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Board of Trustees

Role of the Board of Trustees

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society Board of Trustees currently has 18 members. The Board actively seeks to maintain a good mix of professional backgrounds and experiences, and a healthy balance of gender and age. Trustees are elected for terms of 3 years, up to a maximum of 3 terms (except when serving as President of the Board). Trustees and Overseers are elected at the Annual Meeting in October.

  • To act collectively to support and govern the organization
  • To ensure that the mission is fulfilled
  • To select, support and review the Executive Director
  • To insure that there are guiding policies and principles
  • To insure effective organizational planning
  • To insure that there are adequate resources to support board approved plans
  • To support, individually and collectively, all board decisions and keep confidential the internal discussions
  • To manage resources effectively
  • To determine and monitor programs and services to ensure that they reflect the mission and the strategic priorities
  • To serve as a court of appeal
  • To assess its own performance
  • To be a member of MHS and support MHS financially to the best of member’s ability

Fiscal Year 2013

Jeanne Leszczynski , Board Chair - elected 2005, current term ends 2015

Katherine K. Macdonald, President & Executive Director- current term ends 2014

Mark Ahronian - elected 2013, current term ends 2016

Gretel Anspach - elected 2008, current term ends 2014

Alicia Cleary - elected 2011, current term ends 2014

Daniel Daly - elected 2010, current term ends 2016

David Epstein, elected 2013 - current term ends 2016

Keith Greenfield - elected 2013, current term ends 2016

Lisa Haddad - elected 2011, current term ends 2014

Betsy Ridge Madsen - elected 2005, current term ends 2014

Wayne Mezitt - elected 2012, current term ends 2015

Julia O’Brien - elected 2010, current team end 2013

Hollis Perry - elected 2007, current term ends 2016

Betty Sanders - elected 2013, current term ends 2014

Robert Smith - elected 2013 - term ends 2016

Noel Swartz - elected 2010, current term ends 2013

Leslie Will - elected 2012, current term ends 2015

Trustee Biographies

Mark Ahronian founded Ahronian Landscaping and Design, Inc. in 1987. Since the beginning, he has been very prominent in every aspect of the business, the industry, and the community. His passionate approach to each project, being personally involved from design through completion, has helped propel the company forward with great success. With his expertise in plant material, property layout and over 40 years in the industry, he has perfected his ability for accomplishment in landscape design. His commitment to serving the customers with candor and excellence sets a standard for others to follow.  Mark, a Mass. Certified Horticulturist since 1985, has served as president of the Mass. Nursery and Landscape Association, as well as president for the MNLA's scholarship program, which he helped build — The Foundation for Educational Excellence.  Mark is the Tree Warden for the Town of Holliston, serves on the Economic Development Committee and the is also a board member for the senior center for the town of Holliston.  Mark has recently been awarded the Holliston 'Citizen of the Year' in 2011 and this past spring he also helped to propel the town towards several national awards with the "America in Bloom" competition. Mark is a past President of the Holliston Lions Club as well as a recipient of the International Lions prestigious, 'Melvin Jones' fellowship award for showing exemplary service and dedication to his club, his community, and to Lions overall. Mark is a proud graduate from the Norfolk County Agricultural High School in Walpole Ma. as well as the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMASS Amherst.

Gretel Anspach has been very involved with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society as a Master Gardener. She is active in the New England Wildflower Society and has lead tours for the Garden in the Woods. She studied Math at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the NCS Northeast Engineering Raytheon 6 Sigma Lead Expert at Raytheon. This is her first position on a Board.

Daniel Daly is currently the President of Daniel Roberts, one of Boston’s most established recruiting and staffing firms and has been with the company for the last 18 years. He has served as President of the Business Associates Club and has been involved in fundraising and alumni relations for St. Sebastian’s School since 1988. Dan is a graduate of Villanova University, and lives in Medfield with his wife, Liz, and their sons.

David Epstein is owner of Bloomscapes Inc. a boutique landscape design company and Growing Wisdom which produces educational and marketing videos primarily for the green industry. David authors a blog about weather and gardening for both and the Press He is also teaches a course in meteorology at Framingham State College and Jan Plan at Colby College. He instructs courses to help educators bring horticulture to their classroom. Epstein authored Garden's of New England and was published in Grolier's Science Annual for 10 years. Dave is an on-air meteorologist and spent 16 years at WCVB-TV in Boston and currently freelances for WGME-TV in Maine. He was a Vice President for First Call, a division of Thomson-Reuters, and director of corporate development at The New England Aquarium.  He holds a degree in Biology from Colby College and an MS and MBA from Boston College. He and his partner live in South Natick, MA and have a summer home in Harpswell, ME.

Keith Greenfield is President & Founder of the Dover Group. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in Finance from Boston University. As a member of the Million Dollar Round Table’s prestigious Top of the Table, Keith is consistently recognized as a national leader in the field of estate planning and insurance design. Over the years, Keith has also been involved in helping successfully launch several technology companies.  In addition to his professional accolades, Keith, his wife Tina and their children Kadie, Stephanie, Jordana and Jordan founded a children's theater group called Open Fields.  Open Fields ”where young talent grows” has been offering incredible opportunities for personal growth both on and off the stage for the past ten years.  Open Fields members have gone on to star on Broadway as well as getting into top notch colleges and universities nationwide as theater majors.  Keith, Tina and their children live in Dover, MA.

Lisa Haddad is a partner in Goodwin Procter's Business Law Department. Ms. Haddad has extensive experience in representing buyers and sellers in merger and acquisition transactions involving both public and private companies. In this area, she has a special focus on public company mergers and acquisitions. Ms. Haddad also advises public companies on a wide variety of corporate and securities matters, including offerings of equity and debt securities. Her corporate finance experience includes IPOs, public “shelf” offerings and private placements of securities. Ms. Haddad also represents public companies as general corporate and securities law counsel, providing advice in all aspects of corporate governance and securities law compliance.

