Our Team

Abby Mader
Program Associate
[email protected] 

Abby brings her expertise in regional planning and development to the SUMC team as a program associate since 2024. With a focus on supporting the Chicago team, she plays a pivotal role in advancing the Mobility Learning Center, driven by her commitment to fostering equitable, safe, and sustainable transportation solutions. Abby’s professional journey has instilled in her a profound interest in micro-mobility and micro-transit, recognizing their potential to enhance mobility within communities.

Holding a B.S. in environmental science from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay and an MA in Sustainable Urban Development from DePaul University, Abby’s academic pursuits culminated in a thesis exploring the historical context of walkability and infrastructure in the United States. Her passion for creating more accessible and resilient urban landscapes continues to drive her work.

Albert Benedict
Director, Learning Center & Accessibility Programs
[email protected]

Albert Benedict is the Director for Learning Center and Accessibility Programs at SUMC, where he is responsible for managing several national projects to evaluate opportunities and economic and environmental benefits related to shared mobility and integrated transportation systems.

Prior to SUMC, Albert worked at the Center for Neighborhood Technology for 10 years as a Senior Planner & GIS Analyst.  His work at CNT combined his expertise in both Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and economic development. He has provided analysis for CNT’s projects in communities across the country and his research has been used to build sustainability strategies for cities in areas such as form-based code, location efficiency, bus rapid transit, streetcars and transit-oriented and economic development.

Albert has presented at numerous professional conferences and contributed to many research projects and publications, including: The New Transit Town: Best Practices in Transit-Oriented Development, by Hank Dittmar and Gloria Ohland (Island Press, 2004), Hidden in Plain Sight:  Capturing the Demand for Housing Near Transit (Federal Transit Administration, 2005), Location Efficiency Model for the Greater London Metropolitan Area and the Walthamstow Town Centre Case Study Example (Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, 2008).

Albert holds an MA in Geography with an emphasis in Urban Planning from the University of Akron, Ohio and a BA in Psychology/Environmental Planning from The University of Wisconsin, Whitewater.

Alvaro Villagran, AICP
Director, Federal Programs
[email protected]

​​Alvaro leads SUMC’s work for the Federal Transit Administration’s mobility innovation programs, providing technical assistance to transit agencies across the country in developing a wide array of innovative mobility projects.

Alvaro is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Alvaro holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and a Master’s Degree in History from Northwestern University. Prior to SUMC, Alvaro worked for the Transportation Improvement Program at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Benjie de la Peña
[email protected]

Benjie is the CEO of the Shared-Use Mobility Center; he chairs the Global Partnership for Informal Transportation; founder of Agile City Partners; and writes and curates Makeshift Mobility, a fortnightly newsletter covering innovations in informal transportation. He also convenes the Shared Mobility 2030 Action Agenda and edits and produces Pop Transport.

Benjie serves on the board of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the US Advisory Committee of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, the UITP Informal Transportation Working Group, the Digital Transport for Africa Partners Committee, the MobiliseYourCity Steering Committee, and is a Senior Fellow for Mobility for the Canadian Urban Institute.

He served as the first-ever Chief of Strategy and Innovation for the Seattle Department of Transportation. He and his team drafted the city’s Transportation Information Infrastructure Plan. He also led the development of Seattle’s New Mobility Playbook.

He served on the advisory committees for L.A.’s Transportation Technology Strategy, the Mobiprize, and Cooper Hewitt Museum’s The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility and Design with the Other 90%: Cities.

Brian Holland
Chief Operations Officer
[email protected]

Brian is a city planner and non-profit executive dedicated to envisioning and building equitable, low-carbon urban systems. As SUMC’s Chief Operating Officer, he leads many of the organization’s day-to-day operations, contract management, and development activities.  Before assuming the role of COO, Brian led SUMC’s California Office and launched the California Clean Mobility Options program on behalf of the California Air Resources Board.

Prior to joining SUMC, he served as Director of Climate Programs for ICLEI USA, part of a global network of nearly 1,000 cities focused on sustainability and resilience.  Here he led a team that created industry-leading standards, software tools, and training programs, and he spearheaded U.S. city engagement in the 21st UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Paris, France.  He was a Lead Author on the Third National Climate Assessment, and he holds a LEED accreditation from the US Green Building Council and a City Climate Planner accreditation from the World Bank.  Several of his projects have been recognized for sustainability innovation by the American Planning Association.  Brian holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Georgia, and currently lives in Joshua Tree, California.

