Thursday 18th April, 2013
8:30am to 9:30am
It's a man's world. Or is it? As a woman, navigating professional life and defining leadership in your sector is contingent on pushing past boundaries, inventing new ways of being, and drawing on the power of collaboration to nurture success for all in your workplace. As the first woman - and youngest person - to hold the post of Chief Planner in the City of Toronto (one of the fastest growing cities in the world, with the most buildings under construction in North America), Keesmaat has an interesting case study on this subject that she would like to share: her own story.
Chief Planner, City of Toronto, and Renowned Urbanist
Jennifer Keesmaat is committed to creating places where people flourish. Having poured her coherent, comprehensive, and collaborative approach into cities throughout North America – and doing the same in her role as the Chief Planner for the City of Toronto -- Keesmaat speaks with passion on her belief that now is the time to engage in city building and take ownership of our shared future.
Over the past decade Keesmaat has worked in municipalities across Canada – including Moncton, Halifax, Mississauga, Peterborough, London, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, and Vancouver – on the development of site plans, urban design guidelines, official plan reviews, corridor studies, culture plans, secondary plans and university campus master plans. Her planning practice is characterized by an emphasis on collaborations across sectors, and broad engagement with municipal staff, councils, developers, business leaders, NGO's and residents associations.
Keesmaat debuted her first TED talk in 2012, entitled Walk to School, wherein she discusses the importance for families and children to be able to walk safely in their communities. Keesmaat is also the founder of Project Walk, which premiered its first short film in 2011, as an official selection at the TIFF. A take-off on the sit com The Office, the film seeks to unseat dismissive attitudes towards pedestrians.
Keesmaat is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and has a Master in Environmental Studies from York University. She is a Registered Professional Planner and is qualified to provide expert testimony at the Ontario Municipal Board related to planning and urban design matters. Her innovative work has been repeatedly recognized by the professional associations including the Canadian Institute of Planners, OPPI, the Design Exchange, and + EDRA.
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