flatbush Business Improvement District. So she’s been here since the very beginning! 

Cahill’s inspirations include Shirley Chisholm, an American politician, educator, and author who in 1968 became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress, Mary Pinkett, the first black New York City councilwoman, and Carol Bellamy, Chair of the Board of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund.

When asked what she loves about being on the board, Cahill responds: “It’s my home, and the merchants on Flatbush really care about the neighborhood.”

Cahill announces the completion of the 6th Avenue Triangle Park, October 2019

Diane Allison, treasurer of the North Flatbush BID Board of Directors, represents the First Church of Christ Scientist (338 Flatbush Avenue) as a business owner and a property owner. She has been an NFBID board member for seven years.When asked why she loves being on the Board, she states: “Well, I love not just the people, but I love their love for their neighbors, their care for their neighbor’s businesses, I love their deeply educated competency, their eagerness to search and find new ways to make the traffic-clogged spinal chord of Brooklyn a place that flows safely, a place of charm and beauty and hidden gifts. I love the way they listen to each other and affectionately tussle out what’s right from different viewpoints, and how, from the voices of the city officers, there’s such a sense of care and depth of knowledge. My business brought to the BID meeting a small but troubling grievance that had been tangled in bureaucracy for years, and I watched the young man take it on and leave, working his cell, and the next week the notice came of its resolution. It’s a good organization and an organization of good.”

Allison is inspired by female leader Mary Baker Eddy, who at age 87 founded the Christian Science Monitor, a news journal informing readers not just of the challenges in various world locations, but the solutions to those challenges. “This is women’s hour,” Eddy wrote. 

Allison’s favorite North Flatbush woman-owned business? “Oh, I love Eladia’s child-care center. I know how much she and her daughter work to bring children happiness.”

NFBID Board Member Cristen Van Vleet has represented North Flatbush residents on the NFBID Board of Directors for 3 years. She says “I have lived on the Avenue for 12 years- I have a stake in who and what happens in this neighborhood.  It has changed so much, and will continue to do so- and I’d like to have a voice that represents those of us that call it home.”