Stewart Schwartz is the Executive Director and a founder of the Coalition for Smarter Growth (CSG), the leading organization in the D.C. region advocating for walkable, bikeable, inclusive, transit-oriented communities as the most sustainable and equitable way to grow and provide opportunities for all. The Coalition, celebrating its 25 th year, has been recognized by the Catalogue for Philanthropy as one of the best small charities in the Washington, D.C. region. In 2017, CSG earned the Regional Partnership Award from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.
Mr. Schwartz is a member of the Urban Land Institute and the Congress for the New Urbanism, and serves on the boards of Smart Growth America, the Virginia Conservation Network, and the Richmond Partnership for Smarter Growth. A retired Navy Captain who served a combined 24 years of active duty and reserve service, he earned a B.A. in Foreign Affairs and a J.D. from the University of Virginia, and a M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. In addition to his Navy service, he worked for the President’s Council for Sustainable Development and consulted to the Land Trust Alliance prior to launching CSG. Mr. Schwartz is a 2012 graduate of the UVA Sorensen Institute’s Political Leadership Program.
The Washington Business Journal recognized him as Business Person of the Year in 2002 and has included him three times in their Power 100 most influential private sector and non profit leaders in the DC region.
Our Policy Director, Cheryl leads our efforts in DC and Maryland. Cheryl is the voice of our equitable development campaigns — working with community activists, nonprofits, and government agencies to promote transit-oriented development, housing choice, economic development, pedestrian and bicyclist safety and access in less-affluent communities throughout the region. She routinely demonstrates that it’s possible to use the bus system for hard-to-reach meetings in the suburbs (but boy, is there room for service improvement). Prior to her work as Policy Director, Cheryl served as the Executive Director for the Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities (WRN), which merged with the Coalition for Smarter Growth in 2007.
Before WRN, Cheryl worked for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. She holds a master’s degree in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from UMD College Park and a Bachelor of Science from UC Berkeley.
Adding to the many plaques adorning our office’s walls, Cheryl received the Distinguished Leadership for a Citizen Planner Award from the National Capital Area Chapter of APA in 2006. She is a parent of two small children and an enthusiastic bird-watcher.
Montgomery Advocacy Manager
Carrie comes to CSG by way of Action in Montgomery (AIM), where she worked with 30+ community organizations to organize in support of affordable housing, safe streets, and more, and Greater Greater Washington, where she worked on the engagement team.
During her time with AIM, Carrie partnered with CSG and Montgomery for All to advocate for the Thrive 2050 general plan and organize a rally for affordable housing at the Chevy Chase Library.
Northern Virginia Advocacy Manager
Sonya Breehey is the northern Virginia Advocacy Manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth. She is a dedicated and passionate advocate for expanding sustainable transportation options and creating vibrant, livable, and inclusive communities with a particular focus on making our streets safer. She is a champion for safer street designs and ensuring walking and biking is safe and convenient for everyday travel. She spearheaded the Safe Streets for Bailey’s campaign, championed a safer Richmond Highway, and is a strong advocate for redesigning dangerous arterials around the region.
Sonya cultivates support for various advocacy priorities and policies through cross-sector collaboration, community outreach and engagement, working with local and state decision makers, and leveraging local media.
She serves on the Board of Fairfax Families for Safe Streets helping to grow the new organization into a powerful voice advancing safe streets and vision zero policies in Fairfax County and across northern Virginia. Sonya is also a member and former President of the Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling.
Sonya holds a Masters in Public Policy from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University at Albany. She lives in Falls Church, Virginia, and enjoys doing yoga, gardening, and taking walks and bike rides on area trails.
Communications and Fundraising Manager
Ayesha joined CSG afte graduating from the University of Maryland in May 2021. Ayesha majored in Public Policy and is a strong believer in communication as a catalyst for real change. She is passionate about using her communications and policy skills to promote smart growth, sustainability, and environmentalism. In her spare time, she loves hiking new trails and volunteering for organizations that make the D.C. region a better place to live.
Bill Pugh, AICP CTP
Senior Policy Fellow
Bill is our policy fellow, working at the intersection of CSG’s initiatives and climate change mitigation & resilience. He is looking at how land use, transportation and housing decisions in VA, MD and DC can support local and regional efforts to reduce GHG emissions 50% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
Bill is an urban planner who has worked on a wide range of transportation projects and studies across the DMV region. He lives in Alexandria, where he is active in various community and faith groups.