The Board of Directors of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House announced today that Jessie Fisher will serve as the next Executive Director. Only the fourth Executive Director in the organization’s history, Fisher will build on the institution’s storied history and strong foundation. She will assume the role in January 2023, succeeding Mary Roberts, who is retiring after 17 years in the leadership role.
The Martin House is a compelling symbol of architectural excellence, civic identity, cultural pride, and sustainability. The six-building estate, complete with an integrated landscape spanning the 1.5-acre grounds, is considered the architect’s most important commission early in his illustrious career. As a result of its significance, the Martin House welcomes visitors from around the world, and the economic impact is real. After the recent completion of an ambitious restoration and reconstruction spanning more than two decades, Fisher will assume leadership of the organization as it outlines strategies for highlighting all that the Martin House can be and can accomplish.
Fisher has served as the Executive Director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara (PBN) since 2015. During her tenure, Fisher has grown PBN’s operating support and membership, spearheaded numerous collaborations across the community, and developed several new areas of programming including the New York State-funded $5 million East Side Commercial Building Stabilization Fund and the ground-breaking Preservation Receivership program, among numerous other accomplishments. Prior to PBN, Fisher served as the Director of Planning Buffalo Niagara WATERKEEPER and served as a Principal at Buffalo Urban Design Studio, which she founded to do community-based neighborhood planning.
Fisher has earned a reputation as an innovative thinker with a demonstrated history of ensuring the impact of her work reaches and benefits all communities and people.
Martin House Board Chair Donna DeCarolis said, “Jessie has deep-seeded knowledge and experience in architecture, preservation, and community engagement that closely aligns with the mission and vision of the Martin House. Jessie’s profound love of Buffalo’s world-class architectural heritage, combined with her proven skills and leadership in restoration, preservation, and interpretation make her the right person to lead us at this moment of extraordinary transition for the Martin House. We are grateful for the dedicated and exemplary leadership of retiring Executive Director Mary Roberts, and the Martin House looks forward to continuing growth and new chapters of success with Jessie at the helm. On behalf of the Board of Directors, we are delighted to welcome Jessie as our next Executive Director.”
A Buffalo native, Fisher is deeply committed to the city and the region and has high aspirations for the impact that the Martin House can have in its next chapter. “When Darwin Martin invited Frank Lloyd Wright to Buffalo, it opened the door for innovative new architectural thinking in our region,” Fisher said. “I’m so excited for this opportunity to work with the incredible Martin House Board, staff, volunteers, and community partners to continue to build on this legacy of creativity and connect the Martin House to all parts of Buffalo and beyond.”
Fisher holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Political Science from Canisius College and a Master’s in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington.
The Martin House partnered with Koya Partners, an executive search firm that specializes in leading mission-driven searches, to conduct the search.