Planners as Leaders: The Undiscovered Territory

APA Illinois Chapter


Wednesday, September 13, 2017
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. CDT

CM | 1.25

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Planning is commonly thought of as a profession of consensus builders, big picture people, and folks that are all too happy to have someone else take credit for a good idea. Add to that the political nature of what planners do, and one might reasonably ask, “How can planners be leaders”?

The truth is, planner are leaders, every day. What we need to do is start thinking of ourselves that way. Leadership is not what it says on someone’s business card, but how the planner serves their community, supports their colleagues and advances their profession. Just as importantly, planners don’t need to be department directors or partners at a firm to be leaders. Leadership is about teaching the public, doing good work, and showing the value of planning to community leaders.

This fun interactive session will be conducted as a facilitated panel discussion with a planner, an attorney (who also is a planner!), and a city manager. Each will convey the way they see planners as leaders, and share experiences and suggestions on leadership for planners. The panel will engage attendees to share their own experiences as leaders, as well as challenge attendees to identify and seize leadership opportunities.  The panel will raise and respond to leadership scenarios that planners may face, as well as respond to a series of questions that may include:

• Why should I be a leader?

• How can I be a leader when authority and power rest with others?

• How can I be a leader in the face of changing administrations, bosses, and economies?

• I’m already under the gun at my job, how can I possibly lead?

• OK, I’m in. How to go about being a leader?

• How does APA play a role in helping planners become leaders?

• How does a community’s political context promote or suppress leadership opportunities?


David Silverman, AICP

Confirmed Speaker

David S. Silverman is a partner with Ancel Glink in Chicago, specializing in local government, land use, and economic development matters. Prior to his career as an attorney, David was an urban planning and economic development consultant David is a frequent writer and speaker on a wide variety of land ... Read More

Michael Blue, FAICP

Confirmed Speaker

Michael Blue, FAICP, is a principal at Teska Associates, Inc. in Evanston, IL. Mr. Blue has a unique background working in the public and private sectors of the planning profession. Having started his career as a consultant, he worked extensively in the areas of comprehensive and special area planning, development ... Read More

Stacy Alberts Sigman

Confirmed Speaker

Village Manager for the Village of Northfield.

Contact Info

Trevor Dick,