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5 Questions with Holly, RDA executive director

By now, Holly Masek is no stranger to Rochester. Starting the position as executive director in June, Holly hit the ground running. Now, she's catching up for a little one-on-one insight into why she chose Rochester after growing up in the northeast. Let's hear more about her in her conversation below!

Katie: Tell us a little about yourself.

Holly: I grew up in New Hampshire, then spent most of my college, graduate school, and professional years in Boston. I’ve built my career around urban development, but I also love the outdoors. When I’m not downtown, you’ll probably find me hiking somewhere.

Katie: What about the RDA appealed to you that you wanted to work here?

Holly: The organization has an excellent reputation for activating downtown. The more I investigated it, the more impressed I was. Now that I’ve been here for a few months, I can also say that I am privileged to work with an amazing team, both within the office and outside it. Our stakeholders, organizational partners, team members, and Board members put a tremendous amount of effort into growing and shaping downtown.

Katie: What drew you to Rochester?

Holly: This past winter, after many years in Boston, I decided it was time to shake things up. On January 1 I put a map on my wall and marked all the cities I would consider moving to. I confess, Rochester wasn’t initially on my radar. But through visits to Minneapolis (which was a contender), and conversations with colleagues in real estate, development, and placemaking, I learned about the RDA as well as all the development happening with DMC. Rochester seemed like an exciting place to be professionally. As I am getting to know the city better, I am discovering more things I personally enjoy about Rochester each week.

Katie: What are you most looking forward to in your new role with the RDA?

Holly: We’re looking to bring some positive changes to existing events, and show Rochester a few new ideas as well. Stay tuned.

Katie: Because we want to know, what is your favorite season?

Holly: It used to be fall, but I really enjoyed this Minnesota summer. It felt like the sun never set. I snuck in a few weekend trips to Grand Marais and Lanesboro, but next summer I hope to plan better and really explore the area.