President's Message 1st Qtr 2018


This month’s issue is dedicated to careers in planning, which is a subject near and dear to my heart. As you may know, one of the topics I’m passionate about is raising the profile of “the planner” inside our organizations, as well as for the general public. I look forward to the day when I (or you) tell someone “I’m an urban (city, regional, county etc.) planner” and they respond with a look of awe instead of a look of confusion. I look forward to the day when I’m not explaining that my job consists of making complex critical decisions that enhance our communities and am instead greeted with a sincere understanding of the vital role planners play in delivering and protecting quality of life. Our roles as innovator, facilitator, decision-maker, policy-maker, advisor, and consensus-builder are often undervalued and it is our job, and the job of this organization, to remind our peers, friends, and neighbors that planners (and planning) make a difference. To that end, I hope you’ll enjoy the articles in this quarter’s newsletter and look for opportunities to tell others about the meaning and value of a career in planning.

With the festive season behind us, the Colorado APA Board and our Committees are back to work planning this year’s State Conference (Keystone October 3-5) and other events to provide you with CM credit and networking opportunities. We are also making the final edits to our first published annual report and preparing for our Town Hall meeting. I hope you can find time in your schedule to attend an upcoming event, contribute an article to the newsletter, or volunteer on one of our awesome committees. You can find upcoming events on our Chapter Calendar and information about our committees on our website. Please remember, your participation is necessary for the success of the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association!

The beginning of 2018 has been full of events for me, including connecting with the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance and the Compact of Colorado Communities. Both of these organizations provide valuable resources to cities and counties in Colorado. If you haven’t already, please take a moment to check them out and see if there is synergy with your organization.

As always, if you have an idea on how the Chapter can better serve our membership, please drop me a line at

Take Care,

Michelle Stephens, AICP

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” - John Muir



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