Master Talk

Kate Borders Leadership Talk

Kate Borders has recently relocated to Cleveland to assume the role of President of University Circle, Inc. (UCI). However, Kate has been in the Place Management industry for almost twenty years.

Vincent-Ray Williams III Master Talk

Vincent founded Urban Compassion Project while still unhoused in April of 2021. With the vision of assisting the voiceless in cleaning up spaces and finding healthy solutions that lead to self-sufficiency. 

Dwight White II Master Talk

Dwight is a multi-disciplinary creative, with ideas and strategy that originate by thoroughly understanding people. He utilizes insights to inspire, innovate and maintain relevancy with culture through creativity. He has worked to build strategies for growth with organizations across industries by understanding complex societal structures and current behaviors of consumers.

Leon I. Walker, Esq. Master Talk

Over the past 20 years, Leon I. Walker, Esq., has spearheaded cutting-edge community development projects that have generated thousands of new jobs and brought grocery stores and health care services into the food and health care deserts on Chicago’s south side.

Robin Rue Simmons Master Talk

Robin Rue Simmons is the Founder and Executive Director of FirstRepair, a not-for-profit organization that informs local reparations, nationally. She also serves as the chairperson of the City of Evanston’s Reparations Committee. Rue Simmons is the former 5th Ward Alderman for the City of Evanston, IL.

Joy Shigaki Master Talk

Joy Shigaki began her tenure in 2022 as President & CEO of Friends of Waterfront Seattle which stewards Waterfront Park, a new historic 20-acre civic investment that will be the catalyst in reimagining, recreating, and rebuilding the Seattle downtown.

Mary Ludgin Master Talk

Mary Ludgin is Heitman’s Head of Global Investment Research. She is a partner of the firm and holds a seat on its investment, valuation, and global management committees. Mary was a Global Trustee of the Urban Land Institute and she chaired ULI’s Chicago District Council.

Paul R. Levy Master Talk

Paul R. Levy is the founding president and chief executive of Philadelphia’s Center City District (CCD), serving in that capacity since January 1991. Under Levy’s leadership, CCD secured property owner and legislative approval for its reauthorization in 1994, 2004, 2007, 2012, 2017 and 2023, expanding its ability to finance and carry out capital improvements.

Darlene Jackson (aka DJ Lady D) Master Talk

Darlene Jackson, aka DJ Lady D, is hailed as “Chicago’s House Music Queen” by Chicago Magazine and has toured North America, Europe, Asia and Russia as an international DJ, producer, remixer and A&R. She has worked with the Chicago Chapter’s Urban Outreach committee and participated in advocacy efforts with state legislators in Springfield, Illinois.     

Lori Healy Master Talk

Lori Healey is Senior Vice President, Executive Project Officer for the Obama Presidential Center (OPC). She is leading work to build and operate the OPC, a 19.3-acre campus within Jackson Park, that includes a Presidential Museum, Auditorium, Restaurant, retail store, Fruit & Vegetable Garden, playground, lush parkland and greenspace, and a new branch of the Chicago Public Library. 

Jahmal Cole Master Talk

As the founder and CEO of the city’s fastest-growing social impact organization, My Block My Hood My City, Jahmal is the creator of an exposure-based education program for teens and a network of volunteer initiatives that serve Chicago communities year-round.

Mayor Sandra Masters Master Talk

Sandra Masters was sworn in as Regina’s 35th Mayor on November 23, 2020. She made Regina’s history by becoming the first woman elected and defeating a two-time incumbent Mayor during a global pandemic.

Brent Toderian Master Talk

Brent Toderian is a nationally and internationally respected thought-leader on better cities, and a leading global practitioner in city planning, urban design, transportation, downtown revitalization and advanced urbanism with 30+ years of experience.

Ebony Walton Master Talk

Originally from Miami, Florida, Ebony Patrice Walton is a wife, mom, minister and self-proclaimed BID nerd. A 16-year veteran in the place management industry, Ebony currently serves as Associate Director of Stakeholder Engagement for the DowntownDC Business Improvement District and also supports its organizational development initiatives.

