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The Vanguard conference is a gathering of rising urban innovators working to make change in cities. Designed to bring together professionals working across disciplines and sectors, each Vanguard class includes policymakers and politicians, architects and urban planners, artists and mediamakers, all selected through a competitive application process. After more than a decade of Vanguard conferences, the Vanguards number more than 400. Learn more about Vanguards past and present on this page, where you can search for Vanguards and Vanguard alumni by discipline, geographic area and more. Find your next collaborator or just learn about these rising leaders.
Dr Subeh Chowdhury is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland. Subeh’s area of expertise is a combination of her background in Civil Engineering and her interest in psychology. Her research involves examining the needs of transport by various communities. Subeh has a strong passion for serving disadvantaged communities and has focused her research on finding feasible solutions to help them.
Shani Christopher serves as the Director of Sales and Operations at EcoLogic Solutions, a green cleaning products manufacturer. She recently launched RePurpose Food Co., using rescued produce to create healthy, affordable baby food in New Orleans. Shani holds a BS in Biological Engineering and is passionate about sustainable, equitable development.
Michael Christoff graduated with an M.Arch from Kent State University in 2005, and moved to Cleveland to work on the Flats East Bank redevelopment project. His focus has been on complex projects that require strategic physical, social and cultural interventions. When not in his office at architecture and strategy firm Vocon, he is immersed in initiatives that leverage Cleveland’s creative efforts into visible and tangible change.
Elizabeth Bowie Christoforetti is design director and co-founder of Supernormal, a design and research collaborative built to explore the potential of big data for the design of small urban places. Supernormal bridges the disciplines of architecture, urban design, and planning to bring increased sensitivity and systematization to urban development.
Director, Case Studies and Publications at the Urban Land Institute; editor at Greater Greater Washington; board member at Sierra Club, DC Chapter.
Maya Chupkov spent the past five years in community organizing and housing justice work in San Francisco. She joined the Council of Community Housing Organizations in 2018 as Communications Director, overseeing its communications strategy. Maya earned a Master’s in Public Affairs, where she focused on issues in housing and homelessness.
Laine Cidlowski is the Lead Urban Sustainability Planner for the Office of Planning. She is the project manager for the Office of Planning for the Sustainable DC initiative to make the city the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States. It is a citywide initiative crafted for and by the District’s diverse community with the ultimate goal of making DC more socially equitable, environmentally responsive, and economically prosperous.
Jessa Ciel is an artist and filmmaker based in Sacramento, CA. Recent projects include directing the short film Like Home, and working on the Oscar-nominated film Lady Bird. Ciel holds an MFA in photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and a BA in Film from CSU Los Angeles.
Kate Clark, MPA is the Assistant Director of the Center for Population Health Innovation at Thomas Jefferson University. Prior this position, she worked in local governments and organizations managing initiatives, such as Age-friendly Philadelphia and GenPhilly, that aim to address the social and environmental determinants of health.
Matthew Clarke, an architect, planner and writer, is the Director of Creative Placemaking at the Trust for Public Land. He is committed to ensuring that every American has a 10-minute walk to a park in order to build livable, healthy, and resilient communities. Matthew is the author of The Field Guide for Creative Placemaking in Parks. Prior to his current role, Matthew held positions with SHoP Architects, NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and LTL Architects.
Jason Lloyd Clement creates online/offline campaigns that engage local communities across the country in saving places that matter. Clement studied advertising and communications at the University of Texas. During his four years in Austin, he learned what to this day is his personal and professional motto: Always keep it weird.
Demion Clinco is a native Tucsonan. Graduating with a background in art, art history and design, he created a career advocating for Tucson’s historic urban resources. He attended college in L.A. and a post graduate program in Milan, Italy. Demion serves on numerous community boards focusing on projects affecting the built environment.
Allan is a licensed architect and Senior Project Manager at Hester Street, an urban planning, design and development nonprofit that works to ensure neighborhoods are shaped by the people who live in them. Allan’s career has centered on delivering community development projects that focus on racial and economic inequality through affordable housing and community planning. His work leverages inclusive community engagement to drive local buy-in, meeting design and development goals through best practices and innovation in architecture and construction management.
