We are pleased to announce Robin Potter as Chair, and to welcome our new board members — The Honorable Lillian Harris Ransom, Sharrieff Ali, and Dr. Wilfreta Baugh, as well as returning board member, Kenneth G. Wood. We are grateful for their contributions. Below is insight into how PHS has touched their lives and how they will advance the organization with their expertise and passion.
Robin Potter is an entrepreneur with extensive experience in the financial and software services industry. She has served as a board member since 2015. “For the past fifteen years, PHS has been woven through my life and my friendships,” says Potter. Since becoming involved with PHS, Robin has “upped” her personal gardening game — becoming more waterwise and wildlife friendly. She started a volunteer tree pruning group in her town, joined a community garden, and grew onions, tomatillos, and okra for the first time.
“My first priority is to do all that we can as a board to support PHS,” says Potter. “I want our Healthy Neighborhoods programs to grow, and continue to build community, health, and well-being.” “We need to inspire a world of gardeners, both new and experienced, young and old, to work together to better our lives and the lives of those around us,” she says.
The Honorable Lillian Harris Ransom
Judge Lillian Harris Ransom began her judicial career in 1995 when she was elected to a ten-year term on the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. She was retained for two additional ten-year terms, then in 2016 she was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf to serve as a judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court. At the end of that term, she returned to the Court of Common Pleas where she is a Senior Judge. Her involvement with PHS began with the Flower Show. She first visited the show more than twenty years ago and has enjoyed it every year since. “I became an exhibitor, and then a volunteer in several capacities,” she says. She serves as co-chair of the Windowsills design class at the Flower Show. She is president of Our Garden Club of Philadelphia and Vicinity (OGCPV), whose members enter award-winning exhibits in the Flower Show each year.
As a board member, she hopes to bring new ideas — both to improve the organization and to augment those already being considered. “I also have a high level of enthusiasm for the great outdoors and look forward to becoming involved in some of PHS’s community activities,” says Judge Ransom.
Sharrieff Ali brings decades of entrepreneurial experience in the fashion design and manufacturing industries. In addition, he has deep commitment to community organizing, as illustrated with his long-standing service to the West Philadelphia and Germantown communities. An active PHS Tree Tender volunteer, he brings a fresh outlook on the possibilities for PHS’s volunteer work in Philadelphia. “I have met an unparalleled circle of people through PHS offering friendship and help in all areas of my life,” says Ali. “I hope to continue to learn through my involvement with PHS programs and to become a valuable advocate for community participation and investment in PHS as an organization.”
Dr. Wilfreta Baugh
Dr. Baugh practiced internal medicine for more than thirty years. She has exhibited at the Philadelphia Flower Show yearly from 1974 until 2019 (even during medical school, residency, and practice). It all began when she joined Our Garden Club of Philadelphia and Vicinity (OGCPV) in 1972 and entered the Artistic Arrangement class at the Flower Show for the first time in 1974. “I won a blue ribbon and Best in Show and I was hooked,” she says. “I have cherished the relationships developed over the years,” says Dr. Baugh.
As a board member, she plans to create an environment of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Baugh emphasizes that horticulture is a fundamental importance to everyone’s life, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality, or income, and should be accessible to all. “I am pleased to be part of a team that will enable PHS to continue to grow into its best self as an organization.”
Kenneth G. Wood
Returning to the board, Ken Wood is Senior Vice President, Credit Risk Executive, with Bank of America’s Global Commerical Banking team serving Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. He believes that horticulture is an important ingredient in the fabric of life. “Green and colorful spaces — nature in its full bounty — touches our souls,” says Wood. “Helping PHS, be it in support of its work with public landscapes, greening the urban environment, or simply helping a gardener plant a couple of containers on their back patio, is all so fulfilling to me.”
Wood plans to focus his energy in three areas: First, promoting PHS’s public landscapes work which is invaluable to the social health of our communities. Second, he wants to advance the work of the McLean Library whose collections represent both a source of enjoyment for the casual horticultural reader, as well as deep archival assets for serious horticulture scholarship. Finally, he is particularly excited to play a role as PHS prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2027. “Understanding where we have come from to where we want to be — through our Vision2027 strategic plan, combined with the library’s archives, and our broad constituency base — is very exciting,” says Wood.
Leading PHS Towards Its Bicentennial
As we look towards our 200th anniversary, we are thankful for the support of our Board of Directors — new, returning, and ongoing. With shared energy and goals, the board will lead PHS wisely into our next chapter. For more information on the Board of Directors, click here.