“Great cities are defined by their downtown.”

Kris Michell

A member at University Club Atop Symphony Towers, San Diego, since 2011
Who she is: As president and CEO of the nonprofit Downtown San Diego Partnership, she serves as an advocate for the city center’s 40,000-plus residents to ensure a clean, safe, and burgeoning environment.

Top-of-mind goals: On her long to-do list, two goals rise to the top. 1. “Creating an environment for startups to exist and thrive in downtown San Diego.” 2. “Making sure that as tourists come in, they come back — because one visit is great, but three is so much better.”

Target audience: “Millennials are our future workforce. They want a work/life balance. They don’t necessarily need to buy a house; renting is fine. They want to live in urban centers and have walkable experiences.”

In the works: To address residents’ appeals for greater movability, the Partnership has helped instigate an urban circulator system targeted to launch next year and has advocated for car-sharing and bike-sharing programs.

Philosophy: “It’s about having a downtown that is built for people, not buildings that are there just to be admired.”

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