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News from Women in Planning and Development - Fall 2015 Newsletter

October 06, 2015 9:30 AM | Anonymous

Fall 2015 Newsletter
October 6, 2015

Message from the President  

Greetings, Members and Friends of Women in Planning and Development!

I am tremendously honored to have been elected to serve as President of WP+D for the next year. We have a gifted, dedicated board assembled and ready to take on the work of delivering the high quality events and programming that make WP+D unique among networking and professional development groups.

A member since 2011, and a board member since 2013, I have seen WP+D do two amazing things really well: facilitate meaningful professional and personal relationships among members and open the door to A+ job opportunities in our crowded and competitive fields. The positive relationships members have with one another and with the organization help achieve these advantages for both new members entering the field and seasoned professionals seeking the next step in their careers. This is only possible through the continued engagement of our members, who consistently value one another as fellow women, colleagues, friends, and advisers. Thank you.

In order to keep these relationships flourishing, we've planned an exciting year of activities. In addition to monthly Small Networking Lunches (this month is Jane Hornstein, Deputy Director, Cook County Department of Planning and Development) and popular WP+Drinks happy hour or coffee every third Thursday of the month, we're putting together a not-to-be-missed fall Professional Development Panel and an exciting overnight trip in the spring. Stay tuned!

If there's anything I can do to improve your experience with WP+D, or any suggestions you have for things the organization could be doing better, don't hesitate to contact me personally at elizabethduhringscott@gmail.com, or the whole board at info@wpdchicago.com. I look forward to meeting many of you at events in the coming year.


Elizabeth Scott
President, Women in Planning and Development

Recap of Recent Events 
Exhibiting Leadership Panel

The spring professional development event, Exhibiting Leadership, offered members career and professional growth insight from leading women in the field. Moderated by Marisa Novara, Director of the Metropolitan Planning Council, panelists discussed how each of them had forged their own paths in their careers and come back stronger and more resilient after trials, tribulations, and failure. Panelists included:

  • Gina Caruso, Assistant Commissioner at the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection;
  • Cindy Holler, Senior Vice President for National Real Estate at Mercy Housing;
  • Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, Executive Director of Quad Communities Development Corporation; and
  • Caralynn Nowinski, Executive Director/COO at UI Labs
Membership Picnic

Nearly 60 WP+D members attended our annual picnic this year at Jay Pritzker Pavilion for a beautiful evening with food, wine, and live music. Members were easily able to find our spot thanks to a new lawn sign, then ate and drank to the music of Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet, performed by the Grant Park Orchestra.

Commissioner Gainer Networking Breakfast

In April, WP+D members had the opportunity to discuss professional development and career plans with Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. Commissioner Gainer was elected to the Cook County Board in 2010 wherein she created Cook County‚Äôs first Pension Committee, formed the Cook County Land Bank, and is taking on regional workforce development for sustainable living wage jobs. She is also spearheading Off the Sidelines Chicago, the first local chapter of the national campaign founded by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to empower and connect women to take ideas to action. Commissioner Gainer provided valuable and inspiring insight into local leadership and professional advancement. 

Small Networking Lunches

The monthly small networking lunches provide opportunities to meet and learn about extraordinary planning professionals within the Chicago region. These lunchtime events continue to serve as a great resource to our members and fill up within minutes! We have been honored to host the following lunch guests:

  • September - Angela Hurlock, Executive Director of Claretian Associates.
  • August - Lori Bush, Director of Economic Development at World Business Chicago
  • July - Kristin Faust, President of Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, Inc.
  • June - Patricia Berry, Principal Planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
  • May - Taryn Roch, Director of Program Assessment at LISC Chicago

Between happy hour drinks and morning coffee chats, Third Thursdays draw new and old faces to meet and mingle. The events take place throughout Chicago, allowing members an opportunity to not only network, but enjoy many of the great venues throughout the City. We welcome your suggestions for new venues for future WP+Drinks!

  • September - Elephant & Castle
  • August - Plymouth Bar
  • June - Tesori
  • May - Citizen Bar

Upcoming WP+D Events


Jak's Tap

901 W Jackson Blvd.

October 23, 2015


Small Networking Lunch with Jane Hornstein of Cook County

Cook County Building

69 W Washington Blvd.

October 21, 2015


Other P+D Events

APA Illinois State Conference

Normal, IL

October 7-9, 2015

Moxie Chicago: Can Developers Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis?

AIA Chicago

October 14, 2015

CPS Satellite Administrative Office Tour - Adaptive Reuse of a Mid-Century Former School, Presented by CUPPA

Chicago, IL

October 21, 2015

4th Annual Illinois Bike Summit

Champaign, IL

October 28, 2015

Move Together: Shared Mobility Summit 2015

Chicago, IL 

November 28-30, 2015

Member Spotlight

Caitlin Ritter

A WP+D member for 10 years, Caitlin joined MB Real Estate this September as the Market Research & Analysis Manager. There she will lead the growth and development of the research program at the Chicago-based commercial real estate firm. After four years working in affordable housing for Mercy Housing Lakefront, she is excited to switch gears and become an expert in the Chicago area office market. She credits her prior experience working as a market analyst for Goodman Williams Group (Linda Goodman and Christine Williams, two proud WP+D alumni) for her ability to analyze a wide variety of urban developments, from housing for the homeless to corporate headquarters.

Caitlin has an undergraduate degree in architecture and a master's in urban planning with a concentration in economic development from UIC. She became a WP+D member during graduate school, served on the board from 2006-2009 and again in 2012. She says the friendships and professional connections she has forged through WP+D have a made a significant impact on her life and career, which is why she plans to always support the organization. 

Caitlin is a lifelong Chicagoan who is now living in Oak Park with her husband and two children.


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WP+D is an organization for women working in all areas of planning and development in the Chicagoland area to network, enhance job skills, and strengthen professional relationships.

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