David Downey Master Talk

As President and Chief Executive Officer, David is responsible for the overall strategic positioning of IDA as a world leader and champion for vital and livable urban centers.

Kathleen Rawson Master Talk

Kathleen Rawson has more than 30 years of experience in both Hospitality and Destination Management. Before arriving at The Hollywood Partnership, Rawson served as CEO of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.

Shelonda Stokes Master Talk

Shelonda Stokes serves as the President and CEO of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the President of Downtown Management Authority. Shelonda, a results-oriented, mission-driven executive, leads these two non-profit organizations with the goal of establishing equitable change and vibrancy in Baltimore City’s Central Business District.

Ojay McDonald Master Talk

Ojay McDonald works with Government Ministers, parliamentarians, economic development professionals, business leaders and place-makers across the UK and Ireland to support town and city centres.

Guillermo Bernal Master Talk

Guillermo Bernal is the Executive Director of Fundación Placemaking Mexico and Board Member of PlacemakingX. With ten years of experience, he has worked with over 200 public spaces in Mexico, Latin America, and Spanish-speaking communities worldwide, focusing on creating participatory and sustainable communities.

Kassandra Linklater Master Talk

As a serial founder, engaged citizen, community builder, visual artist and storyteller, Kassandra’s passion for entrepreneurship, international relations and ecosystem building spans almost two decades of experience.

Stephanie Allen Master Talk

Stephanie Allen, BBA, M.Urb is a real estate development specialist focused on building affordable, equitable communities. Stephanie’s Masters research focused on the settlement and displacement of Black communities in Canada with a focus on Vancouver, documenting the work done in Vancouver to seek redress for the displacement of Hogan’s Alley.

Ginger Gosnell-Myers Master Talk

Ginger Gosnell-Myers, from the Nisga’a and Kwakwak’awakw Nations, is passionate about advancing Indigenous rights and knowledge through public policy, engagement processes, and urban planning.

Heather Hiles Master Talk

Heather Hiles is an expert in technology, learning and talent development, with a 30-year track record of creating and scaling nonprofit and for-profit organizations that have improved millions of lives. Hiles is the founder / co-founder of SFWorks, EARN, The Hiles Group, Pathbrite, Calbright College and Black Ops Ventures.

Adelee Grand Master Talk

Adelee Le Grand is a leader, with over two decades of experience, who is passionate about utilizing mobility as a tool to create and sustain vibrant equitable communities. As the HART CEO, she is focused on elevating the value of Public Mobility as the foundation of environmentally sustainable equitable communities.

Greg Pepitone Master Talk

Greg Pepitone is a Senior Economist at Tourism Economics with over 13 years of experience providing strategic advisory services to clients in the tourism, sports, and meeting sectors. He focuses in the areas of economic and fiscal impact assessment, market viability and strategy, business planning and analysis, and facility and other capital project planning. Prior to joining Tourism Economics, Greg was a Manager in PwC’s Hospitality & Leisure Practice.

Kathleen Rawson Master Talk 2021

Kathleen Rawson has more than 30 years of experience in both Hospitality and Destination Management. For the past 25 years, Kathleen has served as the CEO of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc., a private/nonprofit company contracted with the City of Santa Monica to manage programs to enhance the vitality of the District. During her tenure, Kathleen has successfully transformed Downtown Santa Monica into the largest property based assessment district, by budget, in the State of California.

Kevin Plummer Master Talk

Kevin Plummer is the Immediate-Past Chairman of the Tampa Downtown Partnership. Formerly, Kevin served on the Board of the Executive Steering Committee of the Friends of the Riverwalk. He is a 13-year member of the Tampa Downtown Partnership, and oversaw six years of educational space renovations particularly with local architects Holmes Hepner and Associates and iConstructors, turning roughly 65K square feet of renovated space into active learning environments.

Rob Higgins Master Talk

Since 2004, Rob Higgins has promoted the development of community sports and led the Tampa Bay Sports Commission as the principal organization that bids on and hosts sports and entertainment events in the Tampa Bay area.

