2023 Equity Summit Agenda & Speakers
The Equity Summit is a virtual gathering of thought leaders and practitioners who come together to discuss insights and strategies to ensure that racial equity is a key priority in any smart growth approach. The Equity Summit takes place virtually, February 7-9 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET each day.
Day 1: Tuesday, February 7
Day 2: Wednesday, February 8
Day 3: Thursday, February 9
Theme: Empowering communities by dismantling exclusionary zoning, supporting wealth-building among historically disenfranchised communities, and prioritizing attainable housing.
Theme: Rethinking transportation to support and repair communities that continue to be harmed by divisive infrastructure and car-dependent design.
Theme: Ensuring that the benefits and costs of cutting emissions in the transportation and building sectors are equitably distributed across society.
11:15 a.m. - SUMMIT KEYNOTE presentation by Joy Bailey Bryant
11:10 a.m. - Fireside chat: Mitigating Displacement in Projects that Reconnect Communities
Moderated by Steve Davis, Assistant VP of Transportation Strategy at Smart Growth America
11:10 a.m. - Keynote presentation by Kizzy Charles-Guzman | Executive Director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice
Featuring discussion with: Calvin Gladney, CEO & President of Smart Growth America
12:15 p.m. - Panel discussion: Advocacy & Community Leadership for Zoning Reform
Moderated by Toccarra Nicole Thomas, AICP, Director of Land Use and Development at Smart Growth America
12:00 p.m. - Panel discusssion: Notes from the Front Lines of Reconnecting Communities: a Conversation with Community Advocates
Moderated by Benito Pérez, Transportation Policy Director at Smart Growth America
12:10 p.m. - Panel discussion
Moderated by Katharine Burgess, Vice President, Land Use & Development at Smart Growth America
1:10 p.m. - Panel discussion: Strategies for Wealthbuilding
Moderated by Christopher Brown, Senior Vice President for U.S. Business Partnerships & Policy at Citigroup.
This day ends at 2 p.m. Eastern
1:00 p.m. - Closing Remarks
1:15 p.m. - "Call to Action" Breakout Groups
This day ends at 2 p.m. Eastern
1:00 p.m. - Closing Remarks
1:15 p.m. - "Call to Action" Breakout Groups
This day ends at 2 p.m. Eastern
Day 1 Speakers
Regina Celestin Williams (she/her), Executive Director, [email protected] Regina has spent her entire career working towards housing and economic justice through affordable housing and community development because of her personal experience of benefitting from publicly subsidized housing as a child.
As the Executive Director of [email protected], she leads policy and advocacy for affordable housing in Silicon Valley. Prior to joining [email protected] she most recently served as Director of Housing Development at First Community Housing, a leading San José-based affordable housing developer. Regina has also worked as a member of the National Development Council’s East Team, providing housing and economic development consulting services to several East Coast municipalities, leading NDC’s green initiatives, and teaching several courses on community and housing development finance. She previously worked at the National Housing Trust, structuring financing for and overseeing the rehabilitation process of resident occupied affordable housing properties and, at times, working with tenant ownership groups.
Born and raised in Richmond, CA, after a significant stint on the East Coast, Regina has called San José home for several years, having both of her daughters here in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Meg McMahan, AICP, is the Director of Planning for the City of Minneapolis, where she works to leverage development and regulatory systems to drive equitable outcomes.
Prior to Minneapolis, Meg worked for the City of Brooklyn Center, MN as the Community Development Director where she led the department through a transitional time, which resulted in new ordinances, policies and approaches that were community-centered and met the needs of a diverse and dynamic citizenry. Prior to that, Meg worked as the Community Development Coordinator for the City of Hopkins, MN. There her focus was on small businesses, light rail coordination and project management. It was here where she was able to hone her talents for thinking creatively, building partnerships to accomplish goals, and leveraging resources. Prior to that she served as the City Planner for the City of Arden Hills, MN.
