Dear Rice Design Alliance members and friends,
It is with immense gratitude for her 28 years as the RDA executive director that I am writing to announce the retirement of Linda Sylvan this summer. I hope you will join me in wishing her the best in her plans to take on consulting work, volunteer, and spend more time with her family.
In 1988, Linda took on the executive director role when RDA was in debt and had only one other staff member. Under her leadership, the staff, board and membership have grown, and contributions and grants have balanced the budget. Moreover, RDA has become a respected and influential group within Houston, and a national model for public engagement around design.
Her accomplishments are too many to list, but here are three highlights:
* Linda organized the Heart of the Park Competition with the RDA board. The winning entries spurred the newly formed Friends of Hermann Park to commission and implement Laurie Olin’s master plan. In this effort and many others, Linda played a critical role in Houston’s “green transformation” that has recently garnered national attention.
* Before becoming RDA executive director, Linda was managing editor of Cite. As executive director, she was akin to publisher. She nurtured Cite through many different editorial teams and formats, including the Cite anthology, Ephemeral City. This incredible body of criticism, commentary, history, and interventions would not exist without her grace and grit.
* Through countless tours and forums and parties, Linda cultivated a broad community that includes professors, architects, engineers, builders, designers, developers, artists, writers, politicians, civil society, and more. In this time when our society may seem divided, Linda’s ability to not only get people into the same room but move them to work for the common good will be sorely missed.
Fortunately, Linda is remaining in her position as a search is conducted to find a new executive director. Please share the job description widely.
And, once again, thank you Linda for all you have done to make the built environment and public life of Houston so much more vibrant and beautiful.
Linda can be reached via email if you’d like to send her a note.
President, Rice Design Alliance