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Policy Summit 2019: Connecting People & Places to Opportunity

When & Where

Policy Summit 2019: Connecting People & Places to Opportunity
June 19–21, 2019
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Cincinnati, Ohio


Please direct any questions about the Policy Summit to Bonnie Blankenship at

* Check back often: As the Policy Summit 2019 agenda is finalized, our list of speakers will grow.

Keynote Speakers

Lael Brainard

Lael Brainard is a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, where she serves as chair of the Committees on Board Affairs, Financial Stability, Federal Reserve Bank Affairs, and Payments, Clearing, and Settlement.

Prior to her appointment to the Board in 2014, Brainard held positions serving the US Department of Treasury. From 2001 to 2008, she was vice president and founding director of the Global Economy and Development Program and held the Bernard L. Schwartz chair at the Brookings Institution, where she built a new research program to address global economic challenges. She has published numerous articles on a variety of economic topics and is the editor or coeditor of several books.

Brainard holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MS and PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Raj Chetty

Raj Chetty is the William A. Ackman Professor of Economics at Harvard University and the director of Opportunity Insights, a Harvard University-based research and policy institute dedicated to understanding why upward mobility and economic progress have stalled for so many US families. His research combines empirical evidence and economic theory to help design more effective government policies. His work on tax policy, unemployment insurance, and education has been cited in media outlets and congressional testimony. His current research focuses on equality of opportunity and ways in which institutions and organizations might foster disadvantaged children’s success.

Chetty is a past recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and the 2013 John Bates Clark Medal awarded by the American Economic Association to the best American economist under age 40.

He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Loretta J. Mester

Loretta J. Mester is president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She participates in the formulation of US monetary policy and oversees 1,000 employees in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh. Prior to assuming her current role in 2014, she was executive vice president and director of research at the Philadelphia Fed, having joined the Bank as an economist in 1985.

Mester has published numerous journal articles on a variety of topics, including economics, central banking, and financial issues. She also serves as managing editor of the International Journal of Central Banking and as coeditor of the Journal of Financial Services Research. She is a director of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, a trustee of the Cleveland Clinic, a trustee of the Musical Arts Association (Cleveland Orchestra), and a director of the Council for Economic Education.

She holds a BA in mathematics and economics from Barnard College and an MA and a PhD in economics from Princeton University.

David Williams

David Williams is a policy director at Opportunity Insights, a Harvard University-based research and policy institute dedicated to understanding why upward mobility and economic progress have stalled for so many US families. Before joining Opportunity Insights, he served as a member of the mayor of Detroit’s economic development team, managing large-scale real estate and community revitalization projects, neighborhood planning initiatives, and policies related to economic mobility, land use, and equitable development.

Williams’ experience includes focusing on antiforeclosure and antieviction law and policy as president of the Harvard Legal Aid Bureau, working on anticorruption initiatives with the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa in Cape Town, working at a law firm that specializes in affordable housing and community development, and consulting for nonprofit and government clients.

He holds an AB from Harvard College and a JD from Harvard Law School.


Alkeyna Aldridge is the director of engagement and economic empowerment for the city of South Bend, Indiana. Her work experience includes serving as director of policy/deputy to South Bend City Clerk Kareemah Fowler, assistant director of outreach engagement recruitment at the University of Notre Dame, and regional outreach coordinator for JAG (Jobs for America’s Graduates) Indiana. Aldridge is a member of Sigma Gamma Sorority, Inc., a 2018 appointee to the American Planning Association’s future of community engagement task force, and a member of the board of directors of the Northeast Neighborhood Revitalization Organization and the Neighborhood Resources Connection.

She holds a BA in sociology and education, schooling, and society from the University of Notre Dame and is completing a masters of urban and regional planning (MURP) focusing on equitable community development methods and participatory planning at Ball State University.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad is chief of equity and inclusion at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). In his role, he oversees NCRC’s fair housing, fair lending, and small business programs. Asante-Muhammad is known for his racial economic inequality analysis, particularly as it relates to the racial wealth divide.

Prior to his position at NCRC, Asante-Muhammad’s experience includes serving as senior fellow and founder of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at Prosperity Now, the senior director of the Economic Department and executive director of the Financial Freedom Center at the NAACP, and positions with Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and the Institute for Policy Studies.

He holds a BA in political science and government from Williams College and an MA in systematic theology from Union Theological Seminary.

Elisabeth (Beth) Babcock is the president and chief executive officer of Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath), an international charitable organization dedicated to creating new pathways to economic independence for low-income individuals and their families. EMPath uses its unique “action-tank” business model to design, build, and test new approaches for creating economic mobility and then share them with other organizations and governments. In her role, Babcock leads EMPath in its strategy to be a research and innovations powerhouse consistently delivering new approaches that expedite pathways out of poverty.

Babcock’s experience includes more than two decades of teaching nonprofit strategy and implementation at the graduate level; serving as a member of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, a national commission that examines promising new approaches to close the opportunity divide; and advising to the World Bank Group, where she helped create and teach for the Online Learning Campus. Her article “Re-thinking Poverty” was named one of the top articles of 2014 by the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Babcock holds a master of city and regional planning from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a PhD in nonprofit strategy from Harvard University.

Layisha Bailey is a community development analyst in the Community Development Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She joined the Bank in November 2017. In her role, she supports the research and outreach of the Community Development Department. Her professional interests include affordable housing, neighborhood development, and economic inclusion, and she is passionate about raising awareness of issues impacting the unserved and underserved in the community.