She received her Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and her B.A. in Sociology from Hamline. When she isn’t at work she is most likely camping with her children and two Chihuahua mixes in their travel trailer.
Chris Herrmann is chief investment officer and fund Manager of Enterprise’s real estate equity business, operating under Enterprise Community Investment, an Enterprise Community Partners affiliate. He is responsible for raising, structuring and managing equity funds, as well as managing the teams that originate and close investment opportunities, asset manage the portfolio and report to investors.
Chris has been involved with this business at Enterprise since it was created in 2013. The team’s portfolio includes more than 10,000 affordable and workforce homes and represents more than $1 billion of assets under management. Chris was previously a director with Enterprise’s Housing Credit investment team from 2006 to 2012, where he analyzed, evaluated and underwrote affordable housing investments that leveraged the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) and the Federal Historic Tax Credit. Chris has been involved in housing finance since 2005. Before joining Enterprise, he worked with John Hancock Realty Advisors in Boston, where he directly invested in affordable housing projects that leveraged the Housing Credit, Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and state tax credit programs.
Chris graduated summa cum laude from Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a dual concentration in finance and entrepreneurship.
Julius is a native of the Roanoke Valley, North Carolina, and a 5th generation cotton farmer. He founded BlackCotton in 2016 to honor his roots and promote Black-grown cotton. He leads the BlackCotton team from the headquarter in Garysburg, NC, and oversees all matters related to the business and its opportunities. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Economics.
Adam Paul Susaneck is the founder of Segregation by Design, a project which uses data and remastered historical photography to document the destruction of communities of color in cities across the United States. Segregation by Design has been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, The Architect’s Newspaper, and more. Adam earned his Masters of Architecture at Columbia University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in architecture and the built environment at the Delft University of Technology.
Christopher Brown is the Assistant Vice President for U.S. Business Partnerships & Global Public Affairs at Citigroup, leading national partnerships and ESG investments for the firm. Chris’ 20 year experience has built alignment across business, public policy and consumer/community goals. Prior to Citi, Chris served as senior staff in Congress and led public affairs functions across healthcare, nonprofit, and technology industries. He is a graduate of The University of Georgia, and the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.
Toccarra Nicole Thomas, AICP, is the Director of Land Use and Development at Smart Growth America. Her role includes leading the Form Based Codes Institute (FBCI) as well as other projects and initiatives. In this role, Toccarra leads thought leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance work to further our mission to create prosperous, resilient, and healthy communities. Toccarra believes that communities should be inclusive and welcoming to all and she is particularly passionate about housing for all. Toccarra graduated from the University of Florida with a Master of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning, where as a HUD Scholar she focused on the deployment and maintenance of affordable homeownership in Florida. Prior to joining SGA, Toccarra worked on a variety of technical projects in North California, including certifying and adopting the 5th Cycle Housing Element for the County of Lake, writing 6th Cycle Housing Elements for Bay Area communities, implementing a pre-approved Accessory Dwelling Unit Permit process, and developing strategies to encourage workforce housing in a rural farming community.
Day 2 Speakers
For the last ten years, Scott has been working with the Ward 8-based non-profit Building Bridges Across the River and the Washington D.C. city government to transform an old freeway bridge into a park above the Anacostia River. The old 11th Street Bridges that connect Capitol Hill with communities east of the river have reached the end of their lifespan, Scott is working with the community to use the base of one of the bridges to create a one of a kind civic space supporting active recreation, environmental education and the arts.
Scott is a resident of Barrack’s Row and has lived in Washington D.C. for the last 16+ years. He has worked in the education field for twenty+ years and began his career teaching at Kidspace, a children’s museum in Pasadena, California and later as the Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of the American West at the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, CA. While at the Autry, he supervised a staff that planned and implemented programs including theater, film, music, festivals, family programs, lecture series, and academic symposia. Most recently, he was the Vice President for Education at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. Scott is honored to serve on the board of the Anacostia Coordinating Council and the Anacostia Business Improvement District.
