The Massachusetts Horticultural Society announced today that it has named Katherine K. Macdonald as the organization’s new executive director. Ms. Macdonald brings a wealth of experience to her new position, including both public company and not-for-profit management experience. Macdonald was President of KMAC Marketing and, prior to that, was Vice President of Marketing for Thompson Island Outward Bound, a non-profit focused on experiential education.
“We are thrilled. Kathy is a talented strategist with experience in both the non-profit and for- profit sectors. She has a proven track record of being able to transform mission and vision into actions,” said Betsy Ridge Madsen, President of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. “Mass Hort has moved through some challenging times to achieve institutional stability. Because of her combination of business acumen and non-profit spirit, we are confident that Kathy’s leadership will successfully drive and expand the organization’s educational mission.”
Ms. Macdonald spent six years as Vice President of Marketing for Thompson Island Outward Bound, a not-for-profit organization focused on providing experiential education to Boston-area youth. She was responsible for generating $3 million of annual revenue that supported Thompson Island’s core mission. She also helped develop an environmental program that combined Outward Bound’s philosophy with environmental studies, to encourage teambuilding and environmental stewardship. Her business career spans more than twenty five years, and includes entrepreneurship, technology start ups, the Xerox Corporation, the hospitality industry, and non profits. Most recently, she was president of KMAC Marketing, which provides strategic planning and marketing assistance to profit- and not-for-profit organizations.
“I see an extraordinary opportunity to leverage the turnaround that is already underway at Mass Hort as a launching pad for the organization’s renaissance,” Ms. Macdonald said. “Mass Hort has been part of the environmental movement since 1829, and now is the time to make its voice heard in the contemporary conversation. My goal for Mass Hort is straightforward: to use the organization’s considerable resources to meet society’s changing needs. To that end, I believe Mass Hort must sharpen its focus on sustainability, protecting natural resources, health, and environmental stewardship.”
Wayne Mezitt, Chairman of Weston Nurseries, Hopkinton , MA , commented on the appointment. “The Massachusetts Horticultural Society has a rich history of providing services to gardeners of all levels with copious horticultural programs. Kathy’s background, energy and long-range vision will enable her to effectively lead Mass Hort and connect its mission with today’s ever-increasing cultural emphasis on the environment and sustainability.”
“Mass Hort is here today because of the hard work, perseverance and tenacity of many people,” said Ms. Macdonald. “The Society’s trustees and staff, Master Gardeners, donors, and its many volunteers have seen the organization through a difficult period. I see my job as delivering on the promise of Mass Hort on their behalf.”
Ms. Macdonald holds an MBA from Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and a bachelor’s degree from Central Connecticut State University. Long active in civic affairs in Wellesley, Macdonald has been an elected Town Meeting member for 24 years. She has served on multiple committees, including the Advisory/Finance Committee, the Wellesley Housing Development Corporation, and the Community Preservation Committee. She has managed several initiative campaigns including one, in 2002, for the Massachusetts League of Women Voters that focused on campaign television advertising. Macdonald and her husband Kevin have lived in Wellesley for more than 30 years. They have two adult children, Brian and Bridget.
Founded 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. Headquartered at the historic Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley and Dover, Mass Hort welcomes visitors to the Gardens at Elm Bank for inspiration, hands-on educational programs, and to view trial flower and vegetable gardens. Mass Hort’s Blooms! at the Boston Flower and Garden Show, an annual Boston tradition, is held in March at The Seaport World Trade Center . Massachusetts Horticultural Society is a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. Please visit www.MassHort.org to learn more about its mission and educational programs.