Bailey holds a BA in urban studies from Cleveland State University and an MBA in business analytics from Baldwin Wallace University.

Kristen Baker is a deputy director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Greater Cincinnati, a national nonprofit intermediary organization that helps resident-led, community-based development organizations transform distressed communities. She leads Place Matters, a resident-led partnership between local funders and neighborhood nonprofits working collectively for the transformation of communities in Greater Cincinnati. Baker assists with strategy development, connects neighborhoods to other partners and regional initiatives to help advance their goals, and administers funding. She also serves as the local expert for national LISC initiatives, and she works with regional organizations to improve outcomes for income, education, and health. Her most important work at LISC is helping neighborhoods build communities by connecting their visions with funding sources and providing technical assistance for other neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Baker holds a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and a master of public administration degree from the University of Dayton.

Eugene Barros is the director of Healthy Homes & Community Support Division at the Boston Public Health Commission. In his role, he focuses on Boston’s most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, blacks and Latinos, and those who are low-income and living in subsidized housing. The division Barros oversees works closely with Boston’s housing agencies, healthcare institutions, academic institutions, government, and a wide range of community groups. Its portfolio includes tobacco prevention and control, asthma prevention, injury prevention, and oral health. Barros has worked on several research projects for his division, including those funded by the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

He holds a BA in business management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Alan Berube is senior fellow and deputy director at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. In this role, he coordinates and amplifies research from across Brookings Metro on how to strengthen economic opportunity in regions, cities, and communities. Berube has authored publications on economic and demographic trends in metropolitan areas, social policies affecting families and communities, and the role of cities in a globalizing economy. He is coauthor of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America.

Prior to joining Brookings in 2001, Berube was a policy advisor in the Office of Community Development Policy at the US Department of the Treasury, a researcher at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and an Atlantic Fellow in public policy at the UK Treasury, focusing on mixed-income housing policy.

He holds a BS in chemical engineering from Stanford University and an MPP from the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service.

Karen L. Black is the chief executive officer of May 8 Consulting, Inc., a woman-owned social impact consulting firm. She is also a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in the Urban Studies Department and a senior research fellow at the Drexel University Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation. In addition, Black is the cofounder of the Healthy Rowhouse Project, an initiative to improve access to private capital for home improvement loans that has leveraged $100 million in public and private capital. Black’s firm, May 8 Consulting, performs policy research, analysis, coalition building, and facilitation to provide innovative and creative solutions to seemingly intractable problems that affect urban, suburban, and/or rural communities. Black’s research and coalition building has supported many innovative state and local laws and policies that address problem properties and attract new investment.

She holds a BA in history and art history from Williams College and a JD from the UCLA School of Law.

Norman A. Bliss is senior vice president and director of community development in the Corporate Responsibility team at KeyBank. In this role, he leads the Community Development Analytics and Strategy team and implementation of the bank’s Community Development lending, investment, and service activities nationwide, ensuring they meet or exceed the requirements of the Community Reinvestment Act and create sustainable outcomes for both clients and communities. In 2018, under Bliss’ leadership, KeyBank received its ninth consecutive “Outstanding” rating from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for exceeding the terms of the CRA.

Bliss holds a BA in economics from Howard University. He also holds a Housing Development Finance Professional Certification and is a graduate of the National Community Development Lending School.

Anna Alvarez Boyd is the senior associate director in the division of Consumer and Community Affairs of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She is responsible for directing the Board’s community development programs and consumer and community development research and identifying emerging issues that inform policy. In her role, Alvarez Boyd manages engagement with the Board’s Community Advisory Council and oversees the Federal Reserve Banks’ community development programs and the creation of research and analytics that inform Federal Reserve policymakers.

Alvarez Boyd has diverse experience in government, corporate, and nonprofit sectors for which she has managed housing and mortgage finance and community development programs at both a national and regional level.

Alvarez Boyd holds a bachelor’s degree in social welfare from San Francisco State University.

Lee Branstetter is a professor of economics and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, where he directs the Center for the Future of Work and helps lead the Block Center for Technology and Society. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He served as a senior economist on the staff of President Barack Obama’s council of economic advisers in 2011 and 2012.

Branstetter holds a BA from Northwestern University and a PhD in economics from Harvard University.

Bethia Burke is vice president of the Fund for Our Economic Future. The fund is a regional funding collaborative dedicated to advancing economic growth that benefits all people of Northeast Ohio. In her role, Burke leads strategy development and resource allocation. Most recently, she led the development of the Two Tomorrows, a call to action that codifies a set of regional priorities to advance inclusive economic growth.

Prior to joining the fund, Burke worked for a defense contractor in the greater Washington DC area, leading cost–risk reviews of major programs.

She holds a BA in economics and English from Case Western Reserve University and an MA in applied economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Evelyn Burnett is a cofounder and partner of the ThirdSpace Action Lab and ThirdSpace CLE Café, whose mission is to prototype creative, place-based solutions to problems using human-centered insights. Prior to her current role, Burnett served as vice president of economic opportunity at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. She also served as associate director for program strategies with Admiral Center at Living Cities, project director in the City of Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability, and as a Cleveland Executive (Coro) Fellow. She is a 2018 German Marshall Fellow and is a board member of several organizations throughout Northeast Ohio and nationally including ioby (In Our Back Yards), Credit Builders Alliance, Teach for America, Birthing Beautiful Communities, Dance Cleveland, Walsh University School of Business, and CTMDreams.

Burnett holds a bachelor’s degree in business and organizational communications and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Akron.

