People Make Place


Ted Jutras | Strategy + Activation

Ted Jutras is an urban planning professional who has spent the last six years working to build a more interesting, lively, and inviting urban environment in the District of Columbia, in service of creating a more robust and equitable local economy.

Jutras currently serves as the Director of Placemaking and Activation for D.C.’s second-largest Business Improvement District (BID), managing a summer events series that has become a staple of the neighborhood. Through this event series, which draws 40,000 visitors each year, Jutras partners with local organizations to showcase the city’s chefs, makers, design and tech firms, and arts organizations. Additionally Jutras identifies strategic public and private spaces throughout the neighborhood to enliven through a combination of temporary art, retail, dining, and events.

In his previous work with the BID, Jutras managed a variety of large-scale public art projects from conception through permitting and installation, while also working with D.C. government and local stakeholders to develop a public realm plan for the future of Pennsylvania Avenue West of the White House.

Jutras began his planning and public engagement career in D.C.’s Office of Planning, leading a variety of projects focused on strengthening neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River through a holistic and unified approach that combines arts, culture, dining, and retail with related job training and technical assistance.

In addition to his dedication to visual art, urban design, and local retail and dining, Jutras brings a passion for music, technology, and innovation to projects, where appropriate.

Jutras holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Economic Development from Virginia Tech.

Cherie Lester | Activation + Marketing

Cherie Lester is a community marketer specializing in creative partner-driven events, relationship-building and small business promotion.

In her previous work as a marketing professional with Whole Foods Market, Cherie lead several successful community and international fundraising events for the top-performing Mid-Atlantic flagship location. While with Whole Foods Market, in an effort to bring awareness and support to small and local business, Cherie created a monthly ‘Local Vendor Event’ featuring several food makers from DC’s Union Kitchen.

As a longtime artist and creative maker with a background in business and visual arts, Cherie is a teaching-artist on the faculty of Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, bringing arts education and opportunity to children in underserved communities of the District. She previously served on the Eastern Market Review Committee, helping to bring in new artists and growers to this historic Capitol Hill institution.  

Cherie is a graduate of Southeastern Center for the Arts in Atlanta and attended the Corcoran School of Art + Design in Washington DC. Dedicated to professional growth, she recently completed Cornell University’s Hospitality Marketing program. Cherie is a proud long-time resident of the District, enjoys long urban hikes, painting in her studio and supporting animal rescue organizations.

Vanessa Ferragut | Event Planning

Vanessa Ferragut, CMP serves as the lead event planner for People Make Place.  As founder of Ferragut Event Group, LLC, an event planning company that focuses on sustainable meetings and events, she has 15 years of experience activating conferences, festivals, weddings and more. She has planned over 200 events.  

In addition to her event planning role Vanessa is also a local foods enthusiast and Founder of Greenease, Inc - a mobile app dedicated to promoting restaurants, cafes and grocers that work with local farms and provide sustainable food options. She is passionate about supporting organizations that embrace sustainability in their business and service practices, promote community activism, and minimize their overall environmental impact in the hospitality sector.

She holds a B.A. degree in International Business and Spanish from Mount Saint Mary's University, and a Masters of Tourism Administration from the George Washington University with a concentration in Event and Meeting Management. Vanessa is a Certified Meeting Professional, as awarded by the Convention Industry Council. She has over a decade of experience in the corporate social responsibility sector.