Director, National Complete Streets Coalition, Smart Growth America
Emiko Atherton is the Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America. As the Director, Emiko oversees the Coalition’s federal advocacy, communications, research, and technical assistance programs. She has used her expertise in transportation policy, public health, land use, economic development, and legislation to consult with communities across the United States on how to create better transportation networks. Emiko is an international voice on Complete Streets and has spoken to audiences across the country about the value this approach.
Before joining the Coalition, Emiko served as the Chief of Staff for a King County Councilmember in Washington State. In that role, she worked closely with local and state governments, federal agencies and Congress, and MPO’s on policy development and implementation, coalition building, and transportation planning. Emiko received her Master’s in Public Administration from Evans School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Washington.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career: Speak up! It took me years to feel comfortable contributing to conversations and making myself heard, both in large groups and one-on-one.
Executive Director, Bikemore
Liz is a long time bike commuter who came to bike advocacy because she believes bikes are tool for creating vibrant communities that connect citizens to recreation, jobs, and each other. She most recently served as the Women Bike Manager for the League of American Bicyclists in Washington D.C., supporting local advocates across the nation in their efforts to encourage more women to ride. She lives in Charles Village with her dog Daisy.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career: Never feel bad for being good at what you do. Women are socialized to play down their talents. Resist that urge.
Director, Strategic Planning, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
Allison Davis is the Director of Strategic Planning in Metro’s Office of Planning. She advances a vision for the Authority’s long-range goals, needs, and plans for all modes within the Authority and to regional and local jurisdictional partners. She helped author Momentum, the Authority’s first strategic plan in a decade, and developed ConnectGreaterWashington, the regional transit plan for 2040, which outlined the need for transit expansion to meet expected demand. Prior to Metro, she worked for Arup, a multinational engineering, design, and planning firm in New York and PADECO, an international development consultancy in Tokyo, Japan. She served on the boards of the New York and Washington DC chapters of WTS for five years and ran the mentoring program for both chapters. Allison is on the Board of the US Capitol Page Alumni Association, the organization of former House, Senate, and Supreme Court Pages. She received her Master degrees in Transportation and City Planning from MIT and her Bachelor of Science in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career: A job description is looking for a unicorn. If you meet some of what is being sought, you are absolutely qualified and should apply. Also, you are never too senior to make copies.
Director, Public Affairs, Purple Line Transit Partners
Miti is Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the Purple Line Transit Partners, which will design, build, finance, and operate the Purple Line. Previously, she served as Vice President for Public Affairs at the Chevy Chase Land Company, as Chief of Staff to Councilmember Nancy Navarro, and as Senior Legislative Aide to Councilmember Roger Berliner. She is a graduate of Northwestern School of Law and lives in Silver Spring with her husband and two children.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career: You’re going to make a lot of mistakes so don’t be too hard on yourself or others.
Chief of Staff, Office of Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau
Tania Jackson was raised in Ward 1 and has more than 20 years of experience in neighborhood-level community outreach, communications and project-related activism. Working variously with local government, non-profits and socially responsible for-profit entities, she has been able to help bring projects to fruition all over the District of Columbia.
In 2009 she started her own consulting organization, Create Communitas, specializing in public-private development, tenant purchase, and compliance with District and federal hiring standards. She currently serves on the Board of Humanities D.C., the Mary Church Terrell House, is the Vice Chair of the Ward One Democrats and a member of the Potomac Chapter of the Links, Inc. Tania’s first job after finishing college was working for then-Ward One Councilmember Frank Smith. She is a seventh generation Washingtonian and speaks French.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career: Pay attention to all of the stuff you think of as outside your wheelhouse. It’s learnable, it’s doable & it’s incredibly useful.
