Placed Leaders

Jen Mergel

Executive Director

Esplanade Association

We partnered with the Esplanade Association on the search for an Executive Director. The Esplanade Association is a 21-year-old nonprofit organization that works to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, sustain its natural green space, and build community in the park by providing educational, cultural, and recreational programs for everyone. The Esplanade works in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and is dedicated to improving the experiences of the millions of visitors who enjoy Boston’s iconic riverside park.

The search resulted in the recruitment of Jen Mergel to the role.

Jen Mergel is a nationally respected contemporary art curator and cultural leader dedicated to her hometown of Boston. She has organized over 50 exhibitions in professional roles at Harvard, the Addison Gallery, the ICA Boston and the MFA Boston.

Most recently, Mergel served Emerald Necklace Conservancy as Director of Experience and Cultural Partnerships. In this role, she built the Conservancy’s capacity to invite more inclusive and impactful park experiences through partnerships with history-keepers, change-agents and thought-leaders in public-making, art and design, and cultural stewardship.

In 2022, she accepted the Charles Eliot Conservationist of the Year Award on behalf of the coalition that presented Olmsted Now: Greater Boston’s Olmsted Bicentennial.

Mergel holds degrees with honors from Harvard University and Bard College, was selected as a Fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership and the Culture of Health Leadership Institute for Racial Healing.