Meet Helen Wallace MacDonald & Jennie Romero
Editor’s note: We’d love you to meet our new staff members Jennie Romero and Helen Wallace MacDonald. Jennie and Helen joined Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Development staff in November. We mixed things up this time and let Helen and Jennie interview each other. They take a pretty good selfie too! Take it away ladies….
Jennie Romero, Corporate Gifts, Grants and Sponsorship Manager
As the Corporate Gifts, Grants and Sponsorship Manager. Jennie Romero engages businesses in the Richmond metro area with the Garden’s educational programming, special events and exhibitions. With personalized partnership opportunities for companies and foundations, the entire Richmond community is impacted.
Helen Wallace MacDonald, Board Liaison and Major Gifts Assistant is responsible for direct support of the Director of Development, Maureen Massey. She supports the Board of Directors and the Board Committees, as well as conducts campaign planning, prospect identification research and cultivation events.
JENNIE asked and HELEN answered:
1. Why did you come to work for the Garden?
I came to work here at Lewis Ginter because I care a great deal about nature conservancy, the arts, and community engagement in the City of Richmond. I just moved here in October from Los Angeles where I worked with plants and the land in spatial, cultural experience. I can’t express how happy it makes me to apply what I learned out west to my new chapter here in the ‘Mond (aka Richmond).
2. (Regarding your position) What do you most look forward to?
I look forward to all the changes that are ahead. I look forward to developing relationships with my coworkers, our Board of Directors and standing committees, our volunteers and visitors. I look forward to having everyone over to Lakeside for a visit!
3. After a month of working here, what has surprised you most?
I would have to say the volunteers – I have had so many fun interactions with them, and have been surprised by their closeness and dedication.
4. Tell us about a part of the Garden that might delight or surprise visitors.
The Margaret Streb Conifer Garden. It is like a silent forest, a peaceful respite with a vista of our tranquil lake.
5. Richmond has a little bit of everything. What’s your favorite?
The art scene, the converted warehouses, the cool coffee shops….I am into the emerging tech scene here and am very impressed by the growth of startups and cool neighborhoods like Manchester and Scott’s Addition. I grew up in Brooklyn before its huge gentrification and here in Richmond I am reminded of the exploring I used to do. You never know what you might find.
HELEN asked and JENNIE answered:
1. Where were you born and where were you raised?
I was born in San Diego, California, and consider myself a California Girl – the kind the Beach Boys sing about. However I grew up in Glen Allen, attending public school in Henrico County.
2. What is your favorite flower? And favorite food?
I prefer the appearance, aroma and utility of herbs. My wedding earlier this year featured gathers of mint, rosemary and lavender as boutonnieres as well as mint julep cocktails. And I just learned my married name ‘Romero’ is a translation of rosemary.
3. Are you super stoked to be working at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and if so is it because your coworker is Helen or is it because you got to play the castanets at Splendor Under Glass?
Working on behalf of Lewis Ginter has been a dream come true. I am inspired by my surroundings – including my amazing colleagues in development – and feel a great sense of peace being here.
4. Can you tell us which day has been most memorable since you started?
December 3, 2013. Staff and volunteer accomplishments were highlighted during the first half of the day, providing me an insight of the talented and hardworking team I had joined. Then later that afternoon I participated in a discussion surrounding the Garden’s future – including opportunities available for businesses to partner. The conversation, smiling faces and optimism encountered that day were so enriching.
5. Are you a Richmonder for life?
The River City keeps me busy from inspired restaurants to outdoor festivals, breathtaking vistas and my friends and family. Maybe one day I’ll return to the West Coast, but not any time soon!