Program Selection Committee

The Program Selection Committee is responsible for soliciting, developing, reviewing, and evaluating programs (workshops, sessions, informal discussion groups, posters) to be presented at the annual conference. The committee is also a resource for those who wish to submit a session proposal.

Meet the 2014 Committee!









Cynthia Druckenbrod
Director of Horticulture, Cleveland Botanical Garden 

Program Selection Committee Chair

Cynthia Druckenbrod started her career as the Glasshouse Manager at Cleveland Botanical Garden in 2000. In 2007, she was promoted to Director of Horticulture and is responsible for overseeing 10 acres of outdoor gardens and the plant and animal collections in The Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse. She leads a staff of 9 horticulturists and animal care specialists and directs budgets exceeding $600,000 annually. Druckenbrod has a BA in Biology from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Science degree   in Entomology from Auburn University.

To reach Cynthia, please call 216.707.2824 or email

Laurie Albrecht
Education Coordinator, Mounts Botanical Garden

Education Track

Laurie Anne Albrecht is the education coordinator at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach, Florida. She began her career in horticultural education as an instructor in the Continuing Education and Professional Gardener programs at Longwood Gardens. Laurie’s interest in horticulture comes naturally; she is the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of nursery professionals. Laurie is a garden writer and a popular garden speaker.

To reach Laurie, please call (402) 346-4002 ext. 206 or email

Melissa Burdick
Director of Horticulture, Lauritzen Gardens

Horticulture Track

Melissa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Design from Auburn University in Alabama, her native state.  She went on to earn her Master’s in Public Horticulture from the University of Delaware’s Longwood Graduate Program.  She’s worked at public institutions across the country; most recently she spent 8 years as the Curator of Herbaceous Plants at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in Virginia.  Melissa has also written for various state and national publications including Iowa Gardener Magazine and appeared on television programs including Victory Garden on PBS.  In September of 2012 took the position as Director of Horticulture at Lauritzen Gardens. 

To reach Melissa, please call (402) 346-4002 ext. 206 or email

Michelle Conklin, CFRE
Executive Director, Tucson Botanical Gardens

Development Track

Michelle is the Executive Director of the Tucson Botanical Gardens, a 5 ½ acre public garden located in an urban city.  Michelle is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, an internationally recognized baseline professional credential for philanthropic fundraising executives.

Michelle and her family moved from Michigan in 1999. While in Michigan she worked as a law firm administrator, a CFO for a Detroit civil engineering and architectural firm and as a sales and marketing director for a CBS affiliate.  Seventeen years ago, she put all of her skills together and began her career in nonprofit as an Executive Director of the Crooked Tree Arts Council and the Crooked Tree Center for the Arts, a large visual and performing arts center in northern Michigan. Once in Arizona, she worked as the Director of Development for Arizona Theater Company and the Arizona Aerospace Foundation.  

To reach Michelle, please call  (520) 326-9686 or email

Karen Daubmann
Associate Vice President for Exhibitions , New York Botanical Garden

Art and Exhibitions Track

Karen oversees all logistical aspects of the Garden’s burgeoning horticultural exhibition program, including coordinating with designers, art handlers, and associated vendors for the planning, installation, and deinstallation of several major shows each year.

Prior to arriving at NYBG in 2007, Karen served as the Director of Horticulture for Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA; Lead Horticulturist for the Thai Garden at Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, WI; and Horticulture Intern at both Walt Disney World and Callaway Gardens.  She studied landscape architecture, urban horticulture, and turf grass management at the University of Rhode Island, and received a M.S. in Public Horticulture Administration from the University of Delaware. 

To reach Karen, please call  718.817.8535 or email


Rodney Eason
Director of Horticulture and Plant Curator at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Art and Exhibitions Track

Rodney joined the staff of one of the country’s newest and most dynamic public gardens, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in October of 2012. At CMBG, he is working with the fantastic staff to enhance the current gardens, grow the plant collections, and help with the development of a 20 year master plan for all 250 acres (only half of the gardens are currently open to guests). Prior to moving to Maine, he was display leader at Longwood Gardens for eight years. Rodney is a native of North Carolina and graduated from the Longwood Graduate Program and North Carolina State University, where he studied landscape architecture.


