Joining Erie House Board a Homecoming of Sorts for Paul Gassel
May 11, 2015 | Chicago, IL
Wrightwood Wealth Management executive Paul Gassel joined the Erie House Board of Directors in April 2015.
Paul Gassel joined the Erie Neighborhood House Board of Directors this spring, and, in many ways, his new role at the immigrant-serving agency represents a return to his roots.
Paul’s mother emigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s from Athens, Greece, when she was nine months pregnant. Paul was born shortly thereafter in New York City.
The young family later relocated in Chicago and found a lifeline in a neighborhood agency not unlike Erie House. “My mother spoke no English,” he explains, noting the vital role the community organization played as his parents strived to adapt to a new culture.
His family eventually moved to the suburbs, but Paul would not soon forget the open arms of that agency. Now a financial advisor and managing partner of Wrightwood Wealth Management, LLC, Paul has been active in giving back to the city he calls home. He is on the Board of Directors for Norwegian American Hospital and is involved in causes such as Teen Living Programs—an outreach initiative aimed at homeless youth in Chicago—and Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).
Paul was first introduced to Erie House by friend and president of the Board of Directors, John DeCarrier, with whom he shares a commitment to the work of RMHC.
“John told me, ‘Erie House is such a great cause and such a great community. You’ve got to get involved,’” he recalls. DeCarrier’s invitation to the 2014 Future of Promise awards dinner more fully introduced him the work Erie Neighborhood House does for Chicago’s immigrant community.
“I’m particularly interested in the services Erie House provides to adults who don’t speak [English],” Paul says, remembering his mother’s own experience of arriving in a new country without speaking the language. “Erie House is giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed.”
He notes that he is also inspired by the passionate commitment of Erie House leadership and staff. “Their energy just pulls at my heart,” he says.
Perhaps appropriate given his Greek roots, Paul says he relishes boating on Lake Michigan during the summer months. “I’m on the water a lot,” says the Lincoln Park resident. He and his wife also enjoy taking advantage of Chicago’s vast array of outdoor activities with their two daughters. “We like to make the most out of the city’s opportunities.”