Veronica P. McBeth was appointed as the Senior Advisor of the Federal Transit Administration in June 2022. She reports directly to the Administrator and manages several FTA initiatives, such as transit-oriented development, climate and sustainability, equity and infrastructure.
McBeth has a background in public policy, public outreach, transportation, planning, environmental regulations, and funding. At the Baltimore City Department of Transportation, she was instrumental in establishing transformative transportation facilities, including shuttle services, transit, incentive programs and micromobility. She managed over $20 million in annual operations budgets, active transportation planning, as well as design and construction projects for Baltimore.
During her time in the private sector, McBeth completed work on the national level, including multimodal transportation planning, parking and transportation demand management, campus transportation plans, and site plan design and review.
McBeth combines her background in public policy, environmental law, planning, public administration, and community engagement to establish transportation systems with economic, social, and environmental benefits. She has worked on projects that facilitate equity and move beyond considering only benefits and burdens. As an expert in environmental policy and law, she connects environmental laws to policy issues associated with environmental justice, air quality, climate change, and sustainability as they relate to transportation. Throughout her career, McBeth has engaged varied audiences, including Title IV and environmental justice communities, in ways that encourage constructive dialogue and provide opportunities to have concerns heard and incorporated into projects.
Adah Crandall is a 16-year-old organizer with Sunrise Movement PDX and Portland Youth Climate Strike.
As a leader of the Sunrise’s Youth Vs ODOT campaign, her advocacy focuses on the intersection of transportation and climate justice, pushing local and state leaders to prioritize transportation solutions that will reduce emissions and better serve young people across the Portland region.
He has the honor of serving as the transportation and land use policy lead for Front and Centered, a Washington State coalition of groups of color and frontline communities working towards climate justice. Around the country, Nunes-Ueno Consulting has led key strategic transportation projects, including projects at Princeton University, Memphis Area Transit Authority, ABQRide in Albuquerque, NM, University of California Davis, UC Davis Health Systems, Oregon Health Sciences University, The Memphis Medical District Collaborative, and others. Paulo is based in Philadelphia.
Her connections there led her to Stop TxDOT I-45 and the fight for equitable transportation in Houston. Since fall of 2020 she has been a co-organizer at Stop TxDOT I-45, leading the all-volunteer communications team, communicating the intricacies of the planned I-45 expansion, what can be done to stop it, and how the community can get involved. As a communications professional, she also works for Houston in Action; her focus is on communications capacity-building, strategic planning, and project management. She is currently finishing her doctorate in Voice Performance at the City University New York; her dissertation explores communal song in movement spaces and what can be done to cultivate resurgence. When she isn’t singing or freeway-fighting, Alexandra enjoys cooking for large crowds and drinking natural wine with her husband, double-bassist Austin Lewellen. For more information please visit www.alexandrasmither.com and www.stoptxdoti45.com.
Steve Davis is the Assistant VP of Transportation Strategy for Smart Growth America. Steve has been with Smart Growth America since July 2006, joining as a communications fellow before departing to serve within the Transportation for America program from its 2008 inception until 2017. He returned to SGA full-time and served as the Director of Communications from 2017-2021. Trained at the University of Georgia’s Grady School of Journalism & Mass Communication, he was an award-winning photojournalist with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette before following his passion for great places to Smart Growth America. He’s worn many hats over the years, writing speeches for Gov. Parris Glendening, creating and spearheading the launch of SGA’s first blog in 2007, kickstarting the organization’s online advocacy efforts and social media presences, helping launch the Transportation for America campaign in 2008 and then reimagine it in 2019, and running messaging and communications training workshops for advocates and practitioners. He works within SGA’s Transportation and Thriving Communities team, focusing on strategic communications and long-term initiatives, providing support specifically for T4America, the National Complete Streets Coalition, and SGA’s other transportation programs.He loves the challenge of figuring out how to turn the complicated policies and details of creating more smart, sustainable, lovable places into messages that resonate with a wide range of people, so communities can change how they build and grow. Steve lives in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, DC with his wife and three children and loves his three-mile run or bike ride to work.
