I can’t think of many planning consultants who commit more to helping their communities than my dear friend Danielle Steinhauser of CT Consultants. From her early days as a Main Street manager in Toledo through over a decade of consulting, Danielle breaks all the stereotypes of a consultant as a pompous old guy (come on, admit it) who spews out grand designs and waves a dismissive hand at anyone who would question them. To me, Danielle represents what consultants should be: compassionate people with expertise who come along beside hard-pressed community leaders and help them figure out new ways to address their community’s needs.
You can watch our conversation above, or listen to it on Soundcloud here. You can also pick up this and other AccelerateUs interviews on Stitcher or Spotify as part of the Building a Wise Local Economy podcast.
Danielle has a consistent string of characteristically powerful, direct and compassionate observations in this conversation, including:
- Communities will have very different needs coming out of the pandemic and into the near future, and how governments prioritize their needs may have to change
- Capital Improvement Planning becomes more important than ever — especially the kind that sets tough priorities, rather than just making wish lists.
- Communities can’t just look to a consultant to “solve” their problems anymore, or pretend that issuing a study will make the problem better. Because the consultants bring some expertise, but they don’t know what the future looks like any better than you.
- Solving problems collaboratively, with meaningful engagement from the broadest cross-section of the community you can get, becomes more important than ever.You can learn more about the Community Heart and Soul process developed by the Orton Family Foundation, in which Danielle is trained, here. You can learn more about Danielle’s company here, and… well… In true form, Danielle actually gives you her office phone number at the end of this interview. Give her a call. I promise you won’t regret it.