Hello and Happy New Year from APA-IL! As I start my term as President of the Chapter I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit about myself and where the Chapter is heading over the course of my two-year term.
I am a Senior Planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) where I have worked for the last seven years to help the Agency implement the goals of our comprehensive regional plan for the seven-county region around Chicago. My work as part of the Agency’s Local Planning team primarily focuses on zoning and comprehensive planning projects to implement the principles of inclusive growth, resilience, and prioritized investment in northeastern Illinois.
I have taken great pride in serving APA-IL as Treasurer and President Elect since May 2013. As Treasurer, I led the Board’s annual budgeting process to ensure that the Executive Committee made strategic decisions to fulfill the Chapter goals within the context of available funding.
As President Elect, I led the effort to create a Chapter-Only Membership option for APA-IL. Since its roll out, we have seen remarkable growth in Chapter-Only Membership with non-traditional planners, allied professionals, plan commissioners, elected officials, engaged citizens, and those that want to stay up-to-date on the latest Illinois planning issues.
During my tenure at APA-IL I have worked with an incredible group of people to find ways to ensure that the Chapter serves the needs of our members. It has been a pleasure to work with our Immediate Past President T.J. Blakeman and I want to sincerely thank him for his efforts at vastly improving the Chapter’s governance during his term.
As President of APA-IL, I will build on the foundation built by TJ and the rest of our Board by focusing on enhancing the State Conference, expanding APA-IL membership, and making an impact on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. These goals are wrapped in an overall objective of continuing to be good stewards of your membership dollars; strategically investing in the Chapter today while maintaining the long-term health of the Chapter.
The APA-IL State Conference continues to be the premier planning event in Illinois, connecting planners and local officials to educational opportunities and one another. As President, I will work with the Chapter’s Professional Development Officer and Conference Chair to ensure that the conference continues to provide diverse programming and skill-building tracks that respond to the needs of our members. We will also explore ways to bring more affiliated organizations and local officials to the conference to broaden APA-IL’s statewide influence.
APA-IL has a tremendous opportunity to continue to expand our membership through Chapter-Only membership in the coming years. Chapter-Only membership is a new way for active members of our neighborhoods to join the Chapter and stay up-to-date on the latest planning issues in Illinois. This initiative seeks to communicate the value of planning in Illinois and build on our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee’s efforts to increase diversity within the planning profession and provide resources to support inclusive planning.
As President I will continue the work of our Executive Committee to improve the way that planners in our state address diversity, equity, and inclusion. Planners today must address the legacy of systemic racism in our built environment head on. As someone who has been rewriting zoning ordinances around the Chicago region for more than a decade, we have a tremendous opportunity to right past wrongs through our work in ways large and small. APA-IL is committed to working with our members and partners in a multi-faceted effort to promote more inclusive, just, and equitable communities through a planning profession as diverse as the communities we serve. We will address these issues through our monthly programming, our state conference, our partnerships with student planning organizations, and our membership outreach efforts.
I look forward to working with our membership across the state to help create great communities for all in Illinois!