Principal Planner, City of Alexandria
Radhika Mohan is an urban planner with over 10 years of dedication to community engagement, urban design, and transit-oriented development. She is currently a Principal Planner in the City of Alexandria, Virginia’s Department of Planning and Zoning where she leads complex, interdepartmental projects and their engagement with the community. Most recently, she was the Team Lead for a submission that won an honorable mention in the Memorials for the Future Competition, entitled The Im(migrant): Honoring the Journey. Prior to working for the City of Alexandria, Radhika was Senior Program Manager for the Mayor’s Institute on City Design (MICD), a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the US Conference of Mayors. At MICD, Radhika worked with over 100 mayors and design professionals around the country on urban planning challenges and opportunities. Radhika holds Master’s Degrees in City and Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Architecture from the University of Minnesota.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career: No one will hand you a job, you have to be aggressive and persistent! A job application is the easiest part, all the networking beforehand is what takes effort and will help you gain opportunities.
Founder, Recast City
Ilana Preuss established Recast City LLC in 2014, a consulting firm that works with real estate developers, city and other civic leaders to integrate manufacturing space for small-scale producers into redevelopment projects and place-based economic development. She is passionate about making great places and sees that small-scale manufacturers are a missing piece in today’s mixed-use development and commercial property repositioning.
Through her work at Recast City, Ms. Preuss works with business leaders to understand the local small-scale manufacturing sector, discover the potential to enhance real estate development, and tap state and federal resources for support. She works with real estate developers to integrate small-scale manufacturing businesses into new and rehab products to increase a project’s value and draw people to the target neighborhood, while benefiting the existing residents in the community.
With nearly 20 years of experience in city development, Ms. Preuss has experience in community redevelopment through the private sector, federal government, and the non-profit worlds, most recently as Vice President and Chief of Staff at Smart Growth America.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career: Write and publish – even if you don’t really want to.
Director, The Bureau of Good Roads
Fionnuala Quinn has a background as a civil engineer; local advocate; and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) educator. In 2015, she launched The Bureau of Good Roads to create civic education about good street design. She creates and runs hands-on activities and challenges by creating STEM camps, workshops, and classes on these topics. In her past professional work as an engineer for Alta Planning + Design, Fionnuala worked on innovative walking and biking designs. Fionnuala has also helped to lead a local volunteer organization focused on transforming suburbs so residents can have a safe and comfortable alternative to driving. As part of that work, she received national award recognition for a guide she authored to educate community members on the road design process. Having immigrated to the United States from Ireland after engineering school, Fionnuala brings her own perspective about transportation topics and communicating transportation design ideas.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career: Find a mentor to help navigate and encourage – especially important in my position entering a heavily male-dominated field as a brand-new immigrant (alone and with no support network).
Vice President, Arc Skoru, Inc. / U.S. Green Building Council
Gretchen Sweeney is an innovative leader with more than 15 years of experience at the nexus of environment, sustainability, business, technology, and urban systems. At Arc Skoru, Inc., she is responsible for product development and user success for Arc, a powerful, data-driven platform that connects people to transformative action, global benchmarking, analytics, and certification across different scales of the built environment. Previously she was Vice President, LEED Implementation at the U.S. Green Building Council where she managed the development of new LEED rating systems. She served on the LEED Steering Committee and guided collaborations with several hundred industry experts who volunteer to develop the best practices in LEED that guide better design, construction, and operations of the built environment. Before that she helped develop a voluntary sustainability certification for Maryland municipalities and worked in capital markets. She has a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career:
Fake it til you make it.
Planner and Policy Wonk
Harriet Tregoning is the immediate past Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development. Her work at HUD encompassed helping states, regions, cities, counties and towns across the country build a strong foundation for resilience in the face of a changing climate, and for a diverse and prosperous economy based on enhancing community quality of place, economic opportunity, fiscal stability, transportation choice, and affordability. Tregoning was previously Director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning, where she worked to make DC a walkable, bikeable, eminently livable, globally competitive and thriving city. Prior to this she was the Director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design, co-founded with former Maryland Governor Glendening. She served Governor Glendening as Secretary of Planning in Maryland. She was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2004.
One piece of advice she wishes she had at the start of her career:
Never take “no” for an answer.