Chief Executive Officer

Chief Executive Officer

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Boothbay, ME   |   January 13, 2020

About Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

In 1991, a small group of Mid-Coast Maine residents dreamed of building a world-class public garden on 128 acres on the rocky coast that would one day be both an economic engine and cultural anchor for the region. Using their own homes as collateral, these individuals had a steadfast commitment to the organization’s vision and, along with hundreds of volunteers, established a foundation of insightful planning, helping to make Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens a jewel of rare quality among North American gardens. After 16 years of planning, the “People’s Garden” opened to the public in summer 2007, inviting visitors of all ages and abilities to create and explore meaningful connections to plants and nature at their own pace.

Since then, the Gardens has become one of Maine’s top attractions and one of the most distinguished botanical destinations in the country. Its exquisite gardens, dramatic and compelling natural landscape—including nearly a mile of tidal saltwater frontage—make it ever-changing, endlessly captivating and thoroughly unique. The Gardens presents limitless potential to inspire learning about natural history, habitats, botany, horticulture, and ecological connections.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is one of the largest public gardens in the country. Through gifts and strategic purchases, the Gardens now comprises 323 acres, featuring native plants of Maine and other plants suited to northern coastal conditions. The original facilities were built for an expected attendance of 40,000 annual visitors; remarkably, CMBG surpassed 40,000 visitors by its second year of operation. In 2018, attendance exceeded 227,000 guests from throughout the 50 US states and 63 foreign countries. Implementing the 2015-2035 Master Plan, CMBG opened an expanded visitor center and parking facilities in May, 2018. The organization’s annual operating budget is $5M and the endowment is $4.4M. CMBG employs 52 full-time employees and 70 seasonal employees.

Open during the regular season from April 15 through October 31, CMBG also features Gardens Aglow, a holiday light show established in 2015. Aglow is open from mid-November until December 31. This event draws an increasing number of guests who consider it an annual tradition for families and friends across generations. Gardens Aglow attracts tourists as well as state residents, allowing CMBG to become a nearly year-round attraction. Please find additional information on the website for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

The Opportunity

Our client is seeking a visionary and inspiring leader to partner with the Board and staff to shepherd the organization into its next stage of growth and development, raising CMBG’s national profile; increasing the number of visitors; enhancing the visitor experience, and establishing a sustainable operating model for a 21st-century botanical garden. This individual should possess a passion for CMBG’s mission to inspire meaningful connections among people, plants, and nature through horticulture, education, and research and should possess the communication skills to articulate this passion.

The Location

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is located on the magnificent Maine Coast in Boothbay, one of four small New England towns on the greater Boothbay Peninsula. The Boothbay Region is known for its incredible natural beauty, with stunning rocky shores and evergreen forests, dotted with lighthouses and a multitude of walking trails to explore. Boothbay Harbor is considered a premier boating destination and there are outdoor recreation opportunities from sailing to winter sports. The Boothbay Region has been a vibrant family-oriented community for over 250 years and continues to be the home of a uniquely diverse population of shipbuilders, lobstermen, shopkeepers, artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, and retirees from around the country who are actively engaged in the life of the community. The new CEO is expected to live year-round on the Boothbay peninsula, and active engagement in the local community will be important.

Both seasonal and permanent residents enjoy the region’s beautiful scenery and recreational activities; many also volunteer significant time to the Gardens and other local nonprofits. Key local employers include the Gardens; Washburn & Doughty Shipbuilders; the Boothbay Harbor Country Club, which features an award-winning golf course and a fitness center; and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. The Boothbay YMCA has a strong Y-Arts program, offering music, theater, and dance as well as diverse health and fitness opportunities for community members of all ages. The regional public school is centrally located across the street from the YMCA. Special events throughout the year include the Boothbay Festival of Lights, which works successfully with the Gardens to encourage tourists to visit Boothbay during the holiday season. Regional winter outdoor activities include snowshoeing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing; Western Maine ski resorts are easily accessed for more wintertime fun.

Maine has emerged as a magnet for entrepreneurs, professionals, artists, and families due to its unparalleled livability. Portland, Maine’s largest city, is just over an hour’s drive to the south and as the regional cultural hub offers museums, shopping, outstanding restaurants, world-class entertainment and an international airport within easy reach.

Main Focus, Priorities, and Key Responsibilities

The President & CEO leads every aspect of the Gardens’ operations. The Board of Directors is responsible for the supervision and evaluation of the CEO’s performance. Specifically, the next CEO will be responsible for the following: 

Strategic Leadership and Organizational Strategy

  • Implement the 2017-2022 Strategic Plan.
  • Participate with the Board in an analysis of the 2015-2035 Master Plan to identify the Gardens’ priorities and implement the Plan.
  • Increase earned revenue from operations and membership by developing strategies that increase visitors in the spring, summer, and fall.
  • Build and maintain an organizational culture of excellence through teamwork, individual accountability, trust and a shared commitment to achieving CMBG goals. 


  • Complete the Capital Campaign, partnering with board members, staff, and the fundraising consultant.
  • Broaden the donor base for the Annual Fund and Capital Campaign and include more foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, and a wider geographic reach.
  • Build strong relationships with donors to secure lifelong connections and support for the Gardens.

External Relations

  • Actively engage with and embrace the Boothbay Region as a resident and good neighbor.
  • Ensure productive relationships with local, state, and national-level Maine elected officials and their staffs.
  • Build personal relationships with key botanical garden leaders nationally as well as with key business, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders in Maine.

Finance and Administration

  • Provide appropriate oversight for all aspects of CMBG’s financial management including the yearly budget and timely filing of required financial reports to government agencies, philanthropic/donor foundations, and lenders.
  • Ensure that CMBG has the forward-looking organizational structure, processes, skills, and compensation system necessary for continued growth and success.
  • Develop and maintain performance management and succession planning systems including processes to foster accountability and organizational goals.
  • Develop and maintain strong working relationships with the Board of Directors.
Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate should possess the following professional expertise and leadership competencies:

Experience/Educational/Professional Expertise

  • At least ten years of relevant leadership experience. BA or BS degree required; advanced degree such as business management, horticulture, or nonprofit management preferred.
  • Exceptional organizational and management skills. Experience leading and inspiring change in a diverse, mission-driven organization.
  • A creative, strategic thinker who has successfully cultivated and led high-performing teams toward achieving ambitious goals.
  • Demonstrated thought leadership in the botanical, non-profit or business world; an entrepreneurial mindset and savvy decision-maker.

Leadership Competencies

  • Capacity to lead an aspirational capital campaign; prior experience as relationship builder with major donors and/or demonstrated success with a significant capital campaign desirable.
  • Experience developing relationships and working with people of diverse values and perspectives.
  • Proven track record leading and supporting staff in ways that respects and values their capabilities, builds mutual trust, and cultivates a culture of excellence.
  • A strong track record of responsible financial stewardship and management, including budgeting and forecasting, investment management, reporting, and compliance.
  • Proven capacity to develop systems of communication and decision-making that encourage participation and innovation.
  • The ability to foster a culture of transparency, collaboration, self-reflection, and mutual accountability.

Katie Bouton, Naree Viner, and Stephen Milbauer of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Stephen directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that partners exclusively with mission-driven clients, institutions of higher education and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our clients and ensuring they have the strategies to support them. At Koya, we don’t just accept difference – we celebrate it, support it, and thrive on it for the benefit of our team, our clients, and the communities we serve. Koya is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles, and experiences.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit