Monday, September 4, 2017

Looking ahead to our next chapter with our new Deputy Director Naomi Iwasaki

Investing in Place is changing and we’re excited. This month we are taking it to another level as our new Deputy Director Naomi Iwasaki joins the Investing in Place team.

Since we started in January 2015, we have pushed for transportation investments that foster sustainable and equitable communities through research, education and advocacy around transportation planning. Investing in Place has worked to fill critical needs: increasing policy depth of community partners to advocate for public finance decisions that produce desired policy outcomes, supporting a constituency for good local and regional planning, and building strategic relationships with agencies and efforts that invest in the built environment.

As we’ve grown, we recognized the need for a skilled leader to join our team – and help us introduce our next chapter of growth and effectiveness. It became clear to us that the person for this job is Naomi Iwasaki. She is a knowledgeable professional with direct experience translating community perspectives into real policy and projects. Driven by social justice, she is a fourth generation Angeleno with a love and deep connection to the Los Angeles region and those who call it home.

Naomi is a Founding Advisory Board member of Investing in Place – and she as been an instrumental thought partner every step of the way of our work.

Most previously, Naomi served as Director of Neighborhood Services and Great Streets in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, overseeing eight City departments and the Great Streets Initiative, which prioritizes public resources to develop our streets as safe and vibrant public spaces. Before her work for the City of Los Angeles, she worked at Community Health Councils (CHC) analyzing transportation and transit-oriented development policies to advocate for improved health and mobility access for residents of South Los Angeles. Previously, she spent eight years in New York City, designing projects and community planning in the Department of Transportation’s bicycle program and cutting her teeth in environmental review and transportation analysis at Philip Habib & Associates.

From working on the inside of government – as well as her experience as a community advocate –  Naomi understands from multiple perspectives just how difficult systemic change can be to implement. But she brings a commitment to equity and belief that we can achieve change through smart, collaborative, strategic advocacy. She has seen her hometown grow and change so much in her life and has dedicated herself to improving it for her son and his generation and generations to come.

In addition to her direct experience, Naomi holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from New York University and B.A.’s in Ethnic Studies and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley.

Naomi’s new email is

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