Day 1: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 



Navigating the New Normal 

Presenter: Ashley Thompson, Managing Director, Blackbaud Institute 

With its many challenges—from a global health crisis and economic uncertainty to social upheavals and major elections—2020 was a year like no other. In this presentation, we pair the latest giving data with long-term trends to explore how arts and culture organizations can successfully navigate current economic, social, and political impacts. We'll also explore ways to balance financial strength with mission delivery in our collective new financial landscape. 


Great Virtual Member Engagement Ideas (& Cheap) 

Presenter: Melissa Dietrich, Association Director of Membership, Longwood Gardens 

COVID gave us the catalyst to focus on virtually connecting with our Members. Now several months in, many of us are thinking about continuing these engagements in future. Hear about 10 ideas, in 10 minutes, that your Members will love! 

Join a ROUNDTABLE at 3:15 PM and discuss! 

Getting What You Need: A Corporate Partnership Story 

Presenter: Melissa Tyrone, CFRE, Director of Philanthropy & Membership, Bok Tower Gardens 

When coronavirus hit, Bok Tower Gardens took a science-based response by developing a partnership with a local hospital system. Learn how they identified key decision makers, developed the proposal, framed the needs, and explored opportunities like a hotline to a Medical Director to bring wellness education and other healthy living programming to another level. 



Building Membership Diversity, Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in the Garden 

Presenters: Lloyd Singleton, Director, NC Cooperative Extension, New Hanover County Center and Arboretum; Laura McCabe, Membership Chair, Friends of the NHC Arboretum 

Our Friends of the Arboretum board and membership is largely white, affluent retirees and is not reflective of the diverse population of New Hanover County. As our gardens are free and available daily to all our citizens, we desire to engage and recruit members of other races and ethnicities to better serve the educational mission of Cooperative Extension. This presentation will outline the steps, methods and results of an initiative in Fall, 2020 to acknowledge Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Join a ROUNDTABLE at 3:15 PM and discuss! 

The Personal Touch from Six Feet Away 

Presenter: Brittany Fabeck, Donor Relations Manager, Los Angeles County Arboretum Foundation 

How do you stay connected to donors during a pandemic? You get creative and parlay opportunities! Hear how Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden engaged with top tier donors through contactless private tours of their Plumeria collection. Brittany Fabeck shares the steps she took to invite donors, safety measures taken during the tour, and the great fundraising results from the experience. 

Join a ROUNDTABLE at 3:15 PM and discuss! 



Membership Acquisition: Surviving 2020 

Presenters: Melissa Dietrich, Associate Director of Membership, Longwood Gardens; Brian Russo, Director of Membership and Annual Giving, Naples Botanical Garden; Colleen Conaty, Assistant Director, Membership, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library; Missy Whisler, Senior Vice President of Sales & Development, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

A frank conversation about membership acquisition. We will discuss budget cuts, campaign ideas, and creating interactive virtual engagement in our new world. Four diverse institutes will share their trials and successes in expanding their acquisition strategy. 

Join a ROUNDTABLE at 3:15 PM and discuss! 

Campaigning Successfully in a Pandemic 

Presenters: Page H. Kiniry, President & CEO, Brookgreen Gardens; Greer Polansky, The Angeletti Group 

Page Kiniry of Brookgreen Gardens and Greer Polansky of The Angeletti Group will co-present on the ins and outs of conducting their capital campaign during this unpredictable time of a worldwide pandemic. From communicating with early donors who gave before the COVID-19 crisis, to cultivating and soliciting additional donors during the pandemic, they will explore the many ways fundraising is changing in this complex environment. They will also offer strategies that can be used both within the context of a capital campaign and in a major gift program – staying true to your organization’s mission with an eye to the many changes that are happening in our national and global landscape. 

Join a ROUNDTABLE at 3:15 PM and discuss! 


Join a breakout room for a 40-minute moderated deep-dive networking session with your fellow attendees to explore a variety of development and membership issues. 


Leading Your Team When You're Trying to Keep it All Together 

Moderator: Joan Thomas, CFRE, Director, External Relations, American Public Gardens Association. Presenters: Andrea Nickrent, VP, Development & Marketing, Naples Botanical Garden; Cindy Brown, Education Specialist, Smithsonian Gardens; Jonathan M. Wright, Ruth Lilly Deputy Director for Horticulture and Natural Resources, Newfields 

Sometimes the worst of times brings out the best in people. This year has challenged all of us to stand and deliver during extraordinary circumstances. We can all benefit from honing our skills in how to lead in times of crisis, whether a department head, executive leader, or as a team member. Hear three inspiring stories of how garden leaders led their teams creatively and thoughtfully during 2020, and identify actionable steps you can take in the coming months and year to strengthen your skills in effective leadership. 

Experimenting with the Annual Fund

Presenter: Katie Sharrard, Advancement Database Manager, Atlanta Botanical Garden 

Combining analytics and your annual fund allows for relevant, data-driven decision making. Katie Sharrard from Atlanta Botanical Garden will present on results from segmentation and A/B testing done in 2019-20 that includes data on the value of wealth screening, printing expense, and email solicitation. 



Presenter: Lynn Swain, Director of Development, Cornell Botanic Gardens 

Spend 10 minutes before Happy Hour trying a taste of Mindfulness.  What is Mindfulness beyond a trendy buzzword?  How can it help you in these challenging times?  Explore the scientifically documented benefits of a mindfulness practice and spending time in nature.  

Lynn Swain is Director of Development for Cornell Botanic Gardens and in the process of certifying to become an Anusara Yoga teacher. 



"Survey Says…!"

Join us for some light-hearted fun and real connectivity with your fellow colleagues, hosted by emcee Brian Russo from Naples Botanical Garden.

Do you miss attending in-person events riding the bus to and from sites and getting to know people? Well, get ready because we'll be taking the "virtual bus" together using the power of Zoom for a few mixers until you have connected with at least 7 new people. [Because really, isn't that what we miss – connecting with others?]

We'll also play the WFH (Working From Home) version of "Family Feud" based on your early responses to our survey.

So stick around, grab the beverage of your choice and wind down the first day with your fellow attendees. We're glad you're here!