TBR | Contributor
Vanessa serves as the Assistant Director of the Idaho Policy Institute and Assistant Research Professor in the School of Public Service. Before joining the Idaho Policy Institute Vanessa served as the Assistant Director for the Public Policy Research Center and Policy Innovation Fellow for the City of Boise where she conducted a feasibility assessment on using Pay for Success financing to address issues associated with chronic homelessness. Originally from Ohio, Vanessa's passions for education and evidenced-based policy making led her to non-profit leadership roles and educational pursuits across the country. For the past fifteen years she has worked to balance economic vitality, environmental health and social equity through community engagement, smart planning, economic development and teaching. Prior to moving to Idaho Vanessa worked with Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology and researched Lyme disease with the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. Since moving to the state she has utilized her skills in nonprofit management, government relations and stakeholder engagement in a number of roles including as the development director for two nonprofits - the Snake River Alliance and the Environmental Resource Center. As the executive director for Citizens for Smart Growth she pursued the use of a number of market based mechanisms for conservation including a transfer of development rights program. She also worked to pass Idaho’s first county-wide open space initiative that raised over $3 million to protect land, water and wildlife in Blaine County, ID (home to the Sun Valley ski resort). As a co-founder and chair of Sustain Blaine (now Sun Valley Economic Development), the region’s first public-private partnership of its kind, Vanessa focused on creating a regional economic development strategy for all of Blaine County. As a mobility manager for the Community Transportation of Idaho (CTAI) Vanessa helped launch the first statewide mobility management system in the country and worked to increase the connectivity between Idaho’s communities while enhancing quality of life and economic growth. Vanessa has shared her expertise and enthusiasm for market solutions for sustainability as adjunct faculty for the Capital Markets, Micro/Macro Economics and Macro/Ecological Economics courses at Presidio Graduate School. In 2016 she was invited to speak at the inaugural TEDx Sun Valley where in her talk Capital Investments for Social Success Vanessa shared how private sector investments in social programs can result in effective outcomes and save community resources. Vanessa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and Fine Art from Wittenberg University in Ohio and a Masters in Business Administration from Presidio Graduate School. In August 2013 Vanessa joined the first cohort of Public Policy and Administration PhD students at Boise State University where she’s now a PhD candidate. When she’s not exploring the Boise foothills or having fun with her family in Blaine County you can find her on Twitter @IdahoVanessa or LinkedIn.