ULI Toronto News

ULI Toronto announces new executive leadership for 2018 – 2020

Jennifer Keesmaat, Michelle Ackerman and Hillary Marshall to drive ULI Toronto’s biggest mission – community impact

TORONTO (June 28, 2018) – With a fast-growing membership in a fiercely competitive global city, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Toronto is excited to welcome three notable and influential industry professionals as the new leadership of its Management Committee. Former Chief Planner for the City of Toronto, and Chief Executive Officer at the Creative Housing Society Jennifer Keesmaat will join the Management Committee of ULI Toronto as the new Chair.

Michelle Ackerman, Infrastructure Development Consultant at Kilmer Group will serve as Vice Chair, and Hillary Marshall, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations at Toronto Pearson, will serve as Vice Chair and Chair of Mission Advancement. Derek Goring, Vice President, Development, First Gulf, who recently completed his two-year term as Chair of ULI Toronto, will now continue his strategic leadership of ULI Toronto as the new Chair of the Governance Committee. Rob Spanier, outgoing Governance Committee Chair will continue his long-standing leadership as the new Chair of the Advisory Board.

“We are very excited for the fresh ideas and creative thinking this new leadership group will bring. Jennifer, Michelle and Hillary’s professional experiences with community outreach, combined with their passion for city building, will propel ULI’s mission of promoting the responsible use of land across the region in a significant way” said Derek Goring.

In a region that has been forced to rise quickly to the challenges of massive public policy changes and urban growth, ULI Toronto has proven to be one of the most dynamic District Councils in the entire global network. In the past two years ULI Toronto tripled the number of events hosted, averaging more than one per week. From large educational panels to smaller networking events and tours, ULI Toronto’s programming has attracted over 7,500 registrations, the highest of any District Council in the global network. Under the direction of ULI Toronto Executive Director Richard Joy, the new leadership will be tasked with continuing to inspire and connect ULI Toronto members with these successes, while broadening the discussions about progressive city building to a wider, community audience.

Rob Spanier commented: “We are very pleased with the impressive new leadership for ULI Toronto. Our Governance Committee conducted a thorough year-long process to identify the right candidates that can continue to advance ULI Toronto’s trajectory and the momentum of ULI Toronto’s growth. We look forward to enjoying the continued delivery of our mission to promote leadership in the responsible use of land and creating sustainable and thriving communities worldwide with Jennifer, Michelle and Hillary at the helm.”

About Jennifer Keesmaat, Chair, ULI Toronto District Council
Jennifer Keesmaat is an urban planner passionate about creating places where people flourish. Named one of the “most powerful people in Canada” by Maclean’s, and one of the “most influential” by Toronto Life, she spent five years as Toronto’s Chief City Planner, where she was celebrated for her innovative and collaborative approach to city-building. A Distinguished Visitor in Residence Emeritus at the University of Toronto, Jennifer continues to share her vision for cities of the future, and her belief in inspired leadership through a variety of publications and on her podcast, Invisible City. As the new CEO of Creative Housing, she is developing, and will be building and operating, high quality affordable rental communities across Canada.

Over the past fifteen years, as a founding partner of the Office for Urbanism and subsequently Dialog, Jennifer worked in municipalities across Canada and around the world on urban design guidelines, official plan reviews, culture strategies, and university campus master plans. Her planning practice is characterized by an emphasis on collaborations across sectors, and broad engagement with municipal staff, councils, developers, business leaders, NGO’s, and residents associations. Jennifer has been recognized for her expertise in transit planning, heritage preservation, strategy development, communications, sustainable economic development and the creation of walkable, complete communities. Jennifer’s experience within ULI includes participating in a number of ULI Toronto programs and serving on the Advisory Board since its inception in 2014.

About Michelle Ackerman, Vice Chair, ULI Toronto District Council
Michelle Ackerman is an infrastructure and real estate development consultant who specializes in delivering public-private partnerships, and large-scale residential and mixed-use projects. During her engagement with The Kilmer Group, she has been responsible for project development, marketing and stakeholder relations for the award winning 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletes’ Village, and its legacy master planned Canary District community, transforming Toronto’s downtown east. Other notable projects include the ONroute Highway Service Centres network across Ontario’s 400 series highways, the 72-acre redevelopment of the former Imperial Oil refinery site in Port Credit and the recently announced Infrastructure Ontario West Don Lands purpose built rental program which will deliver over 1,500 rental units to market.

Michelle has an MBA from the Rotman School of Business, was a recipient of the 2016 WLI Prologis Scholarship, and was recognized in 2017 as a Champion by the Women’s Leadership Initiative at ULI Toronto. Her service to ULI includes serving as the Co-chair for ULI Connect, which brings a comprehensive understanding of how the organization is run to the leadership team.

About Hillary Marshall, Vice Chair, Chair of Mission Advancement, ULI Toronto District Council
Hillary Marshall is the Vice President of Stakeholder Relations at Toronto Pearson where she is leading a cross-functional team addressing the growth of air traffic in southern Ontario, and associated impacts on ground transportation connections between Toronto Pearson and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton region. Over the course of her 20 year career, Hillary has led campaigns to build community, stakeholder and government engagement for projects such as the Gardiner Expressway re-development and the redevelopment of the Unilever lands. Hillary has served as a member of ULI Toronto’s Advisory Board for the past year and has contributed to a number of programs over the years.


For more information, interviews or images please contact:

Jen Sapkowski
ULI Toronto

About ULI Toronto
ULI Toronto is part of a global network of real estate and land development professionals with a mission to provide leadership and a forum for discussion around city building and responsible use of land and in sustaining and creating thriving communities worldwide. ULI Toronto carries forth that mission by serving the Greater Toronto Region’s public and private sectors with pragmatic land use expertise and education. Presently, ULI Toronto has nearly 1,700 members.

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