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Margaret Gattis is the Executive Director, where she is responsible for building a strong, thriving, and sustainable organization that achieves the strategic plan and the vision provided by the President. She manages all internal operations of the organization and leads staff in achieving our goals through programs, membership, communications, and outreach. In leading CNU, Margaret combines her passion for cities, architecture, and people-centered design with over 15 years of experience developing and leading multidisciplinary teams in nonprofit membership organizations.
After serving initially as Program Director in 2018, Margaret provided steady leadership to CNU as Deputy Director through two virtual Congresses and a significant leadership transition, ushering in an era of stability and growth. Prior to this work, she spent over a decade advocating for the reuse of older and historic buildings at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, leading on-the-ground technical assistance projects across the country and contributing to groundbreaking research about the environmental, economic, and social value that older, smaller buildings contribute to cities for the Trust’s Preservation Green Lab.
Margaret holds a Bachelors of Arts in political science from Clemson University’s College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences and a Masters in Community Planning from the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.
Senior Communications Advisor
Robert Steuteville is Senior Communications Advisor and editor of Public Square. He also produces CNU’s webinar series, On the Park Bench. He is a CNU Fellow. Steuteville has been writing, editing, and publishing in the field of New Urbanism since 1996, when he founded New Urban News, the long-time trade publication. He authored or co-authored four editions of New Urbanism: Best Practices Guide, which is used for CNU accreditation. He founded Better Cities & Towns, a 501c3 nonprofit that led a consulting team in writing form-based codes for the City and Town of Ithaca, New York, initiating planning charrettes, and carrying out other planning and education missions. Steuteville is a signer of the Charter of the New Urbanism, which was unveiled in Charleston, South Carolina, when New Urban News was launched. He participated in the Mississippi Renewal Forum, when new urbanists made plans for 11 communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He lives in Ithaca, New York, with his family.
Director of Membership & Outreach
Scott Shields is the Director of Membership and Outreach for the Congress for the New Urbanism, where his work focuses on supporting and growing both the membership of the organization as well as the broader new urbanist movement. From building and maintaining CNU’s digital platforms to coordinating the work of its local Chapters and affiliates, he brings almost two decades of experience in organizing and activism. Prior to joining the CNU staff, Scott’s career centered around non-profit organizations, local government, elected officials, and the labor movement. A long time new urbanist himself, he grew up in the New York metropolitan area, experiencing both the benefits of vibrant, walkable urban spaces, and the negative impacts of suburban sprawl. He lives in New Jersey with his partner, two children, and an ever-expanding menagerie of pets, constantly on the lookout for new hiking trails and music venues.
Director of Education and Training
Marsha Garcia is the Director of Education and Training for the Congress of the New Urbanism and is responsible for developing and delivering tools and education outreach materials to support existing members, and grow the next generation of new urban designers and leaders. Prior to CNU Marsha was the University of Rhode Island’s first Campus Sustainability Officer where she created and instituted outreach and engagement initiatives related to sustainability at the University; a role she served for over 12 years. Before her arrival on campus, she held various positions in the environmental field in the Washington, DC, area. She was the manager of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Community by Design's Sustainability Design and Assessment Teams programs, a position she held after initially managing the education and outreach programs for the AIA Knowledge Communities including the Committee on the Environment, Building Science & Performance Committee, and the Design-Build Community. She came to AIA after working for the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) as an assistant manager jump starting the LEED Education Programs in 2001 at its national headquarters. Previous to USGBC she coordinated programs at the National Wildlife Federation in Virginia. Marsha obtained a Master of Science in environmental sciences and policy, with a focus on environmental planning, from the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, and a Bachelor’s degree from Drew University in New Jersey. She lives just outside Philadelphia, PA, with her husband, daughter, and two dogs, where they enjoy the many hiking trails, green spaces, and cultural opportunities the area has to offer.
Lauren Mayer is the Communications Manager at the Congress for the New Urbanism where she contributes to the strategic direction of CNU’s communications and outreach, executes general communications, and supports programmatic work. Her scope of work includes CNU’s Highways to Boulevards program which offers a path forward for communities impacted by burdensome urban highways to repair, rebuild, and reknit.
Prior to joining CNU, Lauren was an ORISE fellow with U.S. EPA doing communications work in the Office of Water. Lauren holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Media & Cultural Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN. Lauren enjoys walking and biking around her home in Washington, DC, skiing, and camping.
Desiree “Dee” Powell is an Arlington, Texas native where she graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with her Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies and Masters in City & Regional Planning. She is currently an urban planner in Texas and an urban designer in her own urban planning/design firm, DRBTS (Do Right By The Streets), which focuses on place keeping as a tool to implement temporary-to-permanent space activation projects in communities of color. Desiree centers her work from her lived experiences as a Black woman along with impacts of music, streetwear and sports. She's a lover of sports and being active, coffee and writing whenever she can.
Membership Diversity Coordinator
Adilah is the Membership Diversity Coordinator at the Congress for New Urbanism and contributes to the development and retention of CNU members and supporters. Adilah has a decade of experience working in state government, education, and non-profit organizations. She worked in membership development creating new strategies to integrate new and existing members into a community professional organization. Adilah is a New Urbanist at heart, who prefers walking around her native Troy, NY to driving. She grew up building summer forts in the forest near her home with friends and as an adult spends her weekends on local hiking trails or attending music festivals.
Sarah Chen-Kim is the Operations Assistant at the Congress for the New Urbanism where she provides support for various administrative activities and assists with finance and operations, programming and events, board and executive management, and implementation of development strategy. Prior to CNU, Sarah worked with local nonprofits in Houston for four years, helping with fundraising, grant management, and development. In her free time, Sarah enjoys playing board games, birdwatching, and taking long walks around her neighborhood in Sugar Land, TX with her husband.