Sister Barbara Busch is cofounder and executive director of Working In Neighborhoods (WIN), an organization that provides financial education and homeownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income residents throughout greater Cincinnati. Originally started with a $14,000 budget, the organization now has an annual operating budget of $1.4 million and employs 21 staff members. As an urban renovator and innovator, Busch sees both needs and strengths in greater Cincinnati’s low- and moderate-income communities. Under her guidance, neighborhood residents have united across racial and socioeconomic boundaries to improve the community.

Busch’s experience includes serving as chair of the board of directors for Beyond Civility, a nonprofit dedicated to helping citizens and civic leaders explore the barriers and bridges to effective dialogue. She is a past president of the Greater Cincinnati chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and has worked extensively on the chapter’s diversity and inclusion efforts, including the creation of a diversity pipeline program called New Faces of Fundraising.

She holds a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan, and she is a licensed independent social work supervisor.

Deena Chisolm is the director of the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice and vice president for Health Services Research in the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She is also associate professor of pediatrics and public health at the Ohio State University. Her research focuses on improving health and healthcare for children and families with more than 75 peer-reviewed publications on pediatric health services, outcomes, and disparities. Her current projects explore how health literacy, health policy, and social factors including housing influence the health of at-risk adolescents transitioning to adulthood. Her research is funded by agencies including the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Chisolm currently serves as the chair of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, a board member for the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, and a member of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Advisory Panel on Outreach and Education.

She earned a BS in biological science education from Miami University and an MS in preventive medicine and a doctorate in public health from the Ohio State University.

Christopher Coes is vice president of land use and development at Smart Growth America, an organization that empowers communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. He oversees Smart Growth America’s real estate programs including LOCUS, a national coalition of real estate developers and investors who advocate for sustainable, equitable, walkable development in America’s metropolitan areas; Form-Based Codes Institute, which offers classes, technical assistance, and other resources to communities and professionals interested in learning about form-based zoning codes; and TOD Finance and Advisors, Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of Smart Growth America.

Coes holds a BA and an MA in government and politics from St. John’s University.

Alisa Costa is initiative director for Berkshire Bridges Working Cities Pittsfield, a resident-driven initiative focused on building economic opportunity for all—regardless of background. It celebrates residents as leaders in building their own community to experience a just, thriving, and safe Pittsfield for all.

Costa’s 20 years of nonprofit social justice advocacy experience includes developing and advocating for public policies impacting vulnerable residents’ access to healthcare and nutrition-assistance programs in New York, leading statewide campaigns for teen access to reproductive health information at Family Planning Advocates of New York State, organizing and advocating for people living with HIV/AIDS, and positions with the New York Civil Liberties Union, Hunger Solutions New York, and New York State Office of Managed Care.

Costa holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University at Albany and studied nonprofit management at Rockefeller College. She is a certified Bridges Out of Poverty facilitator.

Meghan Cummings is the Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. Established in 1995 as a designated fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Women’s Fund has led the community in assessing and identifying barriers to women’s economic self-sufficiency and catalyzing the community to achieve results through innovative projects and relevant policy. The Women’s Fund has granted more than $1 million to support programs serving women and girls in its eight-country service area.

Cummings’ leadership and fundraising experience includes work with nonprofit organizations, a corporate charity, and a community foundation. She focuses on addressing poverty and equity issues by igniting public will and inspiring individuals, companies, and foundations to collaborate in new ways.

Cummings holds a BA in political science and journalism from Miami University and an MBA from Xavier University.

Daniel Paul Davis is assistant vice president and community affairs officer in the Community Development Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Davis directs the department’s efforts to promote economic resiliency and mobility for low- and moderate-income (LMI) and underserved individuals and communities. He is responsible for leading the team to conduct analyses, share ideas, and foster collaborations that promote stronger economic outcomes in LMI communities and increase the efficacy of practitioners and policymakers. He serves as the managing editor of Bridges, a quarterly review of community and economic development issues, and is the co-editor of two recent books on the topics of economic mobility and economic development.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and speech communication from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, a master’s degree in social and economic development from Washington University in St. Louis, and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Andrew Deye is a managing director at JobsOhio, where he oversees strategy, global business development, and research functions. JobsOhio is the leading economic development organization for Ohio and, together with its regional partners, has successfully served more than 1,700 corporate clients, including attracting/recruiting nearly 350 new companies to Ohio since 2013.

Prior to his position with JobsOhio, Deye worked in investment banking for eight years, specializing in public-private partnerships.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Eileen Divringi is a research associate in the Community Development and Regional Outreach Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. In her role, she produces research and actionable information on issues related to housing, access to credit, and household financial well-being. Her recent work examines the home-repair needs of low- and moderate-income homeowners and renters. Prior to joining the Bank in 2014, she interned with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, where she analyzed the agency’s portfolios of subsidized housing and municipally owned vacant land. Prior to moving to Philadelphia, she worked with a coalition of Detroit-area municipalities to develop a model program for environmentally sustainable affordable housing.

Divringi holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and environmental studies from the University of Michigan and master’s degrees in city planning and public administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Sandy Fernandez is the senior director of the MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth, where he is responsible for developing and implementing the center’s strategy and programs across North America. He has focused his career on delivering innovative solutions and strategies and enabling research and policy for the nonprofit and private sectors that drive insights on economic mobility and opportunity.

