Natalie Ronayne is a Weatherhead Affiliate Instructor and the Executive Director of the Cleveland Botanical Garden since February 2007. For more than 20 years, she has been an activating force in organizational development, community service and strategic partnerships.
Under her direction, the Garden is improving the health and well-being of both the people and environment in Northeast Ohio. In 2008, Natalie spearheaded a strategic planning process that led to an actionable five-year vision of the Garden as a model for sustainability. This total commitment starts from within; in 2009, the most economically challenging year in recent history, she rallied fund raising efforts and, thanks to its loyal stakeholders, the Garden’s contributed income results exceeded projections by more than $500,000. She is currently driving a concerted effort to build earned revenue streams, including the completion of a comprehensive visitor experience plan in 2009, which incorporates elements of sustainable practices throughout the Garden’s 10-acre footprint. Moving out into the community, under Natalie’s leadership, the Garden’s Green Corps program – a workforce training program in urban agriculture that teaches farming and life skills to Cleveland teenagers, while revitalizing neighborhoods – has more than doubled the number of students served and vacant land under cultivation.
Prior to joining the Garden, Natalie was Director of Parks, Recreation and Properties for the City of Cleveland. She managed a $70 million budget, 600 employees, and multiple properties, including 150 parks, 22 recreation centers and the Cleveland Convention Center. Before her work with the City, Natalie served as an environmental planner for Davey Resource Group, a Division of Davey Tree Expert Co. in Cleveland.
Natalie earned a Master of Environmental Policy and Management at Indiana University in 1998. She was in the 2008 class of Leadership Cleveland.