Welcome Ellen Baer, Jesse Hertzberg, Karesia Batan, Jerrod Delaine, & Thomas Jansen!

Our Board of Directors includes leaders from the design, planning, architecture, real estate, legal, transportation, visual arts, and communications fields. We are excited to announce a class of five new members to our diverse leadership team:

Ellen Baer


Ellen Baer has spent the last four decades imagining, financing and executing public-private-real estate partnerships in New York City and around the country. Most recently, she served for twelve years as the founding CEO of the Hudson Square Business Improvement District. There she oversaw the conversion of the City’s mid-twentieth century printing district, near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, into a thriving 21st century hub for the technology and creative sectors, including almost 3 million square feet of major new development for Disney and Google. To this end, working with commercial property owners, tenants the City of New York and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Ellen developed and implemented the BID’s $27 million project to transform the public realm from a place for cars and trucks into a place for people, including: the installation of almost 500 street trees; the development and redevelopment of 3 neighborhood parks; the reimagining and reconstruction of a 10 block section of Hudson Street; the creation of an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable neighborhood. The plan has received numerous awards and serves as a model for the design, financing, construction and implementation of partnerships to improve the public realm citywide.

She currently advises developers and not-for-profit organizations on strategic partnerships for improving the public realm in order to improve quality of life and create value.

Jerrod Delaine

CEO, The Delaine Companies; Professor, Pratt Institute

Jerrod Delaine, is the Chief Executive Officer of The Delaine Companies. As a seasoned real estate developer with over a decade of experience, Jerrod has amassed a skill set that includes design, construction, finance, affordable housing, and asset management. Jerrod spent the first five years of his career at Forum Architecture and Interior Design, the majority of his efforts focused on project managing affordable housing projects in the southeast region of the United States. 

As an academic, Jerrod serves as an adjunct professor educating graduate and undergraduate students on development, public-private partnerships, urban economics, and portfolio management. After spending eight years as the Director of Development at Carthage Real Estate Advisors, Jerrod cemented his role as a thought leader in urban housing policy. He’s a principal developer committed to utilizing access to capital markets, improving communities through real estate finance and development.

Jesse Hertzberg

Growth Partner, Great Hill Partners

Jesse Hertzberg is an experienced entrepreneur and executive passionate about building world-class organizations and dedicated to scaling high-growth technology businesses.

Jesse has a proven record of driving profitable growth at a variety of high-growth technology companies – such as Etsy, Squarespace, Livestream, and BigSoccer – by instilling an entrepreneurial culture, valuing measurable performance, profitably acquiring customers, and prioritizing customer-centric product development.

Jesse is a growth partner with Great Hill Partners, and is an active angel investor, CEO coach, and startup advisor.

Karesia Batan

Executive Director, Queensboro Dance Festival

Karesia Batan is the Founding Executive Director of the Queensboro Dance Festival, an organization that provides free dance programming across Queens outdoor public spaces, presenting the diversity of dance companies from the borough. Serving both the Queens dance community and community audiences, Karesia's work has received recognitions from Queens Pride, assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, comptroller Thomas DeNapoli, public advocate Leticia James, and in the NYC Cultural Plan. She is an advocate for arts funding equity and accessibility especially for Queens, serving on several city and private funding review panels for artists, and speaking panels on Queens Public TV, Center of Urban Future, and Dance/NYC, where she currently is on their Advisory Committee. Karesia also serves on her local Queens Community Board 2 under Land Use, and chairs its Arts & Culture committee. Originally a dancer, Karesia most recently maintains her artistic practice in Filipino folk dances, and as a modern dancer for choreographer Craig Hoke Zarah.

Thomas Jansen

Principal, HR&A

Thomas Jansen is a Principal at HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading real estate, economic development and public policy consulting firm. Thomas works with non-profit, institutional and public-sector clients and stakeholders to implement real estate projects that produce wide-ranging public benefits. Thomas’s experience includes developing master plans for large-scale development projects, leading and supporting developer selection processes, and negotiations for ground leases or public approvals. Prior to joining HR&A, Thomas was an architectural designer and owners’ representative for a wide range of projects in New York City, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Thomas is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

Welcome to the Design Trust!