Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Sarah Peacock, President
Jane Austin, Vice President
Linda Freisitzer, Secretary
Diane Hoe Mucci, Treasurer
Carla Barrett
Amy Pelletier Clark
Carolyn J. Cole   
Kimberly Hunt Lee
Helen Page
Barbara B. Peeler
Randi Petrovits
Elizabeth Simonson
Carol Vinall

Board of Advisors

Catherine E. Baer
Nancy Berner
Michael Dupree
Deborah Gordon
Gail Griffin
Angela Henry
Katherine H. Kerin
Susan Lowry
Frederic C. Rich
Nevill Smythe
Judith B. Tankard
Heather Whitefield


BFGA Executive Director Karen S Smythe

Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, Karen has a BA in Drama from Vassar College and an MBA from The University of Virginia Darden School of Business Administration. Karen has both public and private corporate experience, including the last sixteen years as an executive at C.B. Strain & Son, a Poughkeepsie based mechanical contracting business. Before that, Karen was a marketing executive in the food industry for such brands as Doritos Tortilla Chips, Skippy Peanut Butter and Dannon Yogurt.

Karen is an amateur gardener with a green thumb inherited from her mother, a long-time member of the Orange & Dutchess Garden Club. Karen has served on local nonprofit boards, including Vassar College, where she is a trustee and the Bardavon 1869 Opera House where she is the Immediate Past President of the Board.

Horticulturist and Garden Educator Anne Cleves Symmes

Anne is a garden designer with a special interest in historic landscapes and public gardens. For over eighteen years, she has worked with the Beatrix Farrand Garden Association to preserve the garden at Bellefield.

She grew up in Madison, Georgia working at Cedar Lane Farm, a family owned nursery and display garden that specialized in historic and native plants. After completing the landscape design program at the New York Botanical Garden, she pursued her interest in public gardens by working at Bryant Park and the Conservatory Garden in New York City as both a gardener and garden educator.