WASHINGTON - Beth Anne Macdonald, executive director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, has been selected to attend a prestigious fellowship program sponsored by the International Downtown Association.

She is one of 26 of the industry’s brightest professionals invited to the inaugural Emerging Leader Fellowship Program. She will be joined by professional downtown managers from three countries and 18 provinces or states, including Atlanta, Auckland (New Zealand), Denver, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Toronto (Ontario, Canada), and Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada).

The Emerging Leader Fellowship is a week-long program that will be held in New York City from June 19-24 for IDA professionals from within the urban district management industry.

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The fellows will learn essential leadership and place management skills, and gain practical tools in the areas of place-based economic development, the live-work-play experience, and public-private partnerships.

Macdonald was hired by the DSA in 2012. Previously she had managed a Business Improvement District in Maplewood, NJ.

Macdonald works with an executive board and downtown merchants to promote, enhance and energize Somerville’s downtown commercial district as a community gathering place for residents, shoppers and visitors.

The DSA partners with other organizations to host regular special events throughout the year to reinforce what has grown to become a vibrant street scene.


The DSA works closely with merchants to promote high-quality and creative retail events each year that appeal to a variety of market niches in the district.  One recent success was the May 12th "Girls Night Out." Tickets sold out weeks in advance.

“The International Downtown Association is looking to build the future of our industry, and these accomplished executives are the shining stars of our profession,” said David Downey, president and CEO of IDA. “Until now, there was no education program of this kind available specifically for urban place management professionals. With this program, we’re educating and inspiring the next generation of leaders.”

 The program features intensive instruction delivered by professors from Baruch College –The City University of New York (CUNY), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Coro New York Leadership Center and technical in-the-field training from IDA professionals within several BID organizations across the city.

The fellowship will include field visits provided by several local business improvement district leaders throughout the city.  This program has been made possible with the support of the International Council of Shopping Centers and Larisa Ortiz and Associates.