The Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce was created in 2019 to ensure that diversity and inclusive thinking is front-and-center at Selby Gardens. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all in our community – regardless of their race, age, ability, sex, sexual orientation, religion, or financial status – see Selby Gardens as a place where they are welcome. From employment and volunteer opportunities to exhibits and memberships, Selby Gardens will prioritize creating opportunities to be inclusive and open to all who wish to be here.
Taskforce members include Jennifer O. Rominiecki, President & CEO; Wendy Deming, COO; Walter Gilbert, who serves as Selby Gardens’ Community Engagement Manager and is the former President of the Sarasota County NAACP; Vickie Oldham, Founder – Newtown Alive and President, Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition; John McCarthy, Vice President for Historic Spanish Point Campus; and Jeannie Perales, Vice President for Museum Exhibits, Learning, and Engagement.
With input from the community, Selby Gardens’ Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce is committed to the following:
With regard to race and ethnicity, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens seeks to be reflective of the community and will increase the diversity and inclusionary thinking of Trustees, employees, and volunteers throughout the organization as follows:
• By the end of 2022, Selby Gardens aims for 15% of its Trustees, employees, and volunteers to be racially and ethnically diverse.
• By the end of 2025, Selby Gardens aims for 20% of its Trustees, employees, and volunteers to be racially and ethnically diverse.
Moving forward, Selby Gardens will incorporate diversity and inclusionary thinking in all aspects of our operations – ultimately connecting every segment of our community with bayfront sanctuaries, air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. We will accomplish this by making diversity and inclusion one of Selby Gardens’ primary goals in our upcoming 2021 strategic plan. The plan will include actionable initiatives with timelines to achieve the desired goals.
In the meantime, Selby Gardens will continue to seek opportunities to promote culturally diverse exhibits and programs for the benefit of our community. The summer 2021 “Florida Highwaymen” landscape artists exhibit, featuring African American artists and curated by an African American museum professional, is an example of how Selby Gardens will highlight the important work of underrepresented audiences.
Additionally, Selby Gardens will continue to grow and foster initiatives like the Family Togetherness program and My Garden membership program that make Selby Gardens, its exhibits, and educational resources available to hundreds of underserved families in our community.