Rivera lands dream job as executive director of The District; will resign Monday as 3rd Ward alderman

Brianna Rivera alderman

Brianna Rivera, left, will resign as 3rd Ward alderman, a position she has held since January. At right is 3rd Ward alderman Kelly Mays. | Photo courtesy of City of Quincy Facebook livestream

QUINCY — Brianna Rivera has wanted to be executive director of The District since she was in high school.

“Pretty much my young adulthood was spent volunteering downtown with my family,” Rivera said. “Setting up lights to light (Washington) Park, volunteering at the Blues (in the District), being a farmers’ market manager for two or three summers. It has just been such a positive part of my life.”

Rivera learned three weeks ago The District’s Board of Directors had selected her to replace Emily Lombardi, who left the position in August. Lombardi replaced Bruce Guthrie, who held the position from November 2014 to November 2021.

“We are very excited for the enthusiasm Brianna will bring to The District, and we are eager to see how high Brianna can take the organization,” said Jason Traeder, president of The District’s Board of Directors, in a press release issued on Friday.

The District will introduce Rivera at its annual meeting on Jan. 24.

Guthrie is Rivera’s uncle. When she was a student at Arizona State University, she interned in Guthrie’s office for two summers. 

“That’s how it all got started,” she said. “I have loved and adored this job probably since my freshman year in high school. “It’s been a long time coming, but the timing (to take the executive director’s job) was never quite right.”

Rivera, who will turn 26 in January, said she had worked at events for several years with Jamie Traeder, assistant director at The District. Traeder approached her about applying for the executive director position.

“Jamie knew me pretty well, so she comes to me and says, ‘Hey, would you be interested at all in this job?’ And I was like, ‘Oh, would I ever,’” Rivera said. “I tried to get as much experience with programming and building events for QU, and that helped me end up here. I really didn’t expect it until I came face to face with it.”

Rivera starts her new job Jan. 8. She has been a legal assistant with Moellring and Ambler, which specializes in bankruptcy relief and veterans’ disability benefits, since July. She previously was an assistant director of admissions at Quincy University.

“I’m going to probably do lots of meetings here and there with Jamie and, of course, attend all their little events like the Christmas party they have coming up,” Rivera said, “I kind of already have an idea of what’s going on downtown, but I’ll definitely have a new hat on my head when I go down there.”

She plans to follow her uncle’s path once she settles in.

“One of my uncle’s best traits when he was the director was that he gave the district a face,” Rivera said. “He was always in the community. He was always building relationships, getting volunteers, getting people involved. I just really want to continue that on. You kind of have to understand the big parts of the job — building relationships, making sure businesses are happy and the downtown is booming.

“Nowhere else in Quincy do you find opportunities for families to get together and participate in community events like this. I just think that’s really special.”

Rivera also will announce at Monday’s Quincy City Council meeting her plan to resign her seat as an alderman in the 3rd Ward. The City Council’s youngest alderman replaced Republican Parker Freiburg, who stepped down in November 2022. 

“The truth is, it’s been a wonderful time (as an alderman),” Rivera said. “I’m so sad because this is something I’m going to have to give up, but my passions and my talents are really with the executive director (position). Being a mom of an 8-month-old and having a growing family, I probably shouldn’t burden myself with both of those jobs at once. It will be best for my seatmate (Kelly Mays) and for the whole council.”

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