Meet Patty

My name is Patty Henek and I am honored to be running for Village President of River Forest. As a 20-year resident, I take pride in and value our dynamic community. I am a proven community leader, committed to welcoming and respecting all voices.

In addition to currently serving as a Village Trustee, I am: the Coordinator of the Holiday Food & Gift Basket; a Founding Member of LemonAid, a former D90 PTO President, and a current Board Member of A House in Austin.

"When a community works together, we make more informed and intentional decisions that reflect the well-being of all residents and yield outcomes better than imagined."

I value transparency and prioritize representation of the full River Forest community. Collaboration with robust conversations held in the public domain and productive dissent are integral to an effective Village Board. I recognize that policies and procedures form the foundation of our Village’s fiscal health and inclusive culture. I will bring a strategically proactive approach and a heightened prioritization to informed decision-making to the Village Board as its President.

As River Forest’s Village President, my leadership skills will ensure that we as a Village: connect with and represent all residents; collaborate with diverse voices and perspectives; and advance policies that benefit all, not just those who already have a voice at the table.


“If and when they ever start handing out bouquets to Austinites for showing leadership in this community, there is no doubt there will be a hue and cry to include the name of one seven-year resident - George McGuire.....” The Austinite newspaper printed this opening line in an article about my grandfather that ran May 10, 1967 (Austinite Spotlight Shines on George McGuire).

Community service is a way of life in my family. From my grandparents to my parents, aunts and uncles, I had role models who taught me the importance of community and working together for a greater good. Growing up I watched my parents volunteer at church and school as a room parent, school board member, and fundraiser. They were coaches, scout leaders, and our house was often the center of activity on the block.

When my oldest son started at Lincoln Elementary School, I knew I wanted to get involved. During the course of my boys’ tenure in District 90, I held just about every PTO position, including president at both Lincoln and Roosevelt Middle School. In addition, I was a member of the D90 Referendum Committee, a chair of the D90 Community Caucus and a member of the D200 Citizen’s Council.

Outside of school involvement, my community service includes a founding member of LemonAid, a current board member of A House in Austin, a former board member of the Neighborhood Giving Project, and a chair for multiple fundraising events for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I was fortunate I could be a stay-at-home mother while our boys were young, but prior to being a parent I was the Assistant Daycare Director for Hephzibah Children’s Association. I’m currently in my tenth season as the coordinator of the Holiday Food & Gift Basket program.

Through my vast community engagement, I recognized the importance of local governance. I felt I had the experience and leadership skills that would benefit the village board. In 2017, the community agreed and I was elected a Village Trustee.

During my tenure as a Trustee, I have demonstrated a will to research, question and listen to experts and residents on issues before the Village Board to drive broad-based, well-informed and data-driven decision-making. I was prepared when I voted on a range of topics including: a Welcoming Resolution, three large development projects, multiple zoning variance requests, the North Avenue Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”), property acquisition, a Comprehensive Plan, an Affordable Housing Plan, a comprehensive parking study, multiple budgets, and Capital Improvement Plans.

Patty's Platform

  • Connect

    Patty embodies inclusive leadership. An engaged listener, Patty is intentional to foster authentic community relationships. As Village President, Patty will ensure that all River Forest community members feel seen, valued, respected and a true sense of belonginess.

  • Collaborate

    Patty is a collaborative, empathetic and steady leader. She recognizes the value of constructive discourse as it impacts the depth of dialogue and enriches outcomes. As Village President, Patty will prioritize a vibrant, healthy and respectful Village Board that is committed to making well-informed decisions on behalf of our community.

  • Advance

    Patty is a strategically proactive and fiscally responsible leader. An informed decision-maker, she brings valuable data-driven assessment to policies, opportunities and community engagements. As Village President, Patty will work with and for our community so that River Forest continues to thrive and grow with intention.

What people are saying