Rachel Cogger is a Sydney-based Senior Communications and Engagement consultant and skilled social/ urban planning researcher. She is passionate about soundscapes and how they influence our urban experiences and is exploring this through her PhD research. Previously, Rachel worked as an urban planning lecturer, environmental graphic designer and event manager.
As the Policy Director for North Carolina’s Department of Transportation, Aldea is responsible for improving strategic transportation policies within the agency. She has 18+ years of experience in urban planning policy and legislation, leadership capacity building, community organizing and non-traditional outreach initiatives. She holds her master’s in Geography from UNC at Charlotte and bachelor’s in Environmental Science from NC A&T State University.
Durell Coleman is the founder and CEO of DC Design, a social impact design consultancy that co-designs solutions to social problems alongside governments, foundations, non-profits, and the communities they serve. He has worked to reduce homelessness, develop new approaches to criminal justice reform, reimagine healthcare service models, and more.
Joseph is a native Angelino who attended Tulane University. At the Tulane School of Architecture, through leadership on campus and studying abroad in Barcelona, Joseph developed a love for urban design and community engagement. After graduating, he was hired at the New Orleans City Planning Commission – after meeting his then-future boss at a community forum.
Howard Conyers works to increase minority participation in STEM education, historic home ownership & preservation, and southern food history preservation. These activities are a dichotomy from his career as an engineer with NASA. Howard holds a BS in Bioenvironmental Engineering and MS/PhD in Mechanical Engineering.
Monty Cooper practices law with Sedgwick LLP in Washington, D.C. He handles matters on behalf of corporate clients in state and federal courts across the country. He is also chairman of the board for the Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County (MD), which selects development partners for infill development projects and administers affordable-housing programs.
Lynn Coppedge is an urban planner focused on accelerating the adoption of sustainable practices in local communities. In her current role as Sustainability Planner with Brendle Group, she works with communities to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices through planning and program development. She received her Master’s of Urban and Regional Planning from Arizona State University.
A native of Newark, NJ, Steve is a UX Designer at Audible. He has had prior stints at Goldman Sachs, Microsoft, and NYC & Company. Steve holds a B.A. in Economics and Computer Science from Boston College and an M.P.S. from NYU in the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).
Kathleen Corradi is the Zero Waste Manager for NYC Department of Education where she oversees the design and implementation of waste management and recycling programs across 1,800 schools and manages an outreach team of nine. Kathy holds a Master degree in Urban Sustainability from The City College of New York.
Sahar Coston-Hardy is a fine art and landscape architecture photographer focused on the social structure of race and cultural identity. Integrating portraiture, urban design, and street photography, her work investigates place, power, and personhood. She is currently working on a collaborative multimedia project, examining the landscape of resilience and struggle.
Lyz Crane is the Deputy Director for ArtPlace America. Previously, she served as the Communications Director at ArtHome, an organization that helps artists and their communities build assets and equity through financial literacy; and the Director of Program Development and Program Manager of the Shifting Sands Initiative at Partners for Livable Communities, a national nonprofit leadership organization.
Rondell Crier began his art career in 1991 after joining a youth arts organization called YAYA. During his participation in the program, he gained worldwide experiences through commissions and travel opportunities abroad and in numerous cities across the States. Currently, he continues to practice and mentor art in his community
Stephen Crim is a planner who is passionate about fostering sustainable movement for people. His current focus is in transportation demand management, parking policy, as well as coordinated transportation and land-use planning that provides individuals with access to life’s needs instead of focusing on mobility alone. His work experience includes land-use planning and transit advocacy on the Gulf Coast.
Alison Crowley is a real estate development professional focused on restoring vacant and underutilized properties, placemaking, and housing development in high barrier to entry markets. She received her Masters in City Planning and Masters of Science in Real Estate Development from MIT in June 2015.
