The leadership team at Lewis Ginter is as varied as you think it might be, given all the diverse things the Garden does to connect people through plants for the benefit of RVA. I am privileged to serve alongside remarkable individuals who support and inspire our teams in thoughtful and passionate ways. One has shepherded a balanced budget a dozen straight years; another works to welcome and embrace our guests however they come — a mom with a stroller on a quiet, misty morning, or a thousand people an hour on the busiest day.
Every now and again, one of my colleagues will recognize a road not yet taken, and inspire us all to embark on a new adventure. For nearly 14 years Director of Education Randee Humphrey has been responsible for the Garden’s programs that provide “experiential education for everyone.” Last year’s “by the numbers” alone are impressive: 274 adult programs reached 6,600 participants. 787 formal youth programs reached another 16,000 adults and children. Busy as this is, Randee has always been on fire to take the Garden’s mission on the road, out into the broader community. She was the Garden’s inspiration and leader for the Beautiful RVA initiatives. She created the position of Community Engagement Coordinator and staffed it with the redoubtable Duron Chavis, who has successfully led two cohorts of Ginter Urban Gardeners. Intelligent and articulate, quiet and enabling, Randee leads an expert and dedicated staff, whom she will miss when she steps down in May from her role as Director of Education. Perhaps less than one might guess for such a collegial person because she returns to the Garden in the fall to continue part-time with Duron empowering community engagement initiatives. This brilliant “re-wiring” of her career embodies what it means to be a true servant leader, and on the road the Garden now travels, it is an honor to have her continue as our traveling companion.