Jill Koski became the president of Holden Forests & Gardens on Nov. 28, 2017, assuming leadership of the organization that includes the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio and the Cleveland Botanical Garden in Cleveland’s University Circle district.
Koski becomes Holden’s sixth leader. Its first, R. Henry Norweb, led the organization from 1958 to 1983. “It is truly an honor to lead an organization with such a rich history and excellent national reputation,” said Koski. Holden Forests & Gardens is the 12th largest public garden in the United States.
Koski assumed the role of president and CEO during a period of growth for the organization, with the Arboretum and Botanical Garden experiencing all-time highs in combined annual attendance (nearly 400,000) and membership (more than 21,000 households). The organization is also having a greater impact in the community, as evidenced by its integral role in the development and implementation of the Cleveland Tree Plan, the collaborative effort to increase the tree canopy coverage in Cleveland. The organization has also started the development of a workforce training program for green industry jobs, made possible by a grant from the Cleveland Foundation.
“The organization’s focus on the community was what attracted me most to the position,” said Koski. “Public gardens and arboreta are more important than ever to help connect people to the world around them and positively impact the economy, health and wellness, and of course the environment.”
Before accepting the role as Holden’s president and CEO, Koski served as the vice president of development for the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. Before Morton, she spent 10 years with Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois, in a series of progressively responsible development positions.Koski received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is married with two children.