Betty Cruz founded Change Agency, a social enterprise that elevates civic initiatives, in September 2016 where she leads implementation of a countywide immigrant integration plan. Previously, Betty was Deputy Chief of Special Initiatives for City of Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto. Originally from Miami, Betty is the daughter of Cuban immigrants.
Clarissa Cummings has a Masters in International Affairs from The New School where her focus in studies was Cities and Social Justice. After living abroad and finding parallel issues around Black oppression in global cities she founded Urbanational to support the leadership development of Black changemakers working in urban spaces.
Jamie’s expertise spans government and nonprofits, including community planning, economic development and environmental advocacy. As a Government Affairs Representative and former Associate City Planner, her work extends from permitting/entitlement reviews to policy development and sustainability program management. She holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from San Francisco State University.
Mara D’Angelo has her Master’s in Public Policy, and has spent her career working on smart growth, vacant property reclamation, and urban revitalization policy issues. She is currently the Director of Special Projects for Baltimore Housing’s Permits and Code Enforcement Division.
Ana Teresa Dahan works in Legal & Government Affairs at NBCUniveral while attending Loyola Law School. Specialties: Education reform, political strategy and advocacy, public relations, communications, social media, conflict resolution, government negotiations.
Growing up loving nature and the power of a united community, Samir has shaped his career as an urban planner that focuses on the relationship between our physical environment, health, and community empowerment. Samir currently works as the Planning Manager for the Philadelphia LandCare Program with PHS, helping to turn vacant lots into community assets.
As the managing director of Executive Director of Kultivate Labs, he has successfully grown businesses through strategic branding, design, and crowdfunding. As a dedicated community advocate, Desi is currently leading the strategy for the economic development of SOMA Pilipinas, a newly designated cultural district in San Francisco.
Lyndsay Daudier seeks to find ways to make cities more livable through inclusion. With a background in urban planning, law, and project management, she is a dot-connector creating innovating partnership through Amplifier Montréal a movement within The Maison de l’innovation sociale – MIS (Social Innovation Centre). She aims to bring together entrepreneurs, citizens, academics, technology experts and investors across the province of Quebec with the purpose of maximizing the collective impacts of initiatives for equitable and sustainable development.
Emily is a Senior Urban Planner. She is a passionate Novocastrian and wants Newcastle to be internationally renowned as an amazing, unique place. She is enthusiastic about people power and the creative industries, being the Co-director of Idea Bombing Newcastle and on the board of Octapod.
Ennis Davis is a community activist focused on facilitating urban revitalization through social engagement and placemaking. In addition Ennis is the Chair of APA Florida’s First Coast Section, a mayoral appointee to the board of the Northeast Florida Regional Transportation Commission and co-founder of tactical urbanist group, TransformJax . Ennis holds a Bachelor in Architecture from Florida A&M University and is an Urban Planner with Ghyabi & Associates.
Ujijji Davis, Brooklyn born, is a landscape architect and urban planner currently living in Detroit. There she focuses on landscape and urban design, master planning, and strategic implementation projects. Her current research regards the importance of arts & culture, race and vernacular landscapes in the urban realm.
Javon is an Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department and a Co-Host of the GovLove Podcast. He is a graduate of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University and is dedicated to using his training to advance equity in urban communities.
Jake Day is the City Council President of his hometown – Salisbury, MD – elected at the age of 30 with 75% of the vote. Jake is an urban designer, Army cavalry officer and candidate for Mayor. He has spent his 2 years on Council devoted to the revitalization of downtown Salisbury.
Cinthia De La Rosa is a Senior Project Manager at Hester Street where she manages various public health, resiliency, and community engagement projects. She has over 10 years of public health and community engagement experience and is committed to working alongside low-income communities to create opportunities where people can thrive.
Jessica Debrah is a Program associate at Victoria Foundation. She graduated from Pomona College where she majored in International Relations with a focus on Africa, theatre, and non-governmental organizations. She is a Ghanaian immigrant who grew up in Newark; her love for Newark and Ghana informs her work greatly.
Margaret Decker is passionate about effective, accessible, and equity-focused government. In the Chicago Mayor’s Office, she works on projects related to land access and community development. Margaret holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s in Engineering from the University of Michigan.
