Vanessa Leon, founder and principal planner of Pinchina Consulting, is a Haitian American urban planner. Her prior experiences include working as manager of public policy at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Washington DC, as a policy consultant to New York City’s Office of Financial Empowerment and as a research assistant to New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. She has also served as Vice-Chair at-large for the International Division of the American Planning Association (APA).
Vanessa earned a Master of Urban Planning, with a specialization in Economic Development and Housing Policy, from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brandeis University where she majored in African and African American Studies and in American Studies, with minors in Education Studies and in Social Justice and Social Policy. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Public and Urban Policy at the New School’s Milano School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy.
Vanessa is honored by her selection to the Next City Vanguard class as one of 2014′s “40 Urban Leaders Under 40.” She is also grateful to have participated in the 2014 Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders program, a six-month Washington D.C.-based fellowship, dedicated to equipping high performing African-American leaders to move to the next level of their careers while also empowering and adding value to their communities. Through this opportunity, Vanessa is now a consultant to the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute (IBWPPI).
In her spare time, she enjoys playing her violin, dancing, reading or crocheting. She is fluent in kreyòl, proficient in Spanish, and a native New Yorker.