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2024 APA-IL Leadership Scholarship Winners!

Updated: Jun 26

The American Planning Association - Illinois Chapter (APA-IL) was proud to offer two (2) scholarships to attend the 2024 Spring Midwest Leadership Institute. MLI is a week long seminar to enhance leadership skills and further personal growth headed by former city administrators David Limardi and Bob Kiley in collaboration with organizational psychologists Dr. David Morrison and Dr. Daven Morrison. Each day began with lectures on leading in today’s complex environment, emphasizing sound judgment, authority and influence, ethics, managing emotions, and working towards a work-family-self balance. Breakout sessions in small groups complemented the lectures. In additional to the tuition ($2,850) the APA-IL scholarship also covered the leadership analytics assessment, AJIL® - Assessing Judgment and Insight in Leadership ($475).

Congratulations to APA-IL's 2024 Leadership Scholarship winners:

Katherine E. Lockerby, AICP

Senior Planner, Village of Niles

Christen Sundquist, AICP

Historic Preservation Planner, City of Elgin

Please take a few moments to ready about their MLI experiences at the links above or scroll below.

If the APA-IL offers scholarships again in 2025, an announcement will be made after the 2025 budget is passed at the November APA-IL Executive Committee meeting. Stay tuned.

The APA-IL supports the planning pipeline and this scholarship supports that objective. Many planning organizations in Illinois are struggling to attract talent at senior levels. This leadership training strengthens the pool of urban planning professionals in the State.


From Preservation Planner to Confident Leader: My Journey at the Midwest Leadership Institute

By Christen Sundquist, AICP

Wow, what an amazing experience! Many thanks to APA-IL for the Leadership Scholarship to attend the Midwest Leadership Institute’s Spring session. The scholarship granted me access to this seminar that I otherwise would not have been able to attend.

The most impactful aspect for me were the breakout sessions as well as the experiences shared by David and Bob regarding their past decisions and reflections on what they would do differently now. It was also enlightening to hear from fellow attendees about their experiences and perspectives.

Christen Sundquist, AICP

As the Historic Preservation Planner for the City of Elgin, I often have to deliver difficult or unwelcome news to residents regarding property work. While confident in my preservation and planning knowledge, I sometimes find myself questioning decisions when faced with adversarial residents or contractors. This seminar provided valuable insights into my tendencies to pull back and offered goals to enhance my confidence in decision-making.

In addition, working in a public office can be demanding and emotionally charged. Reflecting on past experiences, I realized instances where I missed cues and rushed processes. It was noted to us during this seminar that not all projects are a simple A to B task and the complexity of emotions and the possible resistance to change should not be overlooked. The seminar prompted me to reevaluate past projects, acknowledging leadership roles as well as find value in those experiences.

Balancing work, family, and personal time (self) emerged as another impactful seminar theme for me. I often prioritize work and volunteer commitments over personal well-being and was reminded of the importance of self-care and time management. Striking this balance, as it is always changing, will be a priority for me moving forward.

Cristen Sundquist, AICP and the Elgin Heritage Commission

I was also given the opportunity to participate in the Assessment of Judgment and Insight for Leadership (AJIL) which offered me insight into how I make decisions as well as how I manage my emotions during that process. This assessment provided a structured overview of my personality traits and decision-making style, highlighting areas for potential growth and reinforcing aspects of my identity that I could use to become a better leader. Throughout the seminar, Dr. Morrison’s lectures were fascinating and he explained the complexities of good judgment in a way without the discussion feeling overwhelming. 

Once again, I extend my gratitude to APA-IL for this opportunity. The Midwest Leadership Institute was an invaluable experience that has equipped me with the necessary tools and goals to work toward as I navigate the intricacies of leadership.


How the Midwest Leadership Institute Will Transform My Career

By Katherine E. Lockerby, AICP

For those of you who are not aware, there is an amazing learning opportunity right in our backyard - The Midwest Leadership Institute (MLI)! The MLI program included ten topical sessions including lectures, exercises, small group discussions, and daily plenary sessions.


The program was so helpful and the fact that I was able to attend this seminar through the APA’s scholarship was incredible! I have been working part-time for the past six years and attending an educational event to work on my own career advancement was never something I felt comfortable asking for or hasn’t been budgeted for through my employer. I am at a point in my career where I will be transitioning back to full time employment and believed that the principles taught at MLI would be valuable and I was right! Mr. Limardi, Mr. Kiley, and Dr. Morrison were very engaging and the information that was given during the sessions as well as discussed in the small group sessions has been, and will continue to be, used in my daily routine. Attending the MLI has expanded my understanding of leadership principles which will enable me to navigate workplace challenges with more confidence and allow me to make better decisions. Although the focus was on the workplace, there was a wonderful session on balancing work, family, and self, which is a topic that is too often overlooked. Being employed in local government is rather unique and being able to hear from veterans and current peers on issues that relate to work and how they relate to family and self is so valuable and unique. I believe the concepts, discussions, and relationships made at the MLI have positioned me for better long-term success and growth in my career and will, in turn, make me better able to serve the community for whom I work.

Thank you very much to the APA-IL for allowing me to have this amazing opportunity!



Please email Paula Freeze with any questions about the scholarship or the Midwest Leadership Institute.


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