Oscar Delgado was elected to represent Ward 3 in 2012. Ward 3 is an area of northeast and central Reno, which includes the Wells Avenue and Mira Loma neighborhoods, as well as neighborhoods east of the University of Nevada, Reno. As a member of the Reno City Council, Oscar brings to the Council his education, experience in the construction industry, understanding of economic development, and practice within the social service/community outreach sector.
Lisa Destro grew up in the Dominican Republic to a Dominican mother and an Italian father. After graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) with an M.S. in Transportation Engineering she moved to Boston to work for Cambridge Systematics. She’s been working in transportation planning specializing in goods movement since 2010, 8 years in Boston and as of last summer in NYC. Lisa is interested in providing effective and data-driven approaches to help develop equitable and sustainable solutions to transportation problems.
Veri di Suvero is the Executive Director of the Alaska Public Interest Research Group. Located in Anchorage, Alaska, they work on state-wide consumer initiatives including building an energy democracy, securing a complete and accurate Census count, and holding the government accountable.
Chris Dickersin-Prokopp is from the Bay Area and has lived, worked, and studied in L.A., Mexico City, and D.C. He strives to advance social justice issues, such as poverty alleviation, income equality and racial integration, through the formulation and implementation of urban policies, specifically in the field of affordable housing.
Megan Dickerson is an exhibition developer and designer who works with communities to create play spaces that connect people with each other. In her current role at San Diego’s The New Children’s Museum, Megan collaborates with artists to develop emergent, site-specific artworks for a family audience. She is one of the first Americans to earn a Masters in Play and Playwork, a practice that originated on adventure playgrounds in the United Kingdom and in Scandinavia. She writes regularly on play and urbanism.
Gerald S. Dickinson is a law professor and lawyer focusing his advocacy and writing on the intersection between constitutional property, land use law, housing and urban development. A former Fulbright Scholar, he advocated on behalf of inner-city squatters in unlawful removals in South Africa and, while practicing at Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh, he founded and coordinated the firm’s Housing Rights Project representing indigent tenants in eviction proceedings.
Kate leverages her experience as an attorney and urban planner to develop online tools that make zoning regulations more comprehensible, navigable, and actionable. Kate is the Director of Public Sector Innovation at Symbium, the Computational Law Company. Kate also serves on Next City’s board of directors and is a fellow at CodeX: The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics.
Sarah Dirsa is an architect and public interest designer. She co-founded and directed the social responsibility initiative at one of the world’s largest architecture firms before moving to New York to join a small firm that focuses on schools and projects rooted in the local community.
Melissa Dittmer is the Director of Architecture + Urban Design at Bedrock Real Estate Services. In her role, Melissa is responsible for leading Bedrock’s internal architecture studio – a collaborative group that completes the research, analysis, programming, and conceptual design of Bedrock’s real estate projects.
Alex Dodds works at the intersection of cities, public policy, and digital advocacy. As Communications Director of Smart Growth America, she helps to lead the national movement of organizations, companies, and advocates working for better urban development strategies nationwide. When not working, Alex is usually out exploring the ever-evolving Washington DC.
Naomi Doerner is a racial justice advocate, coalition builder and planner. She recently joined the City of Seattle as the first-ever Transportation Equity Program Manager. She provides internal policy leadership and builds community partnerships to expand the accessibility of safe, reliable and affordable mobility options for all. Over the last 10-years, Naomi has held numerous leadership roles, including principal and co-founder at Seneca Planning, a transportation equity consultancy. She earned her M.U.P. from NYU, serves on the Boards of ioby and PlayBuild New Orleans and co-organizes The Untokening, a mobility justice leadership of color development network. Naomi lives in Seattle, WA.
Emily Doerr (Collins-Hamel) currently works as a Business Attraction Manager for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. She has previously worked in community and economic development advocacy, grants management, small business development, and local government. In 2011, she founded Hostel Detroit (www.hosteldetroit.com) which has welcomed over 4000 people to explore the Motor City for themselves.