Prior to joining MasterCard, Fernandez held senior roles at Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase & Co., where he developed national community and economic development programs and led coalition efforts with civil rights, policy, and advocacy groups on issues of asset building, financial capability, capacity building, diversity, and inclusion. He began his career in the community health field conducting outreach and research and providing education to low-income immigrant communities on diabetes and cardiovascular health.

He holds a BA in psychology from Boston University and an MPA from New York University.

Morgan Frank is a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. Frank’s research uses data science and complex systems to understand the future of work and the impact of technology in shaping the demand for types of labor. He holds a BS in mathematics and an MS in applied mathematics from the University of Vermont.

Kendra Freeman is the director of community engagement at Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), an organization that focuses on economic development, vibrant neighborhoods, quality housing and transportation choices, and well-managed natural assets to shape a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous greater Chicago region. In her current role, she is responsible for leading the Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD) program, which includes research, policy advocacy, outreach, and providing technical assistance to communities.

With more than 20 years of experience in program development and operations, Freeman has held leadership positions in the private and nonprofit sectors with a focus on affordable housing and capacity building. Prior to MPC, Freeman worked in affordable housing development and management, and her work focused on investing in people to improve the quality of life in their communities.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public administration from DePaul University.

Joanna Ganning is an assistant professor at the Cleveland State University Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Her research focuses quantitatively on urban and regional economic development, especially urban decline and land economics, industry-based development, and regionalism. Where possible, her work focuses also on promoting economic opportunity for vulnerable and marginalized populations. She often teaches courses in GIS, regional analysis, and economic development. Prior to her position at Cleveland State University, she served as the executive director of the Metropolitan Research Center and as an assistant professor in city and metropolitan planning at the University of Utah.

Ganning holds a BS in environmental resource management from Penn State University, a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a PhD in regional planning from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Marita Garrett is the mayor of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. In her role as mayor, she has re-established the Public Safety Forums, a monthly series that highlights updates in the Wilkinsburg Police Department and provides an opportunity for community members to express their safety concerns. Prior to her being elected mayor, Garrett served on the Wilkinsburg Borough Council during which time she created Wilkinsburg Community Conversations, an initiative to connect and empower residents to work together for neighborhood improvement, and cofounded CIVICALLY, an umbrella nonprofit that focuses on literacy programming, builds healthy communities, and houses the Free Store Wilkinsburg where donations of new and slightly used material goods are available to residents and families.

Garrett holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in psychology from Chatham University.

Taz George is a senior research analyst in the Community Development and Policy Studies division of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. His research examines a range of community development topics, including housing affordability and access to mortgage credit in underserved markets. Before joining the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, George was a research associate at the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Stanford University, and he is currently a master of business administration candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Jeanne Golliher is president and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF), a certified community development financial institution (CDFI) and certified community development entity (CDE), a designation that allows the organization to receive and deploy federal new markets tax credits. In her role, she directs all aspects of the organization’s mission and strategy, including securing loan and investment capital, capital deployment, community outreach, and provision of technical services. CDF’s assets exceed $55 million, and the organization currently services a $225 million loan portfolio, including CDFI and CDE projects. CDF’s more than $425 million in lending has leveraged more than $1.5 billion in investment in Cincinnati’s urban neighborhoods.

Golliher serves on the boards of several economic and community development organizations.

She holds a degree in finance from Xavier University.

Gordon F. Goodwin is the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) Midwest regional project manager at the new Race Forward, the union of two leading racial justice nonprofit organizations: Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion (CSI).

Goodwin has significant experience working with senior leadership teams to achieve mission and program alignment. His specialties include organizational strategy development, program delivery and impact, and governance and leadership. For 30 years, he has worked with and for foundations, community development organizations, and public–private sector consortia in metropolitan and rural settings. Goodwin has contributed to poverty reduction and racial equity public policy efforts with PolicyLink, the Northwest Area Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Foundation for the Mid South, CFED (formerly Corporation for Enterprise Development, now Prosperity Now), and the Aspen Institute.

Joe Grengs is the department chair and an associate professor in urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan. His research examines social equity in transportation and land-use planning and argues for prioritizing transportation investments that improve access to essential destinations for poor people and other disadvantaged travelers.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in city and regional planning from Cornell University.

Hannah Halbert is a project director at Policy Matters Ohio. Hannah came to Policy Matters from the Equal Justice Foundation and the Legal Aid Society of Columbus—for both organizations she represented low-income consumers who had been victimized by predatory lenders of different types.

She holds an undergraduate degree from Transylvania University and a master’s degree in nonprofit management and a law degree from Hamline University.

Darrick Hamilton is the executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at the Ohio State University. In addition, he holds a primary faculty appointment in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, with courtesy appointments in the departments of economics and sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Hamilton is a pioneer and internationally recognized scholar in the field of stratification economics, which fuses social science methods to examine the causes, consequences, and remedies of racial, gender, ethnic, tribal, and nativity inequality in education, economic, and health outcomes. This work involves crafting and implementing innovative routes and policies that break down social hierarchy, empower people, and move society toward greater equity, inclusion, and civic participation.

He holds a BA in economics from Oberlin College and a PhD in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cam Hardy is the president and cofounder of the Better Bus Coalition, a grassroots organization that is committed to ensuring bus service in Hamilton County, Ohio, has adequate funding to address capital deficits and to increase bus frequency throughout the system to ensure that bus riders can get places quickly and efficiently. The Better Bus Coalition has been able to amplify the conversation surrounding the Cincinnati public transportation system. They have showed up at events, handed out flyers, built benches, and have lobbied elected leaders for policy changes such as bus-only lanes and signal priority for buses at busy intersections. In fall 2019, Cincinnati residents will vote on the Better Bus Coalition’s petition to increase the earnings tax devoted to the city’s bus service funding from 0.3% to 0.5%.

