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American Public Gardens Association-CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO)-Tue, 05/24/2022 - 9:58am



American Public Gardens Association
351 Longwood Road
Kennett Square , PA 19348
United States
Pennsylvania US

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Job Description 

The American Public Gardens Association (APGA) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit membership organization with a long history dating back to 1940.  APGA is committed to its mission to champion and advance public gardens as leaders, advocates, and innovators in the conservation and appreciation of plants. It remains the leading professional organization for the field of public horticulture. APGA encourages best practices, offers critical educational and training opportunities, provides spaces and places for professionals to convene and share resources, and advocates on behalf of its members, programs, and public gardens worldwide. With more than 10,000 individuals at over 600 institutions, located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Mexico, and 20 countries, its diverse membership base spans botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, museums, colleges and university gardens, cemeteries, urban green-spaces, display gardens, and research facilities.


  • Cultivate passion
    • We are a community of environmental stewards who love people and plants.  We meet all opportunities and challenges with courage, creativity, teamwork and mutual respect.  By celebrating the diversity of the people, plants and public gardens we represent, we all grow.
  • Collaborate authentically
    • We believe sustainable collaborations require transparency, empowerment, and accountability as we challenge one another and ask the hard questions.  Through inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible interactions, we all grow.
  • Elevate our voice
    • We champion public gardens by using our collective voice to advance public horticulture and gardens through policy, awareness, advocacy, and facilitating change.  Through reaching out and welcoming in, we all grow.
  • Grow thoughtfully
    • We believe in the pursuit of individual and collective fulfillment through connecting, learning leading, sharing and problem-solving.  By modeling the many ways to advance with intentional and equity, we all grow.


APGA’s Board of Directors is conducting a national search for a passionate, visionary, and entrepreneurial leader to serve as the Association’s next CEO. APGA’s new leader will have the immense opportunity to write the next chapter in the Association’s 80-year history through the development of a new five-year strategic plan, building on the current strategic plan goals committed to engagement, professional development, leadership & resilience and organizational excellence, and guided by the desire to create a world where public gardens are indispensable.

For decades, APGA has been committed to its mission to champion and advance public gardens as leaders, advocates, and innovators in the conservation and appreciation of plants. The Association’s next CEO will bring a broad and deep set of competencies to ensure it remains the leading professional organization for the field of public horticulture. Reporting to the Board of Directors, APGA’s CEO will inherit a thriving, successful organization with robust institutional and government support and strong and growing membership support programs.  The CEO is supported by a dedicated governing Board of Directors and knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff working full-time and part-time across the country.

To be successful in this leadership role, a balance must be struck to ensure APGA’ reputation in the field is preserved while also charting the course for evolution of the Association. Public gardens across the globe are experiencing significant growth, becoming agents of change, audience driving cultural forces, and policy shapers, and APGA’s next CEO will lead exciting programmatic change to support its members reflective of this macro environment. The ideal candidate will be an innovative leader who can amplify and expand APGA’s programs thoughtfully, namely its plant protection, education, and advocacy work; serve as an inspirational and effective communicator, both internally and externally; steward existing funders and generate new philanthropic resources; be committed to and adaptive in their development of people and teams; and nurture authentic partnerships and relationships. In its next leader, APGA seeks a CEO who is passionate about the role of public horticulture in our world and how both the Association and its members can shape the national conversation around issues of health and wellness, biodiversity, climate change, and the power of gardens.

