Honoring the PDA's Women in Leadership
Behind the hustle and bustle of the Market businesses is an organization devoted to serving each aspect of our community. Celebrating its 50th year of governance, the Preservation and Development Authority is the dedicated workforce that keeps the unique ecosystem of Pike Place Market operating.
The PDA functions by the guidelines of the historic charter, which preserves the traditions of the Market and ensures it continues to thrive. We are proud to share that a majority of our leadership are women who drive its success behind the scenes.
Get to know more about some of the accomplished women on our PDA staff below!
By the Numbers
Mary Bacarella has served as Executive Director of the PDA since January 2018. She is responsible for the overall operations, preservation, and development of our 115-year-old public market and 9-acre historic district. Mary works to ensure the well-being of hundreds of small businesses and residents that make up the Pike Place Market community. Informed by her extensive experience at key Seattle landmarks, including Managing Director of SIFF, the Seattle International Film Festival and year-round cinema, and Vice President of Brand Management at the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden & Glass, Mary’s deep roots in our city’s cultural institutions sustain her zeal for the Market’s continued vibrancy.
Holli Decker is devoted to the beautifying efforts of our Market, lending her green thumb to all 200 planters and 30 hanging baskets throughout our 9-acre district. Look up to the rooftops as you stroll down Pike Place to see her handiwork in bloom! Holli’s longtime experience in farming and rural living inform her expertise on the job. She found her way to commercial beekeeping and dove deep into learning about the symbiosis between flowers and bees, even selling her freshly harvested honey at the Market. Now on the operations side, she plants with a keen attentiveness to what works best in harmony with pollinators. Managing the planters is a full-time caretaking job between visitor traffic and extreme weather changes, and we’re grateful for employees like Holli who tend to each corner of our community with care.
Residential Portfolio Manager
Elsie Janson (pictured front and center) has supported the Market’s residential community for over 15 years at the PDA. She ensures stable and comfortable housing for our 500 residents, which primarily includes low-income and senior citizens. As part of the PDA charter, our district is devoted to providing critical social services for individuals in need who live throughout our district. Elsie oversees a team of compassionate building managers who handle tenant needs and enliven community areas with fun events and fellowship. Each holiday season, she and her team put together hot meals for residents with the help of the Pike Market Senior Center to spread the giving cheer and support those who may be apart from their families.
Liz Teasley is one of our most tenured security officers who has committed 17 years of her career to maintain the safety and security of our Market visitors, workers, and residents. She was hired on with Security while it was under the management of its original founder Sam Buckley. Liz is an Army National Guard veteran who brings her field medic expertise to the job while delving into the creative field in her off-time with wildlife and landscape photography.
While managing payments from 500+ small business tenants and expenses from 100+ employees at our organization can get complicated, our accounting and finance team works diligently to keep things in order. Director of Finance Sabina Proto has kept the fiscal operations of the PDA running smoothly for nearly 25 years!
Ensuring all hiring and staffing operations for our 100+ employees are polished and organized is run by a small but mighty team of 3. Director of Human Resources Erica Bates has committed over 19 years at the PDA to being the warm welcome for all new staff at the PDA, recruiting and supporting employees as needed throughout their tenure.
Overseeing the branding, digital presence, community activations and more is the all-women marketing team that fuels the creative face of our organization. Any time you are heading to a special event at Pike Place Market, this team is the muscle behind the scenes ensuring it’s a success from setup to takedown!
Managing an integral stream of the Market’s operational funding is our Parking team led by Shelly Brehm, the kind face behind our 800-stall garage who manages access for millions of visitors throughout the year. Her role overseeing the Market’s major entry points by car has been crucial throughout the ongoing waterfront renovation projects.
The women of our farm team are dedicated to the 70+ Washington farmers in our Market community. In 2021, they collectively helped secure nearly $90,000 in grants and sponsorships for farmers alongside payment of $145,000 through the PIKE BOX CSA program. Their partnership with The Market Commons offered low-income shoppers over 1,600 PIKE BOX shares of fresh, locally sourced produce.