Role: General Manager Serving Since: 2017 Phone Number: 312.876.3200
Simona Blaugh is the general manager of The Metropolitan, a Chicago business and social club located in the Willis Tower. She joined The Metropolitan in November 2017, overseeing the launch of the reinvention. Simona’s goal was to add purpose behind the project, creating a curated and aspirational experience. She continues to lead the creation of strategic partnerships and philanthropic initiatives to make The Metropolitan unique. Prior to The Metropolitan, Simona worked at the Mid-America Club, where she and her team catapulted the club to a top performer within six months.
Simona began her hospitality career as a manager at popular restaurant chain J. Alexander’s, working at various locations across the country. She later served in hospitality management roles for Lettuce Entertain You, Lifetime Fitness and Fitness Formula Clubs.
Simona originally planned to be a physician, and after her university studies she worked as a forensic scientist. She has had her work published in the Journal of Forensic Science, and the FBI still uses her research and products she helped developed for counter-terrorism and DNA forensics.
Simona currently lives in Naperville with her husband and two sons.
A native Illinoisan, Kyle studied Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Missouri. Working his way up from server/bartender to Events and Food and Beverage Management in some of Chicago's iconic restaurants and hotels, he rounded out his experience by excelling on the leadership team in the Rooms Division with HEI Hotels. Kyle is excited to bring his 15 years of hospitality leadership with him to the Club Corp team at The Metropolitan. In his free time Kyle enjoys trivia nights, last minute road trips, and "playing tourist" in the city that he loves Sweet Home Chicago!
Role: Senior Director of Private Events Serving Since: 2012 Phone Number: 312.993.2522
Ashley was born and raised in Chicago, only leaving to obtain her degree from The University of Illinois and to experience an adventurous semester abroad in Australia. After studying communications and business at The University of Illinois and hospitality in Australia, planning events became her passion.
Prior to joining the ClubCorp Family in 2012, Ashley coordinated private events for a restaurant group in the heart of Chicago's River North neighborhood. Along with her husband, Ashley enjoys cooking while sharing a glass of wine and playing fetch with their puppy.
Role: Private Event Director Serving Since: 2013 Phone Number: 312.993.2506
Lorena was born & raised in the suburbs of Chicago, and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communication Studies. She immediately gained experience in the hospitality industry after college working at Soldier Field. Lorena joined the ClubCorp family in 2013 as a Membership assistant, and loves her role as a Private Event Director. When she's not at work, Lorena enjoys rec league sports with her friends, traveling and listening to music.
Role: Private Event Director Serving Since: 2015 Phone Number: 312.993.2500
Sally is from Chicago, IL and graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Corporate Communications. Her background in marketing and corporate event planning will be a huge plus for The Metropolitan.
Role: Membership Director Serving Since: 2017 Phone Number: 312.993.2501
Tina was born and raised in Ohio and has lived in Chicago since 2000. Before joining The Metropolitan in 2017, she worked in higher education as a communications director, helping to strengthen academic research, student recruitment and donor relations. Tina joins our team with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. For the last four years, as an independent consultant, she has helped develop and guide pr strategy and brand development for local businesses.
Tina graduated cum laude from The Ohio State University with two Bachelor of Arts degrees in journalism and Modern Greek, and a Master of Arts in public affairs reporting from Columbia Chicago.
She is a classically trained pianist who also loves to sing, paint, dance and has a passion for the visual and performing arts. In her free time, Tina enjoys live music, biking, traveling, photography and entertaining with family and friends.
Craig Barnard-El is a Chicago native that began his career in competitive tumbling and gymnastics. As a former Jesse White Tumbler, Craig achieved collegiate success winning 2 national titles with the University of Louisville, earned a spot as a member of the 2000 USA Worlds team all while earning his Bachelor of Arts in Theater.
In 2004, Craig parlayed his competitive success into a successful business. As a successful entrepreneur, he created a successful private tumbling, cheerleading and fitness club. The RFG Group included three gyms in two states, a camp company and an apparel company.
In 2017, Craig sold his companies and pursued a career in consulting and hospitality. He currently lives in Lake County with his husband of 10 years.
Chris is a Illinois native returning home to Chicago after 4 years in Colorado's front range. A theater major at Illinois State, Chris comes to The Metropolitan with a dozen years of experience in membership and membership management; first with Fitness Formula Clubs in Chicago, and then with Wellbridge, managing sales for Colorado Athletic Clubs in Colorado. He lives on the city's northwest side with his wife and two dogs.
Role: Member Relations Director Serving Since: 2017 Phone Number: 312.993.2514
Born and raised within the Chicagoland area, Colleen earned her bachelor's degree from DePaul University in Art & Digital Media.
Colleen has an extensive background in brand development and sales, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to startups. In addition to her career life, Colleen is also the Junior League of Chicago's Annual Gala Chair - the organizations signature fundraising event.
In her free time, Colleen loves to taking her nieces out on adventures throughout the city, and spending time with friends and family.
Role: Beverage Manager & Sommelier Serving Since: 2017 Phone Number: 312.993.2517
Our Gary is a native Chicagoan who began his career with Marriott International at 17 where he developed a passion for food and beverage. He moved up through the service and managerial ranks before moving onto Chicago’s iconic Palmer House Hilton. Leaving Chicago to broaden his experience, exposure, and travel he worked with Norwegian Cruise Lines in multiple national and international mega ships. Gary was with Smith & Wollensky before joining us at The Metropolitan! He is currently working and studying his way through the levels within The Court of Master Sommeliers.
Coming back to Near West Suburbs after life at sea, Gary enjoys working out, traveling, cooking, wine and bourbon tasting, sports (Die hard Cubs and Bears fan), dog sledding with his Siberian Husky, and spending time with family and friends.
Role: Service Director Serving Since: 1999 Phone Number: 312.993.2521
Helen was born and raised in Eritrea, North East Africa. She come in as a refugee with her parents, five brothers, and sister to Indianapolis 1994.
Helen graduate from Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) with a degree in Computer Technology.
Helen began her career with ClubCorp family as a Server/Captain at the Skyline Club in Indianapolis in 1999. In 2004 Helen began working at the Metropolitan Club as Supervisor/Assistant Banquet Manager, where she oversaw many private and member based events. Later she would take on additional duties as major changes swept through the banquet department and become a Service Director.
In her fee time, Helen enjoys spending her time with her husband, Berhane, and her three children, Nathal (11), twins Hermella and Hermon (7). Loves traveling with her family and friends around the world.
Role: Executive Chef Serving Since: 2017
Greg’s love of food comes from his Italian background and his techniques—he uses his hands to create delicious creations. Greg attended Chicago’s Washburne Trade School and then La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris before working at Levy Restaurants organization, an off-premise catering company, and the Cash House restaurant. In addition to the Metropolitan Club, Chef Carso has worked at several other ClubCorp clubs.
He is well known for his messy kitchens while experimenting and creating new and different cuisines. Greg Carso believes the messier the kitchen the better, “One of the things I love most about being a chef is the ‘high’ I get after a hectic day of trouble-shooting and making things work.” Greg Carso is available for speaking engagements, cooking demonstrations, and hosting.
Chef Carso has participated in various dinners from celebrities, politicians, and famous athletes. He has been involved with James Beard Celebrity Chef dinners, cooking with former White House chefs to celebrity chefs from the Food Channel. He has been honored as an alumnus from Washburne Trade School and is involved with an inner city organization “Break Through” that teaches teenagers how to cook.