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Updated: May 1, 2023 / Power 50 for 2023

2023 Power 50: Grace Elton

Photo | Courtesy of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill Grace Elton, CEO of Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston
Grace Elton Title CEO Organization New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill, in Boylston Residence  Worcester College University of Florida; University of Delaware Read all the 2023 Power 50 profiles here
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Under Grace Elton, the gains of the botanic garden have been significant, and they’re starting to pay off with more visitors and more attractions.

First, the $53-million nonprofit changed its name in April from Tower Hill Botanic Garden to its new iteration of New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill. Then it finished construction on a $16-million project that includes the Ramble, the new children and families garden, along with new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant pathways. The project doubled the size of its parking lot and renovated and expanded its visitor center lobby.

All of the upgrades and renovations have made a difference because the botanic garden had a record year in attendance, welcoming more than 207,000 visitors, which is a significant increase over the 166,669 visitors it reported in 2021, which made it the sixth largest tourist attraction in Central Massachusetts. On top of that, the center taught more than 12,000 people – children and adults – in classes and workshops.

As its CEO, Elton holds the keys to introducing more people to the world of horticulture and expanding the nonprofit’s reach as a key player in the Central Massachusetts’s tourism sector.

How should professionals best use their power? “Business professionals need to make space for all members of our community in their work. I devote a lot of my time to reaching out into our community to make sure everyone understands the garden is a place for them and they are welcome and invited.”

An aspiring apiarist: Elton is fascinated by everything about honeybees. She’s been a beekeeper off and on for about 14 years, keeping honeybee hives at the botanic gardens where she’s worked or at home, in three states: Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Massachusetts. Still, she says she’s not actually very good at it and rarely harvests any honey.

Read all the 2023 Power 50 profiles here.

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