Director of Visitor Services & Public Programs

South Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara
Full Time
Ganna Walska Lotusland

Title:  Director of Visitor Services and Public Programs Classification: Fulltime, Exempt
Departments: Guest Services Reports to:  Executive Director Created: September 2021

Ganna Walska Lotusland, a 37-acre horticulture display garden in Santa Barbara hiring a Director of Visitor Services and Public Programs  to join our leadership team. We are looking for a lifelong learner to blend creativity with scientific knowledge to deliver and develop dynamic guest and member programs and experiences that appeal to a wide range of audiences.

This position is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the visitor center, including adult and children’s educational programs, exhibitions, gift shop, and front facing staff supervision. The successful candidate will demonstrate good judgment in managing projects, budgets, and people, all in a busy public garden. Lotusland is beginning a series of capital projects in our Master Plan, including major renovations to existing buildings and the design of several garden features and areas. The Director of Visitor Services and Public Programs  will play a key role in envisioning the future of our gardens.

With 20,000 visitors per year, Lotusland is a local, regional, and national attraction for those seeking gardening inspiration and a beautiful escape from the everyday. We welcome applicants who reflect the diversity of our community and can help us become a more inclusive garden for staff, volunteers, and guests. To learn more, visit us at www.lotusland.org


Job Description
The Director of Visitor Services and Public Programs  plays a crucial role in managing the staff that define and creates the Lotusland experience while generating loyalty, retention, and revenue.

They are responsible for ensuring all visitors have an exceptional visit to Lotusland and drives Lotusland’s mission of plant conservation while generating earned and contributed revenue through reservations and Garden Shop sales.

The Director of Visitor Services and Public Programs  reports to the Executive Director and partners with department leaders from across Lotusland to further position the Garden as warm, welcoming, and special place.  The Director manages one of Lotusland’s largest departments and includes all front-line staff and volunteers who welcomes visitors from diverse communities and cultural backgrounds, including families with young children, adults, seniors, international travelers, members, donors, VIPs, and educational tours. This position also includes monitoring garden activity by radio to ensure emergencies are successfully managed.


This position is responsible for the overall planning, development, marketing, organization, staffing and supervision of the Guest Services Department.

Working in cooperation with other departments, the Director of Visitor Services and Public Programs  oversees a variety of programs and projects including print, social media and digital campaigns including Public Access through Museums for All, the Fourth Grade Outreach Program, collaborations with schools and universities, on-site membership sales, plus digital correspondence and website presence as it relates to guest services or education.

This position provides vision and execution of public programming. Public Programs include education (Pre-K through College), public tours (self-guide and docent-led), Open Pathways (free tours for the low income or underserved friends in our community), and Community and Family Engagement. This person oversees the training and mentoring of the Garden’s public programs volunteers and staff to enhance our capacity to offer mission-driven educational and interpretive experiences using appropriate approaches and technologies, as well as to ensure Lotusland provides a consistently safe, welcoming, and enjoyable atmosphere for visitors, staff, and volunteers. As part of this role, the successful candidate will systematically evaluate the visitor experience, develop and execute plans for public program improvement, and establishes and manages relationships with local and national partners to enhance the Garden’s programs.

This person is also responsible for tracking all visitation numbers for all guests in order to be compliant with Lotusland’s use permit. The successful applicant will demonstrate deep knowledge of CRM management and analytical skills tools to assess financial performance and identify means for growing revenue.


The ideal candidate has experience working as an energetic non-profit manager with strong customer services skills, with a minimum of 5 years in a supervisory role, preferably in a museum or garden setting. This decisive and personable leader has extensive experience identifying, soliciting, and developing relationships with a proven track record of meeting their goals. Superb written, verbal, management, and organizational skills are required, as is working with volunteers and the public.

The successful candidate will have strong social and interpersonal skills and will excel in a collaborative team environment. S/he will be a person of high energy, integrity, and ethical standards. Experience working for an organization in the cultural community a plus.



