When Alina Constantinescu joined BPWA’s board last January, it was quickly apparent that she would be president one day. What we couldn’t predict, however, was how soon that would happen.
As she prepares to take the reins from outgoing President Colleen Neff, we have no doubt that our organization will be in good hands.
“We could not be more fortunate than to have Alina leading Path Wanderers,” says Colleen. “She is super smart, incredibly organized, fun to work with, and loves the paths of Berkeley!”
Even before she became an official board member, Alina pitched in to help with our events, including our 2017 Parks and Path Challenge and our Annual Meeting on disaster preparedness.
For the last year, together with Jacob Lehmann-Duke, Alina has organized our free, twice-monthly guided walks. We’ve lost count of how many of those she led herself, among them the two, ten-mile walks last April to mark our twentieth anniversary.
In a tour de force last July, Alina planned our successful inventory of every path in Berkeley, managing all the logistics so 75 volunteers could inspect the condition of the paths. This complicated event had three starting points, and she plotted 12 routes that ranged in difficulty and length.
Alina first appeared on our radar when former Board member and previous walks co-chair Kay Englund got acquainted with Alina on our walks, recognized her potential, and began recruiting her for the board.
“In her usual, can-do manner, Alina agreed to join and jumped in as co-chair of the walks committee,” Kay explains. “My instincts about her turned out to be absolutely correct. Her talents are an excellent fit for Path Wanderers, and I’m delighted she’s agreed to become President.”
Alina was born in Romania and immigrated to the U.S with her family when she was in high school. She moved to Berkeley in 2011 and began to explore the paths, on her own and with BPWA.
In 2014, she walked every path in Berkeley on six walks led by BPWA stars, Jacob Lehmann-Duke and Zeke Gerwein. She also discovered there was a need for after-work hikes and outdoor activities and organized a Meetup group of evening hikers.
“The paths and stairs are the perfect place to take a two-hour walk and still make it home for dinner,” Alina explains.
Although she recently moved to Richmond, her Berkeley ties remain strong. Her partner is a teacher at Berkeley High, and Alina continues to work as an environmental engineer in downtown Berkeley, specializing in water quality issues.
Joining BPWA’s board was a natural extension of her interests and community spirit.
“Having appreciated BPWA’s accomplishments for years, I was delighted to join the Board,” Alina recalls. “It definitely was time to do my part for the paths. The energy and dedication of the Path Wanderers’ volunteers and supporters never cease to amaze me. ”
Alina plans to keep BPWA on its current course to complete more of the unfinished paths and add more handrails. She also wants the Board to continue to work with local officials to remedy some of the problems our path inventory documented and to emphasize the importance of the paths in Berkeley’s emergency-planning efforts.
And, of course, we expect Alina to lead more walks. “I always enjoy sharing the paths with folks who don’t know they are in our backyard. You don’t have to go to Mt. Tam for a good hike!”