March 13, 2023

Meet Our Trustee: Ashley Harris Philippsen

Whether it’s driving systems change and developing new programs that create sustainable outcomes for students in the Greater Tulsa area or sharing the city’s most obscure fun facts with visitors—Ashley Harris Philippsen’s passion for Tulsa is palpable. For this month’s Trustee Highlight, we caught up with Ashley—the Interim Executive Director at Impact Tulsa and Founder of consulting and interior design firm Yonda—to learn more about the power of community engagement and what’s next for Kirkpatrick Heights Greenwood redevelopment.

Q: Why do you serve on the PartnerTulsa board?

I serve on the PartnerTulsa board because economic development and mobility are essential for Tulsa’s residents to thrive from conception to career and beyond. As a trustee, I can bring my experience in community development, policy, education, and community advocacy to serve our city in creating the conditions where all Tulsans thrive. I am increasingly interested in how we ensure Tulsa and its residents are future-ready, and serving on the board is one way to help in creating civic infrastructure and pathways for a resilient and prosperous city.

Q: What current PartnerTulsa project are you most excited about?

I am most excited about the Kirkpatrick Heights and Greenwood development because I have been most involved with it since its inception. The City, PartnerTulsa, and wide cross-sections of community members have been involved in the master planning, and now that we’ve reached that milestone, the more technical elements of implementation are underway. I am excited about seeing the transition from purpose to action over the next several years. This project is a model for other cities in equity in design and engagement. It will continue to set an example of how cities and its authorities can work as a collective with community members.

Q: What is your vision for Tulsa?

My vision for Tulsa is all residents, no matter their ZIP code, race, gender, or any other demographic, will live in a neighborhood where they can walk, bike, play, fellowship, safely get to school and work, etc. In addition to thriving neighborhoods, all residents will have access to meaningful opportunities that will enable them to care for themselves, their families, and their communities. A perfect Tulsa is one where we have intentionally designed spaces and created the policies, resources, and relationships where a person’s outcomes won’t vary depending on where they live in our city.