To reach Rodney, please call 207-633-4333 ext. 142 or email



Liz Fetchin
Director of Marketing and Communications, Phipps Coservatory and Botanical Gardens

Marketing Track

Liz Fetchin is director of marketing and communications at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, where she has garnered coverage in National Geographic Traveler, Forbes Magazine and USA Today; debuted one of Earth’s greenest buildings with a national press tour; produced a book about the Pittsburgh G-20 Summit; and lead marketing efforts to launch a citywide health initiative for children. A former associate editor for Pittsburgh Magazine, Liz holds a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

To reach Liz, please call 412.441.4442 ext 3801 or email


Dave Forehand
Vice-President of Garden and Visitor Services, Dallas Arboretum

Development Track

Dave Forehand is Vice-President of Gardens and Visitor Services for the Dallas Arboretum. He has been with the Dallas Arboretum since August, 2000. Prior to working for the Dallas Arboretum he worked for the Walt Disney World Co. in Orlando Fl. for 15 years. He supervises a staff of 40 employees. Dave’s administrative duties include oversight of all the maintenance and care of the gardens as well as current and future design elements for the landscapes and color beds. He has overseen the creation of the Arboretum’s nationally acclaimed plant trials research program which is generating great results for the Horticulture industry and North Texas. In addition to his role as head of the gardens, he watches over the quality of the guest experience through his oversight responsibilities as head of visitor services and is actively involved with donor relations.

To reach Dave, please call  214-515-6607  or email

Kathryn Glass
VP of Marketing and Public Engagement, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Marketing Track

As VP of Marketing and Public Engagement at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Kathryn promotes the Garden’s horticultural displays, exhibits and events, educational programs and research initiatives with an arsenal of tools including advertising, communications, interpretation, digital and print media, public programs, visitor services and retail. Before joining BBG, Kathryn was the VP at Acoustiguide Inc, a leading provider of mobile interpretation for cultural institutions. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with B.A. in History and History of Art.

To reach Kathryn, please call 708.623.7283 or email



Catherine Hubbard
Rio Grande Botanic Garden Director, ABQ BioPark

Leadership Track

In addition to the Botanic Garden, the ABQ BioPark consists of the Rio Grande Zoo, Albuquerque Aquarium, and Tingley Beach. Catherine has been in her current position since 2002 and also manages horticulture for the Zoo and Tingley Beach park, as well as the BioPark Education department. Catherine received a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science/Ecology and a secondary science teaching degree from Texas A&M, and a Masters from University of New Mexico.  She has been a professional fellow of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1981, and a member of the Association of Zoological Horticulture (AZH) since 2001.

To reach Catherine, please call 505.848.7181 or email


Sarada Krishnan
Director of Horticulture and Center for Global Initiatives at Denver Botanic Gardens

Conservation Track

Sarada Krishnan is Director of Horticulture and Center for Global Initiatives at Denver Botanic Gardens where she is responsible for directing the design and maintenance of the horticulture displays and collections and for developing and leading global initiatives. As part of the Gardens’ global initiatives, Sarada is involved in the initial planning for the development of a national botanic garden in Haiti, coffee research project in South Sudan and conservation projects in Madagascar.


To reach Sarada, please call (720) 865-3601 or email



Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
Program Director, Conservation of Threatened Species and Habitats, Desert Botanical Garden

Conservation Track

Kim joined the staff of the Desert Botanical Garden in 2009 after working for eight years as Conservation Biologist for the Missouri Botanical Garden and three years as Instructor and Faculty Chair in the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt. With a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Kim loves working in the botanical garden world where she can utilize both her science expertise and education experience to further the cause of plant conservation.


To reach Kimberlie, please call 480.481.8137 or email

Kara Newport
Executive Director, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Leadership Track

Kara has served as Director for Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, a developing public garden, since June 2006.  Recently the Garden opened a conservatory and has announced plans for a Children’s Garden.  Before this role, Kara’s career was focused in development at organizations such as Winterthur, Philadelphia Zoo, and Outward Bound.  Kara has a BS in botany, a degree from the Longwood Program and was named one of Charlotte Business Journal’s top 40 Under 40 professionals.


To reach Kara, please call 704.829.1250 or email



Casey Sharber
Director of Horticulture, Myriad Gardens

Horticulture Track

Casey began her career in commercial landscaping for ValleyCrest, but then decided to pursue her passion for public gardens.  After completing the Longwood Graduate Program, Casey moved back to Oklahoma in order to make a difference in the local horticulture where she worked for Oklahoma State University Extension.  During her time there, she found and identified the first known case of Pierce's Disease in Oklahoma, helped to establish several community gardens, and collaborated with Redlands Community College and the Department of Agriculture to conduct research on plasticulture in a vegetable garden.

To reach Casey, please call (405) 445-7080 or email

Sue Wagner
Vice President of Education and Information, The Morton Arboretum

Education Track

Susan L. Wagner is The Morton Arboretum’s Vice President of Education and Information. Wagner is responsible for the comprehensive knowledge management, education, and interpretation strategies that support the Arboretum’s mission as a center for tree expertise. Wagner oversees cross-cutting efforts to implement innovative experience strategies aimed at attracting and retaining nature-affinitive audiences.

Wagner received NSF’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, and subsequent awards for her leadership in environmental science education.

To reach Sue, please call 630-719-2407 or email