Board of Directors
Anne Harris, President
J.D., University of Kansas
M.S. Botany, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.S. Biology, Emory University
B.A. Biology and Chemistry, Florida State University
Anne has held biological and ecological research positions at the North Carolina and Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and most recently served as VP of Environmental Services in Black & Veatch Engineering’s Energy Division. She has a lifelong interest in environmental regulation, analysis & education and has co-authored two life science text books and a biology lab manual.
Sims Preston, Vice President
J.D., Duke University
B.A. Philosophy, Columbia University
Sims was the Chairman and President of Polyglot Systems, Inc. from November 2010 to March 2017. Prior to joining Polyglot, he spent 14 years as a lawyer, both in private practice and as in-house counsel. The Garden has been a special part of his family for three generations, stoking his interest in the natural world and sustainability. Sims currently serves on the Board of Advisors for TruLab, Inc.
Jenny Routh, Secretary
B.A. Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jenny joined the NCBGF to support NCBG’s vital conservation work. In addition to the NCBGF, Jenny has served on the Board of Visitors for Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Executive Committee of the UNC Parent’s Council, and the Greensboro Symphony Guild.
Nathan Byrd, Treasurer
M.B.A., UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
B.S. Mathematics Economics, Wake Forest University
Nathan is an advisor at Hamilton Point Investment Advisors. He was drawn to the NCBGF by his passion for North Carolina’s wildlife and natural wonders. Nathan is also involved in the Rotary Club and the Eagles Nest Foundation.
Terry M. Ball, Assistant Treasurer
B.S. Business Administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Terry M. Ball is the owner of T M Ball, Inc, a firm specializing in financial management solutions for real estate property management and other small businesses in Greensboro, North Carolina. She‘s previously served on the NCACPA board, the New Friends Refugee Chairperson at Westover Church/Summit Rotary Club and the treasurer of the NCNPS among other positions. She looks forward to spending time with her grandchildren at their annual camping trip.
The General Management Program, Harvard Business School
M.Ed. Xavier University
A.B. Philosophy, Centre College
As a career conservationist, including service as the Managing Director of Conservation at The Nature Conservancy, Mike supports the Garden’s research and scientific work as well as the Foundation’s work in the land trust arena. Mike has served on the boards of the National Fish Habitat Conservation Partnership, NatureServe, and the National Fish Habitat Fund. He is a founding board member of Orange County (NC) Living Wage.
B.B.A. Marketing, Georgia State University
Patrick is an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist. He lived and worked in Colorado for 10 years and enjoys hiking, camping, and mountain biking. He has over 10 years of experience in marketing and sales and is passionate about the local environment, conservation, and sustainability.
M.S.W., Washington University in St. Louis
B.A. Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kerry Bird is a former state employee and development officer and an active UNC Chapel Hill alumnus. He has served on the UNC Board of Visitors, Alumni Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (ACRED), United Tribes of North Carolina, LGBT Center of Raleigh and is a founding member of the Triangle Native American Society. Kerry is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of South Dakota, and has Lumbee tribal heritage.
M.B.A., Harvard University
Nieman Foundation of Journalism Fellow, Harvard University
B.A. English, Amherst College
Founder and CEO of Best Practices, LLC, Chris is a recognized expert and thought leader in the application of best practices for performance improvement and is a co-author of the highly acclaimed book, Benchmarking for Best Practices: Winning Through Innovative Adaption. Chris sits on the boards of several organizations. He is a lifelong lover of forests, gardens, and their natural ecosystems.
J.D., Washington & Lee University
B.A. Architectural History, University of Virginia
Catharine is a former attorney who has worked for the National Parks Conservation Association, McGuire Woods, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She directed a national coalition of diverse organizations, including many conservation groups. Catharine supports NCBG as a place of education and delight for all ages. She co-chairs the NCBGF governance committee.
B.A. French, Hollins University
Melanie has a long history of volunteerism having served on the boards of Kalmia Gardens, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Corporation for Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest, CENTRA Foundation, and the Decorative Arts Trust among many others. She has a strong interest in horticulture, gardening and public gardens, and preservation, and is a relative of William Chambers Coker. Her single most rewarding gardening project has been a daffodil river she planted in an interlocking paisley pattern with 15 varieties in bloom February through April.
