JTHS Alumni Spotlight Creating Change: Lynn M. Ross, AICP, Joliet West High School Class of 1995
November 28, 2016 08:30 AM
Career & Education At-a-Glance
· B.S. Community and Regional Planning, Iowa State University
· Masters of Regional Planning, Cornell University
· 2009 Design Achievement Award (ISU College of Design)
· 2013 Bruss Book Award (Silver Level)
· 2016 Iowa State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Joliet West High School Alumna Lynn M. Ross, AICP (’95) has grown to be an exceptional and visionary national leader working to create change as the Vice President of Community and National Initiatives at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
While at West, Ross took advantage of the education opportunities available to her by joining DARE, Class Committee, National Honor Society, Key Club, Science Team, and the Tiger News Network.
Looking back on the education that helped prepare her, Ross says, “My most inspirational teachers were my parents, but Linda Henize--my art teacher--also had a big influence on me. She was a great teacher to be sure, but what I really admired is that still pursued her own art outside of the classroom. As a young woman, it was great to see someone pursue professional excellence in a way that leveraged personal interests and creativity.”
Her professional creativity and drive has truly flourished after receiving a B.S. in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University and a Masters of Regional Planning from Cornell University. She also holds membership from the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), the American Planning Association (APA), and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
Committed to community development, Ross has extensive and innovative experiences. She initially worked as an independent contractor focused on asset-based community development for Henry Moore Building Communities Inc. before working as a researcher and manager for the Planning Advisory Service at the American Planning Association. She then went on to work as the Chief Operating Officer of the National Housing Conference & Center for Housing Policy, followed by serving as the Executive Director for the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing at the Urban Land Institute, and as the Presidentially-appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development in the Office of Policy Development and Research of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
As the Vice President of Community and National Initiatives at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, she works to attract and nurture talent by supporting and networking diverse leaders from all sectors; enhance opportunity: by building inclusive pathways to economic prosperity; and foster civic engagement by enabling people to contribute to – and take an active part in – the life of their community.
Her exceptional work and vision has not gone unnoticed, having been awarded the 2016 Iowa State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award, the 2013 Bruss Book Award (Silver Level), and the 2009 Design Achievement Award from the ISU College of Design.
When asked what advice she offers for current high school students, Ross says, “Align your work with your values. You can do well in life by doing good. I've spent my career at mission driven organizations (non-profit and public sector) by design because it is important to me to not only do good work, but to associate with organizations serving the greater good.”