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Governance at the Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens, a registered charitable organization, is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of community members, appointed representatives of four levels of government, and the Gardens’ volunteer group.

Governance is accomplished by ensuring that the Gardens fulfills its legislated mandate, and that its mission, policies and strategies are appropriate and current. The Board also ensures financial responsibility in asset management, future resources, and capital project spending. In addition, the Board approves the Gardens’ annual budget, paying close attention to serving the public’s interest and trust.

The Board advocates the Gardens’ interests to the political and corporate sectors, and the community. Each member of the Board is committed to contributing his or her time, energy, ideas and support to Royal Botanical Gardens.

RBG Board of Directors

Keith Scott

Keith Scott

Chair of the Board of Directors
Hamilton, Ontario

About Keith Scott

Keith Scott has been on RBG’s Board of Directors since 2015 appointed by Council, City of Hamilton. He was appointed Chair of the Board in 2021. During his career, Keith excelled by providing strategic leadership in public accounting as well as in the financial services, real estate, zoo and aquarium, tourism and animal welfare industries. As a retired not-for-profit professional with 40 years of experience he has held numerous senior executive positions which includes Chief Executive Officer of Hamilton/Burlington SPCA, Vice President Strategic Alliance and Planning for Tourism Calgary, Interim Managing Director for Travel Alberta International, and Director Business Operations for the Calgary Zoo. He has volunteered extensively throughout his career including stints as vice chair of the American Zoo Association Business Operations Committee, Chair and Director of Tourism Calgary, Director and treasurer of the Calgary Mental Health Involvement Society, a member of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, and many more.

Portrait of Deb smiling

Deborah Harasym

Board Vice-Chair
Burlington, Ontario

About Deborah Harasym

Deborah Harasym was appointed to RBG’s Board of Directors in 2021 as an RBG Appointee.  She previously served a one year term in 2018 on RBG’s Board and has also served on numerous board committees in addition to her past role as President of RBG’s  Volunteer Council.  Deborah is an innovative, results oriented business leader with 36 years of experience managing operations, business turnarounds and strategic change initiatives.  Senior positions held include Vice President Business Transformation for Pitney Bowes Canada, Vice President Organization Effectiveness for MDS Inc., and Vice President Operations for Denco. She is a graduate of Western’s Ivey School of Business.  A committed volunteer, Deborah has served the community in a variety of positions including Regional Director, President and Scholarship Foundation chair for CFUW Burlington, President and District Interact Chair for the Burlington North Rotary Club and Board Member and Allocations Chair for the United Way of Oakville.

Kevin Brady Headshot

Kevin Brady

Burlington, Ontario

About Kevin Brady

Kevin Brady has been on RBG’s Board since 2013 and was appointed as an additional member in place of appointments by the Governor-General-in-Council. He is currently Chair of the Ad-hoc Campaign Committee in support of the recently approved RBG 25-year Master Plan. Kevin is Managing Partner, NFP Canada and Chairman and Founder. Advica Health. He is a leader in the health and benefits field. His vast experience includes holding a senior management position within one of Canada’s largest insurance companies as well as starting his own employee benefits company. ln addition he saw a need to help companies and employees with health solutions and therefore founded Advica Health. This organization assists companies and individuals by improving their health and providing health and wellness solutions. Kevin shares his expertise in the area of health and wellness through volunteering and giving back to his community. He has served on many boards in the health and wellness field including Board Chair for both the YMCA and his local hospital, where he led a multi-million $ campaign. He is also a sought-after speaker on the topic of how companies can improve their profits through employee health and wellness. Kevin holds a B.Com. (Hons) degree from Laurentian University. He has been recognized as Citizen of the Year in 2OO7 and Philanthropist of the year in 2010 for his philanthropic work in his city. He has also received the esteemed Queen’s Jubilee Medal that is awarded by the Queen in recognition for being an outstanding community member. Kevin leads a very active life and has qualified a number of times for the Triathlon World Championships representing Canada.

Portrait of Maris Butcher smiling.

