MarySue Barrett - Staff member - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content

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'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 participated in transition committees for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ill. Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

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.

| Download hi-res portrait (3 MB)


  1. A look back at "Making Positive Change" in 2019

  2. How to reform aldermanic prerogative: Lessons from New York, L.A. and beyond

    • By MarySue Barrett and Justin Williams, MPC Research Assistant
    • Apr 23, 2019

More news »

Photo of MarySue Barrett


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

Sign up for newsletter and alerts »

Shaping a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous greater Chicago region

For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

Donate »