Diana is an architect and preservationist with experience in design, urban planning, and heritage management. She earned her B. Arch in Quito, Ecuador in 2010 and received her Master’s in Historic Preservation from Columbia University in 2015.
Before joining Van Alen, Diana worked as an independent heritage consultant for the city of Paramaribo, Suriname as well as the Director of Strategic Management for the Metropolitan Institute of Heritage (IMP) in Quito, Ecuador. At IMP, she contributed to the management of the city’s World Heritage Site; led projects to re-think heritage preservation as a tool for social and economic development; and worked with local and international allies to advance planning and preservation strategies using a community-based approach.
Annie Ferreira is the Development Associate at Van Alen Institute. Previously, she worked at CitySquash, a youth development program in the Bronx, where she ran the boarding school and mentorship program, and Brooklyn Law School, where she worked in the Public Service Law Center. Annie graduated from Wesleyan University where she was a History major and wrote her thesis on how coeducation impacted the physical layout of the University.
Kate Overbeck is the Director of Development at Van Alen Institute. Prior to joining Van Alen, Kate held the position of Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships at 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation focused on helping cities survive and thrive in the face of the physical, social and environmental challenges of the 21st century. She brings extensive experience cultivating partnerships with corporations, foundations, governments and academic institutions to catalyze impact through program development, strategic initiatives, marketing communications and high profile convenings. Kate graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology.
Deborah Marton believes democracy demands shared spaces that communicate respect, dignity, and beauty. Since joining Van Alen Institute in 2019, Deborah has led major initiatives that put community interests at the heart of the public realm, such as Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge, an international design competition with the New York City Council to rethink the iconic Brooklyn Bridge walkway as a center of equity, accessibility, and sustainability; Neighborhoods Now, an ongoing initiative with the Urban Design Forum to channel pro-bono resources from New York-based design firms into community-driven pandemic recovery strategies; and expanding Van Alen’s Public Realm R&D program, which surfaces the work of emerging designers through temporary installations that test new strategies to bring people together in public space.
Deborah previously held the position of Executive Director of New York Restoration Project (NYRP), where she redefined NYRP’s identity from projects to people, situating the organization’s work squarely at the intersection of environmental and social justice. During her tenure, Deborah completed fulfillment of the private sector commitment to plant a million trees as part of New York City’s MillionTreesNYC initiative, and oversaw the creation and/or renovation of more than 50 community garden spaces throughout New York City’s most under resourced communities. She also collaborated with the South Bronx community to develop the Haven Project, a plan for a connected network of public open spaces. In her previous role as Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space, Deborah increased the organization’s visibility and effectiveness, by creating game-changing municipal projects such as Taxi 07, resulting in a new purpose-built NYC taxi.
Deborah currently serves as Board Chair of the Public Policy Lab. She lectures widely on various topics, including green space and public health, open space management structures, and urban equity. Deborah received a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Alisha Kim Levin is the Director of Communications at Van Alen Institute, where she oversees all communications efforts including marketing, media relations, and digital content strategy to support the organization’s design competitions, public programs, research, and special initiatives. Prior to joining Van Alen, Alisha held the position of Manager, Global Communications at the Guggenheim Museum. She initially joined the museum as part of the project team for the BMW Guggenheim Lab—a multiyear project hosting public programming around architecture, design, and city life across three continents—which sparked a lasting interest in urban design and policy. She then led advertising, media relations, and digital media strategies for several of the Guggenheim’s major international and cross-cultural initiatives. Alisha graduated from New York University with a B.A. in Art History and English Literature.
Ren Reese is the Managing Director of Van Alen Institute. Ren oversees the administrative and financial systems that support Van Alen’s work and is responsible for designing and overseeing institutional processes and strategies that further the organization’s mission. Since joining Van Alen in 2018, Ren has held positions including Director of Finance and Operations and Project Manager, Flatiron Installation.
Prior to joining Van Alen, Ren worked at the Guggenheim Museum across departments including Finance, Visitor Experience, and most recently Special Initiatives, where he shepherded interdepartmental teams to realize international contemporary art initiatives such as the Hugo Boss Prize and the UBS Global Art Initiative.
Ren graduated from James Madison University with a B.B.A. in International Business Finance and a B.A. in Spanish.
Stacey Anderson has built her career around her passion for fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, unlocking capacity, and effecting meaningful change in cities. Prior to joining Van Alen, Stacey served as Director of Programs at the leading civic advocacy organization, The Municipal Art Society (MAS). She is also co-founder of award-winning urban design project THE TANKS at Bushwick Inlet Park (formerly Maker Park), which leverages the expertise of a pro-bono team including Arup, Ken Smith Workshop, and Pentagram Design, among others. Stacey was a participant in Coro Leadership New York (LNY29) and holds her Master’s degree in Urban Social Policy from the University of Amsterdam. Her thesis research examined the effects of gentrification in post-reunified Berlin, Germany.
At Van Alen, Andrew oversees programs that mobilize designers to address pressing challenges in communities. Andrew is a researcher trained in empirical analysis of programs and public policy and his work often explores how designers, city leaders, and communities can work together to create healthier, more prosperous neighborhoods. He has developed a wide range of programs: workshops that help U.S. mayors promote shared prosperity through urban design; tours that help people visualize and understand how built environments impact mental health and the brain; and public conversations about the ways design can promote more inclusive, equitable, and beautiful cities. Andrew received his Master of Public Administration from the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. He received his Bachelors in History from Williams College.