Jeanne Leszczynski, Ph.D., Retired from her position as the Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Biologic Laboratory and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in January 2006. Jeanne received her Doctorate in Public Health from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill having done research at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. She is a co-inventor on two patents for a drug used to prevent respiratory disease in premature neonates. She is a Major Donor to the New Rep Theater , the Human Rights Campaign, the Freedom to Marry Coalition and GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders). Jeanne and her partner Diane DiCarlo are sponsors of the Goddess Garden at Elm Bank and continually in the process of creating an Italianate Garden in their backyard in Needham.

Betsy Ridge Madsen is active in many horticultural and environmental groups. She is an Overseer for the New England Wildflower Society and a Corporate Trustee of the Trustees of Reservations. She is an active member of the Beacon Hill Garden Club, the Chestnut Hill Garden Club and the North Shore Garden Club, having recently served as President of BHGC. She serves as a GCA Judge for Horticulture and Photography. Betsy has taught in a variety of public school, college, and non-profit settings. Currently, she does high school placement for eighth graders at the Epiphany School in Dorchester, MA. Betsy holds a BA from the College of Wooster and an EdM from Harvard University. She and her husband Peter have three grown children, all of whom reside in California.

Julia B. O'Brien grew up in a family that raised orchids and cranberries. She holds an AB in biology from Brown University and a MCP from MIT. Her planning career focussed on regional planning and environmental issues with particular attention to park and open space opportunities. She was Director of Planning at the Metropolitan District Commission from 1970 until its merger and subsequently Chief Planner at the Department of Conservation and Recreation until her retirement in 2010. She has served on the boards of the Conservation Law Foundation, The Trustees of Reservations and the Winsor School. MHS honored her with a Gold Medal and the American Society of Landscape Architects LaGasse Medal recognized her contributions to landscape architecture.

Holly Perry
has been an incredibly active member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society since her retirement from teaching. During the last ten years of her teaching career she chaired Westwood High School’s Foreign Language Department. She studied Education at Northwestern University and received her Masters in Spanish from Middlebury. Since completing her certification as a Master Gardener, Holly has facilitated many training classes. She is also a board member of the Dedham Exchange.

Robert Smith is a Director in the Tax Group of CBIZ Tofias and has over 20 years of public and private accounting experience. He joined CBIZ Tofias from the Boston office of Marcum LLP where he was a Tax Director, and prior to that served as a Senior Tax Manager in two “Big Four” firms. Bob regularly consults on a variety of international, federal, state and local planning matters. Bob primarily focuses on providing services to middle-market businesses in the high-technology, life sciences, manufacturing, and professional services industries and has worked extensively with companies providing services to the U.S. Government’s Department of Defense. He has experience addressing an array of tax issues involving federal tax restructuring, large multi-state corporations, consolidated groups, international and foreign tax reporting issues, net operating loss utilization, IRC 382 ownership analysis, ASC 740 (formerly FAS 109) tax provisions and ASC 740-10 (formerly FIN 48) analyses.

Noel Swartz, CPA is a partner in the Boston office of Marcum LLP, a national accounting and advisory firm. With more than 18 years of experience working in public accounting and private industry, he provides auditing and assurance services to public and privately-held clients in various industries‚ including high technology‚ life sciences‚ biotech‚ software‚ and financial services. In addition‚ Noel has extensive experience serving a variety of manufacturing clients including medical devices‚ green energy‚ musical instruments, machine tools and others. He is also active in Marcum’s continuing education and mentorship programs. An Ohio native, Noel served on the Bell Board of the Carillon Historical Park, a “living history” museum which highlights the Dayton, Ohio, birthplace of the Wright brothers. He is also an avid automobile racing enthusiast and has chaired numerous committees in local auto club chapters. Noel and his wife Julie live in Westborough.

Leslie R. Will holds a B.A. from Oberlin College in Communications and Environmental Studies and previously worked for the Department of Environmental Management (as the Metropolitan District Commission), in Water Conservation, Wastewater Management and Parks Management roles. After earning a MBA from Simmons College she worked as a Risk Management Officer in commercial lending and custody banking with State Street Bank. She has been a member of the Milton Garden Club since 1989, where she has been President, as well as Treasurer and Flower Arranging Chairman. She is currently Vice Chairman of the Boston Committee of the Garden Club of America.

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.

Calendar & Courses


Latest Mass Hort Events

Fri Oct 31 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
Learn Floral Design
Thu Nov 06 @ 1:00PM - 02:30PM
Spice Up the Holidays with Herbal Infused Alcohol
Sat Nov 08 @10:00AM - 12:00PM
Invasive Plants of the Northeast -- A Walking Tour
Thu Nov 13 @ 7:00PM - 08:30PM
Seasonal Floral Arrangements: A Demonstration
Fri Nov 28 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees
Wed Dec 03 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
Fesival of Trees
Fri Dec 05 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees
Sat Dec 06 @10:00AM - 02:00PM
Festival of Trees Holiday Wreath Workshop
Sun Dec 07 @12:00PM - 01:30PM
Festival of Trees Kids Craft Workshop
Wed Dec 10 @ 4:00PM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees
Fri Dec 12 @10:00AM - 08:00PM
Festival of Trees
Sun Dec 14 @10:00AM - 06:00PM
Festival of Trees
Sun Dec 14 @12:00PM - 01:30PM
Festival of Trees Kids Craft Workshop

Friends of Mass Hort Events

No events