Colin Murphy
Research and Consulting Director
[email protected]

Colin works on SUMC’s research efforts, with an emphasis on newer shared modes’ interaction with existing transportation networks and their potential to transform our cities. He was lead writer and researcher on TCRP Research Report 188, Shared Mobility and the Transformation of Public Transit, and heads the research teams for other several other research projects currently underway at SUMC.

Before SUMC, he worked with Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition and the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago. Colin has a BA from UT Austin and a Master’s in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University, and enjoys hauling absurd masses of humans and materials by bicycle.

Dauren Augustine
Operations Manager
[email protected]

As the Operations Manager at SUMC, Dauren co-leads the management of HR, finance, and administrative projects. 

Dauren has several years of experience working with and for nonprofit organizations. Prior to Joining SUMC, Dauren worked in operations for the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. Before they began work in nonprofit operations, Dauren worked as a consultant and project manager doing marketing, event, and strategic planning for nonprofits and foundations. 

Dauren has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, where they studied the history of Western thought through primary sources in science, math, language, literature, and philosophy. They also hold a M.F.A. from Columbia College Chicago in Creative Nonfiction, with a focus on the essay form.

Hani Shamat
Program Coordinator
[email protected]

Hani comes to SUMC with a passion for transportation and a drive to make it sustainable, equitable, and accessible. At SUMC, Hani works on various projects, primarily with the Mobility Innovation Collaborative team helping provide technical assistance to transit agencies around the country working on innovative transportation pilot projects and sharing lessons learned. He is also particularly interested in micromobility and exploring how it interacts and integrates with wider transportation networks.
Hani has a Bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Public Administration from Northwestern University, where he wrote his thesis on transportation equity, bikeshare, and multi-modal transportation.

Hannah Wilson
Senior Director, Partnerships & Engagement
[email protected]

Hannah is passionate about improving the well-being of people in a holistic way to realize more equitable and sustainable communities. She believes this is achieved at the intersection of social and spatial solutions that work together and that improving mobility for all is at the core of this relationship.

At SUMC, Hannah leads our team that mobilizes the shared mobility community through our Shared Mobility 2030 Action Agenda and events, including the National Shared Mobility Summit, cultivates cross-sector partnerships, and engages the sector about equity, sustainability, and community initiatives. Prior to SUMC, she worked for a patient engagement company that delivered products rooted in behavioral science and human-centered design to improve patient empowerment and decision-making.

Hannah received her master’s degree in city design and social science from the London School of Economics, and a bachelor’s degree in biology and society, with a minor in communications from Cornell University. As a sociologist, she loves to explore and people-watch in new cities and parks.

Joey Juhasz-Lukomski
Program Manager
[email protected]

Joey joined as a Program Associate to support the California Team working on the Clean Mobility Options Pilot Program. In 2021, he led a team conducting a Community Transportation Needs Assessment in Oxnard with generous Technical Assistance from SUMC.
Prior to joining SUMC, he was the Executive Director Of BikeVentura, a grassroots bicycle education and advocacy nonprofit. Previously he was the Operations Manager at the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition, and before that he was a professional cook for several years working (and riding bikes) in Washington DC, Berlin, and New York City. He is from Arlington, VA, and currently lives in Fillmore, CA.

Katarina Hou
Senior Program Associate
[email protected]

Katarina is a Senior Program Associate at SUMC, supporting the Clean Mobility Options Program that provides equitable and accessible mobility solutions in California’s underserved communities. Her professional experience in mobility began when she was a CivicSpark Fellow at Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. She supported the Clean Cars 4 All Program, leading program evaluation and outreach.

Katarina received a Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy from Clark University, with an emphasis on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation. Her master’s final project studied the impacts of flooding in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, concentrating in Environmental Studies, from Soka University of America. During her undergraduate studies, she lived in Taiwan for three months studying Traditional Chinese.