  1. Develop, implement, and oversee Guest Services and Education related activities and programs to meet identified outcomes and financial targets.
  2. Support a fulfilling and informative self-guide guest experience using new technologies.
  3. Refine Lotusland’s traditional docent training and tour program with available personnel and staff as needed.
  4. Recruit, hire, onboard, supervise, and discipline department staff, as well as the conduct annual performance reviews, check-in meetings, etc. and ensure all department staff are completing review deliverables.
  5. Hold regular department meetings and team building to support a highly communicative and collaborative department.
  6. Develop program budgets and reports, and approve all expenditures for department.
  7. Ensure website content and all department marketing and promotional material is relevant and up to date.
  8. Develop and implement evaluations that measures the quality of the guest experience, understanding and satisfaction.
  9. Generate assessments and regular communications and serve as the primary spokesperson to 100 docents and 250 volunteers, with enthusiasm for the dissemination of accurate and timely information.
  10. Train and refine customer service tactics to guest and member service to all employees, volunteers, and staff (at least 1x a year for each audience).
  11. Adopt and implements organization-wide technologies and create systems to guide and execute the strategic goals of the institution to support Lotusland’s mission.
  12. Ensure cross-departmental communication is occurring between the Guest Services Team and other departments as to program offerings, events, etc.
  13. Generate monthly report for the Board utilizing data from Department managers in a way that shows impact, progress, and generates excitement and understanding among board members.
  14. Serve as a member of the Senior Leadership Team.
  15. Act as primary staff person for Lotusland’s neighbor communications and related activities, including but not limited to annual neighbor event, neighbor list management, and ongoing communication. Represent Lotusland at community events when requested.
  16. Oversee the development, coordination, and execution of educational activities related to Lotusland’s County-wide Fourth Grade Outreach Program (when reinstated post- COVID), college group visits, and other educational programs for students Pre-K through college.
  17. Ensure Lotusland is engaged in the community through our Open Pathways program, participation in community events when organizational bandwidth allows, developing materials and offerings for families, ensuring programming is inclusive, and ensuring staff and volunteers are prepared to meet the needs of diverse audiences.
  18. Perform other tasks as assigned by Executive Director.

The responsibilities and deliverables listed above are intended to describe the general nature and level of work to be performed by the individual in this position. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities and/or skills. Other duties and tasks may be assigned as needed.



  • Bachelor’s degree preferred. Experience in nonprofit management, program and curriculum development and design and execution, business, hospitality or related field of study required.
  • Strong human relations and communication skills required.
  • Deep knowledge of CRM management and analytical skills to assess performance and identify means for growing program and revenue
  • Experience in developing and setting institutional policies helpful
  • Proven experience in fundraising, including securing sponsorships and corporate support is desirable.
  • Experience in technology hardware and software systems including proficiency in MS Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Tasks and Teams is required.
  • Must be able to multi-task, be highly organized, maintain poise under pressure, be a highly-motivated self-starter, and display strong time management and planning skills.
  • Must be available on occasional nights and weekends.
  • Cheerful, positive attitude and superior ability to represent Lotusland in a friendly and professional manner.
  • Proficiency with numerous computer and software applications and flexibility to learn new programs.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and the ability to successfully interface with staff, volunteers, docents, trustees, guests, members and donors.
  • Ability to perform at a high level in a fast-paced team environment, and manage multiple projects to meet deadlines. Proven success increasing financial results and building strong relationships.
  • Highly effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to analyze and assess problems and solve them quickly and efficiently
  • General office environment, with frequent occasions spent at our other office locations throughout the garden.
  • Significant computer and telephone work (repetitive movement – typing).
  • Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, and climbing stairs with occasional lifting of light loads (20 lbs.)

The successful candidate must be able to perform each requirement of the position as outlined in the job description. Essential Requirements are representative and are essential for satisfactory job performance. The Work Environment characteristics are representative of those that may be encountered while on the job.  Lotusland will make reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the position



To apply, send (3) items:  Your resume, a cover letter and three references to:
HR@lotusland.org.  SALARY DOE.


No phone calls until we respond to your application package please.

Lotusland will make reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform Lotusland is an equal opportunity employer.  Please check out our website @ www.lotusland.org.  We look forward to welcome you for a visit!

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