Rochester Downtown Alliance names new executive director

Holly Masek

Rochester’s downtown public-private management organization has hired a new director.

The Rochester Downtown Alliance announced today that it has hired Holly Masek, of New England, as its new executive director.

Masek steps in to replace Sarah Oslund, who was named interim director in July. The previous executive director, Jenna Bowman, resigned last summer to take a position with the City of Rochester.

Masek has a bachelor’s degree in human geography from Boston University and a master’s degree in urban planning from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

The RDA Board, led by Vice Chair Jeanine Gangeness, worked with Minneapolis-based CohenTaylor to conduct a national search for a new director.


The announcement quoted Gangeness as stating, "The RDA has grown with the community, and now is the perfect time to bring Holly onboard with her service district experience, premiere educational background, and relevant skills."

Masek will assume the role of executive director June 17.

The RDA’s executive director has become a key figure in Rochester’s development process as well as Mayo Clinic’s Destination Medical Center initiative in recent years. It has been credited with helping bring crowds of people back to downtown with annual events like SocialICE and the recently renamed Thursdays Downtown street festival, previously called Thursdays on First & Third.

The public-private partnership was formed in 2005. It’s funded by a portion of property taxes paid by commercial property owners in a 44-block downtown service district.

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