Cassie Haynes is the co-executive director of Resolve Philadelphia, a media nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and advancing journalism rooted in collaboration, equity, and the elevation of community voices and solutions. Prior to cofounding Resolve Philadelphia, she served as the deputy executive director of the city of Philadelphia’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, where she directed policy and programmatic initiatives impacting Philadelphia’s most vulnerable residents as part of the agency’s poverty alleviation mission. Prior to joining the City of Philadelphia, Haynes was executive director of a global sports nonprofit organization and has held strategy-focused senior leadership positions with two Silicon Valley startups operating at the intersection of health, fitness, and digital technology.

She holds a bachelor of fine arts in theater from Pace University, a master of public health from Tufts University School of Medicine, and a juris doctor from Northeastern University School of Law.

Dan Hurley is the founder of Applied History Associates, a public history consulting firm. Hurley worked as a reporter for WKRC-TV’s Local 12 news (CBS) for 36 years and as the on-air host for Cincinnati Edition for WVXU-FM (NPR). He also served as the director of Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Leadership Cincinnati, vice president for history and research at the Cincinnati Museum Center, and interim president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He is the author of five books, including Cincinnati: The Queen City and One Child at a Time: The Children’s Home of Cincinnati.

Hurley holds a degree in history from the College of William and Mary.

David James is the superintendent of the Akron public school system. Selected by the board of education in 2008, he oversees roughly 20,000 pupils, 3,000 employees, and the operations of 43 school buildings. Under James’s guidance, Akron Public Schools has been designated as a Ford Next Generation Learning Community; this framework will help the district transition all of the system’s high schools into College & Career Academies of Akron—learning centers focused on programs that teach skills necessary for high-demand careers in Northeast Ohio.

James also facilitated a partnership between Akron Public Schools and the LeBron James Family Foundation to offer Wheels for Education and I PROMISE programs for students, encouraging hard work, academic achievement, and high school graduation. Through this partnership, the district and the foundation created the I PROMISE School, which opened in July 2018.

James holds a BA in economics and an MPA from Cleveland State University.

Demetria “Dee” Jones is vice president of community and economic development for the Mississippi Delta region of HOPE. HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation, Hope Credit Union, and Hope Policy Institute) provides affordable financial services; leverages private, public, and philanthropic resources; and engages in policy analysis to fulfill its mission of strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in economically distressed parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In her role, Jones works closely with towns, stakeholders, and residents to provide strategic and focused community and economic development training and technical assistance to advance key economic development projects, attract private and public resources, expand economic opportunity, and build the financial capacity of the communities and their residents.

Prior to joining HOPE, Jones served as executive director of Greater Greenville Housing, overseeing development of single- and multi-family housing, and for seven years with the Industrial Foundation of Washington County/Economic Development District, where she supported economic developers with industrial recruitment and retention efforts.

Alecia Kintner is president and chief executive officer of ArtsWave—the country’s largest community arts campaign and the region’s foremost local arts agency, known nationally for its innovations in research and services as well as for its impact-based grantmaking and fundraising. Since joining ArtsWave, she has developed new partnerships with the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network, Source Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Business Courier, StartupCincy, the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative, and more.

Kintner’s career in nonprofit management and arts administration has led to work experiences in Moscow, Honduras, New York City, and Connecticut, where she served for a decade as deputy director of the Greater Hartford Arts Council. An advocate for building community through the arts, her interests lie in cross-sector collaborations and nontraditional business and arts partnerships. She serves as an elected member and past chair of the private-sector council of Americans for the Arts.

She holds a BA in performing arts journalism from the University of California, Riverside, and an MBA from the University of Redlands.

Susan Longworth is a senior business economist in the Community Development and Policy Studies Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Prior to joining the Chicago Fed in 2011, she had more than 20 years of community development experience, with a special emphasis on community development financial institutions and community banks.

She holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan, an MS in public service management from DePaul University, and an international MBA from the University of Chicago.

Alan Mallach is a senior fellow with the Center for Community Progress in Washington DC. A writer, scholar, practitioner, and advocate, Mallach has been engaged with the challenges of rebuilding America’s cities and their neighborhoods for more than 50 years. He teaches at the Graduate Center on Planning and the Environment at Pratt Institute in New York, and his experience includes time at the Brookings Institution, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and the City of Trenton, New Jersey. His latest book, The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America, grapples with the challenge of the simultaneous urban revival, decline, and polarization in the nation’s older industrial cities and lays out a path for future cities of inclusion and opportunity.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale College.

Alanna McCargo is vice president of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, leading development and strategy of research programming for the center. Previously, McCargo held leadership roles with CoreLogic, JP Morgan Chase, and Fannie Mae, managing data initiatives, policy research efforts, and mortgage portfolio activities. She also worked with the Treasury Department on housing recovery programs from 2008 to 2011.

McCargo serves on nonprofit boards and committees, focusing on her passion for helping underserved populations with financial literacy, economic stability, and housing security. She volunteers with Doorways for Women and Families and DC Habitat for Humanity.

