Northfield Township Supervisor Jill Brickman runs the Northfield food pantry, which she’s done for the last 18 years. She’s a former financial advisor with who loves community service, memoirs and mystery novels, her family and her two dogs.
Q: Have you always worked in a service organization?
A: No, I was in financial services for my career, and then I left that. I’ve been doing this for 18 years now, I’ve been in my current position. The last x-number of years in my career, I was teaching a weekly money management class to homeless people in Chicago, so I was involved in social services. I really found out how much I loved it.
Q: What did you love about it?
A: How much I learned, which was great … that was probably the best part. But also the relationships I developed with the clients I was working with, some of which I still have today. And what it taught me: it just taught me about people. I always have said that, what I learned was that we were all the same, we just had some different breaks. Everything on the surface between the people I was teaching and me appeared we were completely different. And we weren't at all, it was just all surface stuff that was different. I think that surprised them often as much as it surprised me how much we were alike. It was a really great learning experience for me.
Q: What made you decide to go into social service after that?
A: I had chaired on the Human Services Review Commission for the township before I even went on the township board. I served as trustee, then I was elected as supervisor. I really have a passion around what I do, and wanted to be able to do more of it and to serve my community this way.
Q: What do you do outside of work?
A: I am active in lots of stuff in the community. I love that and spending time with people I like
and working toward common goals. I'm active in Rotary. I am real active in my church in Glenview. I have a couple of giant breed dogs that keep me fairly busy. have a St. Bernard and a Newfoundland. And I do have family here.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: I love to read, it's one of my favorite things. That's my best escape.
Q: Do you have any book recommendations?
A: Oh, golly … I actually keep a spreadsheet of what I read. I usually read at least a book a week, so just keeping track of them is pretty hard this. This year, I've really moved on to a lot more nonfiction, a lot of memoirs. But I do love mysteries too.
Q: What do you think is the best piece of advice you've received?
A: I think if you can find something to do in your life that helps people and you're passionate about, you're going to be happy. I think that's really a key to being happy with your life. For me, this kind of work, it's got those advantages. It gives me such a perspective check all the time. Not that I never feel sorry for myself or get whiny or anything because I do, but boy, it keeps it down because I can sort of jerk myself back into remembering how lucky I am.
Q: Is there something that makes you happy that you look forward to each week or day?
A: I've got a pretty blessed life. There's an awful lot of parts of my life that I can look forward to every day and feel lucky about. My dogs are great for making me laugh. I look forward to time outside every day, I really like that, that makes me feel healthier. And reading which I do every day. I read with primary grade bilingual kids, that’s something I look forward to every week. I run into those kids around town and I’ve really enjoyed the relationships with them and their families, too.
Q: Do you have any pet peeves?
A: I think that (people) not considering anyone else's perspective, not taking that into consideration, that's probably one of my biggest pet peeves.