Meet Our New 2021 CJCA Officers/Volunteers

KESHA LEETS Vice President, Activities 

WHAT BROUGHT YOUR FAMILY TO CABIN JOHN? My husband, Ryan and I were researching preschools in the DMV area after Ryan accepted a job in Bethesda. We fell in love with Clara Barton Center for Children (CBCC), and knowing preference is given to Cabin John residents, we rented the only house available and crossed our fingers our daughter, Evelina, would be accepted (we now have a happy Hummingbird!). We moved from Philadelphia in April 2020 and had our son, Van, in July 2020. 

AFTER LIVING HERE FOR A YEAR, WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT CABIN JOHN? We’ve found the trails and river activities hard to beat! 

WHAT CJCA ACTIVITIES HAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY PARTICIPATED IN? The only event we’ve been able to participate in so far is the 4th of July parade – it was a blast! We’re also looking forward to the infamous Crab Feast this fall. 

WHAT LED YOU TO VOLUNTEER AS VICE PRESIDENT OF ACTIVITIES? As a newcomer (especially during pandemic), it’s hard to find ways to contribute and connect with the community. Volunteering (even virtually, to start) has helped me meet other Cabin Johners and get involved in CJ’s most loved activities. 

ARE YOU EMPLOYED, JUGGLING ANY OTHER VOLUNTEER WORK? I work full time as a Project Manager at a media firm in DC. I’ve also joined the board of CBCC for the coming school year. 

WHEN NOT IN CABIN JOHN, WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO BE? On a ski trip anywhere. 

READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY? I just finished All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. 

WHAT IS SOMETHING FOLKS MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU AND/OR YOUR FAMILY? My husband and I own an indoor bike-to- the-beat cycling studio in Colorado! 

JUSTIN WEBSTER Vice President, Community Service 

WHAT BROUGHT YOUR FAMILY TO CABIN JOHN? My family moved to Cabin John in August of 2019 from downtown DC. We were attracted to the area because of the proximity to our work, the access to nature, and the history of Cabin John. My husband Brandon, our dog Charlie, and I felt at home in CJ right away! 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT CABIN JOHN? We like the close friendships we have created with our wonderful neighbors and that there is SO much to do in the area. 

WHAT CJCA ACTIVITIES HAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY PARTICIPATED IN? We have been fortunate to participate in the 2019 Crab and Chicken Feast and the 2021 Fourth of July Parade. We look forward to joining many more activities! 

WHAT LED YOU TO VOLUNTEER AS VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNITY SERVICE? I wanted to be part of bringing people in our community together to create meaningful relationships and to better our community for all. I have been involved with many health-care related councils and organizations and have found that having a presence on these councils has allowed growth both for myself and for others. 

ARE YOU EMPLOYED, JUGGLING ANY OTHER VOLUNTEER WORK? I have worked as a Registered Nurse at Sibley Memorial Hospital for the past five years. I recently started a job with a transport company managing their Specialty Care Transport Nurse division. That has kept me quite busy over the last month or so. 

WHEN NOT IN CABIN JOHN, WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO BE? We love to cruise around the world. We are excited to get back to cruising after this long pandemic! 

READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY? Recently I’ve finished The Promised Land by Barack Obama and Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden, and I’m currently reading What Happened to You by Oprah and Bruce Perry. I have also read way too many books on healthcare related topics. 

WHAT IS SOMETHING FOLKS MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU AND/OR YOUR FAMILY? We are very down to earth and enjoy a nice glass of wine. If you are in our neighborhood, you probably know our house by the solar on the roof or the color changing lights. 

HEATHER TOMLINSON Vice President, Community Outreach 

WHAT BROUGHT YOUR FAMILY TO CABIN JOHN? Sidewalks, libraries, nectarines, crickets, and Poppy brought me to Cabin John. To be fair, they brought us back to the Bethesda area more generally because this is where I grew up. I’ve lived in Ghana; Southern California; Nashville; Athens, Georgia; Cleveland Park and Capitol Hill; and, for the eight years prior to moving here, Jakarta, Indonesia. 

At the center of those far-flung places was always the DC area. Being near my dad (Poppy) and extended family again is a major draw to living here, especially for my three children, Tatum (14), Finn (12), and Clara (12). 

Most importantly, we came to Cabin John to live on the corner of Tomlinson Terrace and Tomlinson Court because of our long Tomlinson family history as founders of Cabin John…just kidding. We arrived in the summer of 2018, and the issue of our name and address is an (epic) coincidence. I welcome ideas for stories to explain the synergy. 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT CABIN JOHN? Having the trails, greenery and water within minutes of our front door is the best part of Cabin John. It’s unique to live in a place that gives almost equal access to culture, history, art, nature, and restaurants that serve both bubble tea and Ethiopian food. I love the sense of community, the eclectic philosophies of residents, the yard art and gardens, and the common value of simplicity in living. Pandemic parenting was made easier by having wide, quiet streets for four- square courts, BLM chalk art, and Tomlinson Terrace Gang music video productions. I love Cabin John and feel extremely fortunate that we found our home here. 

WHAT CJCA ACTIVITIES HAVE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY PARTICIPATED IN? The Chicken and Crab Feast was the first neighborhood event I attended and loved because of the amazing combination of meeting people, eating rice krispie treats (and a little chicken), and listening to live jazz. One of the funniest events we attended was “ice skating” on large foam pads at Clara Barton Community Center at a winter festival. My favorite events are the trivia nights for adults. 

WHAT LED YOU TO VOLUNTEER AS VICE PRESIDENT OF ACTIVITIES? Susan Shipp kindly invited me to participate, and Stephanie Lai is a friend of mine. Stephanie is the actual Vice President, and I plan to remain a deputy VP; is that a title?* I am aware of the quiet, behind- the-scenes work it takes to pull off a few “simple” neighborhood activities. As a relative newcomer, I am grateful for the opportunities these activities provide to meet people and for my children to feel connected and rooted, so I want to do my part to support them. Having volunteers is like having Bisquick in the pantry: helpful and under-appreciated. 

*CJCA notes that this is not an official title. 

ARE YOU EMPLOYED, JUGGLING ANY OTHER VOLUNTEER WORK? I’m an early childhood development specialist for The World Bank. I recently worked for a regional NGO and developed a strategic plan for early childhood education for the state of Maryland, and now I’m working on a strategic plan for early childhood development for Pakistan. I’m on two boards for an NGO I co-founded in Indonesia to support refugees, Roshan Learning Center and YICF. Before Covid melted my brain, I was involved at our church, Episcopal Church of the Redeemer. Throughout this weird year, I was part of the Montgomery County Public Schools Family Engagement Advisory Team (no small FEAT, as it were) and on a Maryland Advisory Council Tech Equity and Access Committee. 

WHEN NOT IN CABIN JOHN, WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO BE? I wouldn’t pass up the chance to be at Deep Creek Lake, in Lake Tahoe, Santa Cruz or Monterey, Tuscany, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, a cabin in the Poconos, Bali, or my mother’s garden. 

READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY? I recently read Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. 

WHAT IS SOMETHING FOLKS MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU AND/OR YOUR FAMILY? My son suggests that I mention that my father Robert J. Biggar is “a famous scientist,” who helped discover the epidemiology and treatment for HIV/AIDS, especially reducing maternal-child transmission, and just wrote a piece about the parallels of the experiences of AIDS to Covid-19.

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