What a Difference a Year Makes

by Mariia Zimmerman


Today marks the one year anniversary of MZ Strategies, LLC, which I founded as a way to work directly with communities and organizations in developing and implementing strategies to create thriving, inclusive communities. A parallel motive was a strong desire to develop my urban storytelling (via this blog) and have more flexibility to enjoy the other job I love, being a mom.  It is an amazing feeling, and a humbling one, to celebrate today's milestone. Thanks go out to many people for their support, readership, collaboration, and encouragement! 

Here are just a few highlights from the past 12 months:

  • Releasing "Planning for Regional Competitiveness," co-authored with the National Association of Regional Councils, to provide a snapshot of the current state of practice for regional partnerships around economic and workforce development to achieve equitable outcomes and economic resilience. 
  • Producing "Maximizing the Benefits of Transitway Investment," a summary of new work by the Transitway Impacts Research Program - a cross-sector collaboration lead the University of Minnesota. Currently, I am working on a larger synopsis of the entire 6-year research program which is anticipated to be released this fall.
  • Serving as a strategic adviser to regional leaders in the Twin Cities via support from the McKnight Foundation has provided me with renewed appreciation for the numerous efforts underway in Minnesota to proactively link transportation investments with advancing social equity goals and creating a strong regional economy.  
  • Representing Virginia Tech at the Transatlantic Urban Climate Dialogue in Stuttgart, Germany last fall and at the recent Sustainability Leadership Forum which brought together over 50 leaders in the field of sustainability from local, regional and federal government.
  • Spotlighting the unique and critical capacity building needs of rural communities to successfully compete for talent and investment in today's global marketplace in partnership with the Competitive Communities Collaborative.
  • Being able to meet my sons at the bus stop on most days!  

Many thanks again to my clients, friends and family for a terrific year!