Santa Barbara local Rebecca Anderson has been selected as the new executive director of Ganna Walska Lotusland.
With 20 years of experience as a leader in local nonprofits, Ms. Anderson has served as the interim executive director for the Montecito botanic garden since December 2019. Before serving as interim director, she spent four years as Lotusland’s director of development.
“Rebecca is sincerely committed to our mission to foster our knowledge and appreciation of the garden and its plant collections while inspiring and educating visitors about the needs for conservation and environmental stewardship,” Lotusland board chair Lesley Cunningham said in a statement.
“Even in the midst of a pandemic, she has navigated the organization with a calm clarity and a keen eye toward safely opening the garden and providing meaningful experiences for members and guests. I am confident Rebecca will bring our organization into an exciting new chapter.”
As the fourth executive director in the world-renowned garden’s 36-year history, Ms. Anderson will manage Lotusland’s team of 30 staff members and more than 200 volunteers.
According to Lotusland, Ms. Anderson will lead with “an eye to preserving and growing its extraordinary plant collections, advancing its global conservation work and acting as a steward of historic local architecture and a source of inspiration for its beauty and whimsical and bold landscape design.”
Before joining Lotusland, Ms. Anderson served in a number of roles including director of advancement of Midland School, director of development for the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, manager of Annual Giving at Cottage Health and president of the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties.
She is also a past trustee of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Child Abuse Listening Meditation and Santa Barbara Middle School. In 2013, Ms. Anderson was honored as Fundraiser of the Year by the regional chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with a committed board and an outstanding staff to strengthen the garden’s mission — to educate and inspire members and guests and collectively ensure an abundant, healthy and sustainable future,” Ms. Anderson said in a statement.
The new executive director earned her bachelor’s UC Santa Cruz and her master’s in organizational management at Antioch University. She also currently serves on the board of directors of Leading from Within.