Meet Sarah Cipkar.

PhD in Urban Planning & Development

Greater Essex County District School Board Trustee

Windsor, ON

What inspired you to enter and pursue this field?

My work in community development and political experience

How did you come to be in this position?

I had been involved in community development work for about half a decade (a position funded through United Way) and felt that it was time to make a switch to return to academia and also start my own company as a consultant for development work. My sense was that the development industry typically privileges a certain type of development that is harmful to the environment and also potentially inequitable for different people groups. I wanted to combine my neighbourhood level experience with academic research in an applied context (development) to change the narratives over time. I am happy to elaborate on this as it was not a linear trajectory!

What advice would you give young women looking to enter your current line of work?

Focus on increasing your networks with people who understand your vision, you can connect with and have good communication. Additionally, saying yes to opportunities that are challenging and put you outside of your comfort zone is sometimes necessary for growth. Starting my own company was terrifying, but I had a few key mentors and people supporting me, as well as other work to support myself financially, so I could take a bit more of a risk.

You can learn more about Sarah at her website:

Contact Sarah via email at:

Follow Sarah on social media: @CipkarSarah or @cipkardevelopment