Join us online on Thursday, January 26, 7:00-8:30 pm ET for a panel discussion exploring equity, climate change, and urban planning.

So much of the work that happens in the fields of landscape design and planning is determined by the decision makers. Who are they? When those positions don’t represent the people and places being directly impacted, the result is environmental and social dissonance. Conway invites three leading voices in the fields of environmental justice and urban planning to share their thoughts on this topic: Magdalena Ayed, Executive Director, The Harborkeepers; Bobby Boone, Founder and Chief Strategist, &Access; and Vernice Miller-Travis, Executive Vice President, Metropolitan Group.

Conway alum Beth Schermerhorn ’13 and Asha Carter, co-owners of the Cambium Collective, will co-moderate the panel discussion.

Update: 1.5 LA CES credits available The Boston Society of Landscape Architects is collaborating with us as an educational partner in order to provide quality continuing education offerings to their members and the professional landscape architecture community. Learn more at; course code CSLD_Jan2023.

Registration for this event has closed.



Magdalena Ayed, Executive Director, The Harborkeepers

Magdalena is an urban designer and planner whose organization addresses the combined pressures of climate change and socioeconomic challenges on the communities of East Boston. The Harborkeepers was founded in 2016 to build coastal community resiliency and to foster environmental stewardship in East Boston and other communities of the Boston Harbor.  As local residents, leaders and community members who live, work and play in this unique and special neighborhood, they leverage everyday meaningful engagement opportunities with environmental programming while fostering collective advocacy to build coastal resiliency. We believe that fomenting critical trust-based partnerships working collaboratively builds sustainable social and physical resiliency of the neighborhood, thereby protecting the people, environment and infrastructure of this island community from increasing climate and environmental impacts.

Bobby Boone, Founder and Chief Strategist, &Access

With nearly a decade of experience immersed in retail real estate, Bobby is impassioned about empowering engaged tenants, developers, and cities to create community-serving retail. He ensures the viability and sustainability of retail environments with tailored solutions that draw on his market analysis, planning, and strategic merchandising expertise. He currently serves on the senior leadership team for creating a community of professionals dedicated to thwarting commercial small business displacement and creates innovative small business real estate solutions.

Prior to founding &Access, Bobby led a citywide effort to attract and maintain small businesses in Detroit and tackled wide-ranging retail challenges as a senior strategist at Streetsense—from repositioning Fortune 500 brands and malls of yesteryear to crafting expansion strategies for emerging brands and commercial corridors.

Bobby shares his love of retail with others as a Howard University, University of Maryland, and Harvard University lecturer and speaker at conferences across the nation. He received a Bachelor of Science in architecture from Florida A&M University and a Master of Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati, and was recently deemed a Culture of Health Leader – a national leadership program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Vernice Miller-Travis, Executive Vice President, Metropolitan Group

Vernice is one of the nation’s pioneering and most respected thought leaders on environmental justice and the interplay of civil rights and environmental policy.

Vernice has vast experience as a civil rights and environmental policy analyst and advocate; consultant for federal and state agencies, foundations and nonprofits; environmental program manager and foundation program officer. She was a contributing author to the landmark report “Toxic Waste and Race in the United States.” This inspired her to go on to help build a social movement that is rooted at the intersection of race, environment, economics, social justice and public health. The Sierra Club recently awarded Vernice the Robert Bullard Environmental Justice Award.

Vernice has brought her expertise to a wide range of boards and advisory bodies such as the U.S. EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council and the Environmental Finance Advisory Board, Clean Water Action, Land Loss Prevention Project, Natural Resources Defense Council’s Action Fund, Patuxent Riverkeeper, WeACT for Environmental Justice, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Green Leadership Trust and the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum.

Vernice grew up in a bi-national family that was based in both the Bahamas and the historic Harlem community of New York City. She draws her strength from spending time with her family in the Bahamas, as well as from the local cuisine, magical beaches and 11 first cousins and their families. She loves to sing, cook for friends and family, paint, travel (before COVID-19) and engage in political debates.


Asha Carter (she/her) is a racial justice facilitator, community organizer, and environmental justice advocate. She is a co-owner of Cambium Collective. Her love of food and commitment to liberation were cultivated by her grandmother, a daughter of sharecroppers who was able to preserve and pass on her love of the land.

Asha began her career supporting youth led organizing for environmental justice in Boston and developing local policy in Atlanta, Georgia. She went on to serve in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration and worked to defend the agency against Congressional attacks. Later, during her time as the Food Justice Strategist at DC Greens, she organized with community leaders most impacted by food insecurity to build power to impact policy at the city level. Asha is the former Deputy Director of the National Black Food and Justice Alliance, and continues to support black queer and trans land stewards to build community, resources, and power together. She is also a regional Co-Chair of the Chesapeake Foodshed Network, and sits on its Community Ownership, Empowerment & Prosperity (COEP) Action Team.

Asha has expertise in organizational development, relational organizing, and uncovering where liberatory systems analysis meets praxis. She is an alumna of Wellesley College, where she earned her B.A. in Peace and Justice Studies with a concentration in Urban Development and Sustainability.

Beth Schermerhorn ’13 (she/they) is a racial equity community planner, organizer, facilitator, and ecological landscape designer based in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She is a co-owner of Cambium Collective.

She was raised on Hanover County, VA homegrown tomatoes; sliced every summer evening after dinner with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, along with a hefty dose of white supremacist culture on top. Beth has spent her life dedicated to dismantling white supremacist culture within herself, her community, and within work cultures while building multi-racial, multi-identity organizing spaces steeped in radical power, love, and community.

Beth received her Master’s in Ecological Landscape Design & Planning from The Conway School. In 2016, she worked with Virginia Cooperative Extension to conduct a multi-lingual community-based food systems assessment that resulted in recommendations to improve food equity throughout the city called the Harrisonburg Food Equity Report. She is currently the co-chair of the Community Ownership, Empowerment & Prosperity (COEP) Action Team.

Beth spends her time growing food in her backyard year round, participating in community organizing and community building, and enjoying each season’s bounty through cooking and fermentation.

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