Women’s Leadership

The mission of the ULI Women’s Leadership Initiative is to raise the visibility and number of women leaders in ULI and the real estate industry.
The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) formally launched in Charlotte, NC at the ULI 2012 Spring Meeting. WLI was formed late in 2010 and is now an active part of ULI’s Larson Leadership Initiative.

Women’s Leadership

ULI WLI Sacramento Strategic Plan 2015-2016

The Sacramento Chapter of the Urban Land Institute has implemented the Women’s Leadership Initiative locally in the 2014-2015 program year. 2014 was a significant year for women in the Sacramento District Chapter, most notably because for the first time in our district both the District Chair and Young Leaders Group Chair are women. A dynamic group of engaged women members has convened to implement the inaugural Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) Committee. This group represents the diversity of our female membership in age, ethnicity, industry, and professional discipline. The Sacramento District WLI Committee has set forth goals for this first program year that are both ambitious and achievable. The following Strategic Plan outlines the WLI Committee’s shared objectives, strategies for implementation, and metrics for evaluation. To achieve these strategies, the WLI Committee has drafted a suite of programs set to be implemented during the 2015-16 program year.

WLI Executive Committee

At the end of each fiscal year, the Chair(s) of the current WLI Executive Committee will appoint female ULI members to the officers and members at large positions for the following year’s WLI Executive Committee. The purpose of the Executive Committee is to assist the Chair(s) in the implementation of the Sacramento District WLI Strategic Plan and work with ULI leadership to further the Sacramento District WLI’s objectives. The Executive Committee will meet periodically at the Chair’s discretion.

ULI Sacramento WLI Strategic Plan 2015-16

Officers 2015-16 Co-Chair: Bernadette Austin


Bernadette Austin has spent a decade committed to creating healthy, sustainable communities. Over the course of her career, she has participated in the development of 20 residential and mixed-use projects, resulting in over 2,000 deed-restricted affordable housing units and 10,000 square feet of commercial space.


As project manager for Domus Development, Bernadette is responsible for managing the predevelopment, financing, construction, and commercial leasing of residential and mixed-use properties. Prior to joining Domus, she spent five years working in public finance and real estate development at the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. She was appointed to the West Sacramento Planning Commission in 2014 and previously served as Chair of the Parks and Community Services Commission. An active member of the Urban Land Institute, she is a founding member and Co-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Initiative and serves on the Young Leaders Group Executive Committee. Bernadette has also served on the board of directors for a number of local nonprofit organizations focused on community development, economic development, and youth development. In 2013 the Sacramento Business Journal recognized her with a 40 Under 40 award, and in 2014 the Urban Land Institute awarded a Women’s Leadership Initiative Scholarship.


Bernadette holds a Master of Science degree in Community Development from UC Davis and a Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health from St. Mary’s College of California. Bernadette is an avid runner and bike commuter who lives in West Sacramento with her husband and two young children.

Co-Chair: Bonnie Chiu


Bonnie Chiu is the Director of Forward Planning for the The New Home Company (NWHM) in Sacramento. NWHM is a new generation homebuilder focused on the design, construction and sale of innovative and consumer-driven homes in major metropolitan areas within California, including metro Sacramento. Bonnie’s over 13 years of experience working as a planner for developer/homebuilders and as an environmental consultant provides her with a unique ability to understand the entire development process from different perspectives. Prior to joining The New Home Company in February 2013, Bonnie was a forward planner at Centex Homes, a senior project manager at ICF International where she managed the preparation of environmental impact reports pursuant to California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for public and private sector clients, and served as an appointee within the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Bonnie is a member of the Sac Metro Chamber’s Leadership Sacramento Class of 2010, and is on the Friends Committee for My Sister’s House which seeks to eliminate domestic violence in the Asian and Pacific Islander community. Bonnie is a UC Davis alumna and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

Professional Development Officer: Nahz Anvary N_Anvary

Nahz Anvary, CCIM is a Principal of Cassidy Turley and specializes in investment sales and in full service tenant and landlord representation for investment, office, R&D, lab and medical properties. She works with landlords and tenants to sell, purchase, lease and develop properties. In addition, she has experience with multi-market portfolio dispositions, complicated real estate transactions, advisory and repositioning services, corporate real estate advisory services, and development/build-to-suit transactions.