Marlis Butcher

Burlington, Ontario

About Marlis Butcher

Marlis Butcher joined the  Royal Botanical Gardens Board of Directors in 2021 as a Board appointee. She is an environmental conservationist, author, and photographer who has been published in various magazines and websites. She has visited all of Canada’s National Parks and has written a book on her experiences “Park Bagger – Adventures in the Canadian National Parks”. Marlis is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and sits on the Membership Committee of the International Explores Club promoting field research. She is a Chartered Director (McMaster University

2015) and CPA/CMA (Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada 1992).

Marlis holds a B.Comm (McGill University 1986) and an MBA (Concordia University 1986). She has served on the board of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, their Finance and Risk Committee, their Environment Committee, and as a Trail Maintenance Director. She enjoyed a 28 year career at TD Bank, including being the Finance Lead on many large, internal technology projects. She retired in 2013 as Manager, Financial Portfolio Management Office, Process Improvement. Marlis is currently Director and CEO of MB Management Consulting Inc., Burlington, Ontario.

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Councillor Craig Cassar

Hamilton, Ontario

About Craig Cassar

Craig is a first-term City Councillor in Hamilton, Ontario representing Ward 12 (Ancaster and West Flamborough).

Prior to the 2022 municipal election, he had acquired nearly 25 years of private sector leadership experience in the food manufacturing industry at Maple Foods.

He is a passionate environmentalist and urbanist and believes that there are significant synergies with these philosophies. He commutes to work by bicycle year-round and sometimes relies on public transit to return home which requires a trip up the Niagara Escarpment (known locally as the Hamilton Mountain).

He’s a believer in the ‘Strong Towns’ philosophy to city building and greater priority for active and public transportation enabling financially sustainable, low-carbon, vibrant communities.

He and his wife are both long time RBG volunteers and have removed thousands of invasive trees, plants, and shrubs from RBG lands.

Leonard Collins

Leonard (Len) Collins

Burlington, Ontario

About Len Collins

Leonard (Len) Collins was appointed to the RBG’s Board of Directors in 2023. Len graduated from McMaster University in 1974 and worked for Dow Corning (now Dupont) for 20 years.  Before leaving Dow Corning, he was the Eastern North American Region Manager, responsible for the area from Trinidad to Montreal, for Construction Products and Performance Chemicals.  He then went on to work five years each with Siemens and Honeywell in Fire, Security and Building Automation systems.

Although retired from the corporate world, Len is very active in his community in a variety of volunteer roles.  In addition to his Board role at RBG, Len is currently on the Board of Directors at Burlington Museums (facilities communication) and the Museum of Archaeology in London/Western University (marketing communications), is a current member of the Burlington Heritage Committee, a volunteer at the Art Gallery of Burlington and also volunteers at RBG in the Teaching Garden and Natural Lands.

Dr David Conrath - Headshot

Dr. David W. Conrath

Chair, Audit & Finance Committee
Burlington, Ontario

About Dr. David W. Conrath

After spending many years as a volunteer member of the Audit and Finance Committee, David joined RBG’s Board of Directors in 2015 as a RBG Board appointee and currently serves as Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. He retired as Dean of the College of Business at San José State University. David started his academic career at the University of California at Berkeley, and held permanent positions at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Waterloo (Canada). He has had extensive teaching and research relationships with the Université d’Aix-Marsaille III in France and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore. Immediately prior to joining San Jose State, David was Professor of Management Science-Information Systems and Dean of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Canada. He holds a B.A. from Stanford University, an M.A. in economics and Ph.D. in business administration from the University of California, Berkeley, and a M.Sc. from Carnegie-Mellon University. He is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario. David has published over 100 articles in refereed academic journals and conference proceedings. He is also co-author of several books and book length manuscripts. His teaching and research interests include: the analysis, design, implementation and evaluation of information/telecommunication systems; telemedicine; organizational structure and design; and electronic commerce. He has been active as a consultant in his areas of expertise and has served on a number of boards of directors, including three privately held telecommunication companies. Past clients include: A.T. & T., Bell Canada, Bell-Northern Research, Commission of the European Communities, Dept. of Communication (Canadian Gov’t), Gulf Oil, l’Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (French Gov’t), Ministry of Government Services (Ontario Gov’t), Motorola, Nortel, P.T. & T. (French Gov’t), Rome Air Development Center, U.S. Army Electronics Command.

