I could not be more thrilled to announce that the LISC Chicago Business District Leadership program just took home top honors at this years Chicago Business Development Center Awards! The awards are a recognition of LISC’s efforts to train business district practitioners in the leadership skills and strategies necessary to make tremendous impact in their communities.

Larisa Ortiz Associates is proud to have played a supporting role, along with Coro New York Leadership Program, in developing the framework for the program. The Chicago program is based on the Coro Neighborhood Leadership program, now going on its fifth year. To date, over 100 New York based practitioners have participated in the program and it is still going strong. Both programs are funded in part by their respective cities.

The 2014 BDL cohort, including Dionne Baux (LISC),
Kristen Illes (Coro) and myself to the far left. 

I must say, being involved with this program has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my career. It is truly an honor to see so many practitioners – now over 120 an counting! – gain tremendous insight into their lives, and then turn those insights into tools that make them so much more effective in their work. Being a leader in the field of commercial revitalization and community development is often about working with those over whom one has limited to no authority, about pushing those in positions of power, and about connecting with stakeholders and community partners to advance mutual interests and leverage shared resources. These are the skills that ultimately lead to real and sustainable neighborhood change over time.

For more information on the Chicago LISC BDL program, click here. The deadline to apply for next year’s program is Dec. 11! There is still time!

For more information on Coro Neighborhood Leadership, click here
The opening retreat sets the stage for deep friendships and trust between
peers, who later serve as critical springboards for advice and feedback. 
The opening retreat quote board…things that
resonated with participants made it to this board.