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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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, 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’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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Albus Brooks is the Vice President of Business Development and Strategy for Milender White, a development and construction firm operating in Southern California and Colorado. Serving two terms on Denver City Council, including two terms as Council President, Albus accomplished an ambitious range of progressive legislative victories with the goal of building a truly inclusive city.
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. Prior to joining the IDA, David served as the Managing Director for the American Institute of Architects’ Urban Design Center and as Executive Director for the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Tami Door is the CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. She joined the Partnership in 2005 after serving as executive vice president of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest regional chamber, and as vice president of a five state division of NBD-First Chicago. She is the co-founder of Denver Startup Week and The Commons on Champa.
Transforming the dull gray spaces of Puerto Vallarta into open-air galleries, urban artist Natasha Moraga makes mosaic look easy. With over 10 years as the visionary and artistic director behind some of the city’s most iconic public artworks, she continues to inspire with her latest and biggest project yet – the transformation of her city’s main park, into a vibrant space filled with colored tiles and functional spaces, where community is an essential part of the project.
Andrea Batista Schlesinger leads the Inclusive Cities practice at HR&A Advisors. As a former leader in government, think tanks, philanthropy, and politics, Andrea uniquely understands the capacity and role of government, advocacy, and philanthropy in making cities just and dynamic places. Her current work focuses on supporting equitable economic development and removing barriers to opportunity for all communities in cities.
Jeff Speck, AICP, CNU-A, LEED-AP, Honorary ASLA is a city planner and urban designer who advocates internationally for more walkable cities. As Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 through 2007, he presided over the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and created the Governors’ Institute on Community Design.
Scooter Monroe is responsible for executing Weller’s vision for development projects and operating businesses from concept through completion. Mr. Monroe has over 14 years of experience in the development of commercial and multi-family projects in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
Annie Milli is the Executive Director of Live Baltimore, a nationally recognized 501(c)(3) Residential Marketing Organization. A self-described “accidental urbanist,” Ms. Milli began her career as a graphic designer, later becoming an art director and executive in the field of commercial advertising. Ms. Milli led Live Baltimore’s marketing division from 2013 to 2017, during which time she developed a resident retention initiative, targeting city families.
Tony Seba is a lecturer in entrepreneurship disruption, and clean energy at Stanford University, a serial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and a world-renowned thought leader and speaker. He is the author of the #1 best-selling book “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation – How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030”.
Dhyana is the Authority of the Public Space of Mexico City. Before that, she was the Director of Transportation Planning and Roads in the Secretary of Transportation and Roads of Mexico City. She has been involved in various urban sustainable mobility projects working from the public and non-governmental sectors for over 10 years. She was Director of Strategic Projects at the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy in Mexico (ITDP) where she promoted pedestrian and bicycle mobility.
Kemi Ilesanmi is the Executive Director of The Laundromat Project, which brings arts, artists, and arts programming into local coinops to amplify the creativity that already exists within communities. With over 15 years experience in the cultural arena, she is inspired by the immense possibilities for joy and social impact at the intersection of arts and community. Prior to joining The LP, she was Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation.
John Bela is an urbanist and public space designer with Gehl Studio San Francisco. He combines a background in art, science and environmental design to create vibrant, dynamic and resilient urban human habitats. A pioneer in user-generated urbanism, John has successfully completed many projects that involve radical new formulations of social space. John is a senior lecturer at the California College of Arts in San Francisco and a distinguished lecturer at U.C. Berkeley.
A member of the Burning Man community since 1993, Stuart was one of the organization’s first year-round volunteers. In his current role he focuses on cultural development programs including public education, staff and volunteer training, and historical documentation. He is also deeply involved in the event’s creative direction, as co-author of the last three event themes and a collaborator in designing the Black Rock City experience.
Susan Mernit is a serial tech and media entrepreneur, a Tech Stars alumni and a former consultant to the Knight Foundation. She is the founder of Oakland Local, an early—and still active—hyperlocal non-profit news site with a focus on diverse community voices. Hack the Hood, a tech inclusion non-profit she co-founded, was a 2014 winner of the Google Bay Area Impact Challenge. Hack the Hood, Oakland-based non-profit, opens up the opportunity pipeline in tech for low-income young people of color.
Tyler Norris, MDiv, is an entrepreneur and founder of over a dozen businesses and social ventures. His three decades of service in the public, private and non-profit sectors have focused on population health, community vitality, and equitable prosperity. Currently, he serves as vice president, Total Health Partnerships at Kaiser Permanente, where he helps lead the implementation of “anchor institution” work.
Seattle Mayor Murray named Kate Joncas Deputy Mayor of Operations in June, 2014. Previously, Kate had been the President and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association since 1994. Kate has over 30 years’ experience in downtown revitalization in the private, public and nonprofit sectors in communities around the world. Ms. Joncas is the Past Chair of the International Downtown Association.
Christopher Beynon, AICP is an international leader in the transformation of our urban environments. A principal at the Berkeley-based design firm MIG, he has led planning, urban design and economic development projects that have resulted in real change for cities throughout North America, including Denver, Boston, Anchorage, Winnipeg, Charlotte, Spokane, Dallas and Calgary.
Molly Turner is the Global Head of Civic Partnerships at Airbnb, where she built and directs the company’s public-private partnerships program. She works with the Airbnb local community and their civic leaders on a variety of projects focused on sustainability, economic development, resiliency and hospitality. She also directs Airbnb’s policy research examining the business model’s various impacts on urban economics, environment and communities.
Gabriel Metcalf is the President & CEO of SPUR. Under his leadership, SPUR has grown dramatically in influence and membership. Before becoming head of SPUR 2005, Gabe headed up SPUR’s policy and advocacy work for five years. A prolific writer and speaker, Gabriel earned his Master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.
Before passing in 2017, Edwin Lee was an American politician and attorney who served as the 43rd Mayor of San Francisco, and was the first Asian American to hold the office.
Tim Tompkins has been the President of the Times Square Alliance since 2002. The Alliance is a business improvement district that works to improve and promote Times Square – cultivating the creativity, energy and edge that have made the area an icon of entertainment, culture and urban life for over a century. Prior to coming to the Alliance, he was the Founder and Director of Partnerships for Parks, which works to support New York City’s neighborhood parks.
Fred Kent is a leading authority on revitalizing city spaces and one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth and the future of the city. As founder and president of Project for Public Spaces, he is known throughout the world as a dynamic speaker and prolific ideas man. At the 61st Annual Conference and Tradeshow for the International Downtown Association, Fred Kent received the 2015 Dan E. Sweat, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement in Downtown Leadership.