Kevin Donoghue is serving his third term as a City Councilor in Portland, Maine. Representing a diverse urban district and several islands in Casco Bay, his policy work focuses on affordable housing and transportation choice, updating zoning and transit service to reflect the needs of Portland.
Kimberly Dowdell’s overarching professional mission is to improve the quality of life for people living in cities. She is pursuing this mission through her work in the City of Detroit’s Housing & Revitalization Department. Kimberly is a licensed architect with a specialty in real estate project management and public administration.
Brittney Drakeford combines faith, arts, and technology to energize communities to create equitable places for generations today and tomorrow. Her practice centers on how the built environment holds memories of discrimination and how to leverage the intangible cultural heritage of the marginalized to advance shared leadership and collective action.
Katie Drennan started her career working for several years on shaping federal transportation and land use policy in Washington, D.C. In 2011, she returned to her home in Portland, OR to pursue a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning. Kate now works as a transportation planner, integrating policy and planning to help Agencies, Cities, and regions plan and build vibrant multimodal communities.
Andy Durling is a Principal Planner with Wood Rodgers, serving public and private sector clients across the Western US. With a career marked by a wide variety of design influences across multiple sectors, he draws from his experiences to engage communities in meaningful dialogues surrounding complex land use and transportation planning issues.
Amanda Eaken is Deputy Director of the Urban Solutions Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Her recent work has focused on implementing California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Law (SB 375) to create stronger, healthier, and more resilient communities in California.
Ifeoma Ebo is an experienced Urban Designer, Strategist and Founding Director of Creative Urban Alchemy where she consults on equitable design and sustainable development strategy for city governments and civic institutions internationally. The diversity of her 20-year career emphasizes a commitment to social justice and design excellence. She has held leadership roles in NYC government striving to advance a more equitable city through housing, open space and neighborhood development. She serves on Advisory Boards for the Mayor of Helsingborg, Sweden H22 Smart City Initiative, Association for Community Design and the BlackSpace Urbanist Collective. She serves as an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University and Columbia University GSAPP. Ifeoma holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master in City Design and Development from MIT.
Zahra Ebrahim is a change-driven creative, deeply invested in using design and design process to explore community engagement, institutional innovation and participatory city building. As the Principal of the design think tank, archiTEXT, she has led innovation projects with some of Canada’s largest charities and governing bodies.
Nicole Eigbrett is a queer, Asian American adoptee and community organizer in the housing justice movement. She brings her experiences and passion for public service, progressive policy making, and radical organizing to build the collective power of working-class, BIPOC, and immigrant residents in Somerville, Massachusetts.
Amber Elliott is the Community-based Improvement Advisor on the Built For Zero Team and the former Housing Director for the North Hartford Partnership, where she works to dismantle the system impediments that create the precursors to homelessness. She is a graduate of Howard University and University of Michigan Law.
Matt Endacott is Senior Urban Renewal & Engagement Consultant and Cities Lead at AECOM. Matt has held various roles on the “Revitalising Newcastle” program in Australia, including Communications Manager, and has a Masters in Urban Renewal & Housing. Matt is also a Director of the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation.
Jonathon Ende is founder and CEO of SeamlessDocs, where he’s helping governments go paperless. He is passionate about changing the way that governments interact with their citizens and is starting with their forms. He and his team work every day to make the world a more seamless place. But as Jonathon says, it isn’t really work if you love what you do.
Kia Ervin is a branding expert with nearly 15 years of experience. She specializes in developing unique opportunities for industry leaders in a myriad of professions. Her work expands their brand by developing strategic partnerships and increasing their philanthropic engagement. Currently she is the Executive Director of Accelerate Delaware where she is responsible for retaining millennials in the state through social and professional engagement strategies.
R. Denise Everson, Associate AIA, LEED® AP is currently a Consultant with the Connecticut Green Bank. Denise strives to intentionally execute key design principles to positively affect health outcome. Miss Everson is most excited about her team’s exploration of a net-positive clean energy generating solution at the historic Langston Terrace.
