Kenneth J. Schutz

The Dr. William Huizingh Executive Director for Desert Botanical Garden, Ken Schutz has held executive leadership positions in cultural institutions for more than 25 years.  He has been with the Desert Botanical Garden since 2001 and during his tenure he has managed construction of $22 million in new facilities, more than doubled local attendance, initiated a number of exciting new education and research projects, and raised more than $10 million in gifts and pledges for the Garden’s endowment.

Ken currently serves on the Boards for the American Public Gardens Association and the Center for Plant Conservation.  Prior to moving to Phoenix, he served as the Executive Director of the Science Museum of Western Virginia, and before that he was Director of Marketing and Development for the Baltimore Zoo. He holds an MBA degree from the University of Virginia, an MS degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a BS degree from Bucknell University.

Sabina Carr
Vice President

A seasoned marketer with more than twenty years of experience ranging from consumer products to media to nonprofit, Sabina Carr is Vice President, Marketing for the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Since 2002, she has been responsible for leading the development of the Garden’s brand identity, introducing blockbuster exhibitions, driving visitation, increasing membership and expanding its image via public relations, website and online development, promotions, advertising, and market research.

During her tenure, the Garden has doubled visitation and membership. In 2009 she was given the added responsibilities of the Visitor Services increasing her exposure in impacting the guest experience. A New York native, Carr previously held key positions at American Express Publishing, Condè Nast and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising Worldwide. 

Paul Redman
Past President

Paul Redman joined Longwood Gardens as Director in July 2006. At Longwood, Redman oversees all aspects of the 1,050-acre display garden, including its 400 full- and part-time employees, more than 600 volunteers, and $50 million annual budget. Longwood welcomes more than 885,000 guests each year to experience its large-scale, ever-changing displays both inside its 4-acre Conservatory as well as throughout hundreds of acres outside. To complement this spectacular garden showplace, Longwood actively sponsors important plant research and plant exploration trips around the world.

Redman has been working and studying in the field of public horticulture for more than 20 years. Prior to his appointment at Longwood, Redman served as the Executive Director of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Columbus, Ohio. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from Oklahoma State University.

Kara Newport

Kara has served as Executive Director for Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, a developing public garden, since June 2006.  In 2008, the Garden opened the Orchid Conservatory and this year plans have been announced for the newest addition, Lost Hollow, a children’s garden.

Before serving in this capacity, Kara’s career was focused in fundraising at organizations including Winterthur, Philadelphia Zoo, and Outward Bound.  Kara has a BS in botany, and a graduate degree from the Longwood Program.  She was named one of Charlotte Business Journal’s top 40 Under 40 professionals and was featured in Today’s Charlotte Woman magazine.

Ray Mims

Ray Mims oversees the ongoing development and implementation of sustainability efforts, conservation partnerships, and threatened plant collections at the United States Botanic Garden (USBG).  Additionally he represents USBG in the development of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) and Landscapes for Life.

Prior to joining USBG, he served as the Director of Horticulture at Denver Botanic Gardens, Director of Horticulture and Grounds at the Washington National Cathedral, and Horticulturist at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.   After working as an engineer manager for the Dow Chemical Company, Mims returned to school in 1994 to study horticulture, a passion learned from his maternal grandmother. He also completed a Botanic Garden Management diploma at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew. 

Patsy Benveniste
Director at Large

Patsy Benveniste is vice president of education and community programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden, where she has worked for the past twelve years.  She also oversees the Garden’s education programs for children and adults, horticultural therapy, and outreach projects focused on youth leadership and adult job training in urban agriculture.

Ms. Benveniste serves on the steering committees of Chicago’s Advocates for Urban Agriculture and the Cook County Food System planning group, and on the board of The Talking Farm, a non-profit dedicated to local food system development and education.  She has authored book chapters and articles on formal education and presents frequently at conferences on these topics.  

Carmia Feldman
Director at Large

Carmia Feldman has held the position of Assistant Director at the UC Davis Arboretum (now UC Davis Arboretum & Public Garden) since 2006 and previously served as the Education Director since 2001. She has helped develop and implement the UC Davis GATEways Project (GATEways stands for Gardens, Arts and The Environment), which is transforming the Arboretum and other campus landscapes into physical and programmatic gateways for the public to engage and share in the riches of the university. She has worked with many stakeholders and audiences over the years to bring teaching gardens and educational programs to fruition.

Carmia has been PI on many regional and federal grants at the Arboretum and has led interpretive and educational projects throughout the collections. Carmia has also led leadership training programs for both staff and students, focusing on a strengths-based model of leadership and management. She received her undergraduate degree in integrative biology from UC Berkeley and worked in the education department at the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley as a student and then staff member before becoming education director at the California Institute for Biodiversity. She went on to receive a master’s degree in plant ecology and a Ph.D. in science education from UC Davis. She was honored in 2013 as “Non-profit Leader of the Year” by the California Institute for Biodiversity.