Nahz brings her experience in managing businesses, repositioning products, and developing new products for Fortune 500 corporations to her work in commercial real estate. Her clients have included a variety of companies, from professional services providers to Fortune 500 accounts in the for-profit, healthcare, government, education and not-for profit fields. Her brand management background provides a broad perspective and comprehensive experience when marketing and repositioning properties. She’s developed a reputation for problem solving and strong execution on behalf of her clients.

Nahz is a Certified Commercial Investment Member, a designation that 5% of commercial real estate professionals hold. She has her Masters of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School and Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Psychology from Wellesley College.

Awards include Northern California Real Estate Woman of Influence, San Francisco Business Times, 2011, “40 under 40”, Sacramento Business Journal, 2011, Cassidy Turley Rising Star Award, 2011.

Membership Officer: Coreen Paul C_Paul

Coreen Paul has over 25 years of experience in the AEC industry.  Since joining NORR, a full service architecture and engineering firm, in 1998, she has worked on a variety of building types such as government, mixed-use, office, multi-family residential and especially in retail.   She has directed teams of architects, designers and engineers, ensuring that NORR’s clients are receiving the highest level of service possible. Her experience includes:  business development, operations, project management, employee development, strategic planning and customer relations. As Vice President, she is responsible for implementing the NORR’s marketing goals and objectives and providing business development leadership and guidance.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Wayne State University, along with Masters in Public and Business Administration.  Coreen has been an active member of the Urban Land Institute since 2007 and currently serves on Sacramento’s ULI Advisory Board as Co-Chair of Membership.

Members At Large:

Gladys Cornell, Immediate Past Chair, ULI Sacramento G_Cornell

Gladys Cornellis a Principal with AIM Consulting, Inc., public engagement consulting firm and Partner with Echelon Transportation Group, Inc., a planning and engineering practice with a focus on active mobility.  Gladys develops and implements community-based planning and public engagement processes for public agencies as well as for the private industry.  With more than 25 years of experience, Gladys consults with rural, urban and suburban communities to develop context sensitive solutions for transportation and land use projects.  Prior to establishing AIM Consulting and Echelon Transportation Group, Gladys was a Principal at Kleinfelder, Inc., a multi-disciplinary planning and engineering firm where she was the Vice President of Corporate Communications and Marketing. Currently Gladys serves as the Chair of the Sacramento District Council of the Urban Land Institute.  Gladys also was the founding chair of ULI Sacramento Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Product Council.

Verna Sulpizio, Chair, Young Leaders Group, ULI Sacramento Sulpizio (1)

Ms. Sulpizio is Civitas’ Sacramento Valley Project Manager.  She works closely with clients on outreach and education for district formation and renewal.  She is a founding member of Metro EDGE, and currently serves as the Metro Chamber’s Political Action Committee representative for Metro EDGE.  She is the Chair of the Urban Land Institute Young Leaders Group and sits on the Board of Directors for the West Sacramento Foundation.  She is a Sacramento Business Journal “40 under 40” award winner and in 2012 was recognized by CalTravel as an “Under 30 Emerging Leader”.  Ms. Sulpizio is a graduate of the University of California, Davis with a degree in Community and Regional Development.



Harriet Steiner, BBK Law Firm Steiner_Harriet

Harriet Steiner is a partner in the Municipal Law practice group of Best Best & Krieger LLP. Prior to joining the firm in 2010, she was a shareholder with McDonough Holland & Allen in Sacramento.

Ms. Steiner’s practice focuses on public law, representing cities, special districts and joint powers agencies as city attorney, general counsel and special counsel. Her areas of specialty include land use, environmental law, telecommunications law and cable television franchising, wastewater and municipal water, and public financing. Ms. Steiner has worked on air quality and transportation matters, including the Clean Air Act and federal transportation requirements and funding, agreements between local governments and Indian tribes, and agricultural and habitat conservation easements.

