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Board of Overseers

Role of the Board of Overseers

Overseers are members of The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, who form a special diverse group which is committed to the mission of the Society. They strive to enhance the society's visibility and reputation throughout the Boston area and beyond. Overseers are elected to a three year term, but a term can be extended at the discretion of the Board. Their formal obligation is to attend two meetings a year.

Overseers are expected…

  • To be a current member of Mass Hort
  • To support Mass Hort financially to the best of member's ability
  • To act as a goodwill ambassador for Mass Hort in the wider community fostering good relationships with members, donors and friends of the Society
  • To identifying other individuals and organizations who should be involved and can contribute to Mass Hort

Overseers are encouraged to show their commitment to the Mass Hort by participating in at least one of the suggested opportunities:

  • Serve on a committee
  • Chair an event
  • Attend Mass Hort events
  • Provide expertise

In summary, Overseers are a special group of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society membership who believe in Mass Hort and are willing to contribute their valuable time and expertise to promoting the new vision of the Society.

BOARD OF OVERSEERS
Fiscal Year 2011

Joyce Bakshi
Scott Birney
Vivien Bouffard
Maureen Bousa
John Cronin
Betty Ferris
Jodie M. Gilson
Teddi Hickey
Frank Hunnewell
Penni Jenkins
Heidi Kost-Gross
Beedee Ladd
Suzanne Mahler
James E. Mulcahy
Morgan Palmer
Lura Provost
Art Scarpa
Connie Smith
Paul Steen
Caroline Whitney
Frederick T. Wright

Overseer Biographies

Joyce Bakshi
- Andover Garden Club member since 1996. Ways & Means Chair and President, a member of the GCFM Northern District Board for 8 years, she is the current District Director. She is on the Executive Board of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and the New England Regional Board. A member of Landscape Design Council and GCFM Flower Show School, her background is horticulture and floriculture. She is a retired restaurateur. She and her husband "Buck" (Prabodh) live in Andover, MA and Acton, ME.

D. Scott Birney is a graduate of Yale University and received the MA and PhD from Georgetown University. He was a member of the faculty at Wellesley College, and he retired from there in 1991. He has served for more than twenty years as a member of the Nomenclature Committee for the New England Spring Flower Show. He was formerly the Treasurer of the Wellesley College Friends of Horticulture. His garden in Wellesley won an Mass Hort gold medal in 1999, and he himself was a recipient of the MHS gold medal in 2000. Mr. Birney served as trustee since 2004-2011.

Vivien Bouffard - Vivien Bouffard has been a Master Gardener since 1998 and the Volunteer Coordinator for Mass Hort since Fall of 2009. She has recently taken a part-time position at Olin College as Registration and Scheduling Coordinator and helps to recruit volunteers there. Vivien was a founding member of the Norwood Evening Garden Club and is active in the New England Chapter of the North American Rock Gardening Society, which she joined for the seed exchange. Her other activities include playing piano/organ at church and assisting her clergy husband in local ministry. Horticulturally, she tries to grow everything and especially enjoys growing from seed.

Maureen Fennessy Bousa holds a Master Gardener designation and has participated in the New England Spring Flower Show - both as chair of numerous Wellesley Garden Club exhibits and as a member of the Amateur Gardens Committee. Maureen serves as a trustee of Historic New England and is a member of their executive committee.

John Cronin is a member of the Daylily, Hosta, and Rose societies and is a graduate of the MHS Master Gardeners program. He is a Civil Engineer and has been a leader in community and urban youth, outdoor education, and environmental programs. He is retired as the long time Milton Town Administrator. He served as a member of the Metropolitan District Commission in the administration of Gov. Francis Sargent.

Betty Ferris is former President of the Wellesley Garden Club and a former Trustee of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society and the Wellesley Conservation Council.

Jodie M. Gilson is the owner of J. Gilson Greenhouses, Inc. in Groton, MA. She represents the Massachusetts Flower Growers on the IPM Advisory Board of UMASS, is a Director of Massachusetts Agriculture in Classroom and Worker's Credit Union, and participated on the Groton Library Endowment Committee. Jodie is a member of Garden Writers Association. She has been a librarian and garden tour lecturer.

