What's the best thing you did this year? - Metropolitan Planning Council

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What's the best thing you did this year?

At MPC, 2018 was a year of launching groundbreaking initiatives, welcoming new team members and deepening our commitment to the principles of equity, sustainability and prosperity. As we perfect our recipes for the office cookie contest and sneak treats into colleagues' stockings, we are reminded of the comraderie that makes our work possible. Here are some of our staff's proudest moments of 2018:

"This year I was proud and excited to co-lead an effort with the whole MPC team to develop a strong internal 'Theory of Change.' In essence, we stepped back to ask, what is our vision for the region? What is our strategy for creating change? And what outcomes do we want to see in Chicagoland to indicate that we are on the right path in 5-10 years? The end “framework” was pretty cool—and is always evolving!—but I’m most excited about the conversations this process generated. We grappled with hard challenges together like how to build political will as an organization and how to both broaden & deepen our community partnerships." —Skyler Larrimore, Director of Operations and Strategy

"I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work with such an esteemed and talented group of people here at MPC. More importantly, my MPC colleagues are some of most kind hearted and genuinely passionate people I have had the pleasure to work with in my career. <3" —Lynnette McRae, Manager

"My proudest moment of the year was getting to present on our Cost of Segregation/Our Equitable Future work at Race Forward’s Facing Race conference earlier this month in Detroit. Over 3,000 racial justice advocates from across the country attended the conference, and in addition to networking with some very inspirational change-makers, I had the privilege of hearing from movement-builders like Tarana Burke and Alicia Garza! I came away from the experience feeling challenged and rewarded, and was reminded of the importance of stepping back and taking time to reflect on the ways in which I’ve made progress and fallen short in my work to advance our equity agenda." —Shehara Waas, Research Associate

"Working with Elevated Chicago partners and the city to help shape recommendations for the revision to the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) ordinance. It was a thoughtful and collaborative process and it was great to have the provision for an equitable TOD implementation plan included in the ordinance language. If passed, a plan that is centered in equity principles can allow for a more integrated approach to developmentone that takes into account local market conditions and leverages resources to help stabilize neighborhoods in need of economic investment."Kendra Freeman, Director of Community Engagement

"My proudest moment of the year has to be finishing the Transit Means Business report. It’s really rewarding to see months of research finally come together in a report that’s sparking an important conversation in the Chicago region. And, I got my name in the paper twice!" —Jeremy Glover, Transportation Associate

"Over the years I’ve had the great fortune to be part of building several new projects here, as well as the teams that run them. The moments I am proudest of are when my colleagues then truly take those and run with them, and 2018 has been full of those, from Danielle Gallet authoring Drinking Water 1-2-3, to Sarah Cardona leading the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative to a bold new multi-year work plan, to Chloe Gurin-Sands mentoring one community group after another as they pursue their vision for Our Great Rivers. I’m equally excited that in the final few months of the year we were able to bring Christina HarrisAdam Slade and Justin Keller on-board to continue to build our own capacity to execute on our ambitious agenda in water resources management, government capacity building and capitalizing on our amazing river assets. Onward!" —Josh Ellis, Vice President

"My proudest moment? The release of Transit Means Business report at a launch event at McDonald’s headquarters.  McDonald’s shared their amazing story of going from 90 percent of staff driving to work to 90 percent NOT driving as a result of their move from Oakbrook to downtown Chicago to access a wider pool of talent. UIC talked about how transportation is a big part of their Climate Change Plan. Illinois Representative Art Turner talked about the importance of transit to his constituents, and RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard warned us about a potential transit apocalypse if we don’t get more funding to maintain the system.  The media interest in the report has been thrilling, including getting OpEd published in Crain’s, stories in the Tribune and Sun Times and doing a radio interview on WBEZ." —Audrey Wennink, Director of Transportation

"I’m really proud of the accomplishments this year with the Calumet Stormwater Collaborative. This diverse group of stakeholders solving urban flooding in the Calumet region dug into a robust strategic planning process. Over many months and numerous worksheets and post-its, we reaffirmed our goals and articulated a bold vision for the next three years that will guide our collective efforts to build climate resiliency in the Calumet. I love the newly designed 3-Year Work Plan, am really jazzed by the ambitious activities, and am so grateful to work with this amazing model of cross-agency collaboration."Sarah Cardona, Manager

However you engage with our work and our team members, we thank you for your partnership in 2018 and look forward to seeing you in the coming year!


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For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

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