Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Meet our new CEO

Posted: September 1, 2022 at 16:12 pm

Emma Griffiths - The Friends' CEOHello! I’m Emma Griffiths, the new CEO of the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum. I’ve been visiting Westonbirt since I moved to the area in 1995 and have been a member for over 20 years, so I was delighted to consider the opportunity of leading the Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum into the future as CEO. I was even more delighted to be offered the post and pinch myself every day I come on-site, as I feel incredibly privileged to be entrusted with this responsibility.

The arboretum has been a special place for me personally and in turn for my family and friends. It has been a constant, steady backdrop to life, as my children have grown up and I’ve progressed in my career. It has also been my place to escape with my dogs, to do my thinking, planning and relax; some of my best plans have been hatched in Silk Wood! I have met up with colleagues here for meetings/dog walks over the years and enjoyed watching the site develop, from the small hut on arrival to the Stihl Treetop Walkway and Welcome Building development.

I am an experienced Charity CEO, having spent the last 8 years as CEO of Gloucestershire Counselling Service, a countywide Mental Health Charity. Prior to this, I worked in the Social Care and Education Sector. I have recently completed an MBA, which has aided my development in broader business and commercial understanding, in addition to my 27 years experience of the Third sector expertise. I am particularly interested in Charity Governance and organisation/infrastructure development within the voluntary sector and am a volunteer Trustee for the Gloucestershire Voluntary and Community Sector Alliance (GVCSA).

I’m joining a well-established staff team and Board of Trustees who have a slick operation going on behind the scenes. The values of the charity align with my own as well as the purpose of the charity in sustaining and developing the wonderful arboretum.

The 10-Year Vision for Westonbirt Arboretum is exciting and I’m really looking forward to working closely with the Forestry England team to ensure we can align our activities and secure the best possible outcomes for the arboretum. Working together in this way presents an opportunity to deepen the shared understanding and relationships between Forestry England and The Friends, ensuring we are putting the funding raised through membership and fundraising to best use. I am interested to learn how we can grow our community engagement with the arboretum and ensure inclusivity and equity so that we can engage with a broad range of communities both locally and nationally. Preservation and conservation are key to the arboretum and in the current context of climate change and sustainability, the arboretum has never been so important to the world. I’m looking forward to understanding, with colleagues, the role that The Friends can play in driving forwards these important strategic aims, ultimately ensuring future generations will have ongoing access to the beauty of Westonbirt Arboretum and its landscape for years to come.

I look forward to continuing the fantastic work The Friends charity supports at Westonbirt Arboretum and ensuring this world-renowned collection remains an accessible green space for you and future generations to enjoy.