David Farrar

Dr. David Farrar

Hamilton, Ontario

About David H. Farrar

David H. Farrar joined RBG’s Board of Directors in 2019 Ex-Officio, appointed by virtue of Office. He is the President and Vice-Chancellor at McMaster University and a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. David took up the position of Acting President in July 2019, having served as Provost and Vice-President (Academic) since October 2017, and was appointed President in December 2019. He joined McMaster from the University of British Columbia where he served as Provost from 2007 to 2015, and subsequently as Advisor to the Interim President and then as Interim President and Vice-Chancellor. Prior to that he served as Deputy-Provost and Vice-Provost Students at the University of Toronto, where he had responsibility for all central enrolment, student affairs and student service activities. David received his undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Toronto, and his doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge and then a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto for 26 years. During that time he also served as Chair of the Department. He has authored or co-authored over 80 technical papers, holds five patents, and has supervised more than 25 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Farrar has also served on several external Boards.

frank ferragine posing with a watering can and garden tools

Frank Ferragine


About Frank Ferragine

Frank Ferragine was appointed to RBG’s Board in December 2021 as a Board appointed member.

Frank is a popular weather specialist on CityTV’s Breakfast Television and is a well-known and sought after gardening expert.  He is a 4 times best selling garden author, an award-winning landscape designer, and a garden industry expert.

He was also the recipient of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal.

kevin galbraith

Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

Burlington, Ontario

About Kelvin Galbraith

Kelvin Galbraith has been on the RBG’s Board since 2018 appointed by Council, Regional Municipality of Halton. He was sworn in to Burlington City Council and Halton Regional Council in December 2018 and currently serves as Ward/Regional Councillor of Ward 1, comprised of the Aldershot, Tyandaga and Maple Communities. Kelvin was born and raised in the Aldershot community and currently lives and works within the boundaries of the Aldershot mobility hub. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Hons) from Brock University. Applying his business training, hard work and a passion for serving people, Kelvin has successfully owned and managed several businesses in Aldershot including a property holding company and The Fitness Firm Inc., for the past 20 years. He has volunteered and served as Chairman of the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Association for the past 11 years and was a founding member. Kelvin assists in coaching several of his children’s hockey teams and is a committed player on several teams throughout the year and the family cottage is his favourite getaway.

Ingrid Hann

Ingrid Hann

Burlington, Ontario

About Ingrid Hann

Ingrid Hann was appointed to RBG’s Board in 2020 as a Board appointed member. She is a driven, committed and highly respected Executive Human Resources leader with extensive multi-industry experience creating value-add through organizational development and executing on strategic human resource initiatives that enable business excellence. Ingrid retired from De Beers Canada as Vice President, Human Resources after spending 10 years in that position. She has also held senior positions within manufacturing, facilities management and service, aerospace and electrical distribution industries. A graduate of the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Relations and Counselling Studies, having earned the designation of Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE). She received the University of Waterloo Alumni Achievement Award in 2010. Ingrid has extensive Board experience having served on the Boards of Sheridan College (Chair HR Committee), Hydro (Chair HR Committee), Blue Hills Family Services (Vice Chair) in Aurora, Mining Industry Human Resources Council (Chair), Ontario Mining Association (Chair Education Committee), Living Arts Centre (Chair HR Committee), Mississauga, Oakville Senior Citizens’ Residence (Vice Chair), and Crime Stoppers of Halton, Oakville.  In addition to RBG’s Board she currently serves on the Board of Nucleus Independent Living, Oakville. In addition to RBG’s Board, she currently serves on the Halton Regional Police Services Board through a Regional Council re-appointment, and the Board of Nucleus Independent Living, Oakville.