In addition, Ms. Steiner advises public agencies on land use approvals, including negotiation of development agreements, compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, public financing and Proposition 218 compliance. She has represented public agencies in CEQA and land use litigation, election challenges, public financing and development impact fee challenges, and Proposition 218 litigation.

Ms. Steiner has served as city attorney for the City of Davis since 1986. She has assisted the City in the development of its agricultural mitigation ordinance for farmland and habitat preservation, its Affordable Housing Ordinance and its Middle Income/Work Force Housing Inclusionary Housing Ordinance.

Ms. Steiner serves as general counsel to the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Commission, which holds the cable television franchise for the county and the cities within the county. She also represents the City of Modesto on cable and telecommunications matters, as well as other local franchising entities. She has negotiated cable franchise renewals and transfers, franchises with cable overbuilders, and represented franchising entities in cable and wireless cellular tower litigation. She is currently representing municipal clients related to distributed antenna system (DAS) disputes.

Ms. Steiner has been liaison to the League of California Cities’ Committee on Revenue & Taxation. She is a member of the Southern California and Nevada chapters of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors and a past president of the Sacramento County Bar Association Public Law Section. Ms. Steiner is a member of the State Bar of California and the League of California Cities. She is a past member of the Legal Advocacy Committee, the City Attorneys’ Legislative Committee and the Bond Financing Ad Hoc Committee related to legal counsel opinion letters, and past co-chair of PG&E’s Re-Franchising Committee.

Ms. Steiner is listed as one of The Best Lawyers in America (R)  2009-2012 in the municipal law category. She has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer  for state, local and municipal law for the last five years.

Charline Hamilton, City of West Sacramento


The Community Development Director is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the City Manager.  The duties and responsibilities of the Community Development Director include organization, coordination and direction of the Community Development Department.  The Community Development Department contains seven divisions:  Administration, Building, Planning, Development Engineering, Housing and Code Enforcement.

Charline Hamilton was appointed by the City Manager to serve as Community Development Director in February 2011.  Prior to this appointment, Ms. Hamilton served as the City’s Development Services Manager for 3 years, overseeing the administration and day-to-day operations of Building, Planning, and Development Engineering within the Community Development Department.  In 2007, Ms. Hamilton was recognized as Manager of the Year by the City Council.

Ms. Hamilton has 11 years of land use planning and management experience at the local government level and over 18 years in private sector development planning and civil engineering.  Notable projects that she has overseen, either directly or indirectly, during her tenure with the City of West Sacramento are CalSTRs Headquarters construction, Yarbrough 710-acre Planned Development, Bridge District Specific Plan and Infrastructure Project, Tony’s Fine Foods expansion, and Nippon Shokken U.S. headquarters.  Notable private sector development projects include Westpark at West Roseville Specific Plan, Jefferson Commons Student Housing at CSU Sacramento, Sacramento Regional Transit Light Rail Folsom Extension and Parking Facilities, Stock Ranch Commercial Center in Citrus Heights, Foskett Ranch Planned Development in Lincoln, and CrossCreek Golf Club in Temecula.

Ms. Hamilton is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga.

Nibedita “Nivi” Das, AECOM

Nibedita “Nivi” Das is a Senior Urban Designer/Project Manager with AECOM’s Sacramento office. With more than 12 years of experience in urban planning and design in United States and Southeast Asia, the primary focus of her work has been on sustainable and climate-responsive projects. At AECOM, Ms. Das has been involved in master planning new communities, infill development/redevelopment plans, streetscape master plans, design guidelines and specific plans, and climate action/adaptation plans. Some of her recent development projects include the redevelopment of the Sacramento Railyards, 20,000-acre Natomas Vision planning area around Sacramento Airport, and Davis Innovation Center a high-tech office campus plan in the City of Davis. As a LEED® Neighborhood Development Accredited Professional, Ms. Das has worked on many LEED applications including the Sacramento Kings Arena. Ms. Das had started her career as an architect in India with experience in a range of private sector projects—from building design to construction-level detail—with a broader landscape scope. Ms. Das holds a M.S in Architecture and Masters in Regional and Community Planning from Kansas State University.

