Kethia (Kat) Joseph
Kat has always had an innate interest in the field of design and began exploring that interest at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst). While there, she pursued a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design and a minor in African American studies. Her experience at UMass Amherst became the foundation of her understanding of the ecosystem of humans and space, as well as the principles of sustainability that allow those elements to coexist. This led to a deeper pursuit, acquiring a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning at Pratt Institute. At Pratt, she had the opportunity to apply urban planning principles in the extremely complex landscape of New York City. Her foci became environmental, transportation, and physical planning. Attending Pratt Institute in the midst of Hurricane Sandy really began shaping her path into resiliency planning and equitable planning.
Kat’s exposure to the myriad challenges and possibilities of planning in New York City led her to a 5.5-year commitment in city government working with the NYC Department of Small Business Services. There she was responsible for the strategic development, oversight, and ongoing execution of the Neighborhood Development Division’s place-based programs.
For Kat, Public Works Partners is a great opportunity to bring her experiences and interests full circle. In her new role as Senior Manager of Emergency Planning and Management, Kat will work at the intersection of private, public, and city organizations a new perspective that will position her to apply her current skills while acquiring new ones.
During Kat’s free time she enjoys fellowshipping and working with BlackSpace, a collective of Black urbanists who explore creative ways to preserve and create black spaces. BlackSpace also advises on the integration of equitable practices to elevate and support disadvantaged communities and people of color. Kat also enjoys cooking intensively during the winter months and rollerblading and napping in the sun during the warmer months.
Jordan attended CSU, Monterey Bay where she majored in Public Administration and Policy. She became increasingly interested in the role urban planning plays in creating access to health and human services. From her Freshman year until her Junior year of college, she worked as a student worker for a post-secondary educational attainment program, TRiO Educational Talent Search, providing youth mentorship and college prep services to first-generation college students and migrant youth. During her senior year, she began working for TRiO Upward Bound as a Program Administrator, where she oversaw the program’s grant administration, including oversight for DOE and FDA Summer Food Service Program funding. For her senior year capstone project, she completed a housing conditions survey on behalf of the City of Pacific Grove Planning Division, effectively updating the city’s housing database and fulfilling key objectives of the City’s Housing Strategic Plan, including identifying new housing rehabilitation outreach opportunities in underserved areas of the city. Jordan moved to New York and joined UNICEF’s Department of Data, Research, & Policy as a consultant to work on emerging, cross-cutting issues for the organization: urbanization, climate change, migration, economic development, and policy advocacy. While at UNICEF, she broadened her professional scope and deepened her knowledge of the relationship between urban planning, climate change mitigation strategies, and resilience planning, and effectively led data management and analysis, contract administration, and project management for her team. After a couple of years at UNICEF, she decided to get her master’s degree in urban planning and sustainable development planning from NYU Wagner, where she continued to complete urban planning projects with an emphasis on resiliency planning for UNICEF and World Resources Institute (WRI), Mexico City. In the last few years, she worked for the Boy Scouts, where she led strategic operations, fundraising management, and partnership development.
Jordan was drawn to Public Works because it merged all of her favorite things: strengthening nonprofits and governments, urban planning, a smart and nimble team, and open-mindedness. She was especially drawn to the new Emergency Management work area within Public Works because of the unique chance to support COVID-19 response and recovery. Plus, the current pandemic presents new opportunities to rethink emergency management and resilience planning as we know it. It demands us to better prepare for the future by focusing on perpetual, non-linear responses, all of which require urban planning, and Jordan is here for it.
Outside of work, Jordan remains active with a local workforce development nonprofit, The Thinkubator. She also enjoys cooking, but admittedly has no talent for baking. She loves most anything that teeters the line of sci-fi, fantasy, and dystopian realities (Black Mirror, anyone?). Her dream is to take up long-distance cycling and explore the countryside by bike, but she’ll settle for endurance training on her Peloton bike, for now.