2019 GardenComm Officer & Director Elections
Welcome to the 2019 GardenComm Election of Officers & Directors! Please review the instructions and candidate biographies before casting your ballot. Ballots have been sent directly to members, via email or mail. For questions, please call us at 212.297.2198.
ALL BALLOTS ARE DUE JULY 5, 2019
Every member is entitled to vote for GardenComm officers. The GardenComm Bylaws specify that the vice president shall succeed the president automatically unless the Nominations Committee recommends the officers serve a second term. The bylaws also specify that all officer candidates must have served at least one term as a national director or two terms as a regional director. To vote for officers, you may vote on the slate presented by the Nominations Committee or designate a write-in candidate of your choice for elected positions. If you choose the write-in option, any blank left for officer positions will cast your vote for the candidate recommended by the Nominations Committee.
Since I have benefited from this organization for years, I am eager for it to grow and prosper into future years. Moving toward that goal, I'm willing to give my time on the ExComm. I have served as National and Regional director and am familiar with our strengths and challenges. I also believe that it's positive that I work in so many types of garden communications because our organization includes people who work in many niches.
To help the organization reach its potential. I have been in the green industry for over 35 years as a nursery worker, an interiorscaper, greenhouse grower and horticulturist. I am a writer, lecturer, author, AAS judge, ISA certified arborist and radio personality. I am currently the co-chair of the AOC and have served on education, local arrangement , membership committees and a few others. I was also the Local Chair for Pittsburgh 2014. I have been in the green industry for over 35 years as a nursery worker, an interiorscaper, greenhouse grower and horticulturist. I am a writer, lecturer, author, AAS judge, ISA certified arborist and radio personality. I am currently the co-chair of the AOC and have served on education, local arrangements, membership committees and a few others.
All members are entitled to vote for national directors regardless of the region in which you live. Please vote for one candidate in each region shown. A space is provided for a write-in candidate if you choose to vote for an alternate choice. If you choose the write-in option, any blank left for officer positions will cast your vote for the candidate recommended by the Nominations Committee.
A national director's term length is three years. A national director may serve two consecutive terms but must then leave the Board of Directors for a minimum of one year before seeking re-election.
I was recommended by Kirk Brown. I was Local Arrangements Chair, organizing the 2016 Buffalo conference. That involved leadership over dozens of volunteers, recommending multiple speakers, choosing dozens of gardens and timing/coordinating tours, training tour guides. My experience with national/international garden tourism also has value. I am an experienced, energetic public speaker/educator. I believe in GardenComm's mission and value.
As a born leader, I feel prepared to lend insights into important, strategic discussions for the organization. I bring a different viewpoint in that I am not a day-to-day communicator but I work with communicators as well as the commercial side of horticulture. My hope is that I can bring additional ideas and opportunities to the members that will serve them well in their own careers.
For more than 30 years, Diane has been immersed in gardening both personally and professionally. Growing up on a small family farm in northern Missouri, Diane spent years helping her parents plant, tend and harvest a large home vegetable garden. As the president and publisher at Ball Publishing for 15 years, she led the way in connecting the commercial side of the industry with consumers via the live focus groups called Consumer Buzz Live! Diane also managed Ball Publishing’s entry into consumer garden book publishing. Since December of 2009, Diane has been leading both All-America Selections and National Garden Bureau through an exciting period of growth as they establish themselves as inspirational resources in the minds of garden communicators, public gardens, growers, garden retailers and home gardeners. All-America Selections has doubled in size with the addition of trials for Vegetative Ornamentals and Herbaceous Perennials, an expanded website, more Display Gardens and an ever-increasing social media presence. National Garden Bureau has also more than doubled in size with the addition of new programs, social media, therapeutic garden grants and new membership categories. With both organizations, the connection to the consumer is of topmost importance, thus the importance of being a part of GardenComm.
Serving as the National Director for Region V for the past 3 years has been an incredible learning experience, and it continues to be as I learn something new from each teleconference session the board has. I'm proud of a couple of decisions that have been made due to suggestions of mine; the $20 that members get for bringing in each new member that can be subtracted from their annual membership fee and probably as important, if not more was the dividing in half of Region V and subsequently Region VI due to our vast geographical territories into North and South halves. I'd always referred to Region V as 'from the arctic to the tropics'. I know that the end decision was not all mine, but, my complaints, I feel were finally heard, both regions now make much more sense. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know everything, but this position has expanded my knowledge of how this organization ticks and the learning path has been an incredible and humbling experience that I wish to continue to grow in. I excitedly look forward to learning new things from this incredible group of people and am very humbled and honored to have served this position for the past 3 years to all of you Region V members as well as the rest of the GardenComm members. Thank you all very much.