Lakweshia Ewing has resided in Chattanooga for five years. She is a graduate of Austin Peay State University, holds a Masters in Education from Tennessee Tech University and is currently a PhD student with a concentration in Organizational Leadership. Lakweshia is employed as the District Family Engagement and Community Partnerships Coordinator for Hamilton County Department of Education.
Douglas Farrand works at the intersection of music, education, urbanism, and place-based organizing. He is concerned with practices that invite us to explore our myriad processes of listening and embody a collective investigation of place, community, and personhood. Co-director of Music City at the University of Orange, NJ.
Edward is Co-Founder, Head of Strategy and Operations for AreaProbe, a tech-enabled research and advisory firm focused on housing and commercial real estate development in urban communities. Edward has over 14 years of professional experience in real estate finance, research and economic development.
As a specialist in urban revitalization and real estate development, Julie Favreau leverage real estate and urban planning to create shared value that benefits citizens, businesses, and cities alike. Her goal is to transform the way we live together through real estate. With her background as a lawyer and in strategic management, she currently works as a project manager at Société d’habitation et de développement de Montréal, a non-profit para-municipal corporation devoted to social and economic revitalization.
Alex Feldman is a Vice President at U3 Advisors, a nationally recognized consulting practice that specializes in real estate and economic development strategies around anchor institutions. Since joining U3 in 2009, Alex has served as a project manager for the firm’s Midtown Detroit anchor strategy where he helped lead the design and implementation of the $5M Live Midtown employee housing incentive program, and the formation of the community development organization Midtown Detroit, Inc.
Robert Feldstein works for Seattle Mayor Ed Murray as the Director of the Office of Policy and Innovation, where his team works on both policy development with department staff and helping lead major mayoral initiatives. Previously he worked for New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg as Chief of Staff in the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning where he worked on local issues and the Mayor Bloomberg’s national priorities.
Steven Feldstein is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL). He is responsible for DRL’s work in Africa, international labor affairs and international religious freedom. He received his J.D. from Berkeley School of Law and his A.B. from Princeton University. He was born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana.
Mike Field is a community activist focused on improving the form and function of his city’s urban core and in-town urban neighborhoods through tactical urbanism and engaging both young professionals and would-be placemakers to become leaders in the community. Mike holds a Bachelors in Economics from Florida State University and is a Senior Analyst at JP Morgan Chase.
Devin Fields is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a B.A. in Landscape Architecture. He is focused on urban design and how we can design all-inclusive spaces using community input and engagement. He currently works as a Freelance Designer for Designing the WE and as a Program Assistant for the New York Botanical Garden.
Chase works on affordable housing, community development, and creative placemaking projects in Montgomery, Alabama. He is an entrepreneur and problem solver who develops and utilizes innovative financing strategies for low-income community revitalization. Chase is on ULI’s National Creative Placemaking working group and leads an ArtPlace America grantee organization.
Diana Flora is a Kresge Mayor’s Fellow for the City of Detroit, working specifically with the Detroit Police Department to implement strategic initiatives that advance the department’s crime reduction, operational efficiency, and community service goals. In her role, she uses data-driven strategies to stimulate a discussion about the needs and challenges of public safety in Detroit.
Proudly born and raised in San Bernardino, Chuy is an interdisciplinary urban planner with expertise in community economic development and environmental policy. He works across sectors managing applied research studies, stakeholder engagement processes, and technical assistance programs. He enjoys bringing folks together to uplift and advance community driven policy solutions.
Jules Flynn is Chief Recovery and Resiliency Officer in the Department of Subways at New York City Transit, helping lead extensive post-Superstorm Sandy repairs and system strengthening investments. Jules is also a board member of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
Seyron Foo leads public policy and government relations at Southern California Grantmakers and Philanthropy California, bringing best practices learned from philanthropy’s investments to better inform policymaking that strengthens communities. Previously, he spent time in state and local government, successfully enacting banking reforms to protect vulnerable Californians, managing citywide infrastructure projects, and overseeing press and community relations.
