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9/10 - Beyond the Meeting: Creative Community Engagement

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

Community engagement is changing in the 21st century, and organizations are moving from a 'check-the-box' approach to a more robust, holistic framework for involving the public in their decision making process. Learn how planners are innovating in the realm of community engagement - both online and offline. Featuring a panel of planners from the public, private, and nonprofit sections, this session will leave attendees with rich anecdotes and concrete strategies that can be applied to their work engaging their own communities.


Jeremy Shackett, Engagement Strategist, Bang the Table Jeremy Shackett is an Engagement Strategist in Bang the Table’s Boulder, CO office. Jeremy holds a BA in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Through his development of a mobile community engagement app, Gymnasium, he was a speaker and finalist in the American Planning Association’s Innovating Planning Apps Competition in 2016.

Bang the Table specializes in online community engagement. Hundreds of local governments worldwide use Bang the Table’s software, EngagementHQ, to reach more residents of their communities in a transparent and safe online platform.

Abby Monroe, Public Participation Officer, City of Chicago, Department of Planning and Development Abby Monroe is a community engagement specialist and IAP2-trained facilitator serving the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development in a first-of-its-kind role as Public Participation Officer. Ms. Monroe draws on her experience in event production, conversation design, and community development to craft award-winning and innovative public engagement programs. In Chicago, she has led public outreach for a number of community planning initiatives including the North Branch Framework Plan, West Loop Design Guidelines, River Edge Ideas Lab and Guidelines (currently ongoing), and more. Prior to joining the City of Chicago, Ms. Monroe led a team of community engagement consultants working with government agencies across California. A Chicago native, she is glad to share her creative approach to public participation with her hometown and is always looking to learn about and collaborate on new strategies to maximize inclusivity and meaningful civic experiences.

Erin Cigliano, AICP, People-Place Planner + Creative Strategist, Teska Associates, Inc. Since joining Teska Associates, Inc. in 2005, Erin Cigliano has been creatively engaging communities using her experience in planning, marketing and interactive design. Her abilities span from information architecture and data visualization to innovative engagement techniques, in-person workshop facilitation, and mindmapping. By merging the application of engagement mediums with creative thinking, Erin is able to effectively build project momentum, optimize outreach efforts and convey information and plans in a way that is enticing and readily understood. Erin has served as lead planner and engagement specialist for numerous planning efforts including Imagine Dubuque Comprehensive Plan (2017 APA-IA Outreach Award), Wicker Park Bucktown Master Plan (2017 APA-IL Outreach Award), Historic West Des Moines Master Plan, and Your Frankfort Comprehensive Plan (ongoing).

Seva Gandhi, Director of Programs and Partnerships, Institute of Cultural Affairs. Seva Gandhi, a Chicago native, has been in the field of community development as an organizer and facilitator locally and abroad, for the past 8 years. Seva has organized the Chicago Sustainability Leaders Network, a project that uses the Technology of Participation facilitation methods to connect local neighborhood sustainability initiatives and environmental organizations throughout the City of Chicago for the past 5 years. She has trained local community development organizations throughout Chicago and the US on facilitation tools to maximize genuine participation and engagement from their constituencies). Seva received her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) with a focus on community organizing from the University of Michigan. Seva is a Certified ToP Facilitator (CTF) and a ToP Menor Trainer. Much of Seva’s facilitation and engagement work takes place at the intersection of environmental justice and anti-racism work. She is currently a fellow at the Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute and on the leadership team of Chicago Regional Organizing for Anti-Racism (CROAR), a local chapter of CrossRoads, and on the Boards of ICA-International, and the One Earth Film Fest.

Drew Awsumb, AICP (moderator) Deputy Community Development Director, City of Highland Park and 2018 APA-IL State Conference Chair

  • Date and Time: Monday, September 10, 2018

  • Time: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM CDT (please note the new start time, it was previously 2pm)

  • Location: Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) 233 South Wacker Drive #800, Cook County Room, Chicago, IL 60606

  • CM: 1.5 CM Credits Pending

  • For program questions, please email:


After the session, join APA-CMS and Bang the Table for a happy hour at Randolph Tavern (188 W. Randolph St). The evening of drinks, bites and networking will be sponsored by Bang the Table, who will be providing the first round of drinks and appetizers for the group.

REFUND POLICY: If you are unable to attend an event, any requests for a refund must be made via Eventbrite or emailed to within 2 days of the completion of the event. Refunds will not be made available for any events with a waitlist with the exception of extenuating circumstances. Requests for a refund will be granted at the discretion of the APA CMS.

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