Rick King
Director at Large

Rick King has nearly 40 years of nonprofit leadership experience as a nationally-known nonprofit executive search consultant and nonprofit chief executive officer.

Mr. King is the company’s second President, following the founder, Jim Kittleman, in 1985.  He has served as the lead consultant on hundreds of searches for chief executive officers as well as for senior-level management leaders for nonprofit organizations and institutions including the Chicago Botanic Garden, Morton Arboretum, Grant Park Conservatory and Alliance for the Great Lakes as well as Longwood Gardens, Holden Arboretum and Conservancy of Southwest Florida.  He is a well-known speaker and educator in nonprofit management succession strategies and is the creator of Seven Steps to Leadership Transition Planning, a workshop for board chairs and their CEOs.  He is also the author of From Making a Profit to Making a Difference (1999), the first book written on the subject of business career transition into nonprofit sector leadership.  Prior to joining Kittleman, he served as chief executive officer of three different nonprofit organizations in the fields of human services and healthcare administration.  He is a founding member of the National Network of Nonprofit Search Consultants.

Mr. King earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology/Sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University, a Master of Social Work degree from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Dominican University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Public Garden Association, the Board of Trustees of Dominican University, currently as Chair, and also the Board of Illinois Wesleyan University.   In addition, he served on the Board of Directors of the National Parks Project, First Nonprofit Insurance Companies and the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation.

Paul Kuenstner
Director at Large

Paul Kuenstner is a vice president at the Fidelity Foundation outside of Boston, working with nonprofit organizations around the country. The Foundation encourages strong management and self-reliance in non-profits. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2000, Paul was in corporate real estate for 15 years, at four large companies up and down the East Coast, managing people, projects, and properties.

A registered architect, Paul has a degree in English literature from Swarthmore College, a MArch from Columbia University, and an MBA from New York University. He is on the board of, an international gap-year program for students. Paul has worked with many gardens over the years on restoration projects, new gardens, technology projects, etc. He is inspired by those gardeners who can blend art and science to create always-changing beauty. 

Bill LeFevre
Director at Large

Bill LeFevre is executive director of Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University.  His education includes a B.S. in Landscape Design from the University of Connecticut and a M.S. in Public Horticulture Administration as a fellow in the Longwood Graduate Program at the University of Delaware.

Since being named as Duke Gardens’ first full-time director in 2007, the Gardens have completed over $6,000,000 in capital projects including the Durham Toyama Sister Cities Pavilion and Japanese Garden in the Asiatic Arboretum, relocation of the century-old Roney Fountain from East Campus to the re-designed Mary Duke Biddle Rose Garden and completion of the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden, a pilot project of the national Sustainable Sites Initiative.

In 2013, the Gardens was named one of the top 10 public gardens in the country by and received Horticulture Magazine’s Award for Garden Excellence from the American Public Gardens Association.

Bill previously served as executive director of the John Bartram Association at Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia, established by botanist, naturalist, and explorer John Bartram in 1728, and managed Philadelphia’s Parks Revitalization Project at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society following a successful career in commercial landscape construction and service in the United States Navy as a carrier-based air traffic controller. 

Jane O. MacLeod
Director at Large

Jane O. MacLeod currently serves as President and CEO of Cheekwood in Nashville, Tennessee.  Since assuming her role in September 2010, Jane’s leadership and vision have been instrumental in the organization’s growth and financial success. Under Jane’s guidance, admissions, membership and gate revenue have steadily increased, thus ending the 2012 fiscal year as the most financially successful year in Cheekwood’s history.

Prior to joining Cheekwood, Jane served as the Director of External Affairs for the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas, and previously as Vice President of Marketing for the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. 

Jane’s professional involvement includes affiliations with the American Association of Museums, the American Public Garden Association and ECON; she also serves on the Antiques & Garden Show Board. She received her MBA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and her B.S. degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Mark Runciman
Director at Large

Mark Runciman was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) in 2006 after twenty two years as Director of Physical Plant, Operations and Corporate Projects and several stints as Acting CEO. Responsible for leading the Gardens in its mission to be a living museum which serves local, regional, and global communities while developing and promoting public understanding between the plant world, humanity, and the rest of nature.

For over 80 years Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) has been an ecological jewel at the western tip of Lake Ontario. Patterned after Kew Gardens in England, RBG was created to serve as both a regional tourism site and an environmental agency. RBG is a designated national historical site and is revered world-wide for its extensive 400 acres of display gardens and over 2,300 acres of environmentally sensitive lands and diverse ecosystems that connect the Niagara Escarpment.