Jeff Vinik Master Talk

The Lightning’s success under Vinik has coincided with the emergence of a development company, Strategic Property Partners (SPP), LLC and its plan to develop approximately 60 acres in downtown Tampa’s south core into a new district entitled ‘Water Street Tampa.’ Vinik is expecting to deliver approximately $3 billion in investment to bring Water Street Tampa to life and reinvent the blocks surrounding AMALIE Arena into a walkable, 24-7 live, work, play and stay wellness district.

Mayor Jane Castor Master Talk

Mayor Castor’s key achievements within the past two years include helping secure more than $90 million for transportation and mobility improvements, hiring the City’s first Sustainability and Resilience Officer, and launching various strategic initiatives to support prosperous and equitable job growth, economic developments, and housing opportunities.

Carol Coletta Master Talk

Carol Coletta leads the relaunch of Memphis River Parks Partnership, a nonprofit developing, managing and programming six miles of riverfront and five park districts. Previously, she led the two-year start-up of ArtPlace, a unique public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the U.S. and was President & CEO of CEOs for Cities for seven years.

Maurice Jones Master Talk

With deep experience in both public and private sectors, Maurice A. Jones became LISC’s fourth President & CEO in 2016. He previously served as the secretary of commerce for the Commonwealth of Virginia, deputy secretary for HUD, commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Social Services, deputy chief of staff to former Virginia Governor Mark Warner and, during the Clinton administration, director of the CDFI Fund.

Dana Telsey Master Talk and Q & A Session

Dana Telsey, a thought leader and influencer in the world of consumer and retail, blends her Wall Street acumen with real-time insights into the trends shaping consumers’ purchasing decisions. In 2006, Dana founded Telsey Advisory Group (TAG), the leading consumer-focused research, banking, and consulting firm on Wall Street. As the rapidly changing consumer landscape forces companies, Boards of Directors, investors, governments and other stakeholders to rethink the consumer paradigm.

Jennifer Vey Master Talk

Jennifer Vey’s work at the Brookings Institution primarily focuses on the connection between placemaking and inclusive economic development in the digital economy. She is the author or co-author of numerous Brookings publications, including Transformative Placemaking: A framework to create connected, vibrant, and inclusive communities and Assessing your Innovation District: A how-to guide.

Bruce Katz Master Talk

Bruce Katz is the Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Previously he served as inaugural Centennial Scholar at Brookings Institution and as VP and director of Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program for 20 years. He is a Visiting Professor in Practice at London School of Economics, and previously served as chief of staff to the secretary of Housing and Urban Development and staff director of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing and Urban Affairs.

Lateefah Simon Master Talk

Lateefah Simon is a 20-year veteran organizer for racial justice in Oakland and the Bay Area. She has been the President of the Akonadi Foundation since 2016. That same year—driven by the death of Oscar Grant—she ran and was elected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors—of which she now serves as President.

Hilton Carter Master Talk

Hilton Carter is a plant/interior stylist, director, fine artist, craftsman and re-patriated Baltimorean. For Carter, it all started with one plant, a fiddle-leaf fig named Frank. His interest in plants started out as purely practical: he was averse to putting up curtains in his New Orleans apartment, and decided to try a more natural approach to creating privacy, using plants.

Kate Joncas Master Talk – Baltimore 2019

Kate is currently the Director of Urban Strategy and Development for MIG. She leads strategic efforts for complex urban projects in downtowns, neighborhoods and urbanizing places. As Seattle Deputy Mayor from 2014 – 2017 she directed 32 departments, led waterfront redevelopment and Convention Center expansion, and developed a nationally recognized government performance initiative.

John Snook Master Talk

John Snook serves as executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center, widely recognized as one of the most influential mental health advocacy organizations in existence today. Mr. Snook brings the organization more than 15 years of policy and advocacy experience at both the federal and state levels.

Molly Alexander Master Talk

Molly Alexander is the Executive Director of the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation a new 501(c)(3) organization of the Downtown Austin Alliance. For 30 years Molly’s enjoyed a successful career focused on downtown revitalization and economic development, including enterprises in both the public and private sectors. Molly will be speaking about the global growth of cities, our role as city shapers and place anthropologists.