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MarySue Barrett

MarySue Barrett is an expert on designing effective urban solutions through creative collaboration across governments, businesses and communities. As president of the independent Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), Barrett builds bridges between the public and private sectors to solve metropolitan Chicago’s urgent planning and development challenges, refining the tactics that can help regions everywhere prepare for the needs of tomorrow.

Barrett speaks and writes frequently about why and how cities must continually reinvent themselves. She deconstructs Chicago’s and MPC’s success stories as models for cities across the globe, while offering constructive analysis when we fail to unlock our region’s full potential.  

Prior to joining MPC, Ms. Barrett served in former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley as his chief of policy. She counts among her top accomplishments Chicago's early implementation of community policing and the City's successful bid to host the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Tapping her deep knowledge of government, Ms. Barrett recently has led transition committees for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ill. Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Ms. Barrett is a steering committee member of World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth & Jobs, co-chairing the infrastructure team. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Harris School’s Visiting Committee at the University of Chicago, and Illinois Issues magazine. She is also active with The Chicago Network and the Economic Club of Chicago. She has participated in leadership exchanges sponsored by the International Women's Forum (1996), Rockefeller Foundation (2009) and Brookings Institution (2008 and 2011). She has a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University.


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MarySue Barrett President
312 863 6001

Areas of expertise

  • Civic innovation
  • Policy strategy
  • Strategic communications
  • Writing and public speaking
  • Advocacy and mobilization


B.S., Communications, Northwestern University

This page can be found online at

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

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