Benito O. Pérez, AICP CTP CPM CAPP (he/him) is the Policy Director of Transportation for America. He previously served in various roles at the District Department of Transportation from 2012-2021, which included Curbside Management & Operations Planning Manager, Curbside Management Planner, and Transportation Policy Specialist. During his DDOT tenure, he worked on and managed a team involved with creating, accessing, analyzing, visualizing, disseminating, and working with stakeholders to leverage data for policy development, resource allocation, and operations management of the District’s curbside and its intersection with the greater transportation network. Prior to DDOT, he was a Transportation Engineer with the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization, working on long range transportation planning and its intersection with active transportation and land use. Additionally, he previously worked with the Maryland State Highway Administration, working on equity and inclusion issues in transportation. Mr. Pérez earned his Master of Arts in Urban Planning and Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida in 2009.
Day 3 Speakers
Kizzy Charles-Guzman is the Executive Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice.
Her team delivers climate leadership and programs focused on sustainability, decarbonization, brownfields remediation, resiliency and environmental justice. Kizzy has spent over 15 years of her New York City service career developing and delivering work at the intersection of environmental policy, public health, and racial equity. She led the development of Cool Neighborhoods NYC, the city’s first strategy to address the impacts of rising temperatures and heat waves, and several adaptation initiatives to ensure that NYC residents are ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change.
Kizzy served as a Deputy Director at the NYC Mayor’s Offices of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency, as Director of the Climate Change and Health Program at the NYC Department of Health, and as Policy Advisor on Air Quality during the Bloomberg Administration. She received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Quality Award and a Champion of Change Award from the U.S. White House in recognition of her work. She is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Jose Bodipo-Memba is SMUD’s Chief Diversity Officer and responsible for company-wide programs and services such as human resources, workforce development, diversity and inclusion, and sustainable communities. The focus of his business areas is to advocate diversity, inspire an inclusive culture based on trust and respect, and to create belonging and connection among our employees, customers and communities, which ultimately results in positive, equitable outcomes for all.
Jose has been working for SMUD for 11 years, previously serving as Director, Sustainable Communities. Jose has over 20 years of environmental, sustainability, and urban planning experience throughout California, covering a range of project and community types.
Jose is active in the community, serving as the Immediate Past Chair of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Sacramento District Council, a member of the ULI National Public Development Infrastructure Council, member of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Crocker Art Museum Board, the American Clean Power Diversity Equity and Inclusion Council, the Center for Fathers and Families Board, the Capital Area Development Authority, and the Executive Committee for the Regional K-16 Collaboratives Grant Program. Jose served as the past Chair of the Sacramento Planning and Design Commission, a former Coro board member, North State Building Industry Association board member and past board chair of Next Move Sacramento.
Jose was a 2010 recipient of the Sacramento Business Journal 40 under 40 award, the 2012 Drexel University Oxholm Community Leadership Award, the 2021 UC Davis Inspirational Leadership in Diversity Award, a proud graduate of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program, and the 2015 Drexel University 40 under 40 Distinguished Alumni award. Jose holds a BA in History from UC Berkeley and an MBA from Drexel University.
Anyeley is a sustainability-focused real estate developer with over 18 years of experience from mixed-use developments to office headquarters for non-profits.
Her passion is creating unique developments that reflect the flavor of the local culture, respect the natural environment, and build community. She started her own firm, Adre, with a focus on real estate projects that seek to create wealth for the Black community and for other underrepresented groups that traditionally lack access to real estate ownership and investment.
