It is with great enthusiasm that South Coast Botanic Garden announces industry leader and trailblazer, MaryLynn Mack, as its Chief Operating Officer.

Simply put, MaryLynn is a steady builder – of consensus, of brick and mortar operations, of entities or endeavors that were nonexistent, of people.

This high caliber, values-led individual comes to us from Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona where she served as Director of Operations, successfully managing day-to-day operations for a nature space that welcomes over 380,000 visitors annually.  During her tenure at this Phoenix Point of Pride, she expanded and enhanced programs for children, adults and educators that include new digital curricula, a multi-lingual audio tour, and the innovative “Volunteer U” program, a national model that recruits, retains, and recognizes volunteers.

With a growth mindset, operational excellence, and people first imperative, MaryLynn led the development and construction of a destination restaurant, parking and event plaza, expanded renovated retail location and a DNA research lab.  She leaves our friends at Desert Botanical positioned for further success with the recent completion of a five-year master plan for an innovative Children and Family garden space.

With a commitment to serving others and building bridges of understanding, MaryLynn sits on the American Public Gardens Association Board of Directors, and is the inaugural Chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Committee.  She is slated to give the keynote address to the Diversity Forum at the Association’s 2019 Annual Conference, and believes in empowerment through mentoring with a passion for developing emerging professionals to become future leaders of a sustainable and thriving world.

Prior to joining Desert Botanical, MaryLynn enjoyed successful careers as the Executive Director of the Rescue Mission’s Women and Children’s Center, and as Senior Director at the San Diego Natural History Museum.  Upon relocating to Arizona, she continued her love of giving back and philanthropy as a founding member of the African American Women’s Giving and Empowerment Circle and as a Board Member at the Phoenix Metropolitan YWCA.  Her efforts in women’s issues and arts and culture earned her the YWCA Tribute to Leadership and Black Philanthropy Institute Leadership awards.

MaryLynn has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and is near completion of an Organizational Leadership degree. Additionally, she brings 22 years of staff management, strategic planning, project development, event services, guest services, facilities, maintenance, IT and human resources and community relations experience to compliment the talent bench of South Coast Botanic Garden. She is a past recipient of the Virginia G. Piper Fellowship, a graduate of The Getty Leadership Institute, and has also served in the U.S. Navy.

“Having someone of MaryLynn’s caliber will bring greater depth of experience to the Garden to propel us forward, says South Coast Botanic Garden CEO, Adrienne Nakashima.  Her proven track record of thoughtful engagement and operational know how will aid us greatly as we endeavor to become one of the top botanic gardens in the Southern California region.”