Mariia V. Zimmerman
Senior Sustainability Fellow
Mariia Zimmerman, Principal of MZ Strategies, LLC, is a national leader on transportation and development issues. With over 15 years of federal experience, Ms. Zimmerman held senior leadership positions with the federal government, the national Center for Transit-Oriented Development, and on Capitol Hill. She is a frequent national speaker and author on public transportation issues including transit-oriented development (TOD), inclusive public participation strategies, urban planning and transportation finance.
Throughout Ms. Zimmerman’s career she has worked at the intersection between elected officials, planners, private developers and community advocates to crafty policies and programs that support healthy, economically thriving and inclusive communities. As Principal of MZ Strategies, LLC, Ms. Zimmerman offers consulting services to help develop common sense, politically proven strategies that help to make government more effective, generate value for citizens and property owners, and create greater opportunity for all members of the community. Prior to launching her own business in the summer of 2012, Ms. Zimmerman served as Deputy Director for the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In this position she helped launched two new grant programs supporting planning work in over 150 urban, suburban and rural communities to better integrate transportation, housing and economic development. Mariia worked previously worked at Reconnecting America and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development where she lead the organization’s policy work and spent six years on Capitol Hill as Chief of Staff for Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s (D-OR) Washington DC office. She also spent time at the Federal Transit Administration where she was recognized for her work with DOT’s modal administrations to implement the newly created Transportation and Community and System Preservation (TCSP) program, and served on the President’s Council for Sustainable Development and the White House Climate Change Task Force.
Ms. Zimmerman served on the Arlington County Transportation Commission in Virginia and is active in a number of transportation and planning organizations. She was named WTS Woman of the Year in 2009 by the Washington DC Women’s Transportation Seminar, and awarded the EPA Gold Medal for Exceptional Service in 2010. Originally from Minnesota, Mariia has advanced degrees in Urban Planning from the University of Minnesota and in Geography from PennState, and an undergraduate degree from Macalester College.
Smart Cities Fellow
Michelle currently creates Smarter Planet thought leadership for IBM’s Brand System Strategy team, with a focus on Smarter Cities. While at IBM, she has also worked on innovation within emerging markets and public sector consulting. Before joining IBM, Michelle spent a decade as an international development practitioner. During her time at the World Bank, she served as a post-conflict specialist providing performance measurement and social assessments for multi-million dollar, rehabilitation projects in conflict-affected countries around the world. Additionally, Michelle has worked on projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Health Organization and The Carter Center. She’s currently pursuing her PhD at the London School of Economics within their Cities Programme. In her spare time Michelle likes to practice yoga, martial arts, skiing and stand up paddle boarding.
Kimberley E. Hodgson
Sustainability and Public Health Fellow
Kimberley Hodgson, MURP, MS, AICP, RD is the founder of Cultivating Healthy Places, an international consulting business specializing in community health, social equity and sustainable food systems planning. As a certified planner and health professional, her work focuses on conducting policy-relevant research and providing technical assistance to the public and private sectors related to the design and development of healthy, sustainable places. She has taught graduate courses on the connections between health, food systems, and planning; established national food system coalitions and partnerships; developed websites and social networking forums for planning professionals; given numerous presentations; facilitated many meetings, workshops and lectures; and authored a variety of research and policy reports, promotional and educational materials, and newspaper articles.
As the former Senior Research Associate and Manager of the Planning and Community Health Research Center at the American Planning Association, Ms. Hodgson managed several research projects and engaged in multiple outreach and education activities, which focused on the integration of community health issues into contemporary urban and regional planning practice. Prior to her work with APA, she assisted in the development of the City of Alexandria’s sustainability vision and plan, providing the City with expertise in community health, active living, and food systems. She has also worked extensively in the research, development, and implementation of a variety of food policy and nutrition programs targeting youth and young adults in New York City, Boston, and Southwest Virginia—farm to school, school wellness policy, nutrition education, nutrition communication, and health promotion.
Ms. Hodgson is co-author of Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy Sustainable Places, co-chair of the STAR Community Index’s Health and Safety Technical Advisory Committee, and a member of the Vancouver Food Policy Council.
She holds an undergraduate degree from New York University in pre-medicine, a Master of Science in food policy and applied nutrition from Tufts University, and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning with a specialization in community health and sustainability from Virginia Tech. She is also a certified planner and registered dietitian.