Prior to Adre, she was a partner with project^ for 12 years, with a focus on shepherding development projects through entitlements and construction with a specialization in student housing, market-rate housing, residences, and public-private projects. Before joining project^, Anyeley served as a Development Manager for Gerding Edlen Development in Portland, where she worked on student housing, civic projects, and public-private partnerships and as an Associate Urban Designer at the leading design firm EDAW, now AECOM, specializing in downtown master plans in the Caribbean, transit-oriented mixed use developments, and greenway plans.
Her civic work includes a governor appointment to Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) and a mayoral appointment to Portland’s Adjustment Committee, Community Involvement Committee for the Portland Plan, and Policy Expert Group for Residential Development and Compatibility for the Comp Plan. She has served on the board of 1000 Friends of Oregon, Portland Housing Center, The SOUL District, and is an expert on ULI Advisory Services Panels. She is also a published researcher and writer on cultural landscapes and public consensus and is listed on a patent for Sustainable Performance Information for a Property.
Athena Motavvef is a legislative representative on the Policy and Legislation team at Earthjustice.
Based out of Washington, D.C., she is a federal advocate working to electrify our transportation system to reduce air pollution and protect our climate. Prior to joining Earthjustice, Athena served as the communications coordinator for WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Athena received a Bachelor of Arts, Public Policy from the University of California, Riverside; and a Masters of Science, Public Policy and Management – DC Track from Carnegie Mellon University.
Calvin Gladney, LEED AP, is President and CEO of Smart Growth America and is a nationally recognized thought leader on the equitable and sustainable revitalization of communities. Prior to being named President and CEO of Smart Growth America in April of 2018, Mr. Gladney was Managing Partner of Mosaic Urban Partners, a real estate development and advisory services firm that advised non-profits, cities, and elected officials on how to sustainably and equitably regenerate their communities. In 2017, Mr. Gladney was also the Urban Land Institute’s Senior Visiting Fellow for Equity.
Over the past ten years, Mr. Gladney has worked on community revitalization projects in more than 25 cities and has served as a strategic advisor on projects with estimated development costs of over $1B and totaling more than 5M square feet of planned development. He has worked on community revitalization projects throughout the United States including projects in Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Boston, Denver, Detroit, the District of Columbia, Grand Rapids, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Louisville, Memphis, Oakland, Pittsburgh and Prince George’s County, MD. Mr. Gladney through Mosaic was also part of the team that developed a new 31-unit apartment building and a separate two-story restaurant in Washington, DC. Mr. Gladney graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, received his BS from Cornell University and is a LEED Accredited Professional. He is a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and a board member of the Center for Community Progress. He is also a member of ULI’s national Public/Private Partnership Council (Blue Flight). Mr. Gladney also serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Masters in Real Estate Program where he teaches real estate entrepreneurship and a real estate market analysis class. In his spare time Mr. Gladney…Mr. Gladney doesn’t have any spare time. But he will make time for you. You can connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @SmartGrowthCEO.
Katharine Burgess is the Vice President of Land Use and Development at Smart Growth America, where she oversees SGA’s Land Use programs including LOCUS, the Form Based Codes Institute and the National Brownfields Coalition. Prior to Smart Growth America, Katharine led the Urban Resilience Program at the Urban Land Institute. At ULI, she built up the organization’s program of work addressing how buildings, cities and communities can be more prepared for the impacts of climate change, considering topics ranging from climate risk to built environment adaptation strategies addressing sea level rise, extreme heat, wildfires and other climate hazards.
An urban planner, Katharine has fifteen years experience practicing in the US, UK and Germany. She began her career managing post-Katrina hurricane recovery charrettes commissioned by the States of Louisiana and Mississippi and the City of New Orleans, and subsequently worked in masterplanning and land use consulting. Her research work has included landscape performance research for the Landscape Architecture Foundation, as well as international urban policy research for the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship program. She holds an MSc in Regional and Urban Planning from the London School of Economics and a BA from Williams College.