Matthew Clarke joined the Design Trust in May 2020 as Executive Director, where he advocates for the power of public space to build vibrant, equitable communities. As an architect, planner, and writer, he has advanced complex architectural and urban design projects; developed public-space policies; and developed national partnerships and initiatives. Prior to leading the Design Trust, Matthew was the National Director of Creative Placemaking at The Trust for Public Land, where he authored The Field Guide for Creative Placemaking and Parks. He has also held positions at SHoP Architects, NYC’s Department of Cultural Affairs, and LTL Architects. He was a German Marshall Fund Urban Policy Fellow, member of Next City’s Urban Vanguard, and winner of the international KPF Prize. Matthew serves as a Trustee of Bennington College and as Vice-President of the Lucille Lortel Foundation. He studied at Princeton University and the University of Kentucky.
Elana Ehrenberg joined the Design Trust in October 2019. Previously, Elana was the Community Relations Manager at NYC Ferry Operated by Hornblower, where she managed the ferry’s government relations and community outreach since its launch in 2017. Elana worked to create strategic partnerships with local businesses, civic groups and non-profits in all of the neighborhoods surrounding NYC Ferry landings. Before joining the ferry, she worked in the New York City Council where she was the Director of Special Projects for Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, managing the Participatory Budgeting process. Elana received her B.A. from New York University studying music, but after college she became interested in access to public space and transportation while working for a local music festival. She is the recipient of City & State’s Responsible 100 award (2018) and recently graduated from Coro’s Leadership New York program (2019). Elana is also the Chair of the 50th Assembly District Committee made up of County Committee representatives in the Kings County Democratic Party in North Brooklyn. Email Elana.
Claire Kai-Li Mondry joined the Design Trust in September 2020, after graduating summa cum laude from Fordham University with a B.A. in American Studies and Political Science. Claire has worked extensively in the arts in New York City, previously holding development and programs positions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Chinese in America, and Kundiman. Inspired by her time spent in museums, she is dedicated to repossessing archival techniques as a means of accessing and preserving personal-collective histories. Outside of her job at the Design Trust, Claire currently serves as a mentor to Asian American youth, teaching about the importance of community leadership and civic engagement. She is originally from San José, California. Email Claire.
Kimberly Mota was born and raised in Queens, NY by Mexican and Peruvian parents. Coming from a mixed status family, she became aware from a young age about privilege - including her own, and the liminality and inaccessibility of spaces. Because of this, she became more interested in the social implications of design which led her to build a foundation centering ethnic and decolonial studies with design work. Kimberly attended LaGuardia Community College and transferred to Mount Holyoke College where she graduated with her B.A. in Architectural Studies and minor in Latinx Studies.
Identifying as a first generation community college transfer student, education access, youth advocacy and community engagement is central to the work she has done and hopes to continue engaging in. Prior to joining The Design Trust for Public Space, Kimberly was the Education Coordinator at El Puente where youth leadership and empowerment were at the forefront of her program. She also serves as a Mentor Coach in the 2020 LaGuardia Community College Cohort for America Needs You.
Kimberly is excited to be working with the Design Trust for Public Space and hopes to one day start a design program for underrepresented youth in NYC. Email Kimberly.
Akemi joined Design Trust in March 2021 as Senior Planner and Designer for the Open Streets Coalition.
Prior to joining the Design Trust, Akemi led public space and disaster recovery projects in various cities throughout Latin America and the US, specifically community-based projects that integrate local knowledge, technical expertise, and public-private investment. Her work includes a flood management park with Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) in Ciudad Juárez, México; ravine protection policies for fire risk reduction in Valparaíso, Chile; and the downtown revitalization plan for San Salvador, El Salvador.
Akemi is co-founder of a non-profit called Sustrato and a street furniture company called M+Urbano, both based in Mexico City. Through these ventures, Akemi has coordinated public space projects at various scales, from the restoration of a 74-acre ravine ecosystem to the construction of a 1,600-square feet community park.
Akemi holds a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor in Architecture degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City. Email Akemi.
Alisa Schierman recently joined the Design Trust staff in August 2017. She has over two decades of non-profit management and fundraising experience. Most recently she had a consulting practice working with small performing arts organizations. Alisa was also the Director of Development at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) from 2008 until 2015 where in partnership with NYTW’s leadership was able to turn a $1 million deficit into a $2 million cash reserve.
Her areas of expertise include: board development, major gift and individual giving strategy, as well as a deep knowledge of foundation fundraising. Alisa holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Affairs from Hunter College. She is also a classically trained singer and a member of the New York Community Chorus. Email Alisa.
Jasmin Tepale joined the Design Trust for Public Space in September 2020 as an Equitable Public Space Fellow. Previously, Jasmin focused her work in the area of Fair Housing. She worked at two different Fair Housing non-profit organizations in Orlando, FL and Long Island City, NY where she educated the community on their Fair Housing Rights, created partnerships with neighboring organizations to improve access to free legal services and provided data analysis and mapping to understand the characteristics of the areas they served. Prior to Jasmin’s fair housing work, she worked at an engineering firm as a project manager focusing on construction projects that impacted the community as well as a non-profit organization where she worked with the Harlem community to provide them access to fresh foods and nutrition education. Jasmin uses these work experiences, as well as personal experiences to create solutions to quality of life issues through an urban planning lens that focuses on equity. Jasmin holds a Bachelor’s in Urban Studies from Hunter College. Email Jasmin.
Charisse Weston joined the Design Trust in September 2019, after earning her MFA in Studio Art, with a Critical Theory Emphasis at the University of California, Irvine. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, Abrons Art Center, Project Row Houses, as well as forthcoming exhibitions at Recess, Bard College, and the Moody Center of the Arts at Rice University. She has received competitive awards, fellowships, and residencies from the Dallas Museum of Art, Artadia Fund for the Arts, the Dedalus Foundation, Museum of Art and Design, and was a 2019 nominee for the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Painters and Sculptors Grant. She also holds a MSc in Modern Art: History, Curating and Criticism from the University of Edinburgh and was a participant in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Independent Study Program. Email Charisse.
Karyn Williams joined the Design Trust in October 2020 as Program Director. Karyn is an experienced urban planner and landscape architect and has worked in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. She is dedicated to designing, planning, and advocating for public spaces that place people's needs and the environment at the forefront. Before joining the Design Trust, Karyn was the Assistant Director of Planning and Programs at GreenThumb, an NYC Parks division. At GreenThumb, Karyn managed the strategic planning process and the team responsible for public engagement, planning, and design. Karyn has advanced degrees in Urban Planning from McGill University and Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto. Email Karyn