Best. Team. Ever.

We build trust.  Our clients entrust us with their most challenging, complex projects. We make stakeholders feel acknowledged, seen, and heard.  

We listen.  Our team is approachable and personable. We ask the right questions, listen respectfully, and gather feedback.   

We are bold and courageous.  When tempers flare or issues arise, we walk toward the conflict and provide a neutral outlet for every voice.  

We are nimble and adaptable. Our experienced team ramps up swiftly and seamlessly.             

We are peacemakers.  We are experts at moving divergent individuals and groups toward a place of acceptance and resolution.

Tanya Mooza Zwahlen, AICP

Principal and Owner

Tanya loves designing public meetings, thinking about new go-to-them strategies, and getting to know stakeholders throughout a project process. She discovered the field of city planning after reading Jane Jacob’s book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Tanya studied city and regional planning at Cornell University and spent eight years working toward the successful revitalization of her neighborhood in Rochester, NY. In 2007, she established Highland Planning so she could focus on effective public engagement and urban redevelopment projects. When she’s not working, she’s mothering her two amazing kids, cooking up a new recipe, or practicing jiu jitsu and Muay Thai kickboxing.

Susan Charland, AICP

Planning Director

Sue is an experienced facilitator of large and small groups that want to discuss high stakes decisions. She loves working with her clients and partners to design and implement public engagement plans, and facilitate group discussions, especially those with challenging dynamics and controversial topics. She is an enthusiastic member of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) and provides training on public engagement. Sue is also passionate about playing music (piano, accordion, and ukulele), hiking with her dog, and pursuing outdoor adventures.

Brooke Mayer

Customer Success Manager, Instant Input

Brooke is a city planner by training, a process-maven, and problem-solver by heart. She loves building things and learning to use new tools, which is why she’s thrilled to be joining Highland Planning to help communities harness the power of Instant Input! Brooke’s project management prowess has been instrumental on a wide range of public-realm initiatives across New York State including the NYC Green Infrastructure Program, NYC Ferry, and the New York State Center of Excellence for Food + Agriculture. Brooke earned her MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute in NYC, where she honed her passion for community-based planning and her love of parks!

Nancy Raca

Director of Engagement

Nancy is a communicator and a connector at heart, and she loves finding ways to bring people together. Having spent most of her career leading communications work for government and non-profit organizations on social and environmental issues, she knows how important it is to get input from the people most affected by an issue. Nancy received a Masters in Public Communication from American University and is a Certified Professional Coach. She also has received training from the International Association of Public Participation. In her free time, Nancy loves thrift shopping, reading, and hosting exchange students from around the world.

Jen Topa

Engagement Manager

Jen is a fundraising expert, an event planning guru, and a merchant organizer. She is the key to our success with our commercial district revitalization practice and has a knack for connecting people, projects, and funding. Jen has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Dayton and has a professional background in sales, marketing, and event planning. She is a mother of three amazing kids and a proud resident of the Highland Park neighborhood of Rochester.


Jeran Herbert

Project Planner

Jeran “Jay” Herbert is a project planner and researcher who joined us in March. Jay was an African American Cultural Heritage Action Research Fellow with the National Trust for Historic Preservation Research and Policy Lab. His family comes from the smallest country in both land mass and population in the Western Hemisphere – the country of St. Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean.


Anne Redmond

Marketing Associate

Anne Redmond is a former Highland Planning team member who has come back to help us grow. Anne is trained as an engineer and planner, and enjoys business development. She is passionate about Highland Planning’s purpose and approaches to a wide range of projects, and is excited to market and highlight the team’s talents and capabilities. Anne is a first generation American, and a championship Irish Step dancer.

Our Core Values

Let's see what we can create together.

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