Kara Alnasrawi, Mayor Weinberger, and outgoing CSM Executive Director Ron Redmond on Church Street outside Burlington City Hall November 12, 2019. Courtesy photo.
Vermont Business Magazine Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced the appointment of Kara Alnasrawi as Executive Director of the Church Street Marketplace (CSM), making her the fourth director in the Marketplace’s nearly 40-year history. She will take over from the long-serving Ron Redmond. Alnasrawi brings extensive experience to the position as a downtown small business owner and actively engaged downtown stakeholder.
“Kara’s broad experience and long record of commitment to Burlington’s downtown position her as the right person to lead the Church Street Marketplace into its next chapter,” said Mayor Weinberger. “I am looking forward to working with Kara to make the Marketplace even more vibrant and a destination for local residents and visitors alike.”
The mayor said Alnasrawi will bring many strengths to the CSM Executive Director role, including:
- Service on several boards and committees focused on downtown vitality and inclusiveness;
- Experience as the owner of the retail store Leibling in downtown Burlington since 2012; and
- Background in finance and budget management.
Local Roots and Downtown Experience
Alnasrawi was born and raised in the greater Burlington area and attended the University of Vermont, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in both political science and German. Following graduation, she moved to New York City, obtained a master’s degree in political economics from the New School for Social Research, and worked in the financial sector in both New York and Germany.
After returning to the Burlington area to raise her family, Alnasrawi taught macroeconomics and political theory at Burlington College. In 2012, Alnasrawi started a downtown retail business on College Street and immediately became involved in local boards and committees, including serving as chair for the Downtown Action Group and serving on the advisory board of the winter warming shelter.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make the Marketplace even more vibrant and inviting,” said Kara Alnasrawi. “I look forward to public service and to helping steward the Church Street Marketplace during an exciting time for downtown Burlington.”
Alnasrawi and her family live in Shelburne and by City charter, there is no residency requirement for this position.
Building on Past Success at the Marketplace
Alnasrawi will lead a department with many recent successes, including:
- Attracting strong local and national retailers to Church Street, with full and close to full tenancy for the past several years, and making the Marketplace a premier shopping and dining destination in the region;
- Working strategically with partners to manage downtown parking through effective pricing and marketing;
- Working with Howard Center’s Street Outreach Team and the Burlington Police Department to ensure that the Church Street Marketplace is safe and welcoming to all; and
- Partnering with local non-profits to hold free events on the Marketplace, including Festival of Fools, Holiday Lighting Ceremony, and Discover Jazz Festival.
Search Process for the New CSM Executive Director
Before beginning the search process, Mayor Weinberger met with community stakeholders to help determine what was needed in the next CSM Executive Director. For this search, the City was specifically looking for someone who could build on the success of the Church Street Marketplace and support downtown businesses as the retail landscape changes in the 21st century.
The search began in September 2019. The process included:
- Posting the position locally, state-wide, and nationally, as well as targeting diverse communities and conducting supplemental recruitment efforts through the Mayor’s Office.
- Assembling a search committee to review resumes that met the minimum requirements and conduct initial interviews of both Vermont and out-of-state candidates. The search committee members were:
- Jordan Redell, Mayor’s Chief of Staff
- Adam Roof, Ward 8 City Councilor
- Deanna Paluba, City’s Director of Human Resources
- Vanessa Santos Eugenio, City’s HR Talent, Recruitment, and Training Specialist
- Doreen Kraft, Executive Director of Burlington City Arts
- Jed Davis, Church Street Marketplace Commissioner, owner of Farmhouse Group
- Linda Magoon, Church Street Marketplace Commissioner, resident representative
- Buddy Singh, Church Street Marketplace Commissioner, resident representative
- Referring three finalist candidates, recommended by the search committee, to the Mayor for second-round interviews.
At the conclusion of the search, Kara’s passion for downtown vitality and economic development, broad experience, and focus on relationship building demonstrated that she was an excellent fit for this position. The Administration plans to bring this appointment forward at the City Council meeting on November 18, and if confirmed, Alnasrawi will begin in the position the next day, on November 19.
Source: Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger 11.12.2019