J.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A. English and Political Science, University of South Carolina
For 17 years, Daniel served as a Senior Attorney for The Nature Conservancy facilitating the protection of hundreds of thousands of acres throughout NC, SC, KY, TN and PA. Prior to that he worked with the NC Department of Natural Resources and in private practice with a focus on real estate, estate planning and small business planning. Daniel has served on the boards of the UNC University Child Care Center, Governors Village Property Owners Association, and the Binkley Baptist Church Endowment Committee.
B.S. Plant Biology, North Carolina State University
A.S. Biology, Craven Community College
Derek is currently a Manufacturing Senior Technician where he works in vaccine and therapeutics development using non-traditional plant-based technologies at Medicago USA in Durham, NC. Known affectionately as the “The Chocolate Botanist” on Instagram, Derek has built a community of over 10,000 followers and he has been featured in The Guardian, Lifehackers, and has been a guest on the podcasts Black in the Garden and In Defense of Plants. Originally from New Bern, Derek is continuing to pave a new and sustainable path for the next generation of young, Black botanists.
M.A., Teaching, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
M.A., French, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
B.A. Anthropology and French, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Patricia owned and operated an antiques business for 27 years, as well as taught French at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and O’Neal School in Southern Pines. She also has experience installing software at Burroughs Corp. and did data processing training at Burlington Industries. Patricia has served on the Board of Directors at Greensboro Urban Ministry and is an ex officio board member of the North Carolina Native Plant Society where she has been certifying NC Native Plant Habitats for the past two years.
B.A. Psychology and Community Studies, Guilford College
A.A.S. Hospitality Management, Alamance Community College
Founding partner of biwa|Emergent Equity, Inc. an equity, leadership, and organizational development consulting firm. She has been facilitating racial equity work for at least twenty years and is also known across the Indigenous Nations across the Southeast for her work holding talking circles, addressing historical trauma, and confronting intimate partner violence in its many forms. Vivette is a citizen of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation (OBSN); the Indigenous people of Orange, Alamance, and Caswell counties in North Carolina.
M.U.E.P., Master of Urban & Environmental Planning, University of Virginia
Master’s Certificate, Historic Preservation, University of Virginia
Certificate in Non-Profit Management, Duke University
B.S. Economics, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
April is the Director of Community Engagement and Giving at Housing for New Hope in Durham, NC and is the former Executive Director of The Historic Preservation Society of Durham Inc. April has a vast amount of non-profit experience in historic preservation and is an avid volunteer. She has served in various roles such as the Commissioner of the Durham Historic Preservation Commission, President of Urban League of Young Professionals, Chaired the Durham Citizens Advisory Committee as well as served as President of the Historic Stagville Foundation. As a green gardener, April’s newfound hobby was developed during the global pandemic as a form of nature therapy and she has been an avid lover of plants and nature ever since.
M.A. Demography, Georgetown University
B.A., Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
James has decades of experience in rental property management as well as experience in federal government and the non-profit sector. He was drawn to the NCBGF by his interest in preserving biodiversity in the southeastern United States and the desire to increase NCBG’s visibility in Chapel Hill. James is the chair of the NCBGF development and membership committee.
MSc., Land Use Planning and Process Management, Wageningen University & Research
ICF Certified, Life and Corporate Coaching, Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching
As a CEO Coach, Mentor and Advisor at Vistage Worldwide, Inc. Niels helps people who run businesses become better leaders, make better decisions and get better results. Originally from the Netherlands, Niels enjoys giving back to his community and is an avid birder. He enjoys exploring local trails and preserves with his family and has fond memories of walking the trails of Mason Farm with his son.
M.E.M. Conservation Science and Policy, Duke University
B.A. Anthropology, Grinnell College
Jodie is currently the Assistant Director of Conservation at The Nature Conservancy and a member of the North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation’s Conservation Committee. She holds a Master of Environmental Management from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University with a concentration in conservation science and policy.
Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), Wharton Executive Education Program, University of Pennsylvania
B.B.A. Marketing, Radford University
As Chief Executive Officer of Leyline Renewable Capital, LLC, Erik provides development-stage capital for “renewable” energy projects and helps guide the projects from concept to completion with development and construction risk management processes. After 13 years in the financial services industry, Erik acquired his first company in 2006 and has since been in the Renewable Energy sector. Erik is passionate about native plants and pollinator habitats and spends much of his free time with his family cultivating their 10 acres of land in Orange County with native plants and wildflowers. They recently converted their entire front yard (about 1 acre) to a native wildflower meadow and live in a home that is powered by solar with back-up battery power.