She holds a BA in communications from the University of Houston and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

Erica Merritt is the founder of Equius Group, LLC, a consulting firm committed to helping individuals and organizations see and experience the world and their work through a lens of equity. Equius capitalizes on social justice, team dynamics, individual change, and the power of inclusion to help leaders transform themselves, their teams, and their organizations in powerful and sustainable ways. Merritt has worked with organizations and individuals in the corporate, nonprofit, government, and academic spaces. She has held leadership roles with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Case Western Reserve University, the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, and the Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio, and she has been a part-time faculty member in Cuyahoga Community College’s Psychology Department for more than 10 years.

She holds a BA in public relations from Ursuline College and an MA in psychology with a certification in diversity management (NTL) from Cleveland State University.

Ruth Ann Norton is president and chief executive officer of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), a national nonprofit dedicated to the creation of healthy, safe, and energy-efficient housing for America’s children and seniors. She is the author of the Strategic Plan to End Childhood Lead Poisoning: A Blueprint for Action as well as numerous published studies on healthy housing and the use of impact financing as a pathway to future sustainability. Norton has served as a federally appointed liaison to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and an expert advisor on the prevention of lead poisoning for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Human Impact Partners.

Norton holds a BA in economics and French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Emily Garr Pacetti is a vice president and community affairs officer in the Community Development Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. She oversees the department’s research, policy analysis, and community outreach throughout the Cleveland Fed’s Fourth Federal Reserve District.

Prior to her current position, Pacetti was associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation, for which she developed and managed initiatives designed to support more equitable long-term economic development in the United States. Prior to joining the Rockefeller Foundation, she was director of research and evaluation at the Cleveland-based Fund for Our Economic Future, a philanthropic collaborative dedicated to making the Northeast Ohio region economically competitive and inclusive. She has also worked for the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution and the Economic Policy Institute, both in Washington DC.

Pacetti holds a bachelor’s degree in political communications from Emerson College, a master’s degree in urban studies from El Colegio de México, and a master’s in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Mary Patoka serves as president and chief executive officer of CAP Services and Community Assets for People (CAfP), LLC. In her role, she is the lead spokesperson, articulating and implementing a strategic vision for the organization that focuses on growth and continued commitment to meeting the needs of low- and moderate-income people. She is responsible for strategic planning with the organization’s board and executive team, organization communications, talent acquisition, organization development, and high-level partnerships-building that help advance CAP’s mission. The organization has a workforce of 250, an operating budget of $17 million, and assets of nearly $50 million. CAP’s lending division, CAfP, has a total loan portfolio of nearly $14 million in business, housing, and consumer loan products.

Patoka holds a BS in women’s studies from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and is certified as an economic development specialist by the National Development Council.

Kiya Patrick is the vice president of strategic development for Greater Dayton Premier Management. In her role, she’s led the largest development efforts the authority has undertaken in more than a decade. Her most recent accomplishments include securing $4 million of Choice Planning and Jobs Plus funding to advance improvements in the lives of families at two of the city’s oldest and largest public housing developments. In her four-year tenure, she has also led the agency to participation in three multifamily development deals totaling more than $25 million.

She holds a BS in biology from Wright State University.

Aaron Pechota is senior vice president of the NRP Group, a fully integrated, premier apartment developer, general contractor, and property manager. He has more than 15 years of experience in multifamily housing, including affordable housing, luxury apartments, senior housing, and student housing. He has collaborated on numerous strategic initiatives that are part of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization efforts throughout the United States, including workforce housing, brownfields redevelopment, transit-oriented developments, and NRP’s Hospitals and Home initiative.

He has led efforts with both public- and private-sector partners, including federal, state, and local governments, as well as joint-venture relationships with private for-profit companies, nonprofit organizations, and quasi-public entities. He has lead NRP development efforts on more than 40 deals comprising more than 3,500 units with $650 million in development value.

Pechota holds a BA in finance and accounting from the University of Dayton and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

John Persinger is chief executive officer of the Erie Downtown Development Corporation, a private redevelopment and investment corporation organized to revitalize downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. He previously worked as an attorney at MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton law firm, where he focused on business and commercial transactions. Prior to obtaining his juris doctor, Persinger served in a number of government positions, including as attaché to the US Ambassador to Australia at the US Embassy in Canberra, Australia, and as executive assistant to the White House Deputy Counsel.

Persinger holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University and a juris doctor from the University of Notre Dame.

Olivia M. Rebanal is director of inclusive food systems at Capital Impact Partners (CIP), a community development financial institution (CDFI) that has deployed more than $2.5 billion to serve 5 million people in its communities’ critical sectors: healthcare, education, elder communities, healthy food, cooperatives, and affordable housing. Rebanal manages the strategy, initiatives, and partnerships related to CIP’s work in building equitable food systems. Through programs such as the California FreshWorks Fund, Michigan Good Food Fund, and the National Cooperative Grocers Fund, CIP increases access to affordable healthy food, creates opportunities within the food economy, supports neighborhood retailers, and expands food distribution, processing, and production, with a focus on racial and social equity.

Rebanal has nearly 20 years of experience in the CDFI industry and more than a decade of underwriting experience, with emphasis on working with entrepreneurs of color.

She holds an AB in bio-medical ethics from Brown University and an MPA in public finance from New York University Wagner School of Public Service.

Daniel Ringo is an economist in the Division of Research and Statistics at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He works on real estate economics, consumer finance, and issues related to the Community Reinvestment Act.

He earned a BA in history from Tulane University and a PhD in economics from the University of Rochester.

Mary Burke Rivers is the executive director of Over-the-Rhine Community Housing. She has served in that position for 25 years. Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH) develops housing primarily in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. OTRCH has developed more than 600 units of housing and manages more than 420 units, with additional units in development.

