A Tribute to Caren Dewar
Since 2004, Caren Dewar has passionately led ULI Minnesota as its Executive Director. On August 31st, Caren will take off her cape one last
In her role, a position previously held by Caren Dewar, Stephanie will be charged with advancing ULI Minnesota’s mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities. Stephanie’s tenure as Executive Director will commence on October 1, 2020.
ULI MN worked with CohenTaylor to conduct an extensive, months-long search for our next Executive Director. Along the way, we engaged dozens of ULI members, sponsors, grantors, mayors around the region, and other stakeholders to identify and define the most important attributes of our next Executive Director. That work resulted in a list of high impact qualities, which included:
Stephanie checks all of these boxes – and more. She brings deep curiosity, dynamic intellect, and a passion for the intersection of geography, community and opportunity. The combination of her diverse skill set and professional expertise will enable ULI MN to continue to convene conversations, train leaders, and catalyze action to tackle our community’s hardest questions with courage and integrity.
Originally hailing from Kansas City, Stephanie obtained her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University before beginning her professional career working in Washington DC, working in the public sector and then as a political consultant.
While earning Masters degrees in Urban Planning and in Public Administration from Harvard University, Stephanie also returned to Kansas City to work in the office of Mayor Sly James and completed a fellowship with the Joint Center for Housing Studies.
After her graduate work, Stephanie became a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where she served clients in the construction and infrastructure sector, partnered on the development of a $400 million strategy to extend basic utilities in a post-crisis West African state, and lead the strategic redesign of an international foundation tasked with building urban resilience. With the McKinsey Global Institute, Stephanie also worked on two seminal reports, A Blueprint for Addressing the Global Affordable Housing Challenge (2014) and co-authored Reinventing Construction: A Route to Higher Productivity (2017).
Stephanie departed McKinsey in 2018 to throw herself into work whose roots were more local. In so doing, she launched her own consultancy, Yellow House Ideas. Demonstrating an entrepreneurial attitude that will pay dividends as the ED of ULI MN, Stephanie advised the McKnight Foundation on housing affordability, supported the Itasca Project’s task team on housing affordability, and shepherded the work of three Minnesota Foundations toward building a deeper partnership on criminal justice reform. Stephanie’s “can do” spirit that led to these accomplishments will serve her well in her new role at ULI Minnesota.
Stephanie is described by those who know her well as passionate, a facilitator, self-aware, a thinker, a doer, pragmatic, an excellent listener and communicator, and as a person who excels at starting with a blank page amid great uncertainty and delivering something that has great clarity and purpose.
“There were a number of highly qualified individuals desiring to serve ULI,” says Mayor Jim Hovland, Mayor of Edina and Co-Chair of the Regional Council of Mayors, “and in Stephanie Brown, ULI has a new leader that is smart, passionate, highly experienced, very self-reliant, thoughtfully strategic and wonderfully articulate. She will be an excellent leader for the future and will help ULI prosper in new ways.”
Amid the turbulence that has defined 2020 and the uncertainty of our collective future, we have great faith in Stephanie’s ability to exercise every one of her talents to help all of us navigate our own competitive future.
We are thrilled to welcome Stephanie to the ULI MN family. She is eager to get to know each of you and to carry on the great work you have come to expect from our District Council.
Jeremy R. Jacobs
ULI Minnesota Chair