Samira Behrooz joined the Design Trust staff in August 2017 after spending three years at the City of Toronto. She worked with Toronto’s City Planning Department focusing on heritage planning and urban design studies, and worked earlier, as a Toronto Urban Fellow, on healthy public policies and Complete Streets Guidelines. Before joining the City, she consulted on the Public Realm Plan for the Toronto Financial District Business Improvement Area. Samira holds a Master of Urban Development (MPl) from Ryerson University, and a Master of Historic Preservation and a BArch from Tehran Azad University. Email Samira.
Susan Chin, FAIA, Hon. ASLA, leads the Design Trust for Public Space, a nationally recognized incubator that transforms and evolves the city’s landscape with public agencies and community collaborators since 1995. She has overseen key projects, such as Five Borough Farm, Making Midtown, Under the Elevated and Laying the Groundwork.
Prior to joining the Design Trust, Susan served as Assistant Commissioner for Capital Projects at NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for over 20 years, supporting more than $3 billion in new construction, revitalization and public art projects citywide. She served as 2013/2014 Vice President on the American Institute of Architects board, and received numerous awards, including AIA New York State’s 2013 James William Kideney Gold Medal and 2011 Del Gaudio Award, Loeb Fellowship at Harvard and Distinguished Alumna from Ohio State University. Email Susan.
Ryanna Fossum joined Design Trust in April 2019 after spending two years in Los Angeles with Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL). She began working with WELL as a CivicSpark Americorp Water Fellow and later became WELL’s Program Manager, where she worked with Latino elected officials to build their water policy knowledge and leadership skills. She is deeply passionate about the nexus between equity, natural resource management, and urban sustainability. Ryanna holds a BA in Geology and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College and is enthusiastic about pasta, true crime podcasts, and getting lost in the woods.
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.
Marquise Williams joins the Design Trust team as the 2018-2019 Equitable Public Space Fellow after earning a B.A. in Sociology from Davidson College. As a Washington D.C. native, he used his undergraduate experience to explore interdisciplinary ways of challenging traditional methods of community and neighborhood revitalization processes. In his time with Charlotte City Center Partners (Charlotte, NC), he researched how historic neighborhoods could utilize visual markers, maps, and guides to compile a Community Asset Map Project of neighborhood amenities such as hospitals and schools, along with local businesses to reclaim cultural heritage.
Through his work, he has developed skills in community building, systems-thinking, organizational change, and cultural preservation. He is interested in urban development from the lens of an intersectional social approach and is passionate enacting change that inspires multifaceted stakeholders to reinvest in neighborhood space. Marquise looks to continue this work with the Design Trust team with his multi-dimensional approach, to advance efforts on projects aimed at using public space to give voices to the voiceless.