Gina Ford is a landscape architect, principal, and chair of Sasaki’s Urban Studio. The Urban Studio is an energized and interdisciplinary group of practitioners solely dedicated to the improvement of quality of life in cities through rigorous planning, exceptional design and strong community partnerships.
Michael Ford is known as The Hip Hop Architect, explores architecture and urban planning through the lens of hip hop culture. Ford’s is the Design Director at BrandNu Design and his work has been featured in a variety of places including The TODAY Show, Rolling Stone, and ESPN’s The Undefeated.
Maya Ford is a 20+ year veteran in strategic marketing and communications and the owner of FordMomentum!, a strategic communications firm guided by her five-pillar methodology Standard of LOVE™: Literacy, Self-Esteem, Values, Economic Power, and Justice. She’s passionate about transforming transportation, food security, women in government, and fostering Millennial leadership.
Rodney Foxworth is a nonprofit adviser and philanthropy consultant focused on social entrepreneurship and economic inclusion. He is strategy adviser of Impact Hub Baltimore and Co-Chair of Thread, Inc. an innovative dropout prevention and youth development organization. Rodney is featured in “Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading and Succeeding.”
Beau is the founder and Principal Architect of Activate Architecture, a design and community engagement firm that collaborates with communities, cities and clients to create socially engaged, sustainable, and beautiful spaces. Beau is passionate about equitable design and advancing equity, diversity and inclusion efforts, especially with the LGBTQIA+ community.
David France is an active performer and an innovative educator. He believes that the intersection of innovation, community and the arts can catalyze social change and propel economic growth in a city. This belief catalyzed the launch of Revolution of Hope, a nonprofit focused on social impact through the arts in the inner city of Boston.
Emma Freedman is the Community Impact Manager of the Camden Community Food Fund. Prior to this role she was working to support corner store owners in Camden to collectively purchase goods and services. Freedman works to strengthen the communities she works in through building connections between residents and stakeholders.
Michael Freedman-Schnapp works for Forsyth Street Advisors, an advisory and asset management firm focused on affordable housing, real estate, and municipal/impact investment. He is an adjunct professor at both the Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment and the NYU Wagner School of Public Policy.
Michael was previously Director of Policy & Innovation Division and Director of Policy of the Office of Council Member Brad Lander, both at the New York City Council. He received his B.A. in Archaeology from the University of Virginia and M.U.P from NYU Wagner.
Philip is a civic engagement pro with passions for public art, outdoor recreation, and writing. As the City of Charlotte’s Neighborhood and Community Partnerships Manager, he oversees community grants, environmental programs, and leadership + training opportunities that equip residents to build successful lives. Philip graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, where he majored in English and minored in Entrepreneurship. He earned a Master of Public Affairs at UNC-Greensboro, and he completed graduate coursework at Fuller Theological Seminary in Colorado Springs.
Rachel Frierson is the director of programming for the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, the non-profit organization responsible for developing the Detroit RiverWalk and the Dequindre Cut. Rachel oversees and implements the diverse program offerings that activate the Detroit Riverfront to create a world-class gathering space for three million visitors annually.
Kari Fulton is an award winning environmental justice advocate and new media journalist. As the Youth Climate Justice Coordinator for the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC) Fulton leads EJCC’s partnership with the Energy Action Coalition helping to coordinate national campus campaigns and youth summits such as Power Shift 2009; the largest lobby day and youth summit on Climate Change in United States history.
Sylvie Gallier Howard is the Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. Prior to joining the City in 2012, Ms. Gallier Howard was the Principal and Founder of Clementine Consulting, providing guidance to non-profits and social enterprises working in areas such as education, social justice, economic development and immigration.
Edgar Garcia is Arts & Entertainment Deputy for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. With extensive experience in arts administration, cultural resource management, and historic preservation, he is committed to expanding and diversifying the cultural life of Los Angeles.
Ashley Garcia is the Regional Leasing & Marketing manager at local real estate property management firm BGPM and board president at Fund 17. Originally from New York City, Ashley believes real estate and community engagement are key factors to healthier cities for the livelihoods of our future generations.