Theodora "Teddi" S. Hickey is a past president of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, Inc. She has been a member of the Brockton Garden Club since 1983, and is a former president. Having held a number of positions at the New England Spring Flower Show, Teddi was most recently its junior horticultural chairman. She was a trustee of Mass Hort from 1999-2001.

Francis W. Hunnewell is the Chief Operating Officer of PI Worldwide, an international management consulting firm specializing in behavioral assessments and human capital analytics. He was previously President and CEO of a specialty sporting goods brand, and a Senior Consultant at Bain & Company in Boston. Frank is Director and Treasurer of the International Dendrological Research Institute and is on the Board of Corporators of the Middlesex Savings Bank, a $4 billion bank based in Natick, MA. Frank holds an AB from Harvard College and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College.

Penni Jenkins recently retired from her position as an accountant at a New York family office telecommuting from Walpole. She also has had experience working for an investment banking firm, accounting for a real estate project and office administration for a health testing firm. Her many volunteer activities combine her professional skills and her passion for plants. Penni is a master gardener and holds an office on the Board of the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. She is an active member of two garden clubs and is a consultant of the NGS Landscape Design Council. For the past year she has worked one day a week in the office at Mass Hort.

Heidi Kost-Gross has been involved with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society since 1970. For the Wellesley Garden Club, she designed and built many gardens at the NE Spring Flower Show, chaired the Amateur Gardens Committee and other Flower Show committees and served on the MHS Director's Advisory Board, including Development. She is a graduate of the Radcliffe Seminars Program in Landscape Design and in Landscape History. She is a NOFA-certified Organic Landscape Professional and holds a degree in Agricultural Sciences (focus viticulture) and Land Management from Zweibruecken University, Germany. She serves as Commissioner of Natural Resources for the Town of Wellesley and is President of NELDHA, the New England Landscape Design and History Association and 1st Vice President of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.

Berthe K. "Beedee" Ladd is a member of the Board of Advisors of CRWA, the Massachusetts Advisory Board of the Trust for Public Lands, the Board of Directors of The Murie Center in Moose, Wyoming, the Jackson Hole Land Trust Open Space Council, and the Development Committee of the Asian University for Women Support Foundation. Beedee splits her time between her home in Dover and Jackson Hole where her two children live.

Suzanne Mahler's garden is a National Display Garden for the American Daylily Society. She also exhibits her own hybridized daylilies and over 100 varieties of Iris and Hosta in this garden. Suzanne writes a weekly gardening column for South Look and is a garden photographer and lecturer. She has served on the Massachusetts State Federation Board, two executive boards for Hanover garden clubs and been director of the 30 South Shore District Clubs of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts. Suzanne has also served as President of the New England Daylily Society and Chairman of Clerks for the New England Spring Flower Show. She is a past Co-President of the New England Daylily Society and is employed at two nurseries. She is a former Mass Hort trustee.

James E. Mulcahy , is an active alumnus of the University of Massachusetts' Stockbridge School of Agriculture (SSA) where he studied arboriculture, turf grass management, and entomology. Following work as an arborist and biological aide he was: the owner of many rental properties in Amherst; publisher of audience programs for UMass athletics and the UMass Fine Arts Center; partner/treasurer of the Wilbur Theater in Boston and Mildred's Chowder House in Hyannis; and owner/operator of Cypress Apartments in Providence, RI. He has served the SSA for over 50 years in a variety of alumni volunteer board and officer positions. He co-founded the UMass athletic hall of fame and continues on the annual selection committee. He served on the board of the Boston Symphony Tanglewood Friends. He was an overseer of the Newman Center in Amherst. He is the clerk for the James Underwood Crockett Agricultural Technology Growth Fund and is the treasurer of Alpha Tau Gamma, Inc. He coordinated the installation and current maintenance of the Frank Hart Memorial Garden in Amherst, the Mass. Highway Visibility Site at UMass and the Jim Crockett Memorial Garden in Boston until its relocation to the Elm Bank Horticultural Center. He is a member of the Massachusetts Agricultural Club, the Knights of Columbus and a subscriber to Fridays at the Boston Symphony since 1963.