Rivers serves on the boards of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, the Finance Fund, and Affordable Housing Advocates. She was named one of six “Women of OTR,” has been recognized for lifetime achievement on behalf of low-income and homeless communities, and has earned awards for her work in providing affordable housing for vulnerable people and being a strong advocate on their behalf.

She holds a degree in social work from the University of Cincinnati.

Richard Rothstein is a distinguished fellow of the Economic Policy Institute, where he works on policy issues regarding education and race. He is also a senior fellow (emeritus) at the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California, Berkeley and a senior fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. An expert on education and race and ethnicity, his most recent book, The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, is an account of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation.

Joe Rudemiller is vice president of marketing and communications at the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), a nonprofit focused on strengthening the core assets of downtown Cincinnati by revitalizing and connecting the central business district and the Over-the-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood. In his role, Rudemiller leads communications-related activities pertaining to 3CDC’s real estate development work and the overall promotion of downtown Cincinnati. His responsibilities include media relations; overseeing all corporate communications, including email marketing campaigns, grant applications, and tenant marketing support; and managing 3CDC’s website and the websites of each of its five subsidiaries.

Prior to joining 3CDC, Rudemiller spent seven years as a human resources communications consultant.

He holds a BS in journalism from Ohio University.

Pete Saunders is an urban affairs contributor to Forbes Magazine’s online platform. A writer and researcher whose work focuses on urbanism and public policy, Saunders has been the editor/publisher of the Corner Side Yard, an urbanist blog, since 2012. His writings have been published in a variety of traditional and internet media outlets, including the feature article in the December 2018 issue of Planning Magazine.

Saunders’ more than 20 years of experience includes planning, economic development, and community development for the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in urban planning and policy from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Jenny Schuetz is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. She is an expert in urban economics and housing policy, focusing particularly on housing affordability. She has written extensively on land use regulation, housing prices, urban amenities, and neighborhood change. She has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, the Economist, and Slate. She is a nonresident senior fellow at the Center for Washington Area Studies at George Washington University, and she teaches in the urban planning program at Georgetown University.

Before joining Brookings, Schuetz served as a principal economist in the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She was also an assistant professor at the University of Southern California and a post-doctoral fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University.

She holds a BA in economics and political and social thought from the University of Virginia, a master in city planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a PhD in public policy from Harvard University.

Kathy Laker Schwab is the executive director of Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Greater Cincinnati, a national nonprofit intermediary organization that helps resident-led, community-based development organizations transform distressed communities. She has 40 years of experience working in urban neighborhoods in both for-profit and nonprofit real estate development.

A lifelong urban advocate, Schwab’s experience includes starting one of the first Community Development Corporations in Cincinnati’s inner city. After spending the first part of her career rehabbing abandoned buildings for homeownership, she ultimately began her own real estate brokerage, management, and development company focusing on the urban core. In her role as vice president of residential development for Downtown Cincinnati Inc.’s special improvement district (SID), she helped further urban revitalization through neighborhood revitalization plans, which included physical development, financing, and technical assistance.

Schwab holds a BA in business from the University of Cincinnati.

Esther Shin is president of Urban Strategies, Inc. There, she leads a team of professionals with expertise in human capital and economic development to help people in communities across the United States. Believing that all residents want safe, vibrant neighborhoods in which to work, live, and play, Shin has led or supported the securing of nine Choice Neighborhood Implementation grants totaling more than $270 million in federal resources and leveraging more than $3 billion in additional investments. Shin is a Children and Family Fellowship fellow. The Annie. E Casey Foundation’s signature program for developing leaders in nonprofit, philanthropic, and public organizations, the fellowship explicitly strives to increase the pool of diverse, visionary leaders who have the confidence and competence to lead and sustain major system reforms and community change initiatives.

Shin holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and English literature from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.

Josh Silver is a senior advisor at National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). In his role, he produces white papers on the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending policy and issues. He also serves as an expert on CRA, fair lending, affordable housing, and community reinvestment.

Silver’s experience includes more than 25 years of work in the housing and community development field. He has developed NCRC policy positions, produced various research studies, engaged in proposal writing and fundraising, and supervised a staff of research and policy analysts. He has written NCRC testimony submitted to Congress on topics including financial modernization, predatory lending, and the effectiveness of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). He has also written numerous comment letters to federal banking agencies on subjects such as the merger application process and the content and accuracy of home and small business data.

Silver holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Columbia University and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.

Theresa Y. Singleton is senior vice president of the Community Development Studies and Education Department and community affairs officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. In this role, she oversees research and outreach initiatives that promote community development and fair and impartial access to credit. She has guided the creation and implementation of the Economic Growth & Mobility Project, and she oversees economic education and personal financial efforts for the Bank.

Before joining the Bank, Singleton served as the director of research and information at the Housing Assistance Council in Washington DC. In that role, she was responsible for the organization’s research and information activities, and she directed and contributed to products that examined demographic trends, assessed policy impacts, and developed recommendations for rural communities.

She holds a BA, an MA, and a PhD in political science from Temple University.

Scot Spencer is the associate director for advocacy and influence at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. In this role, he leads the foundation’s work in advancing community-focused policies, practices, and strategies that increase opportunities for children, families, and the places where they live. Spencer also coordinates the foundation’s local advocacy efforts in Baltimore.

Prior to his current role, Spencer managed the foundation’s investments in East Baltimore, served as a transportation specialist at the Environmental Defense Fund, and served as deputy director for the Historic East Baltimore Community Action Coalition.

