Founded in 1922, the non-profit American Horticultural Society (AHS) is one of the oldest member-based national gardening organizations in North America. The Society’s membership includes more than 20,000 avid gardeners and horticultural professionals, as well as numerous regional and national partner organizations.
Through its educational programs, awards, and publications, the AHS connects people to gardening, raises awareness of earth-friendly gardening practices, introduces children to plants, brings together leaders to address important national issues, and showcases the art and science of horticulture.
The AHS headquarters at River Farm in Alexandria, Virginia, is situated on 25 landscaped acres overlooking the Potomac River—an idyllic escape within the Washington, D.C. area. Once part of George Washington's Mount Vernon farmland, this historic site features a blend of formal and naturalistic gardens, including a four-acre meadow, and an award-winning children’s garden.
Making America a nation of gardeners, a land of gardens
To open the eyes of all Americans to the vital connection between people and plants, to inspire all Americans to become responsible caretakers of the Earth, to celebrate America's diversity through the art and science of horticulture; and to lead this effort by sharing the Society's unique national resources with all Americans.
The American Horticultural Society seeks a President/CEO to provide strategic leadership, management and direction around the organization’s programming, fundraising and communications, and for the gardens and facility at the River Farm headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The President/CEO is expected to serve as the Society’s main ambassador, locally and nationally, to promote its Mission to a broader, more diverse audience in order to attract new members, supporters and partners while engaging long-standing supporters. The ideal candidate is a highly-skilled professional with proven success creating and implementing a strategic vision while creating a pathway for fundraising growth to meet the goals of the organization. The President/CEO is responsible for ensuring that the AHS builds programs and communications that advance its Mission, secures necessary resources to meet its objectives, and utilizes the funds it raises in an efficient and effective manner.
Required Education and Experience
Minimum requirement of a Master’s degree in a discipline appropriate to the leadership of a national, non-profit educational or horticultural organization; five (5) years of experience in a leadership position related to the Mission of the American Horticultural Society that includes personnel management, facilities management, communicating to diverse audiences, and securing financial support for programming and capital. The ideal candidate should show proficiency in managing revenue budgets in the range of $1,000,000- $3,000,000 annually.
● Strategic Thinking and Impact. Lead the organization in articulating a clear and impactful strategic plan for the next five to ten years which effectively implements the AHS Mission. Increase the impact of the organization through outreach to members, stakeholders, supporters, and/or partners.
● Fundraising and Resource Development. Actively lead and participate in the Society’s fundraising efforts and resource development work; cultivate positive relationships with members, donors, and stakeholders.
● Fiscal Management. Manage the Society’s financial operations strategically, effectively and with integrity; capably communicate through financial reports and presentations to the Board, funders and other stakeholders. Fiscal management is a large part of this position and includes maintaining our excellent charity rating.
● Facility Management. Ensure the effective management of the AHS Headquarters at River Farm in Alexandria, VA to include the maintenance and improvement of gardens, grounds, historic buildings and infrastructure.
● Program Planning, Operations and Personnel. Ensure that key program areas reflect the AHS’s Mission and values, embrace the essence of American horticulture, and are carried out in the highest possible quality. Provide direction and support to the staff; foster an environment that is focused on fulfilling the Society’s Mission in a manner that engages all the Society’s stakeholders and is appropriately matched to organizational capacity; and, foster a positive esprit de corps where individuals are empowered in a manner that cultivates loyalty, pride, professionalism and dedication.
● Board Engagement. Engage and gain the support of a nationally distributed Board; manage expectations and communicate effectively with Board members on programmatic and financial matters.
● Community, Member and Stakeholder Relations. Serve as the primary representative of the organization ensuring that the AHS is strategically represented and has an appropriate presence locally and nationally. Provide institutional continuity, credibility, and visibility.
1. Visionary with innovative ideas for the next decade who can implement those ideas for 1) current and future programming and 2) in the gardens, grounds and historic buildings at the Society’s Headquarters at River Farm, Alexandria, VA.
2. An effective fundraiser with the ability to collaborate with the development team to execute fundraising strategies; strong external relationship skills with the ability to identify potential donors, partnerships and revenue‐generating opportunities.
3. Experience managing staff, operations and finances in a non-profit setting preferred. Proven effective and respected management that includes success in building and retaining staff; engaging, inspiring, empowering and uniting staff to succeed at new levels of effectiveness and programmatic impact.
4. Strong organizational skills with experience addressing the needs and expectations of internal and external stakeholders; able to balance external responsibilities with day‐to‐day, in‐house management priorities.
5. Experience growing and navigating emerging digital, social media and internet opportunities to enhance the AHS’ digital presence and grow membership.
6. Experience communicating clearly, concisely and persuasively both in writing and verbally; comfortable with both formal and informal presentations to a wide variety of audiences.
7. An engaging and professional leader who creates a positive work environment and leads with enthusiasm; a smart, quick study who will engage and be embraced by the horticulture and gardening community.
8. A resourceful person with integrity and a strong work ethic.
9. Comfortable with travel both nationally and internationally.
10. Passion for horticulture and gardening.
Areas of Importance for the American Horticultural Society
The American Horticultural Society is especially interested in promoting the following in its programming and communications.
● Gardening with children and youth
● Environmental stewardship of the planet through sustainable gardening
● America’s vanishing flora and gardening with native plants
● Urban gardening, community gardening, gardening where you are
● Reaching out to and increasing the diversity of our members, stakeholders, supporters, partners, horticultural/gardening communities
● Broader societal issues that include a focus on plants including food health, well/green buildings, greening of cities, preservation of native habitats, etc.
● Social and cultural values of plants and gardens
● Community building among our members, supporters, people involved in the science and art of horticulture/gardening as well as garden clubs and plant societies
Competitive salary and benefits package
Please send resume and cover letter in care of the AHS President/CEO Selection Committee to Mary Boden, Executive Assistant and Administrative Manager at email@example.com. Deadline is March 15, 2017.