Deering Estate Foundation names Larissa Siegel Lara executive director

Larissa Siegel Lara

The Deering Estate Foundation announced that Larissa Siegel Lara has been named executive director. Larissa will be responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic plan of the Foundation as well as fundraising, marketing and community outreach, reporting to the board of directors.

“We are very happy to announce the hiring of Larissa Siegel Lara as our next executive director,” said David McDonald, president of the Deering Estate Foundation. “When current Executive Director Mary Pettit announced her retirement after 11 very successful years, we knew we had to find a special person to succeed Mary.  With Larissa’s background in private industry, with philanthropic organizations and in public service, we have that person. I am confident Larissa will work well with our board of directors, our donors and community partners, and with Miami-Dade County to carry on the growth trajectory the Foundation has experienced over the past decade. I want to thank Board Member Jamie Thomas, who chaired our search committee, as well as the entire search committee for their tireless efforts. The quality and diversity of the applicants for the position of executive director and the difficult decision the Committee faced underscores the public awareness and the growing impact the Deering Estate and the Deering Estate Foundation have on the South Florida community. We are excited to have Larissa come aboard on June 1st.”

Larissa Siegel Lara enjoyed a 17-year career at the Burger King Corporation, with various roles, including vice president of IT operations, vice president of global business services and vice president of management and training. She also held various engineering roles at IBM and Motorola. She has been involved in various community organizations, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Habitat For Humanity and The Education Fund’s Teach-A-Thon. Currently, she serves as a councilmember for the Village of Palmetto Bay. Larissa and her family have called Palmetto Bay home for 20 years.

“I’m looking forward to working closely with Larissa on the implementation of the joint strategic plan formalized in 2015. The Deering Estate is very well poised to achieve its long-term vision as a major heritage attraction, historic house museum and cultural and ecological field station. The leadership continuity provided by this transition will only strengthen our already productive and wonderful partnership with the Foundation,” said Jennifer Tisthammer, director of the Deering Estate.

Mary Pettit will retire as executive director at the end of the month but will continue to serve the Deering Estate Foundation in the role of Deering Estate Ambassador. The Deering Foundation is very appreciative of Mary Pettit’s service and wishes her well in retirement. Please join the foundation in wishing both leaders great success.


About The Deering Estate Foundation
Established in 1989, The Deering Estate Foundation is a community-based charitable 501(c) 3 Florida Corporation and the philanthropic arm of the Deering Estate. Its Board of Directors, members and volunteers are made up of a diverse group of business and community leaders who are dedicated advocates of the Estate and active supporters of education, research, cultural arts, environmental conservation and historic preservation.

About the Deering Estate
The Deering Estate preserves the 1920s era Miami estate of Charles Deering, Chicago industrialist, early preservationist, environmentalist, art collector, philanthropist and first chairman of the International Harvester Company. Nestled along the coast in South Dade, the 450-acre Deering Estate is a 21st Century museum destination, environmental preserve and historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  From canoe tours to butterfly walks and guided museum and Natural Areas Tours, the Deering Estate has diverse activities for the whole family to enjoy.

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