A Tribute and a Farewell
Executive Director Debbi Edelstein to retire
A Tribute from William Huyett, Chair, Board of Trustees
Executive Director Debbi Edelstein will be retiring in September of this year after 14 years of distinguished leadership. This, like most retirements, evokes a range of reactions, from excitement for Debbi that she will finally have time to take some long-planned journeys, to appreciation for all she has done for the organization, to regret at losing a multi-talented and determined colleague. We are eager to find a new executive director who can build on the present momentum and deliver the impact described in the organization's vision document developed under Debbi's leadership.
Debbi's accomplishments are many. Indeed, she was recognized this week by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, which presented her with a Gold Medal. A full recap of her impact must wait until the end of the summer, but highlights include her lead authorship of our new 15-year vision that describes our opportunities—and obligations—in the areas of biodiversity and climate change; the rebranding of the organization to better reflect our mission and capabilities; significant growth in philanthropy and membership; shepherding us through the pandemic with financial and organizational stability; modernizing and expanding our educational programs, which has broadened our reach and impact; and overseeing important initiatives, both solo and with partner organizations, in native plant conservation and horticulture.
The Board of Trustees has begun a national search for a new executive director. Led by Charles Fayerweather, our Governance chair, the search committee has engaged a firm that is active among mission-driven conservation organizations. We look forward to seeing a rich selection of candidates.
Meanwhile, please join me in honoring Debbi's exceptional leadership with a gift to Native Plant Trust's Endowment Fund.
I want to thank you for your support of Native Plant Trust and its critical mission during Debbi's tenure, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to achieve the vision she has so admirably articulated for the future.
Farewell from Debbi Edelstein
On February 17, 2009, I drove to Garden in the Woods to start my new job as executive director of this great organization. I came with plenty of first-day jitters plus an undercurrent of imposter syndrome, given that a collapsed economy added to the ways I needed to stretch myself to succeed.
Fourteen years later, for me and for Native Plant Trust, the time is right to hand over the leadership reins. We are emerging from the challenges of the pandemic with a clear vision, impressively talented staff, strong board, and your wonderful support. It’s a terrific recipe for continued momentum and success.
I’ll be retiring this fall—although “retirement” strikes me as an odd word for the exciting opportunity to explore unfamiliar paths at will or to finally write the book that’s been rattling around in my head.
In the coming months, the board, senior staff, and I will focus on both important initiatives and a smooth transition. A search committee and recruiting firm are seeking a talented person to lead the next phase of strategic growth. And I will be on hand to provide institutional knowledge, introductions, and any other orientation the new director needs.
My time at Native Plant Trust has flown by, as every day and year brought the pleasure of working with remarkable people to reach milestones in our mission. I want to thank all of you who have so generously offered your ideas, time, and support to the organization and to me personally.