Waterfront Conference 2023
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Marisa Denker

Connect the Dots
CEO and Founder
Marisa Denker is the founder and CEO of Connect the Dots (CTD), an impact-driven, fully women-owned firm that specializes in outreach and community engagement. CTD is focused on connecting diverse voices to decision-making by building innovative, meaningful engagement and outreach methods to elevate community and stakeholder voices in participatory processes. Through a creative and iterative approach, CTD incorporates education and intentionally-designed interactions to ensure these processes are inclusive, accessible, and representative. This work serves to build trust and lasting connections as communities inform their own futures.

Initially growing from a small Fulbright project, CEO Marisa Denker co-founded the company. Within a few years, CTD transitioned from crowd-funded engagement efforts to working directly with Ireland’s Congress and National Transport Authority. Marisa later brought CTD stateside to Philadelphia in mid-2019 and quickly built partnerships with leading organizations such as Project for Public Spaces, Comcast, the City of Philadelphia, and other large entities. The team has since further expanded to meet the needs of planning processes both within the City of Philadelphia and across the greater East Coast, working from Maryland to Maine.

Marisa holds a master's in design practice from Dublin University (via her Fulbright fellowship) and a bachelor's in urban studies from University of Pennsylvania where she graduated as Phi Beta Kappa. Marisa is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania where she has developed and teaches a course on public engagement titled Participatory Cities. She also co-founded A Playful City, a nonprofit in Ireland focused on co-creating playful, inclusive public spaces for all ages.