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.
In 2012, Vanessa served as Vice-Chair at-large for the International Division of the American Planning Association (APA). She is thrilled to have been profiled in the November 2014 issue of APA’s premiere Planning magazine in a feature piece on emerging professionals entitled, “New Planners on the Block.”
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.
Vanessa is currently pursuing a doctorate in Public and Urban Policy at the New School’s Milano School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy in New York City. As a scholar practitioner, her research endeavors to strengthen the institutional capacity for promoting integrated urban development, with a focus on post-earthquake infrastructure creation in Haiti.
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 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 also became a consultant to the International Black Women’s Public Policy Institute (IBWPPI) headquartered in Washington DC.
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.