Executive Director- Toronto Botanical Garden

Join Bedford Group Transearch’s executive candidate community and advance your career today


Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) is a not-for-profit charity embarking on an exciting landmark capital expansion. TBG’s goal is to become an iconic cultural attraction and achieve excellence in plant-focused education, display, natural areas restoration, plant conservation, and research across a 35-acre site that will serve over 1 million visitors per year.

As TBG expands its managerial oversight across 35 acres, the organization is scaling up to achieve sustained organizational performance as a modern, world-class living museum.

The Toronto Botanical Garden’s vision for the future is to be renowned for its display of nature’s beauty and as a dynamic hub for plant-centered learning, conservation, and research. The mission is to connect people to plants, inspiring the public to live in harmony with nature.

To learn more about TBG, visit: https://torontobotanicalgarden.ca/


Reporting to the Board of Directors, this key leadership role provides vision, guidance, creative problem-solving, and practical support to TBG to ensure effective change and outstanding execution across all areas of the organization. These areas include horticulture, conservation, education, planning and reporting, financial management, marketing and communications, events, retail, rentals, development, operational and risk management, and the expansion project and capital campaign.

The Executive Director plays a pivotal role in promoting a culture of inclusivity and collaboration, as well as actively facilitating a best-practices approach to the sharing of operational knowledge across the organization and beyond.

TBG is a community-based organization with over 2000 members, hundreds of active volunteers, and 32 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff. This role requires oversight of an annual operating budget of $2.5-3 Million, and an expansion capital projects budget of $50 Million over three phases.


  • Accountable to the Board and works collaboratively with the Board and Board committees
  • Internal Departments:
    • Finance/Administration/IT
    • Retail
    • Development
    • Education
    • Horticulture
    • Marketing & Communications
    • Maintenance
    • Rentals
    • Expansion Project
  • Interacts with TBG Members and volunteers across the organization
  • Liaises with Campaign Consultants

Partner Relationships

  • Donors and funders
  • City of Toronto and other government agencies
  • Vendors and suppliers
  • Local, provincial, and national garden and not-for-profit networks/associations
  • Local community groups and stakeholders


This is a role for an experienced leader with a background in horticulture, nature-based education, and/or plant science and conservation, as well as a proven track record of growing a small or mid-sized organization. The ideal candidate will be experienced in landscape-based conservation, not-for-profit finance, team building, business development and expansion, and managing cultural institutions. Strong financial acumen and knowledge of revenue generation or expense management is an asset.

Priority Skills, Knowledge, and Competencies:

  • Demonstrated commitment to the role and mission of botanic gardens
  • Public garden, plant conservation, or landscape-based non-profit leadership experience
  • Proven team-based leadership experience; collaborative
  • Leadership integrity and ability to develop trust
  • Ability to identify, analyze and discern strategic opportunities for growth
  • Exceptional ability to build, collaborate with, and manage a team
  • Experience working with boards, volunteers, and other public garden stakeholders
  • Proven strategic and diplomatic skills in regards to managing relationships with government(s) and other regulatory authorities
  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills
  • Excellent strategic thinking and interpersonal skills
  • Human resources management experience
  • Multi-source fundraising experience
  • Major capital projects experience
  • Change management experience
  • Business development experience, particularly with respect to botanic garden earned revenue sources of rentals, events, retail, and food services
  • Budget management experience in a non-profit or public finance context
  • Undergraduate degree or equivalent


  • Public garden, arboretum, landscape horticulture, plant conservation, ecology, or relevant landscape science expertise
  • Experience working in diverse workplaces and communities
  • Marketing and communications experience
  • Nature-based education experience
  • Media training
  • Collections management expertise (living and/or non-living collections)
  • Exposure to or familiarity with the design process
  • Project management skills or training
  • Health and safety experience or training
  • Masters or Doctoral degree in relevant discipline
  • APGA and/or BGCI membership


Toronto Botanical Garden is located at 777 Lawrence Ave. E., Toronto, ON.


Visionary – creates tomorrow today. Sees what others don’t see. Makes connections that others haven’t yet identified. Translates the vision into imagery, language and story such that it inspires those in the middle of the organization.

Strategic Thinker – sees the big picture. Understands the competitive, political, economic, and social environment. Brings focus to the organization’s strategic imperatives. Turns strategic thinking into a cogent and pragmatic plan. Takes others with him/her. Balances short and long term.

Foster Collaboration – can be counted on to challenge the status quo. Creates an environment where anticipation and recognizing opportunity dominates. Builds informal networks and communities inside and outside of the business. Moves fast.

Business Development – presents a winning value proposition simple and succinctly. Brings flair, discipline, and creativity to the conversation with the customer. A great listener. Follows up. Works as hard to keep current customers as he/she does to find new ones.

Team Navigator – brings discipline to team process. Has access to, or creates, change maps. Challenges the team when they falter. Draws in those sitting on the sidelines. Poses new questions when a step change is demanded. Provides counsel to the team leader.

Hire and Retain Top Talent – attracts and brings not merely the best candidate on the board – but the right candidate. To do so, utilizes the six dimensions of fit: attraction, culture, performance, leadership, team, and integration. An outstanding interviewer.

A Leader Who Inspires – takes teams places they would otherwise not go. Breathes life into the emerging culture. Draws even the most cynical to the cause. Believes not that it might or could happen… but that it will happen. Dreams big dreams… and then establishes a deadline.

Storyteller – uses story to make: the strategy come to life; presentations inspiring; coaching challenging; change compelling; mentoring meaningful; and meetings memorable. Collects stories.


All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply and express their interest to:

Renee Phillips                                                           

Consultant, Bedford Resources, Inc.                        


Danielle Collado

Researcher, Bedford Resources, Inc.


Bedford is an equal opportunity employer committed to the principles of non-discrimination in the workplace. It is also our policy to source and present candidates on a non-discriminatory basis. Proactively, we make every good faith effort to include a diverse pool of candidates in our search assignment.  We welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.