Toronto Botanical Garden Appoints Stephanie Jutila as New Executive Director

The Toronto Botanical Garden Board of Directors is delighted to announce the appointment of Stephanie Jutila as Executive Director effective immediately. Jutila comes to the Garden and to Canada after an extensive international search for a leader with botanical garden expertise in horticulture and conservation who also possesses the business skills required of cultural organization leadership today.

“Stephanie comes to Toronto Botanical Garden with the experience we need to take us to the next level of success. We are completing a design process to transform a 35-acre landscape into a garden recognized for its excellence internationally, and we are very excited to have found the right person in Stephanie to take us there.” 
– Gordon Ashworth, Toronto Botanical Garden, Board Chair

Jutila’s career trajectory is two-fold, connecting communities with nature and building sustainable non-profits. As a public garden leader, Jutila focuses on inspiring a passion, curiosity, and awe of the natural world in people of all ages, while fostering care and stewardship of ecosystems. As a non-profit executive, Jutila focuses on building organizations that are relevant in modern times, with diverse revenue generators and a broad base of support.

Jutila’s arrival comes at an exciting time for the Toronto Botanical Garden. The non-profit organization, with City of Toronto support, is poised to expand from four to 35 acres in pursuit of its ongoing vision to become a dynamic hub for plant-centred learning, conservation, and research. With extensive master planning completed and detailed design underway, the Garden is preparing to expand its offerings and impact to serve its community and address the global concerns of biodiversity, species loss, and climate change.

“The City of Toronto’s Master Plan aims to establish the Toronto Botanical Garden as a unique and globally-renowned botanical garden within the Wilket Creek ravine system. I commend the Toronto Botanical Garden for hiring a dynamic leader to bring this vision to life for our City.
– Jaye Robinson, Councillor, Ward 15

Jutila’s experience in bringing together diverse stakeholders to achieve ambitious goals will be essential to the Garden’s next chapter. Her career spans more than 23 years in non-profit and cultural organizations and includes extensive experience in public/private partnerships. Throughout her career, Jutila has focused on making lasting changes for communities while being an integral partner and convener.

“It is an honor to join the Toronto Botanical Garden stakeholders and visionary leadership to continue building a great garden for Toronto, the region, and the planet. I believe that all humans benefit from regular experiences with nature. And that humanity and the planet will benefit exponentially through equitable access to nature. Botanic gardens have an essential role in the modern world and a profound opportunity to guide future conversations focused on human and planetary well-being. At the very core, the conversation is about plants, people, and science. The time is ripe for Toronto Botanical Garden to magnify its impact. I am excited to embrace Toronto and lead the Garden forward.”
– Stephanie Jutila, Toronto Botanical Garden, Executive Director

About Stephanie Jutila (Jute i lä)
From 2011-2020 Jutila served as the first President and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. During her tenure, Jutila led the public/private partnership with the City of Des Moines, Iowa, transforming the former municipally operated facility into a vibrant public garden. Through her leadership, the non-profit increased its operating budget 15-fold from $225,000 to $3.4 million, more than doubled the Garden’s annual visitation, and invested more than $23 million in capital projects.

Jutila has served as a board director of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA) since 2016. Her work experience includes positions at the American Horticultural Society, Smithsonian Institution, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. She has received numerous accolades for her leadership, including the Garden Club of America’s Martin McLaren Interchange Scholarship and the Chanticleer Scholarship from the Chanticleer Foundation in Wayne, PA. Jutila received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota, where she also studied non-profit management and museum studies. In 2021 Jutila completed the George Washington University— Center for Public Leadership Excellence’s e-Co Leadership Coaching Certification. Beyond her professional experience, Jutila is a nature enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by inspiring nature, just 20-miles from the shores of Lake Superior in Cloquet, Minnesota.

About Toronto Botanical Garden
Toronto Botanical Garden (TBG) is a not-for-profit charity embarking on an exciting landmark capital expansion. TBG’s goal is to become an iconic cultural attraction and achieve excellence in plant-focused education, display, natural areas restoration, plant conservation, and research across a 35-acre site that will serve over 1 million visitors per year.

As TBG expands its managerial oversight across 35 acres, the organization is scaling up to achieve sustained organizational performance as a modern, world-class living museum, ensuring access for all. The Toronto Botanical Garden’s vision for the future is to be renowned for its display of nature’s beauty and as a dynamic hub for plant-centered learning, conservation, and research. The mission is to connect people to plants, inspiring the public to live in harmony with nature.

The Garden is located at 777 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, ON M3C 1P2. The gardens are open daily from dawn until dusk. Due to the current government and COVID restrictions, the Visitor Centre, including the Garden Shop and Weston Family Library, is currently closed to the public.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo of Stephanie Jutila for media purposes.

Media contact
Jenny Rhodenizer, Director of Marketing & Communications