Board and Staff
Board of Directors Sarah Peacock, President
Jane Austin, Vice President
Linda Freisitzer, Secretary
Diane Hoe Mucci, Treasurer
Carolyn J. Cole
Kimberly Hunt Lee
Barbara B. Peeler
Board of Advisors Catherine E. Baer
Katherine H. Kerin
Frederic C. Rich
Judith B. Tankard
BFGA Executive Director Karen S Smythe
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 currently
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.