Rachel DiResto, AICP, has more than two decades of expertise in community planning, outreach and engagement, and organizational management. Throughout her career, Rachel DiResto has served a critical role in building stronger, more resilient communities across Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. As managing director at Emergent Method, Rachel is responsible for leading client engagements and projects in disciplines such as strategic communications, organizational growth and planning, public outreach and community engagement, and community planning, in addition to lending her background in organizational planning and leadership to support the day-to-day operations of the firm.
Rachel joined Emergent Method in 2018 after serving as executive vice president at the Center for Planning Excellence, where she spent the prior 19 years guiding the growth and impact of the Louisiana-based nonprofit since its inception. At CPEX, Rachel oversaw numerous high-profile and highly successful planning initiatives focused on progressive planning practices for the livability and economic vitality of Louisiana communities, including serving in a central role in coordinating the Louisiana Speaks process – a regional long-term recovery plan for southern Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita – and spearheading the CONNECT Coalition, a regional transportation coalition advocating for improved connectivity between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, among many others. She served as Vice Chair of the DOTD Statewide Complete Streets Advisory Committee and served on the Baton Rouge Complete Streets Advisory Committee, working to implement complete streets policies at the state and local levels. She also served on the Community Advisory Committee for the DOTD Statewide Plan update and the Capital Region Transportation Safety Coalition. In these roles, she contributed research, policy expertise and practical solutions while advocating for more multi-modal investments at every scale.
She is a graduate of the University of Dallas, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, and the University of New Orleans, where she earned her Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning. Rachel is a member of the American Planning Association and certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners. She participated in BRAC’s leadership program in 2006 and is currently participating in CABL’S Louisiana Leadership Program. She is a former recipient of the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report’s Forty Under 40 award, previously served on the boards of directors for Forum 35, Front Yard Bikes, and the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, and currently serves on the board of director for the Baton Rouge Gallery.