Queens Botanical Garden is an urban oasis where people, plants and cultures are celebrated through inspiring gardens, innovative educational programs, and demonstrations of environmental stewardship.
About Queens Botanical Garden
Queens Botanical Garden (QBG) is a private non-profit cultural institution located on 39 acres of New York City public land in Flushing, New York. A recently completed visitor survey reveals that 45% of visitors speak a language other than English at home. This fact underscores the importance of the mission and the challenges and opportunities QBG faces daily in creating programs, exhibits and landscapes that serve the needs of people who live in and visit one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the nation. The Garden has committed itself to addressing the complex and ever-changing needs of its diverse community and to being the place where people, plants, and cultures meet.
Queens Botanical Garden’s search for its next Executive Director comes at a critical juncture for the organization. The COVID-19 pandemic presented significant challenges to the organization’s staffing, finances, and operations, including a mandated temporary closure that necessitated layoffs and furloughs and stymied the impressive recent growth of the Garden’s earned revenue streams. Essential staff members in Horticulture, Maintenance, and Visitor Services tended to the Garden’s living collections and its campus throughout the closure, while all other departments quickly pivoted to remote work. The Education, Public Programs, Marketing, and Development departments piloted digital resources and events to engage our core audiences from home, while Finance and Administration adapted the Garden’s business operations to online platforms.
At the same time, the pandemic reinforced the fundamental need for city dwellers to connect with green spaces. A new-found appreciation of the role of urban gardens, coupled with the innovation and resilience of our staff, enabled Queens Botanical Garden to become one of the first NYC cultural institutions to reopen during the pandemic. Amidst the tumult, loss, and increasing recognition of social injustices of this pandemic year, the Garden has been a constant, uplifting presence for the diverse communities of Queens. It offers a peaceful, safe, and healthy oasis for community healing and social connection. Since reopening on July 21, 2020, the Garden has welcomed over 117,000 people—the vast majority of them Queens residents—who come to our grounds to experience the beauty and balm of the Garden; expand their horticultural knowledge; practice Tai Chi and take healthful walks; or simply to breathe in the fresh air.
Against this complex backdrop, Queens Botanical Garden seeks an outstanding leader and innovator with the vision, cultural competencies, and empathy necessary to address both the challenges and the opportunities wrought by the pandemic. They will embrace the duality of the Garden as both a horticultural sanctuary and a cultural nonprofit situated within one of the most diverse counties in the country. The next Executive Director of Queens Botanical Garden must devise strategies to turn the reinvigorated appreciation of outdoor spaces into new contributed and earned revenue opportunities. They will uplift the Garden’s commitment to horticulture, sustainability, diversity, and an enhanced onsite experience. They will also bolster the Garden’s reputation as a premier environmental education organization by fostering the successful completion of the new $34M Education Center Project, which includes the building and its landscapes.
The Executive Director will be committed to rebuilding and leading an incredibly passionate and dedicated staff. To this end, they will ensure that longstanding support from government entities continues, while also inspiring interest and securing commitment from private funding sources to support the long-term stability of the Garden. The Executive Director will reaffirm Queens Botanical Garden’s role as the leading center for botanical education in Queens and demonstrate the organization’s commitment to serving the evolving needs of its home borough’s diverse communities. They will also bolster the Garden’s brand and position the Garden as an attractive destination for visitors as New York City tourism rebuilds post-COVID.
The Executive Director’s essential duties are to lead the development of the gardens, programs, services, and capital improvements of this 39-acre oasis to uphold our vision to be the place where people, plants, and cultures meet. Reporting to the 15-person Board of Directors, and working with staff, volunteers, and community members, the Executive Director is responsible for leading and overseeing the business of the Garden. Their vision and fundraising acumen will chart a new course for the future of Queens Botanical Garden.
Organizational Management & Strategy
• Be the visionary leader of a diverse, resourceful, and dedicated staff of 27 full-time and approximately 40 part-time and seasonal staff members
• Devise strategies for growth in staffing, programming, and plant collections
• Ensure the successful completion of the $34M Education Center Project and future capital projects
• Be the vision behind Strategic Planning and support various associated initiatives for its successful implementation
• Identify and court potential Board Members who reflect the Garden’s values and will uphold their financial commitments
• Serve as the main liaison to government funders, including with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York City Council; Queens Borough President; and the New York State Senate and Assembly; cultivate relationships with incoming elected officials
• Work with the Board of Trustees and Director of Development to develop the organization’s pipeline of foundation, corporation, and individual donors, with a particular focus on individual donors
• Establish a strong culture of philanthropy on the Board of Trustees
• Use the extant Capital Campaign to establish a clear trajectory for additional major gift donor opportunities
• Prioritize the growth of Queens Botanical Garden’s endowment for the long-term stability and success of the organization
Communications, Brand-Building, and Public Engagement
• Champion Queens Botanical Garden’s commitment to inspiring gardens, innovative education, cultural programming, and environmental sustainability
• Ensure that the Garden remains a welcoming environment for all visitors
• Develop and promote the Queens Botanical Garden brand; be the organization’s lead spokesperson in the community and the press
• Drive audience development and visitation through brand-building activities and relationships
• Ensure the Garden is known to other key corporate, individual, and foundation stakeholders in Queens and New York City
Financial and Administrative
• Manage the organization’s $4+ million annual budget
• Ensure appropriate use of organization’s funds
• Proven commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace that reflects the organization’s diversity, equity, access, and inclusion goals
• Prior experience leading a similarly sized institution, such as a botanical garden, museum, cultural organization, park, or similar destination
• Expertise in at least one of QBG’s main program areas (horticulture; education; cultural programming; sustainability); interest in cultivating knowledge of all areas
• Seasoned, bold fundraiser; ability to inspire support from new audiences
• Experience in reaching out to, and successfully working with, community leaders across a diverse cultural landscape
• Knowledge of Queens and New York City government
• Experience in creating and implementing strategies for organizational growth
• An entrepreneurial spirit; desire to further develop the brand of Queens Botanical Garden
For consideration, please submit your resume, cover letter, and any relevant documents via our recruitment portal at https://qbgarden.org/recruit/ed/apga.
If you encounter difficulties with uploading documents to the portal, please send via email to email@example.com.
Queens Botanical Garden is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). The Garden does not discriminate in its employment practices due to an applicant’s race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, age, disability (physical or mental), sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, parental status, marital status, political affiliation, gender expression, mental illness, socioeconomic status or background, neuro(a)typicality, physical appearance, predisposing genetic characteristic, immigration status, or any other legally protected status. Minorities, women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application process, please contact Human Resources via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.