Title: Executive Director
Company: Invest DSM
Location: Des Moines, Illinois, United States
Education: MA in Community & Regional Planning, Iowa State University, 2009;
BA in Spanish, Luther College (2003)
Career History: Executive Director, Invest DSM, 2019-Present;
City Planner for City Revitalization Division Program, City of Des Moines, Iowa, 2009-2019
Amber Lynch, Executive Director of Invest DSM, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for her contributions and achievements in the field of urban planning.
Mrs. Lynch became involved in her profession after recognizing an interest in how places are created. During her undergraduate studies, she took courses in anthropology and traveled with her Spanish degree. She became interested in how history leaves its mark on the built environment and how one can learn so much about a society from the places that they leave behind. Planning allows her to help shape the future of a place, which affects the way we live our lives. Mrs. Lynch loves to involve people in creating that change and sense of ownership over where they live. She has utilized these skills and expertise in her current role as Executive Director of Invest DSM since 2019.
Prior to taking on her current role, Mrs. Lynch served as a city planner in the Neighborhood Development Division at the City of Des Moines, Iowa from 2009 to 2019. She was guided to work in these capacities by first earning a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Luther College in 2003 and continuing in her academic pursuits to receive a Master of Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University in 2009. Her work has resulted in receiving such accolades as the Better Together Award from the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, a Partner in Service award from AARP Iowa, and being included on the Des Moines’ Register’s People to Watch list for 2020. She maintains a connection to her field with the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association, where she served on the Iowa Chapter Board from 2011 to 2019. Mrs. Lynch currently serves on the Steering Committee for the national Middle Neighborhoods Initiative.
Mrs. Lynch’s career highlight that stood out the most is managing the project that led to the creation of Invest DSM. This required presenting hard truths, navigating difficult conversations and politics, and making the case for a new approach with substantial new resources. It has resulted in the opportunity to build a new non-profit organization taking an innovative approach to neighborhood economic development, with exciting potential to reimagine revitalization work. Looking toward the future, Mrs. Lynch wants Invest DSM to learn, grow, and continue making an impact in the field, showing other communities what is possible. She endeavors to meet more individuals who are passionate about uplifting local communities and coordinating efforts to develop and improve people’s lives.