strive to make collective impact
the board of trustees
Mary Anne Ocampo
Global Community Design & Social Justice
Mary Anne Ocampo practices as an urban design principal at Sasaki and lectures at MIT on subjects of urban resilience in socio-economically and environmentally vulnerable contexts. As Chair, Mary Anne will shape the Foundation’s strategic direction alongside Executive Director, Alexandra Lee. In addition, she will focus on advocating for social justice through design for communities around the world, while simultaneously expanding the design profession to welcome more diverse perspectives.
Mary Anne’s professional practice spans the globe, from Afghanistan to the Philippines. In both design practice and academia she works to improve urban conditions by creating more liveable, sustainable, and equitable environments with the partnership of local communities, academia, government, private industry, and the broader design community. She recently published an in-depth article in The Plan on her Philippines work with the World Bank and MIT.
Mary Anne holds a master of architecture in urban design from Harvard University, a master of architecture from Cornell University, and a bachelor of architecture from the University of Kentucky. She has previously held teaching appointments at Syracuse University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and Cornell University. Mary Anne serves as the Associate AIA Director and as a board member for the Boston Society of Architects.
Vice Chair & Secretary
Environmental & Social Resiliency
Laura Marett is a landscape architect and associate principal in Sasaki’s urban and campus studios. Her practice includes landscape design and systems planning for cities and campuses, with an emphasis on resiliency. Laura’s work encompasses a range of scales and project types, from the design of public parks, streetscapes and waterfronts to large-scale landscape planning and campus master planning. Laura has particular interest in the design of vibrant urban public spaces through an engaged public process and resilience planning for vulnerable communities.
Laura maintains a close connection to academia and research. She is an adjunct faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design, and has taught at Northeastern University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design in recent years. She recently led the development of Sasaki’s research initiative and exhibition: Emerald Networks: Reviving the Legacy of City Parks.
Laura holds a Master of Landscape Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor’s degree in literature from Harvard College. Laura is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.
John Cinkala has been involved in non-profit financial oversight for more than 15 years. As Treasurer of the Sasaki Foundation, John brings his experience in financial management and review from his previous roles as Chair and Treasurer of both the Arlington Center for the Arts and Boston by Foot. He currently serves as a Trustee for Boston by Foot and is a current member of the Boston Society of Architects’ audit committee.
John spent 20 years as a tax attorney for State Street Corporation and is currently working for the Department of Treasury. John has always worked to utilize his professional skill set for the benefit of non-profit organizations.
Urban Ecology & Global Perspective
Trained as an ecologist and landscape architect, Tao Zhang is active in the arena of ecological design, striving to bridge the gap between practice and science. As well as being mindful and invested in creative expression, he seeks inspiration from science and always roots his design in deep understanding of the project’s socio-ecological system. He believes in designed spaces that are holistic in both aesthetics and functionality. Tao is an integral part of Sasaki’s strong international presence and has led and contributed to a number of award-winning projects.
Tao is a strong advocate for critical thinking and independent research to invigorate the profession. He has led research initiatives and collaborated with academic institutes on topics including post-occupancy metrics and environmental health.
Tao has published in peer-reviewed journals and speaks frequently at conferences around the world. Besides practice, he has taught landscape architecture at Rhode Island School of Design and has been a visiting studio critic at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and Boston Architectural College. He holds a master of landscape architecture and a master of science in sustainable systems from the University of Michigan, and degrees in landscape ecology and natural resources from Fudan University in Shanghai.
Novus Laurus LLC
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
boston harbor now
Volvo Car Mobility, US
ad hoc industries
environmental league of massachusetts
Harvard graduate school of design
Sasaki, Chair, Sasaki Foundation Advisory Council
Boston Area Research Initiative, Northeastern University
Cynthia Silva Parker
Interaction Institute for Social Change
Alexandra Lee is an established leader in the non-profit and community development sector who brings a robust portfolio of experience to the role of inaugural Executive Director for the Sasaki Foundation. Alexandra guides the Foundation in establishing a more expansive research agenda and seeking new partners to drive innovation.
Alexandra previously served as the Executive Director of the Kendall Square Association, Project Director for the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary, and was the inaugural Director of Public Programs for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Her first ties to the design community began with her role with the Boston Society of Architects as Director of Special Projects, a position she held for over fifteen years.
An active civic and community leader, Alexandra has previously served in roles with the The Boston Foundation’s Innovation Economy Leadership Council; the Mayor’s Taskforce on Women’s Pay Equity; the Transportation for Massachusetts Executive Committee; and the Extended Learning STEAM Network Cambridge. Alexandra currently helps coordinate Boston’s Christmas in the City, an annual holiday party for thousands of homeless children. Alexandra holds a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Wellesley College and continues her own creative practice through watercolor painting and choral music.
Program & Marketing Manager
Alicia joined the Sasaki Foundation in October 2018 as Program & Marketing Manager. Alicia cultivates programs and fosters collaborations in the Incubator at Sasaki and manages all communications on behalf of the Foundation, with the goal of showcasing impactful initiatives and inspiring stories at the intersection of research, practice, and community.
Alicia previously served as the Director of Membership & Community Relations at the Kendall Square Association, and served in various marketing roles at BioMed Realty, The Kraft Group, and Hasbro, Inc. Through her time in Kendall Square, she discovered her passion for fostering collaborations among individuals and organizations across many industries, and looks forward to continuing that work at the Foundation.
Alicia holds a bachelor of science in marketing and sports studies from Bryant University, where she was also a member of Bryant’s Division I softball team. She is actively involved with several nonprofits, including Art in Giving, CASPAR, and Special Olympics, is a brand ambassador for several grassroots organizations, and owns her own macrame business.
Anna Scherling joined the Sasaki Foundation in September 2018 as Executive Assistant. Anna specializes in organization and editing, with more than a decade of experience. She provides administrative support for the Executive Director and board, and provides day-to-day management for the Sasaki Foundation Design Grants program and the Incubator at Sasaki, a flexible research studio and shared work space that aims to bring together innovators dedicated to bringing transformational change to our shared built environment.
Anna also serves as studio assistant at Sasaki, supporting the firm’s landscape architecture, civil engineering, and ecology practices.
Anna holds a bachelor of arts in English from Kansas State University and a professional certificate in copyediting from Emerson College. Since 2011, Anna has volunteered with REUNION in the DR, a long-term partnership with local leaders to support and uplift the trash dump community of Santa Lucia outside Santiago, Dominican Republic.