Originally from Myanmar, Katarina has been living in Los Angeles since 2007. In her free time, she enjoys live music and frequenting art museums.

Lauren N. McCarthy
Senior Director, Research and Impact
[email protected]

Lauren is the senior director of research and impact at SUMC. Her work includes managing and contributing to various dimensions of the Clean Mobility Options Program and supporting multiple SUMC research initiatives. Lauren is also a Ph.D. Candidate at the Schar School for Policy and Government. Her dissertation work investigates the applicability of established policy process models in the introduction of novel technologies, with a focus on micromobility.

Before joining SUMC, Lauren was Program Manager and Senior Researcher for the Center for Transportation Public-Private Partnership Policy at George Mason University. In 2019 Lauren was selected as a Google Public Policy Fellow. Lauren has presented her research at numerous conferences, such as the Transportation Research Board Conference and the World Conference on Transport Research, and published work in multiple outlets, including the peer-reviewed journal Transport Policy

Lauren is a proud Buffalonian (Go Bills! Go Sabres!) and enjoys walking around cities and striking up conversations with the people she meets along the way. She received a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.A. in Geography from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Megan Perrero
Senior Communications and External Relations Specialist
[email protected]

Like many others, Megan fell into the public transit industry and has since become captivated by how the industry intersects mobility, equity and sustainability. As the senior communications and external relations specialist, she leverages her public relations and journalism background to work with internal and external stakeholders to further SUMC’s mission in helping communities realize a vision of an equitable and sustainable mobility future for all. Prior to SUMC, Megan served as the associate editor of Mass Transit magazine. She’s a national award-winning B2B journalist, the board secretary for Latinos In Transit and a member of the APTA Marketing and Communications Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism with a concentration in magazine writing and a minor in public relations from Columbia College Chicago.

Michelle Baron
Senior Program Associate
[email protected]

Michelle Baron is a Senior Program Associate at SUMC where she supports the Clean Mobility Options Program in providing clean and accessible transportation solutions to California’s underserved communities. She comes to SUMC with a background in climate change, sustainability, environmental justice, equity, and policy. 

Michelle received her Master of Public Policy with an emphasis in Environmental and Resource Policy and a Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

Prior to SUMC, Michelle was a CivicSpark fellow working to help Climate Resolve facilitate the Inland Southern California Climate Collaborative where she fostered relationship-building among a cross-sectoral environmental network and published a climate landscape analysis report. While she was studying at UC Riverside, Michelle was a Student Supervisor at the Office of Sustainability, where she worked closely with the student population to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through operations, engagement, and academic programs. 

Outside of work, Michelle enjoys spending time with her family, best friends and her cats, watching and going to fútbol games, practicing her painting, and working out.

Miriam Pinski, Ph.D.
Research Analyst
[email protected]

Miriam comes to SUMC with a background in equitable transportation research. Her scholarship focuses broadly on travel and the built environment (including parking), transportation economics and finance, and travel among demographic groups that face barriers to mobility, including women, older adults, and people with low incomes.

Her doctoral degree and Master’s degree are both in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation tracks the evolution of driver’s license policy, from a tool to address road safety to a lever to coerce monetary sanctions. Miriam has presented her research at conferences, and been awarded research fellowships for her work, including the U.S. Student Fulbright Fellowship and the Haynes Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

Miriam can be found traveling through Los Angeles by bike, and enjoys watercoloring the cityscape.

Natalia Perez-Bobadilla
Research Communications Coordinator
[email protected]

As an Urban Studies professional with a background in Communications, Natalia is an all-rounder with four years of experience.
Ba in Communication Sciences and Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, she was granted an Erasmus Mundus Partner country scholarship to study for a Masters’s degree in Urban Studies in the four European cities of Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen and Madrid. She interned at the Mexico City Lab and worked in Berlin for an urban planning firm for three years, where she worked on projects for relevant institutions like GIZ, and the BBSR, UNDP and Cities Alliance.

She appreciates challenging tasks and like working in a team, asking many questions, and looking for holistic answers. Her greatest strengths are urban narratives and policy research for sustainable urban development.

