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 and Chris Kowalke, Hoopla is a small but mighty crew.  Stop by and meet the team!

Chris Kowalke

Chris Kowalke

Chief Alchemist (she/her/hers)

Chris is a blend of high energy and centered thinking, creativity, and practicality. With 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.

Julie Burleigh

Julie Burleigh

Chief of Space Operations (she/her/hers)

Working in development for more than 20 years makes Julie crafty, clever, and most importantly, fun.  She always has a fresh take on standby methods and is up for anything.  Julie's dogs, Zoe and Baxter, often partake in official office business such as depawsits and branch managing.

Annie Drew

Annie Drew

Event Associate (she/her/hers)

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 (she/her/hers)

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.