October 4, 2021, San Francisco, CA: The Union Square Alliance (formerly known as the Union Square Business Improvement District) has announced that Marisa Rodriguez will assume the role as Executive Director beginning October 15. Ms. Rodriguez most recently served as the Director of the Office of Cannabis for the City and County of San Francisco.
“There is no place more vital to the heartbeat of San Francisco than Union Square. Thank you to my predecessor, Karin Flood, and the Union Square Alliance for keeping our City's lifeline so strong. As the next Executive Director, I am honored, humbled and incredibly excited to follow in her footsteps and expand upon their important work,” stated Ms. Rodriguez. “I look forward to reimagining our partnerships across government, private and public sectors, elevating public safety within Union Square, engaging businesses, activating spaces, and finding new and innovative ways to draw people from every corner of the globe. With our City's economic health so tied to Union Square, I cannot wait to get started."
The Alliance began the formal search process for a new Executive Director on June 1, 2021 and assembled a hiring committee comprised of members of the Alliance Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The process was extensive, garnering a total of 165 well qualified applicants, which were then reviewed, interviewed and narrowed down to finalists in a two-month long process. The Alliance graciously thanks all who participated in our process.
“The Alliance board is thrilled to welcome Marisa Rodriguez as our new Executive Director,” says Mark Purdy, President of the Union Square Alliance Board of Directors and SVP Investment & General Manager, San Francisco at Grosvenor Americas. “Her depth of knowledge and experience working with San Francisco city government and the criminal justice system will prove to be a tremendous asset to our organization.”
Ms. Rodriguez was most recently the Director of the Office of Cannabis for the City and County of San Francisco. In this capacity, she oversaw the permitting process for all businesses that cultivate, manufacture, distribute, sell and test cannabis in San Francisco, focusing on access for medical cannabis patients and equitable participation for those negatively impacted by the War on Drugs. During her tenure at the Office of Cannabis, Ms. Rodriguez piloted a grants program that has made nearly $3 million available to equity applicants to date. This work was highlighted most recently in the international Time Out publication, where San Francisco was named the "World's Best City" based on a number of factors, including the growth of the City's cannabis industry and Equity Program, especially during a pandemic.
Prior to her role as the Director of the Office of Cannabis, Ms. Rodriguez was an Assistant District Attorney and Director of Community Relations for the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. She supported a variety of criminal justice reform initiatives as a member of District Attorney George Gascón's Communication and Policy team, including the District Attorney’s vision to proactively expunge more than 9,000 marijuana-related convictions eligible for dismissal under Proposition 64. Ms. Rodriguez pioneered innovative programs to address challenges within the criminal justice system by engaging with community members, city agencies, law enforcement, and other stakeholders.
Ms. Rodriguez grew up in San Francisco. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and her law degree from the University of San Francisco.
About the Union Square Alliance:
The Union Square Alliance serves members and creates a high-quality visitor experience by managing and activating public spaces, attracting new investment, and advocating for the District’s future success. Union Square is the vibrant heart of San Francisco and an international destination where visitors come to enjoy exceptional retail experiences, luxury hotels, world-class cultural institutions, and great public spaces found only in the City by the Bay. A lively 27-block community surrounding Union Square Park in the heart of San Francisco makes up the Union Square Alliance. It is generally bordered on the north by Bush Street, on the east by Kearny Street, on the south by Market Street and on the west Taylor Street. For more information on the Alliance, go to www.visitunionsquaresf.com.