Nick Perloff-Giles
Program Associate
[email protected]

Nick is a Program Associate, where he works on evaluation of the CMO program and assists with other research efforts across the organization. He comes to SUMC with a background in micromobility and transportation equity. In graduate school he completed a capstone with LADOT on improving micromobility access for disadvantaged communities in the San Fernando Valley, in addition to work as a City Management Intern at the City of West Hollywood, where he focused on the City’s biannual budget.
His research interests include transportation cost management, the intersection of land use and transit, and equitable deployment of innovative transportation technology. When not working, Nick can be found cautiously pedaling around West Hollywood on his e-bike, cooking, or making music.

Pete Lauer
Program Manager
[email protected]

Pete is a Senior Program Coordinator at SUMC supporting a range of research projects including the Mobility-On-Demand Learning Center, a national analysis of mobility partnerships, and a job access study in Texas. Pete brings a data-driven approach to problem solving from his previous career as an engineer.

After completing his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Pete worked as a manufacturing engineer in the automotive and healthcare industries. He came to SUMC as a research fellow while completing his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In his spare time, Pete enjoys following Philadelphia sports teams and exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods on Divvy bikes.

Rudy Faust
Program Manager
[email protected]

Rudy is a Program Manager for initiatives throughout SUMC, from our consulting work to the Federal Transit Administration’s Mobility Innovation Collaborative.

He comes to the Shared-Use Mobility Center from a career in book publishing in New York and Chicago, which has left him with a love of good writing in many genres. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Currently a Chicago resident, Rudy is a New Jersey native and sometime Adirondack resident. He holds a deep love for urban, suburban, and rural areas alike, and is always looking for hikes or bicycle rides—“even in this weather(?)”—accessible by transit in each one. Rudy may also be found washing pots at Ravenswood Community Services or enjoying a post-ride coffee.

Sarah Huang
Program Manager
[email protected]

Sarah is a Program Coordinator at SUMC, where she supports the Clean Mobility Options Program to provide clean and accessible transportation solutions to California’s underserved communities. Sarah comes to SUMC with a background and interest in the intersection of transportation, climate change, and public health.

Prior to joining SUMC, Sarah worked with the Local Government Commission and the CivicSpark Program to support fellows, local governments, state agencies, and nonprofit partners to implement capacity-building projects to address California’s biggest challenges in climate change and community resiliency.

Sarah received her B.A. in Geography & Environmental Studies from UCLA. She is currently a member of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals and serves as a Steering Committee Member for Orange County Environmental Justice. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys cooking and baking, starting new art projects, and reading books.

Andrea San Gil León, Executive DirectorGlobal Network for Popular Transportation 

Andrea San Gil León is the executive director of the Global Network for Popular Transportation and is responsible for defining GNPT’s strategy and planning and managing, and implementing the network’s critical projects. She is passionate about reducing social vulnerability and increasing the quality of life of people and communities through urban sustainability planning, making cities better places for people, nature, and climate. Learn more about Andrea here. 

Board of Directors

Clayton Lane, Board Chair

Clayton is a Senior Principal for Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates. He manages larger transit projects nationally and leads Northeast U.S. market development. Clayton has 20 years of experience as a social entrepreneur, mobility expert, and international program director. Clayton co-founded PhillyCarShare and grew it to become the largest regional car-sharing system in the world, displacing about 20,000 cars, reduced driving by about 50 million miles, and avoiding about 46,000 tons of CO2. More recently as CEO of ITDP, COO of EMBARQ, and Deputy Director of WRI Cities, Clayton has led 100-200 passionate professionals to influence mobility policy & plans in over 50 cities worldwide. Clayton has played key roles in raising over $100 million; leading strategy; and forging partnerships with governments, banks, UN agencies, NGOs & companies. He also has overseen top-notch research teams authoring the “Bike Share Planning Guide” and BRT and TOD Standards.

Scott Bernstein, Board Treasurer
Founder, Center for Neighborhood Technology

Scott leads CNT’s work to understand and better disclose the economic value of resource use in urban communities, and helps craft strategies to capture the value of this efficiency productively and locally. He studied at Northwestern University, served on the research staff of Northwestern’s Center for Urban Affairs, taught at UCLA and was a founding Board member at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Center. In addition, President Clinton appointed Scott to the President’s Council for Sustainable Development, where he co-chaired its task forces on Metropolitan Sustainable Communities and on Cross-Cutting Climate Strategies and contributed to other federal advisory panels on global warming, development strategy, and science policy.