Duties & Responsibilities 

Board Relations

  • Serves as an ex-officio member of APGA’s board and board committees
  • Works in partnership with the board president and committee chairs to develop an annual board and committee meeting schedule, location plan and document review process
  • Works in partnership with the board president to coordinate board meeting agendas and administrative reports to the board
  • Supports the selection and orientation of new board members
  • Assists the board in the development and implementation of board policies and monitors compliance
  • Authorizes and executes contracts, agreements and commitments as authorized by the board of trustees or established policies
  • Works with the board to establish the CEO’s annual performance goals and completes mid-year and fiscal year-end self-evaluations
  • Communicates regularly with members of the Board to determine their capacities and desire to participate fully
  • Strategically leverages Board members’ skills and their affiliations to mutual benefit

Organizational Leadership

  • Develops long-term organizational plans to support the successful implementation of strategic priorities and operational objectives
  • Recruits, mentors and monitors the performance of the Leadership Team
  • Fosters an organizational culture of professionalism, innovation and trust consistent with our values and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility principles
  • Facilitates the development of an annual employee goal setting and performance evaluation process and takes ultimate responsibility for employee hiring, compensation, promotions and terminations
  • Facilitates the creation of employee succession and professional development plans

Operational and Fiscal Oversight

  • Maintains APGA’s non-profit and tax-exempt status
  • Ensures the appropriate fiscal controls and procedures are in place to ensure transparency, and accountability
  • Ensures compliance with all legal and regulatory requirements
  • Reports significant organizational and fiscal updates to the board treasurer in a timely manner
  • Oversees the development and achievement of the annual budget that reflects the impact of annual and multi-year operational and strategic objectives
  • Creates and champions new earned and contributed revenue opportunities to ensure financial sustainability
  • Actively participates in fundraising initiatives and donor stewardship opportunities
  • Creates an expanding market of potential members

Member Resources

  • Fosters and maintains a culture that is sensitive and responsive to the needs, interests and professional development of the membership
  • Hosts an annual membership conference and additional educational opportunities for the membership
  • Drives new programs, services and initiatives forward to advance our industry position and support existing membership
  • Assesses the impact of external factors on the member’s gardens, programs and services to ensure relevance.
  • Advocates with government agencies on behalf of the association and membership
  • Builds and maintains long-term member relationships at a high level
  • Innovates continually with technology to deliver services to members

Strategic Vision

  • Initiates the development, implementation and monitoring of the strategic plan
  • Brings brand understanding to the fore to expand and extend the Association’s positioning and reputation
  • Facilitates and maintains partnerships and coalitions with other industry organizations
  • Represents and speaks on behalf of the association at conferences and other events
Education and Experience 


A successful CEO will possess a wide range of personality traits, work habits and communication and social skills to work effectively in an association environment.


Demonstrates the ability to build a sense of shared purpose and commitment in others             


Embraces and advocates for the mission of APGA

Strategic Vision and Thinking

Positions APGA for the future looking beyond the present situation to capitalize on key trends

Relationship Building

Networks inside and outside the association to create positive and authentic relationships

Performance Management

Assists employees in setting goals in support of organizational objectives and provides feedback and direction

Coach & Developing

Committed to the growth and development of employees and seeks opportunities for their professional development

Staff Recruiting and Retention

Attracts, selects and retains talented staff to ensure a diverse work environment and complementary skill sets

Financial Acumen

Manages financial performance and understands key financial indicators


Uses problem solving skills to address problems and challenges and conveys a spirit of optimism

Presentation Skills

Engaging, clear and effective communication style with the board, peers, staff, members and external audiences

Integrity and Compliance:  

Lives a personal standard to act ethically, to safeguard confidential information and adhere to the mission, vision and values

Customer Orientation

Embraces that we exist to serve our members and fosters an environment of high customer service

Change Agent

Remains unsatisfied with the status quo and is driven by a spirit of continuous improvement and growth


Candidates should have demonstrated success in nonprofit leadership positions such as trade associations, public gardens, museums, etc.


Bachelor’s Degree required; Additional professional development certifications preferred

Application Instructions 


Salary: (Range from $200,000 - $250,000 per year)


  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • Paid time off
  • Retirement plan


  • 8 hour shift
  • Monday to Friday
  • On call
  • Weekend availability

Work Location:  Multiple locations


Full Name 
American Public Gardens Association