Executive Director Search Launched

The Massachusetts Horticultural Society has begun a nationwide search for an Executive Director to lead the organization. Below are the criteria for the position as well as a short background of our organization. MassHort encourages qualified individuals to apply for the position. Referrals are also welcome.

The Position

The Executive Director will hold full responsibility for the financial, strategic, and organizational growth and success of the MHS. Reporting the Board of Trustees, the Executive Director will lead the development of the strategic vision and planning process for a renewed organization that drives the mission into an increasingly digital and ecologically-aware world. S/he will capitalize on the past successes, expertise, and resources of the MHS to build it into a premier organization known for its mission of promoting the science, art, and practice of horticulture and dedicated to providing the public an appreciation, understanding, and enjoyment of plants and our environment.

The ED will have a leadership style that promotes collective involvement and collaboration, open and inclusive communications, is adept at managing in highly matrixed organizations, advocates and cultivates volunteer involvement, and inspires all parties to work toward a singular mission and vision. The ED will prepare all budgets and cash flow projections and in concert with the Board oversee all external audits.

The ED will shepherd the organization through a strategic and operational transition to establish the organization as a strong viable entity. Together with the Board of Trustees, s/he will spearhead a strategic planning process to identify and solidify new revenue streams that support both the mission and operating structure.

S/he will support the furthered growth and expansion of the membership base; expand and enhance development activities, nurture partnerships and collaborations; reinstate and expand the society?s activities and offerings; increase public education and public service; expand grant and donor support; and investigate other venues as advocated in an age of increasing digital technologies and communication.

The ED will serve as the chief spokesperson for the society and participate in all public and private venues and spearhead all major development activities.

The Candidate

The ideal candidate will have a strong successful track record of building mission-driven organizations that have grown to become premier respected entities within their area of expertise. S/he should be a visionary yet have solid financial and leadership skills and will be capable of meeting established deadlines and goals and in communicating progress and milestones along the way. They should exhibit a clear, open, and inclusive style of communication with the Board of Trustees, the members, staff, and volunteers of the society, all partners, stakeholders, and the public.

S/he should be adept at motivating and developing full time and volunteer staff and at leveraging institutional memory and knowledge to build stronger alliances with the public, members, partners, and potential partners. The ideal candidate will be passionately mission-driven but practical about achieving short and long term objectives and goals. A strong understanding of organizational dynamics, motivation of full time and volunteer staff, and Board inclusion and support are key.

Prior experience and success in fundraising with experience and knowledge of the full development process is required. In addition, excellent communication and presentation skills should be a given. S/he should have a working understanding and knowledge of best practices in financial management of a multi million dollar not for profit.

Other key attributes include:

Success in raising funds in a capital campaign

Demonstrated team building skills

Demonstrated understanding of the development process in a not for profit organization

History of excellent Board relations including the reporting of timely and current financial, organizational, development, and market conditions.

Prior experience preparing operating budgets and cash flows

Preferred is a strong interest in horticultural activities.

The Organization

Formed in 1829, MHS is dedicated to encouraging and improving the science and practice of horticulture and to developing the public's enjoyment, appreciation, and understanding of plants and the environment. With its library, exhibitions, education and community outreach programs, and the recent development of a hands-on education and information center at Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley, the Society is recognized as a consistent and comprehensive resource for horticultural science and practice, serving more than 270,000 people annually. Among its finest and most widely recognized achievements has been the Society's Spring Flower Show. First produced in 1871, the Show was New England's largest indoor event, attracting nearly 90,000 people annually. MHS is one of the largest horticultural societies in the U.S., and New England is home to one of the largest and most dedicated groups of gardeners in the country.

MHS is headquartered in restored buildings on a 36-acre site in Wellesley known as Elm Bank Reservation. Bordering the Charles River, the site has excellent accessibility from Boston and its suburbs and represents an important asset for present and future expanded activities. What is now The Elm Bank Horticulture Center was secured in 1996 after a prolonged search for a facility that could house the Society?s headquarters and library, and serve its membership with working and display gardens. Elm Bank, the garden estate designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and owned by the Cheney/Baltzell family from the late19th to mid-20th centuries, currently features ten contemporary and historic gardens and a fine collection of buildings, some of which are on the National Registry of Historic Places, and which have been improved and supplemented with new greenhouses. The Center also houses the 19th and 20th century collections of the Society's renowned horticultural library. The Society's activities at Elm Bank include a thriving Master Gardener program, direct-experience educational programs for children and young people, seminars, workshops, and lectures for adults, and a popular series of spring and summer community events.

The present annual budget of approximately $1.0 million (historical revenue substantially greater) is funded from proceeds of the Flower Show, memberships, program fees, rentals, and donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations. These revenue streams need to be strongly enhanced in order for the Society to meet the needs of its various constituencies and fully utilize its important Elm Bank asset.

There are approximately twenty-five full and part-time staff positions of which only seven are currently filled. Key positions include the Director of Education, the Director of Horticulture, the Director of Development and Membership, the Director of Facilities, and the Director of Finance. The Board of Trustees currently stands at fifteen members.


The position offers a competitive base and bonus.

For further information please contact Jeanne Leszczynski at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..