Meet The Team

Hoopla Communications has been supporting social change by working with non-profits in Chicagoland since 1997--producing events, crafting professional development opportunities, shaping strategic plans, and applauding the high-impact thinking and doing that happens every day at these organizations. Founded by Julie Burleigh who has since taken her event skills to Boston and Chris Kowalke, Hoopla is a small but mighty crew.  Stop by and meet the team!

Chris Kowalke

Chris Kowalke

Chief Alchemist

Chris is a blend of high energy and centered thinking, creativity, and practicality. With almost two decades of non-profit event building and organizational consulting, she can pluck new as well as tried and true solutions out of her playbook to help create social change.  Chris is connecting, collaborative, curious, and a lover of coffee, lists, the Oxford comma, and red wine.

Jessica VandenBergh

Jessica VandenBergh

Jessica is a driven, quick-on-her-feet problem solver who has had a passion for event planning and non-profits for much of her career.  She brings a can-do attitude to all of the events she works from set-up to break-down.  Jessica is also a lover of all things Chicago and a die-hard Chicago Bears fan!

Annie Drew

Annie Drew

Event Associate

Annie adds that something special to everything she does.  She has an unusual combo of spunk and positivity.  During events Annie rocks the ballroom captain's hat, guaranteeing guests a gloriously seamless meal.  A Chicago native, Annie can often be found at delectable brunch spots in Lakeview, or with her two favorite ladies- Lily the St. Bernard and Delilah the pitbull.

Nina Wheeler

Nina Wheeler

Event Associate

All of Nina's aspirations have a common theme- serving the community and contributing to positive change.  She brings a versatile, detail-oriented mind to the team, and stands eager to wrangle the event-planning world of Hoopla.  While not at work, Nina enjoys all things crafting from bracelets to furniture.

Jessica Murnane

Jessica Murnane

Database Doctor

Jessica is lead on all things Registration and Excel related. She is also fluent in on-site fundraising, staff and volunteer management, and vendor vetting.  She spends her disposable income on tattoos, books, and wine. She lives simultaneously in Chicago, Columbus (Indiana, not Ohio), and on the Tardis with The Doctor.