CNT Welcomes Project Manager Ryan Scherzinger

Working toward change is difficult – in ourselves, in our relationships, within organizations, and certainly across institutions and geographies that have a strong hold on our daily lives. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside many communities in a diverse mix of places and contexts, each confronted with unique histories and a shifting landscape of challenges and opportunities. Within those experiences, I’ve consistently seen how exploring communities’ ideas about what their imagined future can and should hold is a critical, inspiring, and eye-opening process. Developing a shared vision of community and place is powerful. CNT understands that well.

I am a community planner, but one that entered the field through a nontraditional door, coming from an academic focus in urban and environmental anthropology. Both backgrounds inform my perspective and approach that I’d describe broadly as a multidisciplinary, human-centered inquiry into the formation of space and the connections and relationships to the varied environments we find ourselves. My background keeps me deeply mindful of the history of people and places, and its ability to help demystify the present. The persistent and complex entanglements of identity, power, and place – and how (dis)advantage is made and remade at their nexuses – remains central to how I frame and contextualize issues. I also lean into an applied mindset. In other words, I’m ultimately focused on helping to find effective and meaningful ways of improving people’s quality of life, now and for the generations that follow.

There’s no substitution for getting people together for an open dialogue and transparent exchange of information. What do we know? How can we be sure we know it? What’s missing? And who else do we need to hear from? Co-production with all whose voice belongs at the table, grappling with both what the available data tells us and the missing nuance of human experience it often fails to capture, and maintaining the importance of actualizing tangible, even if smaller, victories, whenever possible, coupled with never losing sight of the shared goals and larger overall vision that may remain in the distance, are some of the key takeaways I’ve gathered from my experience and will carry forward here at CNT.

I’m thankful, inspired by, and excited to contribute to the great work of CNT and stand by their vision and mission of delivering “innovative analysis and solutions” toward an “equitable, sustainable, and resilient” future.

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