Ph.D. Plant Physiology, Purdue University
M.S. Plant Pathology, Purdue University
B.S. Biology, Virginia Tech
Janis has more than 30 years of experience in science, agriculture, conservation initiatives, and environmental and agricultural policy. She recently retired from Syngenta as the Head of North America Regulatory and Stewardship for Crop Protection. Janis and her teams have been leaders and collaborators on a wide range of research, education, stewardship, and conservation initiatives with universities, grower, conservation and government groups, and other partners to improve regulatory science, agricultural practices, water quality, pollinator habitats, invasive species management, and endangered species protection. She loves to hike, kayak, fish, and to study plants, invasive species, and ecosystems.
J.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.Sc. Economics, The London School of Economics
B.A. International Relations, Lehigh University
Charlotte is retired from a career in law, where she was most recently partner at Parker Poe in Charlotte, NC. She is an avid volunteer within her county and has served many years on church governing bodies. She also volunteers several hours a month at the market in the Arts Place in Danbury, NC, and visits an assisted living facility with her therapy dog. Charlotte found the Garden to be a place of peace and sanity during her time in law school and loves that she can give something back to an organization she appreciates so much.
M.B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
A.A., Saint Mary’s College
Gail is the founder and CEO of Gail Perry Group, an international fundraising consulting company, and has led workshops on major donor fundraising around the world. Her book, “Fired Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion into Action,” is called the “gold standard guide for building a fundraising board.” A passionate gardener, she is currently devoted to building a brand new garden in Chapel Hill. Her favorite motto is, “when in doubt, throw a party!”
D.V.M., University of Georgia
Jim is retired from a career working for the National Academy of Sciences and the UNC School of Medicine. He was on the board of directors for the Conservation Trust for North Carolina for many years and chaired their land protection committee. Always interested in the natural world and land protection, Jim is a member of the NCBGF conservation committee.
B.A., Emmanuel College
M.A., Middlebury College
Ph.D. Education, Leadership in Schooling, University of Massachusetts
Judith is retired from a career in education, most recently as Executive Director and CEO of the James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University. Prior to that, she was Deputy Chancellor for Instruction of the New York City Board of Education, and Deputy Superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools. Judith is a longtime supporter and advocate for the Garden and its mission.
M.B.A., Harvard University
B.A. Economics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ladell is a financial services professional with over twenty five years of experience across multiple countries. Presently, he is a Managing Director at BlackRock. Ladell is also the treasurer of the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association. Ladell loves North Carolina and UNC and is excited to be a part of the NCBGF board to learn more about conservation and encourage others to do the same. In his free time, Ladell enjoys running and has competed in eight marathons and one ultra-marathon.
Ph.D. Adult and Higher Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
M.Ed. Special Education, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
B.A. Sociology, Duke University
Carol spent decades in the education field, first working as a reading teacher for Granville County Schools, eventually becoming associate dean of the UNC School of Medicine, and then Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives at UNC. She currently is on the board of the Center for Child and Family Health in Durham, chairing its Finance Committee and serving as its treasurer. Carol came to know and love the Garden as Vice Provost and is now a member of the NCBGF governance committee.
The Vice Provost for Academic and Community Engagement and the Director of the Garden are ex officio members with the power to vote. The President of the Garden Club of North Carolina and the past presidents of the Foundation are ex officio members without voting power.
Joseph Jordan, Vice Provost for Academic and Community Engagement, UNC-Chapel Hill
Damon Waitt, Director, North Carolina Botanical Garden, UNC-Chapel Hill
Heidi Sawyer-Clark, Garden Clubs of North Carolina
In recognition of significant service to the Foundation or contributions of other nature, the Board of Directors has appointed the following individuals as honorary or emeritus directors.
PAST PRESIDENTS (1967-Present)
1967-1969 William Lanier Hunt*
1970-1975 Hugh Morton*
1976-1979 Harry Billica*
1980-1983 E. Reid Bahnson*
1984-1985 R.B. Fitch
1986-1987 Mae Woods Bell
1988-1991 Charles L. Wheeler*
1992-1993 Bill Joslin*
1994-1997 Sally Vilas*
1998-2001 Jonathan Howes*
2002-2005 Arthur S. DeBerry*
2006-2009 Bill Bracey
2010-2013 Anne Lindsey
2014-2015 Tom Earnhardt
2016-2019 Greg Fitch