Allison (Ali) Lukacsy-Love
Director of Planning and Development, City of Euclid
- Why did you get involved with CLC?
My husband and brother-in-law went through the CBB program in 2015-16 and I really enjoyed getting to know their classmates at happy hours, so much so I was convinced to apply the next cycle. It definitely helped that while I was applying, I won the ‘Quality of Life’ category at CLC’s Accelerate in 2016. That made me a real believer!
- What were you hoping to get out of it?
As a non-native Clevelander, my initial goal was to build my personal and professional network, especially in the private sector. I committed to myself to walk into every session with an open and sponge-like mind.
- How was your program experience?
It was very rewarding and provided new insight into my own leadership style and abilities. I remember being amazed by how many non-profits exist in our region, so many I had not heard of and without CLC would likely still not know about. Because of my great program experience, I decided to give back to the CLC family by volunteering as a mentor in other CLC programs.
- What have you accomplished or helped others to accomplish since your CLC experience?
My year in CBB kicked off a period of immense growth – I started a new job, got married and ended up on the cover of Cleveland Magazine as one of the city’s most interesting people! Since graduating, I’ve become the Director of the Department of Planning and Development at the City of Euclid and completed many of my civic side-hustles – including “Bus Stop Moves” (my first Accelerate proposal) and “Give Box Cleveland” (my 2018 Accelerate proposal). I also received my professional planner AICP credential, my graduate certificate in urban economic development from CSU and volunteer for various boards, committees and organizations, many of which have ties back to CLC.
- What are you proud of?
I am proud of the contributions I make in Cleveland by working with my neighbors to build a stronger community, especially as a resident in Collinwood. I am also incredibly proud of the Euclid Waterfront Improvements Plan: a multi-million-dollar, multi-phased plan to build public access along Lake Erie, our region’s greatest natural asset. It’s been a wild ride managing the project and bringing the idea from concept to reality, and now that we have the model nearly built, I’m so excited to see how it is adopted across the Great Lakes.
- How did CLC contribute to that success?
CLC enhanced my confidence as a leader in and outside the workplace and connected me to opportunities and platforms to share my passions with a larger audience. CLC has always been a great advocate and supporter of the many ‘vision stands’ I’ve pitched, from serving as a fiscal agent on grants to connecting me with media opportunities.
- How has your CLC experience influenced you?
After our day at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank during CBB, I contacted the YP Pantry staff liaison and began volunteering. I was blown away by the mission and the impact and have served as the chair of the YP Pantry since 2019. Reflecting on the many touchpoints I’ve had with CLC, mentoring high school and college students has been just as influential on me as I could hope to be on them. It’s led me to join College Now as a mentor since 2018.
- How did it change anything about how you view your job, your profession, or Greater Cleveland?
Architecture and planning professions can have a silo-ing effect. Now that I have a foot in the world of economic development, I am especially grateful for my diverse CLC connections as I find so many alums of CLC likewise working to enhance the quality of life for our region.
- What were your relationships and collaborations like before CLC, and since then?
It’s incredible to mention your affiliation with CLC and feel an instant connectedness to a fellow alum. My network has grown exponentially and not just in superficial ways since my first touchpoint with CLC just five years ago.
- Have you kept in touch with classmates or alumni of other CLC programs?
Yes, and yes! I’ve developed real friendships, established strong professional relationships (it’s a great place to find a financial planner!) and love hearing about alums pursuing their ‘vision stand’ destinies and making our region better.
- Have you participated in any CLC events since your class year?
Many! After CBB I rolled onto CLC’s Leadership Council for three years. I returned to Accelerate to pitch one year and in other years served as a coach and part of the event selection committee. I’ve attended multiple social, networking and professional development events and also served as a mentor in various CLC initiatives, mostly spreading my love of Cleveland and the opportunities that exist here for anyone looking to make an impact.