Morgan Palmer works with the Hunnewell Estates Trustees managing investments. He is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Walnut Hill School. His family estate, "The Cedars", won MHS' H. H. Hunnewell Gold Medal in 1923.

Art Scarpa is one of the founders and was the first President of the Cactus and Succulent Society of Mass. He is a past Vice President of the Indoor Gardeners of New England (part of the Hobby Greenhouse Association). Art is certified as a judge by the Cactus and Succulent Society of America and has competed and judged at numerous major shows, including Boston, Newport and Philadelphia and many regional cactus and succulent shows. Art helped to organize volunteers to plant the Mass Hort Gardens on the Greenway in 2008. He is also the chairman of the Society Row Plant Sale and organized the AmHort Structures at Blooms! in 2009 and 2010. He lectures about cacti, succulents, mini plants, and winter indoor growing plants to garden clubs and other horticulture-related associations. Before settling in Reading in 1976 with his wife, Kerstin and two children, Art lived in Sweden for 10 years working at a Swedish export company and teaching English and Italian as a second language.

Constance "Connie" Smith , a public relations liaison for New York book publishers, is also an avid gardener. What began as an interest in shade gardening blossomed into designing small perennial gardens for friends. Connie has earned a consultant certification from the Landscape Critic's Council. She is also an active community volunteer. She has been president of the Hunnewell School PTO and then the PTA of the Belmont Hill School where she continues to serve as a cooperator. She is a member of the Wellesley Historic Society and the Friends of the Wellesley Free Library where she has served as its president. As a member and officer of the Wellesley Service League, she spent five years participating in hands-on community service. Connie is an active member of the Hills Garden Club of Wellesley where she has held many offices and coordinated its garden tour.

Paul M. Steen is a board-certified internist formerly in the private practice of internal medicine for 15 years. Dr. Steen was Vice President of Clinical Development at McKesson Corporation in Newton, Massachusetts. Since his retirement in 2004, his activities include: Editor of Worcester Medicine magazine; is a delegate to the Massachusetts Medical Society's House of Delegates; he became a Certified Master Gardener in 2005 and is currently President of the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association; he is an Overseer for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

Caroline Whitney is a committed volunteer to a wide variety of arts and horticultural organizations both in the United State and in Argentina, where she lived from 1962-1982. She has worked for over 10 years in leaderships roles on the New England Spring Flower Show Committee, presently as Judges' Chair for the Professional Garden Exhibits. She has created gardens and Horticulture exhibits in the Flower Show both with her club and as an individual exhibitor. Caroline's support for Mass Hort recently extended to participation in the Society's Education & Outreach Committee. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Certificate for Landscape Design from Radcliffe (now the Landscape Institute at Harvard) and owns her own floral design company, Dandy Lion Designs in Cambridge.

Frederick T. Wright is a full-time Lecturer for the Marketing Group at the College of Business at Northeastern University. His areas of focus include marketing management, business to business sales, international marketing, and consumer behavior. Prior to coming to Northeastern University, Mr. Wright was a lecturer at Babson College, teaching graduate and undergraduate marketing courses as well as serving as the coordinator for Babson's Intermediate Management Core interdisciplinary curriculum program. Prior to joining academia, Mr. Wright was in industry, most recently as Director of Marketing and Sales at Avery Dennison and before that as Marketing Manager at Boston Whaler. In addition, he was a founder of e-commerce start-up, DrKentEyewear.com, selling prescription eyewear through the Internet. Mr. Wright is also active in consulting and executive programs, working with companies in developing marketing strategy and effective sales executions.

About the Massachusetts Horticultural Society

Massachusetts Horticultural Society LogoFounded in 1829, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society is dedicated to encouraging the science and practice of horticulture and developing the public's enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment.

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