Closeup Of Dark Pink Lilac Blooms

MJ Irvine


headshot of Matt Johnston

Matt Johnston

Hamilton, Ontario

About Matt Johnston

Matt Johnston was appointed to RBG’s Board in 2021 as a Board appointed member. 

As a full Member with the Canadian Institute of Planners and as a Registered Professional Planner with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute, he is Principal and co-owner of UrbanSolutions Planning & Land Development Consultants Inc. practicing out of Hamilton, Ontario. Matt holds a Bachelor of Environmental Studies (Hons) from the School of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Waterloo. 

Prior to joining Royal Botanical Gardens, Matt was on the Board of Directors of the Hamilton-Halton Homebuilders’ Association for 7 years where he also served as President in 2018. That same year, his consulting firm was awarded Employer of the Year by the Canadian Association of Certified Planning Technicians. Respected in the industry, he was the 2017 recipient of the President’s Award of Merit and was also presented with an Award of Honour by the Canadian Home Builder’s Association in 2016.   

With his knowledge and skill set as a land use planner, Matt is frequently asked to present at conferences and seminars to audiences such as the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, the Canadian Urban Institute and the Ontario Professional Planners Institute. 

With the public interest at the forefront, Matt has more than 20 years experience, applying land use policy to shape communities across southern Ontario.  

alex lawson

Alexandra Lawson

Chair, Governance Committee
Burlington, Ontario

About Alexandra Lawson

Alexandra Lawson has been a member of RBG’s Board of Directors since 2020 appointed by the Lieutenant- Governor-in-Council, Province of Ontario.  Alexandra has over two decades of experience in public affairs.  She joined McMaster University in August 2011 as Executive Advisor Public Affairs.  Before joining McMaster she worked for almost twelve years advising both not-for-profit clients and businesses in strategic communications and public affairs.  At McMaster she leads a public affairs team who work across the university to develop and enhance external relationships in support of the University’s mission and vision.  Alexandra was elected by her peers to serve on the volunteer board for university government relations officers for the past several years.  The group focuses on key issues impacting the sector across the country, and professional development for all members.  Alexandra received her undergraduate degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and a Masters Degree from McMaster University.

Headshot photo of Lisa Marcuzzi smiling

Lisa Marcuzzi


About Lisa Marcuzzi

Lisa Marcuzzi (she/her/hers) joined the Royal Botanical Gardens Board of Directors in September 2021 as a Board appointee.  Lisa is also VP, Head of Corporate Affairs, Legal, and ED&I of ArcelorMittal Dofasco responsible for all legal, compliance, governance, corporate communications, sustainable development, government relations and trade, and ED&I matters.  Lisa is also General Manager and Regional General Counsel, Canada, ArcelorMittal, responsible for all legal, compliance and governance matters for ArcelorMittal’s other Canadian business units.

Prior to joining the ArcelorMittal Group in 2013, Lisa was a partner with the Toronto office of an international law firm, engaged in a broad corporate/commercial law practice with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, private equity transactions, infrastructure financing, governance and regulatory compliance.

She is an active member of her community.  Most recently she is a member of the Legal Leaders for Diversity and a board member of Women General Counsel of Canada Network.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Laws, and a Master of Business.

headshot of Robert Norman smiling

Robert Norman

Oakville, Ontario

About Robert Norman

Robert Norman was appointed to RBG’s Board of Directors in 2021.  Robert graduated from the University of Guelph’s Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (Hons) program. Further studies at the Schulich School of Business at York University included, Strategic Planning and Strategic Public Sector Management.  Elected President of the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects (OALA) for 1991/1992, he also served on the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CSLA) Board of Governors.

Robert was elected nationally by his Canadian peers, as President of the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects for 2015/2016.  Senior leadership roles included serving as the Director of Strategic Planning, for Hamilton’s Public Works.  Career awards include the CSLA’s national College of Fellows, CSLA Legacy Award, Ontario Premier’s Accessibility Award, OALA Public Practice Award and the OALA Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service. Currently, Robert volunteers as Chair of Governance for the Landscape Architecture Alumni at the University of Guelph, Co-Chairs OALA’s Municipal Outreach and sings Tenor with the Walton Church Chancel Choir.

