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Massachusetts Horticultural Society/The Gardens at Elm Bank-President & Executive Director-Mon, 04/01/2019 - 6:16pm

President & Executive Director


Massachusetts Horticultural Society/The Gardens at Elm Bank
900 Washington Street Wellesley
Wellesley , MA 02482

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Job Description 

Position Announcement

Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MHS) promotes the art, science and practice of horticulture and fosters the public’s enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment. As an environmental nonprofit, we are focused on connecting people to the natural world through plants, gardens, and landscapes.

The Gardens at Elm Bank, nestled within the Elm Bank Reservation alongside the banks of the Charles River, includes natural habitats, display gardens, vegetable and trial gardens, and classrooms. The Gardens provide unique agrarian and horticultural education opportunities and offer hands-on learning as well as lectures and demonstrations. This landscape and our programs highlight sustainable design, and feature plants and gardening, stewardship of our natural world, and foster pure delight. With a recently developed Master Plan, MHS is beginning a transformative next step in the organization’s prestigious history. Expansion and restoration of existing gardens and improved campus management will be followed by significant infrastructure and building additions and alterations heading toward our bi-centennial in 2029.

With close to 4,000 members, The Gardens at Elm Bank welcomed over 25,000 visitors for events, programs and garden visitation in 2018. Education classes at The Gardens served nearly 1,000 adults, with an additional 1,000 guests of all ages taking part in educational programming in Weezie’s Garden for children during summer months. In addition, the Plantmobile brought plant science programs to nearly 5,000 kids in the greater Boston area.
A strong corps of Volunteers continued to be a major resource. More than 500 volunteers, including 180 Massachusetts Master Gardeners and 50 new volunteers, worked with plants and people in the gardens, educational programs, Library, Boston Flower & Garden Show and at special events. To learn more visit

MHS is in the midst of a transformation, growing from an organization powered by a network of dedicated volunteers to a mature, mission-driven organization that works as a lead partner and leader across the region’s environmental sector. The new President/Executive Director joins at a very important time for the organization.

The next President should be prepared to work with Board, staff, and volunteers to lead MHS through the shift that is already underway to an even more efficient and effective nonprofit; improved communication, shared data, teamwork, and documented, transparent processes and systems will be increasingly important.

Marketing who we are, what we do, how we do it, and why we do it to the public at large, partner organizations and funders to drive admissions, membership, development, class enrollment, and volunteer recruitment will be a key challenge.

Continuing to build financial resources for MHS and The Gardens at Elm Bank is vital. The next President will need to play an active role in fundraising, build the development infrastructure and culture, as well as help the Board continue its strategic recruitment of new Board members, assuring that the Directors have a keen understanding of their fundraising responsibilities and a clear grasp of the key and essential role that fundraising plays in the success of a nonprofit. The development of this infrastructure is key to the launch of a capital campaign to support the implementation of the Master Plan.

As the next President moves MHS and The Gardens at Elm Bank forward, he or she should embrace and cultivate the important values of passion and commitment to the plant world and our environment, engagement with the larger community, and organizational and environmental sustainability that have been nurtured over time at MHS.

Duties & Responsibilities 

The President holds full responsibility for the financial, strategic, and organizational growth and success of MHS. Leading a five-person management team and reporting to the Board of Trustees, the President will capitalize on the past successes, expertise, and resources of MHS and continue to build it into the preeminent resource for horticultural information and best practices in New England. The President will also lead the organization in its efforts to fund and implement the newly developed Master Plan, which will dramatically transform and expand the society’s gardens and program offerings.

• Provide the necessary vision and leadership to the Board and Staff regarding the future growth of MHS
• Supervise the day-to-day operations of the Society
• Oversee fundraising and implementation of the Master Plan
• Inspire, motivate, guide, and direct a staff of professionals in fulfilling the mission and carrying out the work of MHS
• Serve as the “face” and chief spokesperson for MHS, both internally and externally
• Maintain the operational integrity of MHS, manage organizational spending and monitor budget compliance
• Expand and enhance development and donor relation activities
• Nurture partnerships and collaborations to enhance MHS mission and stature
• Present accurate monthly financial statements to the Board
• As needed, hire additional staff

Education and Experience 

The President/Executive Director must be both a strategist and strong manager with the ability to lead and inspire staff, volunteers and community. A passion for solving problems and working with the community is key as is being respectful and culturally sensitive to members of all races, genders, classes, ages and those of different abilities.
The Board of Directors is seeking a person of integrity who is able to build trust; an effective communicator who values transparency and who inspires others to work collaboratively toward a common goal.
The ideal candidate will possess the following professional experience and personal qualities:
• 5 + years working in an executive or senior-level management position, and significant experience with not-for-profit organizations
• A strategic thinker with a track record of “growth” success in current and prior positions of responsibility
• Successful experience cultivating donors and playing an integral part of fundraising efforts
• A talent for motivating and inspiring people
• Nonprofit financial management and business acumen with success building systems to manage budgets
• A connection with horticulture, conservation or gardening, with experience in those areas strongly preferred
• Prior experience with media engagement, public relations and working with government/public entities a plus.

Application Instructions 

Interested individuals should address their resume in confidence with cover letter and salary requirements to:
MHS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to recruiting a broadly diverse pool of candidates for this position.

Full Name 
Suzanne Maas