Keynote speaker, writer and celebrated gardener, Rita Perea, brings more than 25 years of business and leadership experience to the horticulture and green industries. Igniting passion for plants and people in non-profit, trade and consumer audiences, her presentations and articles are inspiring. As Founder of the International Contemplative Garden Association, Rita connects audiences with creative ideas that encourage mindfulness in the garden. As a garden blogger and host of a You Tube channel, Rita shares her wisdom with both novice and experienced gardeners. Rita has written articles for regional, state, and local publications. Her garden designs have appeared in national books and magazines. Leaving a positive legacy in the organizations she serves is important to Rita and she has provided leadership to international, national, state and local boards. In addition to serving as current GWA Region V Director, she served on the Des Moines Botanical Garden Friends Board. Rita served in leadership roles for Rotary International. Appointed by the Governor of Iowa, Rita is currently serving as a member of her state’s Engineering Examiners Board. As GWA Region V Director, Rita enthusiastically embraces the opportunity to continue to share her professionalism, business and leadership acumen with the Garden Communicators’ community.
Only members residing in a region may vote for their regional director. Your ballot is configured to only allow you to vote for the regional directors in your region. A space is provided for a write-in candidate if you choose to vote for an alternate choice. If you choose the write-in option, any blank left for officer positions will cast your vote for the candidate recommended by the Nominations Committee.
A regional director's term length is two years. A regional director may serve two consecutive terms but must then leave the Board of Directors for a minimum of one year before seeking re-election.
I have been involved with Gardencomm (Garden Writers) for more than 25 years. First, as a writer for National Gardening Magazine and more recently with my own business. I've always felt that one of the strengths of GardenComm is the networking and education that happens at symposiums, workshops, trips and tours. I'd like to help foster those educational experiences by creating workshops and other opportunities in our region. I've been leading garden tours and creating workshops for many years and feel like we could organize interesting, fun and lively experiences while visiting beautiful and innovative places and gardens. I also would be happy to support the educational and mission based initiatives, on the national level, that are going on within GardenComm.
I support wholeheartedly the mission of GardenComm. I want to keep the efforts of the organization enhanced in Region II. I want to serve because I show people - all people - that garden communications has many different faces. All of us have not written books yet, had major speaking engagements yet or might not be well traveled - HOWEVER, we engage in community, enlighten those that are interested and share our love of gardening. My strength is that I love people and gardens. My experience is unique as I have been exposed to this wonderful world of gardening for many years. I constantly look for creative ways to get people excited about gardening or horticulture. I am currently Vice President and Communications Director for an aging garden club. My challenge is that they have "done it all", or so they thought. With subtle encouragement, we are embarking on going out into the community to get others outside to garden...and not just Seniors. Under my leadership we are turning it up on Capitol Hill! You never know what we might unearth.
I have nearly 20 years of horticulture indusrty experience - from biotech lab, to retail florist, retail garden center, and sales and marketing. I love the community aspect of GardenComm and am excited about the rebrand. I have significant marketing experience and would be willing to assist or provide input on future organizational marketing. I think there’s opportunity to build more connections with industry (Extension, academia, businesses etc) and I can utilize some of those connections to assist with that. I enjoy connecting people to work on projects or assist each other professionally.
Any excuse to bring plant people together to do something productive while having fun is good enough for me. The reason to get together might be a common interest in chlorophyll-based life forms, but we like the humans too. Plant people are great people! My dogs are great judges of character. They say I'm pretty awesome, but that I'm too strict when they want to mess with the evil kitty-kitty. Somebody has to be the go-between figure...
Helen Newling Lawson
I would like to serve as a GardenComm director to support and amplify the current direction the organization is taking. I'm excited about the rebranding and what the new name represents, and hope that it continues to build interest in and relevancy for our group. As both a freelance editorial writer and a marketing professional in the green industry, I have an understanding of the needs of both groups, and ideas for how each can better support and work with the other. I also want to use my understanding of marketing tactics to help create educational opportunities for members to market themselves and to better use technology and tools to improve and promote their work.
Region V, North or South
I am seeking the Regional Directorship for a second term, to continue the steady progress in unifying the GardenComm members of our region. Most of us are separated by several hours at least in Region V; however, I hope to get to know members and create Connect events that build a relationship network over time. My garden communicating has benefitted tremendously from those I have worked with in the region, and I hope to "propagate" such opportunities for more of us.
Region VI, North or South
As a GardenComm member since 2010, I wish to be considered for a Regional VI Director role. In particular, CA, has one of the most diverse growing climates and nearly year-round gardening activities, yet it seems to have very little representation in the GardenComm. I offer a new industry perspective to the organization and would strive to bring together some this regions' talented writers and communicators, to increase awareness about gardening activities in our region and within GardenComm.
Communications manager and social media strategist for Corona Tools, a leading brand and manufacturer of quality garden and landscape tools based in Corona, CA. As the official “voice” of Corona, Chris connects and communicates with gardeners, landscape professionals, arborists and green enthusiasts, from all walks of life through social networks. He is the founder, host and moderator of the Green Industry Leaders Network (GILN) podcast. GILN is a weekly industry podcast with guests from within the green industry, covering topics on plants, trees, landscapes and all things related to them.
27 years experience as a garden writer and speaker. A good working relationship with national director Ken Brown. Solid knowledge of Ontario gardening scene and to a lesser extent, Canada's.