Where are they now: Q & A with our former Director of Strategic Initiatives Jennifer Allen
We’re happy to report that Trailnet’s former Director of Strategic Initiatives, Jennifer Allen, is settled in New York and loving it! In late July, we gave Jennifer a fond farewell as she moved east to apply her talent and expertise in Brooklyn. Ioby, a crowd-resourcing platform for citizen-led, neighbor-funded projects is lucky to have Jennifer as their Leader Success Strategist. What a title!
In her seven years at Trailnet, Jennifer acted as a formative member of our team, pioneering many of the initiatives, programs, and values we are furthering today. She worked persistently for equitable biking and walking access.
Jennifer is responsible for bringing the Calm Streets/Neighborhood Greenways concept to St. Louis and getting buy-in from city officials to reduce speeding and increase safety on residential streets.
In 2013, Jennifer managed and helped produce Trailnet’s guide to creating high-quality, low-stress transportation infrastructure in St. Louis. The guide, “Streets for Everyone,” helped set the vision for calm streets and the greater gravois project.
Among her many accomplishments, Jennifer managed Trailnet’s campaign to expose the pitfalls of the proposed South County Connector—a massive thoroughfare that would have made it difficult for people walking and biking to get around. By planning public events and unpacking a dense environmental impact statement on the project, Jennifer helped bring the dialogue to a broad audience and leveraged support for preventing its construction.
Jennifer also produced and managed several conferences and brought national and regional speakers to St. Louis that helped set a vision for what livability looks like.
Read on for a question and answer update on what Jennifer is up to now!
Trailnet: What does your work entail at ioby? Can you tell us about the impact you’re having?
Jennifer: At ioby I am part of a team of people who are essentially one-on-one coaches for people doing crowdfunding campaigns on our platform. From start to finish, we help our ioby leaders with their fundraising strategy. For example, we dispel myths about crowdfunding at the start. Most people don’t know that the foundation of a successful crowdfunding campaign is the in-person ask.
We often divvy up the ioby leaders we work with according to our expertise so I get to work with projects related to my areas of expertise, this includes projects related to bicycle and pedestrian issues. It’s really great to get to encourage people as they raise funds for their important work. The technical assistance we provide is really what sets us apart from other crowdfunding platforms.
T: How has working at Trailnet affected your career?
J: I’m just over the 10-year mark of my full-time working life, and I was at Trailnet for seven of those years. If I had to name the season of my time working at Trailnet I would probably call it the leadership season. It was a great experience to work up to the director level from an entry-level position. I learned how to lead teams in an environment that had lots of space for my creativity.
T: Can you tell us about NYC’s awesome bike infrastructure and how it’s affecting your life?
J: I have been mostly a pedestrian here in NYC and I imagine it will remain that way. I have always loved taking the train and bus and will probably do so most of the time. However, I am looking forward to biking to work this fall.
The number of streets in the five boroughs is just enormous so providing good access to high quality bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure for everyone is a challenge, but it’s great that creating the infrastructure is a priority and there’s been a lot of progress.