Mark oversees the operation with a staff of 128 FTE’s; 350 volunteers, including a Board of Directors with 20 members. Over the years he has been responsible for approximately $40M in capital projects.  Mark has also taken the lead in an award winning Land Use Master Plan from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects as well as receiving, on RBG’s behalf, many tourism and environmental related awards in the last 5 years.

Prior to joining RBG, Mark was a Project Coordinator for a major contractor that worked on hydro electrical generating stations as well as water treatment and sewage treatment facilities. Mark is a graduate of Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology (1977) in Architectural Technology. He also successfully completed many courses for the National Certificate in Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector Management at McMaster University.

Shane Smith
Director at Large

Shane Smith has a BS in Horticultural Science, and he attained his registration as a “Horticultural Therapist, (HT)” from the American Horticultural Therapy Association. In 1989-90, he served as a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University.

Since its inception in 1977, Smith has been the director (and a founder) of the Cheyenne Botanic Garden, Wyoming's only public botanic garden. The operation includes 9 acres of developed grounds, one of the nation’s oldest and largest solar-heated and solar-powered greenhouses, and the recently opened Paul Smith Children’s Village, which is the nation’s first public children’s garden to receive LEED Platinum designation. In August of 2012 Cheyenne voters approved a $16 million renovation and expansion of the Cheyenne Botanic Garden’s solar heated greenhouse/conservatory on an optional sales tax. Additionally, Smith is currently in the early stages of developing the 62-acre High Plains Arboretum sited on the site of a former USDA horticultural research station. The Gardens have received recognition awards from Presidents Reagan, Bush (senior) and Clinton. He is the author of the “Greenhouse Gardener's Companion”, released in 1982 and now in its 3rd ed. In 1982, he also wrote “The Frost Free Greenhouse,” one of the first books on “high tunnels”. He has had a continual involvement in bringing gardening to the public via radio. Since 1978, he has the longest continually running regularly scheduled radio program in the Cheyenne on KFBC AM. He has lectured nationally on gardening, horticultural therapy, greenhouses, public garden design and community greening in 27 different states, Mexico, Venezuela and Canada

Smith is the recipient of The Community Hero award from Wyoming Governor Geringer; the Wyoming Business Council Award of Excellence; the 2011 Award of Merit from the American Public Garden Association; the 2012 Great Gardener Professional Award from the American Horticultural Society; and the 2012 National Garden Clubs Award of Excellence for his contributions to gardening and horticulture.

Brian Vogt
Director at Large

Brian Vogt has been the CEO of the Denver Botanic Gardens since April 2007.  His 25 years of community leadership and an extensive background in fundraising, organizational management, communications and branding, cultural development and volunteer coordination, have proven invaluable as the Gardens engages in a historic capital campaign and the subsequent build-out of its new Master Development Plan.  In the past five years, over 50 construction projects and over $60 million dollars worth of investments have been completed, including the Mordecai Children’s Garden, the new parking complex, the Bonfils-Stanton Visitor Center and the Greenhouse Complex.
Previously, Brian served in three Cabinet positions for the State of Colorado from 2004 through January of 2007, including all three years as Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, which includes the Colorado Tourism Office.

Brian also served for over a year as the Secretary of Technology and as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, and was a member of the Governor’s Homeland Security and All-Hazards Senior Advisory Committee. He is on the Board of Porter Adventist Hospital and Plant Select, co-founded and chaired for five years the Greater Littleton Youth Initiative, and managed the incorporation movement that created the City of Centennial. Prior to working for the State, Brian spent 14 years as the President of the South Metro Chamber of Commerce.  He holds a BA from the University of Colorado with a double major in Classical Antiquity and Political Science.

Scott Lafleur
Member and Council of Sections Chair

After a national search, Scott La Fleur was appointed as the new Gardens Director of Sherman Library & Gardens in 2014. With more than 20 years of experience in horticulture, Scott is accomplished in the field of native plants and conservation as well as a strong advocate of public gardens as cultural, educational centers. Most recently, Scott was Director of Horticulture for Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California. Prior to that position, Scott served as Director of Horticulture and Senior Horticulturalist for the New England Wild Flower Society.

Educated in horticulture at the University of New Hampshire, Scott owned and operated a high-end perennial garden design company for ten years. Elected to the American Public Garden Association’s Board in 2009, he has traveled extensively and is well acquainted with horticulture professionals across the country. Scott is an accomplished public speaker, appearing in several episodes of a web-based video series at and he has appeared on several episodes of the Discovery channel’s show 
PLANET GREEN. He is passionate about and often publishes articles on horticulture and ecological gardening. When not in the garden Scott spends time with his wife of 11 years Kara, their 9-year old daughter Lilly and their two dogs Zoie & Toni.