Emily Castor Warren
Head of Public Policy, Embark

Emily is a mobility technology pioneer with a wealth of experience in transportation policy and tech regulation. As Head of Public Policy for Embark, she leads the company’s policy and government affairs work to bring autonomous long-haul trucking to market. She also serves as a venture partner for Fontinalis, a mobility-focused venture capital firm. Emily started her career as a Congressional legislative aide and municipal financial analyst before making the shift into Silicon Valley as a member of the original Lyft team in 2012. At Lyft, she led teams focused on transportation policy, public transit partnerships, environmental impact, and community engagement during the formative years of the industry. Emily later held public policy leadership roles at Lime and Amazon. She serves on the advisory board of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies.

Kevin McLaughlin
CEO, Zygg

Kevin is a mobility entrepreneur, passionate about turning great ideas into products and services that improve people’s lives through better mobility and healthier cities. He is a 4-time founder of successful Canadian mobility and healthy city ventures, including AutoShare, Toronto’s original carsharing service (1998), now part of Enterprise CarShare; Vancouver’s Modo – the Car Co-op (1997) and Evergreen.ca (1991), Canada’s leading NGO that works to make cities flourish. He is currently CEO of his latest startup Zygg—the first subscription service for personal e-bikes in North America, based in Toronto. Kevin was recently a Vice President at Free2Move, the urban mobility service that allows users to search, compare and choose from a variety of mobility options on a single app.

Jana Lynott
Senior Strategic Policy Advisor, AARP Public Policy Institute

At the AARP Public Policy Institute, Jana manages AARP’s transportation research agenda and is responsible for the development of policy adopted by the AARP Board of Directors. Jana’s areas of expertise include livable communities, transportation, and land use planning and policy. Her current research explores how “disruptive” technologies may influence the form and delivery of transportation services of the future. In 2015, Jana was responsible for the development of AARP’s groundbreaking Livability Index, which measures how well every neighborhood in the United States meets residents’ needs. Jana previously served as director of transportation planning for the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, where she designed and managed an influential study on the link between land use and the mobility of older adults.

Stefanie Brodie, PhD
Research Practice Lead, Toole Design

Stefanie Brodie specializes in research for transportation planning and policy. With her expertise in transportation equity, she works with cities to develop equity frameworks for planning processes and conducting equity analyses. Her past research focused on performance-based transportation planning, especially how to incorporate equity and other social sustainability considerations into decision making. Stefanie takes a pragmatic approach to transportation research and believes that it should help public agencies make informed decisions.

Prior to joining Toole Design, Stefanie served as a research program specialist for Washington, DC’s District Department of Transportation. Stefanie’s published works cover topics of equity, performance-based planning, sustainability, and environmental justice, all within the transportation context. She has presented at numerous conferences and has participated in panels on topics such as active transportation, dockless micromobility, project evaluations, and the future of transportation.

Danielle J. Harris
Managing Director, Engagement & Innovation, Elemental Excelerator

Danielle J. Harris is a passionate advocate for environmental and racial justice, which led her to city planning. As a city planner mitigating tech’s growing impacts on San Francisco over the past 10 years, Danielle began to adapt city functions to unlock tech’s benefits. Today, Danielle is the Managing Director of Engagement & Innovation at Elemental Excelerator, a climate tech catalyst that finds and funds climate startup deployments with corporates, community-based organizations, and cities. She develops strategic engagements and partnerships with diverse stakeholders to make impactful change to address social inequity and the climate crisis. Danielle continues to be a thought leader in new mobility, helping the industry navigate the ever-evolving mobility revolution, for she previously served as Director of Mobility Innovation at Elemental and Innovation Strategist for SFMTA Office of Innovation, where she created dynamic collaborations between city departments and tech companies.

