Lynn M. Ross is a recognized urbanist and the founder of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC where she works across sectors with organizations on a mission to create the equitable policies and practices that sustain just places. Her practice is rooted in the deep belief that everyone deserves a place to thrive and that the most effective practices for creating and sustaining just places are co-created, centered in lived experience, and equitable by design.
The work of Spirit for Change takes many forms while leveraging Lynn’s expertise in housing, urban planning, community development, and civic infrastructure, as well as strategy development, coaching, organizational change, and policy making. Recent engagements include leading an initiative to reimagine the federal role in housing policy that resulted in the New Deal for Housing Justice; serving as a founding national steering committee member for Reimagining the Civic Commons—a national demonstration amplifying the transformative power of the public realm; and partnering with the City of Akron, Ohio to set a new course for equitable community development by establishing its Office of Integrated Development.
With 20 years of experience, Lynn has a rich history of multi-sector, mission-focused leadership as Vice President, Community and National Initiatives at the Knight Foundation; Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Executive Director of the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing; Chief Operating Officer for the National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy; and Manager of the Planning Advisory Service at the American Planning Association.
Lynn is the current Chair of the KABOOM! Board of Directors and a member of the Next City Board of Directors. She previously served as a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Culture of Health Program Advisory Board and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Civic Infrastructure Working Group. In 2019, Lynn was named one of 50 “Women of Influence” by the Royal Town Planning Institute’s The Planner magazine. She was honored with the 2009 Design Achievement Award from the Iowa State University College of Design and the 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from the Iowa State University Alumni Association.
Lynn holds a Masters of Regional Planning from Cornell University, where she has also served as a visiting lecturer, and a B.S. in community and regional planning from Iowa State University.
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