Judy Robinson, County of Sacramento

Judy Head Shot May 2015

Ms. Robinson is a Principal Planner and the Sustainability Manager for Sacramento County. She has over 25 years of experience with local government, community planning and development.  She developed the County’s Infill Development Program and led a major multi-departmental infrastructure initiative that identified new incentives for infill development and creative and sustainable ways of getting infrastructure “in the ground.”  Judy led a two-county effort that resulted in the first ever joint Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Sacramento and Placer Counties.  The MOU defines guiding principles that both counties will implement when developing future land uses and has the goal of improving connectivity between jurisdictions and enhancing opportunities for use of non-motorized transportation.

She has obtained millions of dollars in grants for the County to advance sustainability. She facilitated the development of the County’s first green and sustainable street, which implements SB375 and includes low impact development features.  Judy has brought recognition to the County for its achievements in reducing energy use, improving air quality and decreasing its greenhouse gas footprint.

Judy is the Team Leader for the “Design 4 Active Sacramento,” team which completed a yearlong National Leadership program to advance initiatives that improve the Public’s Health. Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control, the Design 4 Active Sacramento Team did focused work on ways to utilize the built environment to improve the public’s health, and was instrumental in the adoption of Healthy Communities policies for Sacramento County.  Judy is a recognized leader and Sacramento expert on Planning, Health and the Built Environment. She was selected by the Medical Officer in the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to be a member of the State “Health Planning Leadership Committee,” and the “California Healthy Communities Committee.” She also is an Executive Committee Member of the Capital Region Climate Readiness Collaborative.

Judy received her M.A. in Recreation and Park Administration from Central Michigan University and a B.A. in Recreation Administration from CSU, Sacramento.

Tracey Ferguson, The New Home Company

Tracey Ferguson is an Assistant Project Manager with The New Home Company’s (NWHM) Northern California Forward Planning Team. NWHM is a new generation land developer and residential homebuilder focused on the entitlement, design, construction, and sale of innovative and consumer-driven homes in the Sacramento, Bay Area, and Orange County regions. Tracey handles all phases of land development planning, entitlement and permit processing, and project management.

Tracey carries 15 years of long range and current planning experience in land use, housing, water resource, and statewide policy issues and is recognized for her professionalism, collaboration, strategic thinking, and communication strengths. Prior to joining NWHM in 2014, she worked as a private sector consult for Atkins North America where her primary client was California DWR. There, she developed award-winning guidance handbooks that have helped cities and counties comply with legislatively-driven floodplain management requirements. Prior to 2006, Tracey worked for Parsons Corporation where she was involved with affordable housing plans and worked with US military installations and neighboring communities to prepare land use compatibility studies.

Tracey has been an active member of ULI since 2005, is a past YLG Chair, and serves as the Game Night Co-Chair. Tracey also devotes time to APA, Sacramento Valley Section, where her leadership roles involve the PLAN Sac Valley Mentoring Program, in addition to her board positions as the Director of Programs and Section Director Elect. Tracey holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from Sacramento State and completed Master’s coursework at Chico State in Rural and Small Town Planning.


Katie Carr, Principal

Katie Carr is a Principal with more than 20 years of experience in managing complex, multi-faceted projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a Master’s in Business Administration.  Her experience ranges from project management to business and corporate development to coaching senior professionals on leadership and effective communication.  She has created corporate strategic plans for revenue growth; has extensive experience with market research, competitive analysis, and staff development; and is certified in various 360 assessment tools.  She facilitates workshops on Emotional Intelligence, Work/Life Balance, Influence, Effective Communication, and Conflict Management.  Throughout her career she has worked with growing companies including start-ups to develop effective, high-performing teams, and she actively recruits and manages staff at levels within an organization including executive management teams and advisory boards.


For more information about Urban Land Institute’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, visit the following link: http://uli.org/programs/leadership-programs/womens-initiative/