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Executive Director
Category: Manager

Smith Gilbert Gardens
Kennesaw, GA

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013

Position Title: Executive Director

Organization: Smith-Gilbert Gardens

Location: Kennesaw, Georgia

Minimum Education: Bachelor’s Degree, Advanced Degree in horticulture or business administration is preferred

Minimum Experience:  5 years of Management Experience in a Public garden

Starting Salary: $50,000 - $60,000 annually with excellent benefits


Job Description

The City of Kennesaw, Georgia is now accepting applications to fill the position of Executive Director of the Smith-Gilbert Gardens.  The Executive Director is responsible for the overall administration and management of the Smith-Gilbert Gardens including fundraising, business operations, education programs, facility and garden maintenance and marketing.  The Executive Director provides overall leadership for strategy, organizational development, budget development and financial oversight.  As the Smith-Gilbert Gardens will be embarking on a growth plan targeting facility expansion in 2013 and 2014, the Executive Director must be able to handle and manage multiple projects to ensure they are completed within financial and time constraints.  Effectiveness as a fundraiser with experience in capital and major gift campaigns as part of Strategic Plan and overall Master Plan will be critical for the successful performance of this position.


About the Smith-Gilbert Gardens

With a variety of plantings, the Hiram Butler Home (ca. 1880) and 31 sculptures, Smith-Gilbert Gardens has something for everyone. At the center of Smith-Gilbert Gardens is the historic Hiram Butler House, dating back over 150 years.  In 1970, Mr. Richard Smith and Dr. Robert Gilbert bought the Hiram Butler House and surrounding acreage in Kennesaw, Georgia. Over the following 35 years, they realized their dream of developing the house and grounds, with an emphasis on unique plantings and thoughtfully positioned sculpture. Now, owned by the City of Kennesaw and open to the public, Smith-Gilbert Gardens is 16 acres of serene setting with over 3,000 species of plants, several rare in American gardens. United by woodland paths, the Gardens consist of separate groupings with individual elements of fascination. These include the Bonsai Exhibit, Palladino Camellia Garden, tea house and waterfall area, Rose Garden, and Conifer Display.

The Smith-Gilbert Gardens is owned by the City of Kennesaw with 3 full-time staff, 3 part-time staff and over 100 volunteers.  The Smith-Gilbert Gardens is part of the City’s Recreation and Culture Agency and reports directly to the City Manager’s office.  The FY 2013 operating budget is $315,000.

Support for the Smith-Gilbert Gardens is enhanced through the Smith-Gilbert Gardens Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose board of directors is comprised of local business and community leaders. See: for additional information.



Kennesaw, Georgia is a safe, vibrant community conveniently located in the heart of Cobb County, 25 miles northwest of Atlanta. Founded in 1887 and situated minutes from the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park, this rapidly growing city of over 30,000 residents has a unique and rich history as well as a focus on a progressive and successful future. Attractive, modern neighborhoods and a thriving business environment blend seamlessly with cultural and recreational resources and an abundance of parks and green spaces, offering an exceptional quality of life. Named a Preserve America community, a Tree City USA, and recognized by Family Circle Magazine as one of America’s Best Towns for Families, Kennesaw offers the best of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Please visit: for additional information.


Job Requirements

The successful applicant must show demonstrated success and ability in the following areas:

1. Fundraising and Marketing:

  • Ability to successfully develop, implement and sustain a capital campaign engaging a diverse funding base with an emphasis on corporate and foundation giving, growing the membership base and expanding the individual donor base.
  • Raise the visibility of the Smith-Gilbert Gardens through the development and implementation of a sustainable marketing campaign.
  • Increase and diversify funding sources to achieve Capital Campaign goals.
  • Serve as the chief spokesperson for the Garden and ensure appropriate representation to potential corporate, foundation and individual donors.

2. Management and Administration:

  • Oversees all programs and projects to ensure compliance with Strategic Plan and Master Plan.
  • Oversees strategic planning process and ensures planning decisions are used in setting annual program and project goals. Facilitates an active planning process with the Board and staff.
  • Set annual goals and objectives and develop income projections and funding needs as part of the annual budget development process.
  • Develop policies, guidelines and priorities to support the effective management of the Garden.

3. Fiscal Management:

  • Develop, recommend and monitor annual and special projects budgets.
  • Approve expenditures and ensure proper fiscal record keeping and reporting.
  • Ensure compliance with all City of Kennesaw financial guidelines.
  • Work closely with City Manager’ office to develop annual budget while working to diversify income through memberships, grants, admission and gift shop revenues and special events. 

4. Personnel Management:

  • Hire and supervise an effective team, including use of legal hiring and termination procedures; disciplinary actions; annual performance evaluations and professional development opportunities.
  • Maintain a climate which retains, keeps and motivates top quality people, both professional staff and volunteers.
  • Promote an organizational culture that fosters passion for the Smith-Gilbert Garden’s mission, cooperation, open and frequent communication, trust and teamwork.

5. Board & Community Relations:

  • Guides the Smith-Gilbert’s Gardens Foundation Board of Directors’ in critical thinking, strategic planning, resource development and overall organizational wellness.
  • Serves as the primary staff contact person for the Foundation’s Board of Directors and the Executive, Finance and Governance committees.
  • In cooperation with the Foundations’ Board President, develop meeting agendas and materials to ensure the opportunity for the Board to effectively fulfill its responsibilities.
  • Participates and networks in various business and community meetings, making presentations to civic groups and building public awareness
  • Keep the City Manager and City Council fully informed on the condition of the Smith-Gilbert Gardens and all important factors.


Desired Qualifications and Experience

The successful job applicant will have the following qualifications and experience:

  • Successful and demonstrated fundraising experience, particularly in support of a Capital Campaign.
  • Documented success in attracting foundation and corporate grants.
  • Proven leadership skills in advanced horticulture and business developed through several years in senior management positions.
  • Experience in managing a complex budget.
  • Understanding of non-profit organizations and experience working with Boards of Directors and volunteers.
  • Excellent organizational, interpersonal, marketing, communications, analytical, administration and personnel management skills.
  •  Visionary and innovative with a high energy level.
  • Excellent presentation skills.
  • Demonstrated passion for horticulture and the mission of education and public engagement through public gardens 


How to Apply for this Position

Send resume, cover letter, 3 writing samples and a minimum of 5 professional references with contact information to:

City of Kennesaw

Attn: SGG Executive Director Search

Department of Human Resources

2529 J.O. Stephenson Ave

Kennesaw, GA 30144


Resumes will be accepted until July 12th, 2013.

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