Professional Development and Career Resources

Minority/Underrepresented Professionals in Planning Panel Discussion

Wednesday, April 17, 2019 6:00pm8:00pm
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Kleinman Forum, Fisher Fine Arts Library, 220 South 34th Street Philadelphia, PA

Diversity in the planning profession is essential in order to achieve an inclusive community vision. Join our distinguished guests as they share their career accomplishments and challenges and talk about their college experience at Penn. RSVP with Kali Meeks is recommended, but not required. Snacks will be served!

Confirmed panelists:

Jamie Gauthier (MCP’04) is an urban planner, nonprofit professional, and dedicated community servant running for Philadelphia City Council in the 3rd District. Ms. Gauthier served at Philadelphia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), where she helped create good-paying jobs for Philadelphians. She is particularly proud of her work to support bringing the West Philly-based Center for Culinary Enterprises to life, a commercial kitchen that provides local food vendors with safe, clean kitchen space. Ms. Gauthier also served as the executive director of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, where she helped local businesses become more environmentally sustainable and secure city contracts. As the Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy, Ms. Gauthier worked with over 100 volunteer park friends groups to steward and care for neighborhood parks across the city. She also led the Conservancy in carrying out improvements in West Fairmount Park; she knows we must give our children safe places to grow and play.

Meishka L. Mitchell (MCP’05) is the vice president of Community Initiatives at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. Ms. Mitchell has established herself as a leader in the community, equally respected by government officials, community partners, city residents, and her peers. Drawing on her background as a Camden native, as well as her education and experience, she brings a keen and unique perspective to her work in community planning and neighborhood revitalization at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. MMs. Mitchell joined the Cooper’s Ferry Partnership staff as a graduate intern in 2003 and took the helm as the vice president of Neighborhood Initiatives in 2010. She has played a key role in broadening Cooper’s Ferry Partnership 's mission to address planning and redevelopment efforts in Camden's neighborhoods, overseeing the development of plans and implementation of key neighborhood projects with a high level of community input and participation. She has managed the implementation of numerous critical infrastructure and park improvement projects and is instrumental in Camden’s innovative sustainability and placemaking initiatives.

Tanya Stern (MCP’02) is deputy planning director at the Montgomery County (MD) Planning Department where she oversees four divisions providing countywide policy development and data analysis for zoning, growth management, transportation planning, historic preservation and housing; real estate and economic analysis and population forecasting; and department-wide services including human resources, budgeting, communications, GIS and information technology. She also is serving as an advisor for Montgomery County’s General Plan Update, launching in 2019. Ms. Stern served for 14 years in the Government of the District of Columbia, including eight years at the DC Office of Planning (OP), most recently as the Deputy Director for Planning, Engagement and Design. Ms. Stern oversaw OP’s Neighborhood Planning and Design divisions and served as Project Director to launch DC’s Comprehensive Plan Amendment Cycle. She also led the creation of new planning policies to integrate resilience throughout DC’s Comprehensive Plan as well as updates to the Plan’s land use, urban design and geographic area planning policies. Ms. Stern’s District government experience also included serving as OP’s Chief of Staff and in agency program and performance management and budget development roles in the Executive Office of the Mayor and other agencies. Additionally, she has 11 years of non-profit sector experience.

Blane Fitzgerald Stoddart (W’87) is president and CEO of BFW Group Construction Project Managers. BFW provides construction project management, owners’ representation, and development consulting services to non-profit and for-profit developers, government, large general contractors, schools and institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mr. Stoddart formerly served as vice president of Business Development for Innova Services Corporation. Innova Services Corporation provides construction project management; program management, and green building consulting services to a $2 billion-dollar real estate portfolio in the Mid-Atlantic region. Prior to that, Mr. Stoddart served as CEO of The Partnership CDC (community development corporation) and its subsidiaries. Under his leadership, The CDC created over 114 new jobs, built 300 affordable and mixed-use housing units, and invested close to $100 million dollars in West Philadelphia, directly west of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Stoddart is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Mr. Stoddart is vice chairman of Global Philadelphia. He was recently appointed by PA Governor Tom Wolf to the Governor’s Commission on African American Affairs.

Tya Winn (MArch’10) is a program director at Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia. She previously held the position of program manager at the Philadelphia Housing Authority working in the Capital Projects and Development Department. In her two years at the Authority she has worked on the pre-development and construction of $22 Million dollar of new construction. She has focused her career on real estate and community development; prioritizing affordable housing creation, economic development, creative place-making and urban revitalization. Her work in the public sector has included the project management of a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan, Make Some Noise Logan! and the master-planning of the Logan Triangle Site in northern Philadelphia. Ms. Wynn has served as camp coordinator for PhilaNOMA’s Project Pipeline, a summer camp designed to expose youth to architecture and sustainability since 2012.  She sits on the Board of Directors of AIA Philadelphia and was co-chair of the 2016 AIA Convention Legacy Project, which is a dedication of the local chapter to increasing STEM offerings related to Architecture and ensuring Philadelphia youth are exposed to design.