Spencer holds a BS in building science, a BArch in architecture, and an MS in urban environmental studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Theresa A. Stark is a senior project manager in the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She is part of the interagency initiative to review the policies and practices associated with the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to better align CRA with current banking practices.

In the 1990s, as a project manager in the Compliance Policy section of the Office of Thrift Supervision, Stark was part of the interagency team that developed the current CRA regulations. She began her career in the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC).

Stark holds an AB in economics from Vassar College and a JD from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

Ellis Tallman is executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Tallman leads the Research Department, which is responsible for conducting economic research and policy analysis. He is responsible for advising the Bank’s president on monetary policy and related matters, setting the research direction, selecting and developing staff, and establishing departmental priorities. His research currently focuses on macroeconomics, economic forecasting, and US historical episodes of financial crisis and policy responses.

Tallman holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Indiana University, Bloomington, and an MA and PhD in economics from the University of Rochester.

Janice Urbanik is senior director of innovation and strategy for the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, an organization that works with partners to connect individuals to in-demand skills, generate good jobs, and help American businesses find and develop the talent critical for their success. In her role, she leverages her past experience as the executive director of Partners for a Competitive Workforce in Cincinnati to help other National Fund sites achieve their full potential.

Urbanik and her teams have been recognized nationally for their work in assisting under-represented populations in attaining and retaining employment in the region’s growing industry sectors. She facilitated the Employer Roundtable of the Cincinnati Child Poverty Collaborative, during which employers learned from other employers about the policies and practices they could implement to improve recruiting, retention, and advancement of their workforces while also building competitive advantage in their industries.

Urbanik holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Jennifer S. Vey is a senior fellow and the director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking at the Brookings Institution. Her work primarily focuses on the connection between placemaking and inclusive economic development in the digital economy. She is the author or coauthor of numerous Brookings publications, including Why We Need to Invest In Transformative Placemaking, Assessing Your Innovation District: A How-To Guide, and Building from Strength: Creating Opportunity in Greater Baltimore’s Next Economy, and she coedited Retooling for Growth: Building a 21st Century Economy in America’s Older Industrial Areas.

Prior to joining Brookings, Vey was a community planning and development specialist at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

She holds a BA in geography from Bucknell University and a master of planning in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia.

Jeff Walton is the human resources director at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. In his role, he is responsible for demonstrating a strong, consistent, and positive leadership direction to the organization and continually seeking ways to improve its culture and drive engagement at all levels.

Walton’s more than 20 years of progressive HR experience includes positions across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.

He holds a BA in psychology from the Ohio State University.

Keith Wardrip is the community development research manager for the Community Development and Regional Outreach Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. In this role, he produces original research, supervises the work of the department’s research analysts, and leads the development of the department’s research agenda. His work focuses primarily on employment and post-secondary educational opportunities for low- and moderate-income populations, affordable housing and housing quality, and philanthropic support for local community and economic development. Before joining the Philadelphia Fed, Wardrip spent six years in Washington DC conducting affordable housing research at the Center for Housing Policy and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

He holds a BA in geography from the University of Kentucky and an MA in geography, with an emphasis in urban studies and affordable housing, from the University of Colorado.

T’Pring R. Westbrook is a senior associate for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. As a member of the research, evaluation, evidence, and data (REED) unit at the foundation, Westbrook manages a portfolio that encompasses two-generation approaches, community development, economic mobility, child and adult education, and housing. Additionally, she has an interest in evidence-based programs and regularly presents and consults on issues related to implementing, evaluating, and communicating about them.

Prior to her position with the foundation, Westbrook was a social science research analyst with the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) within the Administration for Children and Families in the US Department of Health and Human Services. While at OPRE, her portfolio included research and evaluation in early childhood education and development, home visiting, child welfare, and evidenced-based policy and practice.

She holds a BA in mass media arts from Hampton University and a PhD in human development from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Mary Ellen Wiederwohl is the chief of Louisville Forward—the city of Louisville’s integrated approach to economic and community development that combines business attraction, expansion, and retention activities with all of the city’s real estate functions and talent development to present a unified solution for job growth and quality of place. Since its creation in 2014, the organization’s projects have included $5.5 billion in investment, more than 23,000 new jobs, and more than 260 company locations.

Wiederwohl has provided leadership for several of Mayor Greg Fischer’s major initiatives, including his strategic plan, the Vision Louisville 25-year advanced plan, the Move Louisville strategic multimodal transportation plan, the city’s first sustainability plan, the Global Louisville Action Plan, and the Vision Russell Initiative, which won a HUD Choice Neighborhoods implementation grant. Before joining the Fischer administration, Wiederwohl worked in public affairs in both the public and private sectors.

She holds a BA in music and political science from the University of Louisville.

Lindsey Wilson serves as the network coordinator for the Appalachia Funders Network. In this role, she convenes and connects funders for learning, analyses, and collaboration toward the equitable Appalachian Transition, a response to several challenges, including the decline of the coal industry as a source of employment and economic growth, a pervasive public health crisis, the undervaluing of natural resources, and prolonged under-investment in the region’s organizations, businesses, community capacity, and youth.

Wilson’s personal experiences with homelessness, poverty, and nontraditional education helped shape her passion for working for opportunity, equality, and justice. Her experience includes political organizing, nonprofit management, policy work, and fundraising on local, state, and federal political, social justice, and environmental campaigns. Much of her career has focused on civil rights, diversity, and equity. She also currently serves as treasurer of the board for the YWCA of Asheville, North Carolina.