Administrative Manager

Patricia Argueta-Medina

Patricia “Pati” Argueta-Medina (she/her/ella) joined the Design Trust in February 2022 as Administrative Manager. Previously, she served as the Faculty Program Assistant for the Barnard College Education Program. As a nonprofit professional, Pati is passionate about strengthening mission-driven organizations from within, and centers equity, inclusion, belonging, and sustainability in her work. Pati holds a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish & Latin American Cultures from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Executive Director

Matthew F. Clarke

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.

Senior Policy Manager

Elana Ehrenberg

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 was a member of Coro’s Leadership New York program (2019). Elana believes in designing for spatial equity in mind, especially on our streets. Email Elana.

Communications Manager

Alexa Mauzy-Lewis

Alexa Mauzy-Lewis (She/They) joined the Design Trust in January 2022 as Communications Manager, advocating to protect and increase the accessibility of New York City's public spaces through storytelling and thoughtful outreach. She believes public spaces are an important vehicle for disrupting inequality and empowering communities. Prior to joining the Design Trust, Alexa worked as a public relations specialist at the intersection of many social justice spaces, leading media advocacy and communications strategy for a variety of New York City institutions, including labor advocates, public health organizations, climate activists, educational nonprofits, LGBTQ+ rights groups, and more.

She received a Master’s in Creative Publishing and Critical Journalism from the New School for Social Research, with a minor in Design Studies from Parsons School of Design, where she worked as a teaching assistant and student advisor. She also holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Pace University in New York City. Alexa currently lives in Brooklyn with her cat, Goat, where they both love to birdwatch. Email Alexa.

Development Associate

Luke Meares

Luke Meares (he/him/his) joined the Design Trust in November of 2022 as Development Associate. He graduated in May of 2022 with a degree in Media Studies and Politics from Pomona College, where he focused specifically on the spatial politics of digital life. Prior to joining the Design Trust, Luke’s most recent position was in the media department of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, where he fought the encroachment of surveillance technology into both the private and public lives of New Yorkers. 

Luke is a proud Midwesterner, photographer, and fantasy reader. He is excited to help make New York’s public spaces accessible, beautiful, and equitable.

BOLD Fellow

Natalie Roach

Natalie Roach (she/her) joined the Design Trust in September 2022 as a BOLD Fellow supported by the Women's Leadership Network Natalie has an M.P.P. in Public Policy and a B.S. in Environmental Sciences and Human Rights from the University of Connecticut. She has worked for a variety of organizations to evaluate and develop programming, including Human Rights Educators USA, Goodwill of Northern New England, the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, and South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority. She has an extensive history in reproductive and environmental justice activism, and is excited to explore how public spaces and community planning can be powerful tools for change.

Senior Planner and Designer

Akemi Sato

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.

Director of Development

Alisa Schierman

Alisa Schierman has been a member of the Design Trust staff since 2017. She has over two decades of non-profit management and fundraising experience. Prior to joining the Design Trust, Alisa was the Director of Development at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) for over 8 years, where in partnership with NYTWs 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 is an alumni member of the New York Community Chorus. Email Alisa. 

Director of Programs

Karyn Williams

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