Santa Monica Lookout
Meet Downtown Santa Monica's Two Newest Board Members
By Jorge Casuso
January 21, 2013 -- Downtown Santa Monica Inc.'s two new board members arrived at the decision-making table via very different routes. Julia Ladd comes from the private sector, serving as senior property manager for Santa Monica Place, while Barry Snell was a member of the Santa Monica - Malibu Unified School District Board of Education.
But Ladd is no stranger to the public sector, having ushered major projects through the planning process during her 21 years at Macerich, and Snell works as an accountant for the types of small businesses that have kept the Downtown a vibrant destination for both locals and visitors.
During her 24 years in commercial real estate Ladd has focused primarily on managing and redeveloping shopping centers and mixed-use environments throughout the U.S.
"A vital Downtown is essential to residents, tourists and businesses alike," said Ladd, who was elected to the board by Downtown property owners last June.
With a number of major developments upcoming or underway Downtown, Ladd said, "Santa Monica has a unique opportunity at this pivotal time to maximize the results" of those projects.
"Working in cooperation with the City can allow us to achieve improvements in circulation, aesthetic appeal and quality of life issues that will grow the vitality of Santa Monica," she said.
Ladd has worked closely with DTSM and the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote the beachside city as a visitor destination, hosting tourism and shopping events at Santa Monica Place, including Pow-Wow and Shop America.
Ladd has also helped improve tourist bus routes, worked closely with the Farmers Market and participated in the Buy Local campaign. In her day-to-day business endeavors, Ladd has never lost sight of the important role she plays in the community.
"A common thread throughout my professional and personal life is my commitment to community service and to quality of life endeavors," Ladd said. These include "building relationships through memberships in business and community organizations," including the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club.
After helping to usher the redevelopment of The Oaks in Thousand Oaks shopping mall through the public process and taking part in the grand opening of the newly redeveloped Santa Monica Place, Ladd looks forward to working with the public sector in a different capacity.
"Maintaining open dialogue and transparency in the efforts helps to grow the public/private partnership and are essential to the greater success of Downtown," Ladd said.
Barry Snell, who was appointed by the City Council to the DTSM board on August 28, also brings plenty of experience working with the community and taking part in the public process. In addition to serving on the School Board from 2006 to 2010, he sat on the Pier Board for five months before it was reconstituted in March 2012.
Joining the Downtown board, he said, was a logical way to stay involved with the community.
"I have a love of Santa Monica. I spend a lot of time Downtown, and my kids spend a lot of time there,” said Snell, whose three children graduated from Samohi. “There's a lot going on Downtown. I wanted to get involved in community activities dealing with development Downtown."
Snell, who considers himself a slow-growth avocate, looks forward to working on the Downtown Specific Plan that will set the guidelines for development and address traffic and parking issues in the central commercial district.
A champion of small businesses and encouraging housing Downtown, Snell -- who grew up in East Orange, New Jersey and took a train to work at a big accounting firm on Wall Street -- has a vision for the district that is a throwback to simpler times.
"I like to see small business people feel comfortable enough to hang their shingles there," Snell said. "I envision a Downtown where we can have single families that can take their kids to school and not even have a car."
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