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 FRIDAY, JULY 12, 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.
I’m a 4th generation nurseryman and proud of it! After graduating from Penn State with a BS in Horticulture, I ran the family’s 1000 acre wholesale nursery, destination attraction garden center and new plant research and development division. I took a new path in 2009 partnering with my father to form UpShoot LLC, a boutique horticultural marketing firm focusing on sales, marketing and licensing of new plant introductions and gardening related products. In 2012 I was named Director of Plant Development for the HGTV HOME Plant Collection.
I’m a freelance writer for both green industry trade journals and consumer gardening magazines. In January 2015 I released my first book with co-author Pam Bennett titled Garden-pedia: An A-Z Guide to Gardening Terms. Additionally I have spoken nationally and internationally on a variety of gardening topics.
Prior to being elected GardenComm Secretary in 2015, I served two terms as Region III director. I also served as co-chair of the Association Outreach Task Force. Additionally, I was the 1st female President of the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association and International Ornamentral Crabapple Society and currently serve on the ONLA Legislative Committee. Locally I am on the Salvation Army Advisory Board.
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.
I would like 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 Association Outreach Committee and have served on education, local arrangement, membership committees and a few others. I was also the Local Chair for Pittsburgh 2014.
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.
Region V, 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.