MNLA Elevates Four to Associate Principals

Top (L) Alexis Gagné (R) Dan Yannaccone, Bottom (L) Johanna Phelps (R) Martha Desbiens

MNLA, ushers in an era of transformative change and proudly announces the elevation of Alexis Gagné, Dan Yannaccone, Johanna Phelps, and Martha Desbiens to the role of Associate Principals. This strategic move marks a pivotal moment in MNLA’s journey and underscores its commitment to growth, innovation, and steadfast values.

For over three decades, MNLA has upheld its core values, defined by transformation, a comprehensive vision and inclusive process that guides its design methodology and approach, and advocacy, a fundamental tenet of engendering incremental positive change. This leadership progression is a testament to the firm’s evolution, as it continues to shape resilient business strategies. 

“At this crucial juncture in landscape architecture, shaped by environmental challenges and a commitment to systemic change, MNLA stands poised for growth,” said Founding Principal Signe Nielsen. “As the firm steps into an exciting new chapter, we will continue to apply the same care and thoughtfulness as we have in the past to our clients, design, and staff. I have full confidence in our new associate principals and am thrilled to work closely with them through this progression.”  

The newly appointed Associate Principals, Gagné, Yannaccone, Phelps, and Desbiens, bring a wealth of expertise and dedication to MNLA‘s legacy. As they continue their leadership roles, they will offer mentorship and act as reliable resources for the entire team while taking on expanded responsibilities. Their multifaceted contributions are poised to fuel the firm’s success significantly.  

The leadership progression includes a close collaboration between existing Principals and the new Associate Principals. To ensure continuity and guidance during this shift, Founding Principal Signe Nielsen and Principals Rob DeMarco and Molly Bourne will draw from their successful experience having assumed Principal roles in 1994 and 2014, respectively. Notably, as the firm celebrates its 30th anniversary, Signe’s leadership mirrors a rich history spanning three decades of dedication to the firm’s development.  

The new leadership marks a strategic move for MNLA, reinforcing its unwavering dedication to advocating for transformative change, innovation, and a collective vision that shapes landscapes for the betterment of communities and the environment. It also demonstrates the firm’s commitment to maintaining private, female-majority ownership and its recognition as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) and to pursuing work aligned with its core values, exploring new markets, and making tangible contributions to society. 

About Damian Holmes 3228 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at