Portrait of Guy Sheppard smiling

Gavin (Guy) Sheppard

Burlington, Ontario

About Guy Sheppard

Guy was reappointed to RBG’s Board of Directors in 2021.  He previously served on the RBG Board member from 2011 to 2019 as a Halton Region Representative. He was Chair of the Capital and Master Planning Committee (later the Master Plan Report Committee), and at various times as a member of the Governance, Biodiversity, and Marketing Committees.  Guy developed a passion for the RBG through taking weekend morning excisions with his Dad.  Guy retired from (ArcelorMittal) Dofasco Inc., in 2013 as Manager, Corporate Projects and brought his considerable skills in project management to RBG by providing Board project oversite to the Rock Garden Rejuvenation Project, Rose Garden Renewal and other RBG capital projects.  He holds the following degrees: B.Sc. Hons (Mech. Eng.) Queen’s, M.Sc. (Automation Eng.) City University, and MBA McMaster.  Guy holds the following designations P. Eng., CPA/CMA, and CFA.  He has attended Director’s College (McMaster University). He has served a number of professional and community groups including: CMA Ontario – Board of Governors, Finance and Audit Committee, and Marketing & Communications Committee; CMA Canada – Board of Directors and Chair of the Audit Committee; Burlington Sustainable Development Committee served as Committee Chair, and Chair of Awareness and Policy & Development Sub-Committees at various times; Member of the Region of Halton Inter-Municipal Advisory Committee on Sustainability; Vice Chair and Project Manager of his Church Building Committee.

Closeup Of Dark Pink Lilac Blooms

Councillor Alex Wilson

Hamilton, Ontario

About Alex Wilson

Alex (he/they) is an avid volunteer, regular trail user, committed environmentalist, and experienced organizer, with a proven and extensive track record of working together with neighbours and communities to create positive change.  

Elected in 2022 as a City of Hamilton Councillor, Alex represents the communities of Dundas and Flamborough in Hamilton’s Ward 13 which includes the RBG Arboretum and other RBG lands. Before their election, Alex worked as the Legislative Assistant for local MPP and Official Opposition Environment Critic Sandy Shaw. As an avid volunteer, Alex has gotten to know hundreds of his/their neighbours working together on community initiatives, helping build a vibrant and resilient future.  

photo of luke wilson outdoors in a forest and smiling for the camera

Luke Wilson

Hamilton, Ontario

About Luke Wilson

Luke has served on the Board of the Royal Botanical Gardens since March 2022. He also serves as the CEO of A Rocha Canada. A Rocha is a global family of conservation organizations working together to live out God’s calling to care for creation and equip others to do likewise. Luke has been in various marketing, communications and leadership roles with A Rocha since 2009. In his spare time, he loves hiking, beekeeping and riding his e-scooter to the office. Luke and his wife, Lindsey, have three lovely children; Olivia, Ezekiel and Abigail. They call East Hamilton home.

Headshot of Nancy Rowland, wearing red blazer

Nancy Rowland

Chief Executive Officer
Toronto, Ontario

About Nancy Rowland

Nancy Rowland was appointed by RBG’s Board as Chief Executive Officer effective 1 January 2021. She joins RBG after serving as General Manager of Ontario Place Corporation for four years, where she was responsible for leading the provincial landmark through a period of transition and increased public use of a key public space. Prior to working at Ontario Place, Nancy’s past roles have included Chief Operating Officer & Vice President Corporate Services and Operations at Ontario Science Centre, Director of Cultural Agencies for Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and Director, Corporate Services at Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation. Nancy grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. Her goal is to continue to build on the RBG’s successes to ensure that it continues to be a place that inspires, connects, restores and amazes people for years to come.

Assistant to the Board of Directors: Julia Berardi,