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Planner Profile: Michelle Stephens

Name: Michelle Stephens, AICP

Title: Engagement Manager

Company/Employer: Bang the Table

 

Tells us a little about yourself professionally.
I have an eclectic planning background that includes everything from front counter and development review roles to leading planning and policy for the revitalization of Abu Dhabi Island in the United Arab Emirates. In the last few years I have focused on the use of technology to improve the way planners and our organizations operate to ensure government transparency, process efficiency, stakeholder involvement, and improved decision-making.

Tell us how you got into planning.
I always tell people that planning is in my DNA. My mother worked with the City Engineer in the small town where I grew up, so I was always using her drafting tools to draw communities that were designed around making sure people were close to all the places they valued. My “plans” typically involved lots of pools, parks, and bike paths.

Tell us a little about yourself outside of planning.
I grew up in Nebraska and went to university in Utah, where I started my planning career. Prior to living internationally, I raced bikes and (sprint) triathlons. I enjoy being outside, especially next to a beach. I now live in Lafayette, with my husband and our three sons. I spend most of my time outside of work relaxing (or more likely, chasing my boys).

Who is your planning hero or role model?
My planning hero is every planner (professional or citizen) who shows up to make a difference in their community by asking “what if?”.

What makes planning special/interesting/difficult/fun in Colorado?
Colorado is a beautiful state facing tremendous pressure from growth. Looking for and creating balance between our natural and built environments, while ensuring we celebrate diversity and inclusivity, makes being a planner here interesting, fun, and dynamic.

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