Misty Staunton’s 2017 ULI Fall Meeting Blog

 In All News, Program Reflections

I have worked for the City of Houston for the past 10 years and I have been invited to numerous ULI luncheons which my colleagues and I respectfully decline to go to. The usual response for declining the invitation is “there’s no place for me there”. I decided this year that I would take a further examination to what ULI is and if there’s a place for the public sector and thankfully the Rose Center would gift me that opportunity. My first day at the Fall Meeting I attended the UrbanPlan for Public Officials, which was a great way to start because I was meeting other people from the public sector and it allowed me to shake off any nervousness I had. After the session, we were invited to a reception where I networked with people in the private sector; which to my surprise were very interested in my position as an Urban Planner in Houston. The rest of the week continued to be a learning lesson because not only was I having discussions with people from different sectors; I was also learning from them.

I have attended many Urban Planner’s conferences but ULI wins for having the diversity of topics and professions. One of the workshops that was helpful was “A Serious Conversation about Homelessness”. This topic plagues every city and it was great to hear from the panelist from various sectors discuss who they are dealing with the issue and offering various approaches to solving homelessness. It was also great to hear from George Scarola on the challenges that went into creating Nickelsville Tiny House Village in the City of Seattle.

During this trip, I was able to brainstorm some ideas with a ULI member who is now going to assist me in a particular issue concerning a project I am currently working on. Having that resource to network with someone in their field would have not happened had I not attendee ULI. The slogan that 90% of the people attending the ULI Fall Meeting will make at least one contact that will be valuable holds true. I would highly suggest ULI Fall Meeting to those in the public sector and I plan to become more involved in the organization. Thank you to the Rose Center for this great opportunity and I look forward to seeing you again at the 2018 ULI Fall Meeting.

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