Vanessa Morrison, MRCP
Social Planning & Crisis Intervention
Vanessa is a social planner and crisis response professional who is dedicated to empowering and supporting communities. After receiving her master’s degree in Regional City Planning from the University of Oklahoma’s College of Architecture, Vanessa’s professional and academic opportunities have allowed her to design and lead approaches to address injustices in communities, coordinate engagement opportunities for marginalized groups, speak on several media platforms including National Public Radio’s StoryCorps initiative, domestically and internationally consult planning related projects, collaborate on planning initiatives, and activate both spatial and social environments. She is also experienced in developing and implementing engagement strategies that reach into multi-faceted communities, including: trauma exposed youth, survivors of violence, business spaces, advocacy groups, state and local governments, and religious communities. Her robust education and experience in community engagement, planning, and crisis management give her unique and valuable insight to initiate and sustain change.
Urban Planning & Development
Gina Sofola is the President and Principal Consultant for, Sofola and Associates, Inc., a project management and planning consulting firm started in 1999. She is a highly effective project executive with over 30 years of experience specializing in Project Planning, Construction, and Facility Management. She has managed private and public development and construction projects around the country and worked as a Project Engineer for Fortune 500 Companies Bristol- Myers Squibb Co. and Johnson & Johnson, Inc in New York City. Her project awards include the Driehaus Award, ULI Impact Award, and the Oklahoma APA Best Project Award. Passionate about good urban form and the components that make for quality of life within urban environments her company seeks out opportunities to shape transportation, environmental, and international planning initiatives. She is dedicated to the preservation of historic and cultural resources within African American Communities and she seeks to build capacity within these communities around the relationship between physical and economic planning.Gina received a BS in Industrial Engineering and Management from Oklahoma State University and her MS in City and Regional Planning from the University of Oklahoma with an emphasis in physical planning.
Placemaking & Photography
Originally from Ethiopia, Eyakem Gulilat’s work is rooted in a quest for belonging. Gulilat focuses on the complexities of cross-cultural encounter, perceptions of time, memory, and place. His photography questions the differences between subject and photographer; the borders that distinguish us from one another; and the ways our perceptions shift when we view each other through the camera’s lens. In addition, he uses photography to study place-making practices of marginalized communities in America.