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's Administration 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 and serving on the board of Current. She recently joined the Board of Directors of IFF and serves on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust. Ms. Barrett is a Nonresident Senior Fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. 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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- By MarySue Barrett and Justin Williams, MPC Research Assistant
- Apr 23, 2019
- By MarySue Barrett and Tom Wright, President and CEO of Regional Plan Association (RPA) and Gabriel Metcalf, President and CEO of SPUR
- Dec 13, 2018
- By MarySue Barrett and Todd Brown, Chair of MPC's Board of Governors
- Dec 7, 2018
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Areas of expertise
- Civic innovation
- Policy strategy
- Strategic communications
- Writing and public speaking
- Advocacy and mobilization
B.S., Communications, Northwestern University