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President's Message: Chapter Awards 2020

What a long strange trip it's been.  Not only 2020 but also my two terms as APA Colorado President.  I nominated myself for President-Elect in 2014 after seeing Shelia's (our Chapter Administrator) email request for nominations.  I didn't think I would win.  I wasn't even sure why anyone would vote for me.  I had only been in Colorado for a few months and did not have a network of planner friends in the Chapter.  I ran on a platform of 1) raising the profile of planners and planning, and 2) throwing a kick-a$$ conference.  I won by a narrow margin, jumped into my new role, and developed a strategic plan to focus the Board and our volunteer activities.  

Five years later I remain committed to my platform.  Covid has reinforced my belief in the incredibly important role planners must play in shaping our communities.  We must lead our communities, through our policies, processes, and plans, to become anti-racist and to ensure everyone has a voice, as well as access to the services and amenities so many of us in positions of privilege and power take for granted.  As planners, we need to hold each other accountable to the AICP Code of Ethics and we must share those values with nonplanners to ensure we are seated at the table to guide our communities through whatever challenges come our way.  

As I prepare to transition to the Chapter's Past-President, I've reflected on what we've accomplished in the last five years, including:

  • Establishment of an active and effective Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity (EDI) committee
  • Establishment of the Youth in Planning (YIP) committee and development of an RFP (not released) for the creation of K-12 city planning curriculum
  • Development and implementation of 5-year Chapter Development Plan and annual strategic plan, including annual work plans that amplified the work of our committees and volunteers
  • Consistently breaking attendance records at our annual Chapter conferences, which resulted in increased sponsorships and revenue to support Chapter programs
  • Raising awareness of APA Colorado and the quality work we are doing with APA National, which resulted in the Chapter President's Council 2020 Award for Leadership
  • Adoption of new Chapter Bylaws, the publication of our first and subsequent annual Chapter reports, and creation of our first Chapter handbook, all of which provide additional transparency to our membership and ensure smooth transitions of the Board without impacting the services we provide
  • Passage of House Bill 20-1095, which requires local governments to include policies that implement the State Water Plan as part of land use planning.

In this newsletter, we celebrate the great planning work and service of planners throughout Colorado.  As you read through the articles, I hope you will take a moment for self-reflection and ask yourself, "how can I uplift our profession?".  Maybe it's through volunteer service or standing up for those who have been forgotten or excluded, but whatever it is, I will continue to ask you for your best and support you as you do the work that builds Resilient, Inclusive, Sustainable, and Equitable communities. 

As always, please reach out to me at president@apacolorado.org.

Take care,

Michelle

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