Midori Valdivia
COO, Coro Leadership Network

Midori (she/her/ella) is a transportation, operations, and urban planning leader committed to expanding mobility options for people. She is the Founder of Midori Valdivia Consulting, providing policy advisory services at the intersection of transportation, climate change, and equity. Midori serves as a Mayoral Appointee and Board Member of the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the largest transportation organization in North America running New York City’s subways, buses, and commuter railroads. She also serves as Trustee of the Transit Center, a national philanthropy and think tank devoted to the expansion of public transit. She is part of communities that work to increase representation and build the power of women and people of color across the urban planning sector.

Midori has led a career in the public sector, holding senior roles at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the MTA, and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. At the MTA, she was Chief of Staff to the Chair & CEO and led efforts for the successful legislative passage of congestion pricing and the ambitious $55 billion 2020-2024 capital plan. At the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, she was Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Administration running Finance, People, IT, Procurement, Facilities functions during a time of immense change in the for-hire vehicle industry. At the Port Authority, she was Senior Advisor to the Executive Director providing support on a myriad of issues including post Hurricane Sandy recovery and funding, as well as implementation of wage increases for contract workers.Her experience spans across a variety of modes including subways, bus, ports, taxis, and airports. She was most recently the Chief Operating Officer for the Coro New York Leadership Center, the City’s premier civic leadership training organization. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her partner and toddler, both public transit enthusiasts.

Alison Sant
Partner and Co-founder, Studio for Urban Projects

Alison is a partner and co-founder of the Studio for Urban Projects, an interdisciplinary design collaborative based in San Francisco that works at the intersection of architecture, urbanism, art, and social activism. For more than 15 years, the Studio has focused on public programming, urban prototyping, and civic dialog – aiming to bring social justice and sustainability to the design of cities. Sant is the author of From the Ground Up: Local Efforts to Create Resilient Cities (Island Press, 2022) a book that examines how American cities are mitigating and adapting to climate change while creating greater equity and livability. She has taught at the College of Environmental Design, University of California Berkeley, the California College of the Arts, Mills College, and the San Francisco Art Institute.

Carol Coletta
President and CEO, Memphis River Parks Partnership

Carol Coletta is President and CEO of Memphis River Parks Partnership, a public-private partnership responsible for five miles of public property along the Mississippi River. Its mission is to work with and for the people of Memphis to trigger the transformative power of the river. She led a new riverfront concept plan, renaming and redesigning two former Confederate Parks and a five-mile bike-ped trail. She was a senior fellow in the American Cities Practice at the Kresge Foundation, where she led Reimagining the Civic Commons, a national initiative to demonstrate that transformative public spaces can connect people of all backgrounds, cultivate trust, create more resilient communities, and generate greater value in neighborhoods nearby. She previously served as VP of Community and National Initiatives for the Knight Foundation. She managed a portfolio of more than $50 million annually in grants and a team of 18 in eight offices nationwide to drive success in cities. Her strategic focus at Knight was to understand how robust public life can accelerate talent, opportunity, and engagement. She led a national inquiry into the value of economic integration in America’s cities.

She also led the start-up of ArtPlace, a public-private collaboration to accelerate creative placemaking in communities across the U.S. The partnership included 13 leading foundations, eight federal agencies, and six of the nation’s largest banks. She served as president/CEO of CEOs for Cities, a Chicago-based network of urban leaders from 45 of the nation’s top metro areas. She also led the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a collaboration of the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the American Architectural Foundation. Carol created and hosted the public radio show “Smart City.”

Gia Biagi
Principal of Urbanism, Studio Gang

Gia Biagi is Principal of Urbanism at Studio Gang, where she leads the office’s urban design, planning, and strategy work. This part of the practice unites ecology and revitalizing cities with a renewed focus on reimagining public assets, institutions, and neighborhoods to be more relevant, connected, and responsive to their communities. Biagi’s career, spanning private practice and public service, has established her as a visionary leader in community-centered and environmentally responsible urban planning and design. From 2019 to 2023, she served as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, where she delivered hundreds of innovative transportation projects citywide and created a nation-leading strategic plan focused on safe, sustainable, and efficient mobility options and building equity into its daily operations.

Before that, she held positions in Chicago’s Park District and the Department of Planning and Development, where her work focused on neighborhood revitalization through planning, programs, policies, and capital investments. Biagi was previously appointed secretary of the NACTO Board. She also served on the boards of the City Parks Alliance and NeighborSpace.