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Introducing New Executive Director at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks

The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is excited to announce that Ashley Wardlow has been named as the new Executive Director of the organization. Ms. Wardlow will assume the role on December 18, bringing a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success with her. 

“Ms. Wardlow comes to us with years of experience in the areas of management, planning, and organizational leadership. She’s well-qualified to lead the garden, and in particular, her skills in partnering with other organizations, in community relations and outreach, and in strategic planning will be huge assets to the Garden. She’s a leader that will be motivational and a real team builder. We all look forward to working with her to achieve great things for the Garden!” said Lynn Carver, President of the Board of Directors.

As the recent Interim President & CEO of the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, she demonstrated exceptional leadership, exceeding net income and revenue goals while increasing member retention. Ashley fostered valuable relationships with key community partners, including grantors, and administered $1.1 million in grant funding. 

Ashley joined the Chamber in 2020 as Executive Director of the NWA Tech Summit, achieving notable success in both virtual and hybrid event formats, consistently surpassing revenue and attendance goals. During her tenure, she increased sponsorship giving and expanded access to the Summit, ensuring that it became an inclusive platform for students, educators, and entrepreneurs. She was promoted to Executive Vice President in late 2021.

Prior to her role at the Chamber, Ashley was a Development Officer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where she raised over $1.8 million from a diverse portfolio of corporate, foundation, and individual prospects. Her strategic vision was instrumental in designing and leading the museum’s corporate engagement efforts, including annual events hosted by Alice Walton and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

In 2013, Ashley served as Donor Relations Manager at United Way of Northwest Arkansas before being promoted to Senior Manager of Donor Relations and Director, Workplace Campaign. In this capacity, she successfully orchestrated fundraising efforts, securing a total of $2.9 million. Additionally, she recruited and directed a dynamic team of volunteers who formed the Campaign Cabinet Committee, maximizing the organization’s capacity.

“I am honored to take the helm as Executive Director of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and am committed to nurturing the growth of this cherished institution. The Garden represents what’s best for our region, serving for nearly 20 years as a source of inspiration, education, and community enrichment. I commend BGO’s Board of Directors, professional staff, volunteers, and supporters for their dedicated stewardship. Together, we’ll add to the strong foundation they’ve built, advancing a shared vision for the Garden’s vibrant future,” said Wardlow.