Solidarity does not require self-sacrifice, but an enlargement of the self to include community with others.— Sharon Welch
Sarah is an AICP-certified urban planner whose work focuses on advancing equitable development and environmental justice for communities, and driving organizational strategy and innovation in the justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) space.
Sarah has 14 years of experience in the fields of urban and environmental planning, environmental justice, equitable community engagement, communications and storytelling. She is skilled in partnering with clients and communities to develop action plans that advance social justice objectives. She is also skilled in using research to address community-defined needs and goals, and providing technical assistance to government agencies, foundations and community-based organizations. She is an expert facilitator and trainer on JEDI subject matter. And she helps clients productively address race-based disparities and develop breakthrough solutions to other long-standing social challenges.
Sarah’s areas of expertise include:
- Facilitation and equitable community engagement
- Collaborative problem-solving and conflict resolution
- Designing processes that center youth and communities of color
- Leading development of federal guidance documents and pilot projects on equity, environmental justice and sustainable development
- Leading organizational change processes to assess and advance DEIJ work for organizations, foundations and government agencies in the environmental and community development
- Facilitating planning processes that result in actionable vision plans for underinvested communities
Before joining Metropolitan Group, Sarah worked at the intersection of community engagement, racial equity, and urban planning and policy in various roles including:
- Senior planner and DEI practice area lead, Skeo Solutions
- Interim executive director, UVA Equity Center
- Student project manager, University and Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE) project through the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia
Sarah has a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts in interdisciplinary studies (sociology and urban studies) and biblical studies from Wheaton College.
Sarah has brought her expertise and energy to a wide range of advisory bodies, social activist and community development efforts, and youth development groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, including the Fifeville Neighborhood Association, Casa Alma (a Catholic Worker community), Take ‘Em Down Cville, Ladies of Quality at Abundant Life Ministries, the Community Development Block Grant Task Force, and the University and Community Action for Racial Equity (UCARE) project at the University of Virginia.
Sarah enjoys running, gardening and watching her cats watch the many bird feeders that decorate their yard. She lives in a vibrant intercultural neighborhood in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she volunteers with her neighborhood association and learns a lot from her neighbors.
Sarah believes that:
- Everyone has something of value to say about the community where they live.
- Listening to the wisdom and beauty found in people and places is life-affirming.
- Healing and transformation are always possible.
- We all become who we were meant to be when we live life in relationship with one another.