About: Our Board
The Ruth Bancroft Garden Board of Directors


Ruth Bancroft: Ruth is the Garden Founder: Through research and a keen eye for design, she has developed this exceptional three acre “dry” garden, which has been heralded by horticulturists all over the world. Chosen as the first garden for preservation by the Garden Conservancy, it has become a teaching center for professionals, children and the general public, promoting the doctrine of beauty with less water. She graduated from The University of California. Her course work was in architecture and education. In addition to her garden, she has been a supporter of The San Francisco Opera and the California Symphony. Ruth is the widow of Phillip Bancroft, Jr., the grandson of Hubert Howe Bancroft, who compiled a collection and wrote his own collection of the great histories of the West.

Nina Bancroft Dickerson: Nina is a graduate of Wellesley College. As a daughter of the garden founder, she grew up on what was once the Bancroft farm and has seen the Garden grow and develop from the beginning. As a community leader, she has served in official positions in many organizations including Monte Vista High School Keynoters, Camp Fire Boys and Girls, The PTA, and as President of The Equestrian Center of Walnut Creek. Her professional work has been in the area of Social Services. She is Vice-President of the Board and a member of the Garden’s Governance Committee.

Chris Codding: Chris retired from a career managing voice and data communications for several major companies and is pursuing her passions for plants and painting. She has been a volunteer with the plant propagation program at Diablo Valley College for the past 10 years, where she propagated a large number of plants and assisted with plant sales. She is also currently involved with the International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS) and the California Horticultural Society and was one of the first volunteers at the Garden Conservancy’s project to restore the historic gardens on Alcatraz.

Karen Ferriere: Karen is a research librarian for Lexis Nexis. She holds a Masters in Library Science from St John’s University with 17 years of experience in Enterprise Content Management. Karen has worked for the non-profit WestEd and volunteered at the California School for the Deaf. She is a passionate cacti lover and Garden enthusiast and was elected to the Board in 2014.

Jane Freeman: Jane is recently retired as Chief Financial Officer of Scientific Learning (SCIL), which uses developments in brain science and software to improve language, reading and learning skills for children and young adults. Prior to joining Scientific Learning, she was a member of the Management Committee at Rockefeller & Co. the Rockefeller Family Investment Office. She serves as Lead Independent Director of the Harding, Loevner series of mutual funds and in 2011 and 2012 as the Chair of the Audit Committee for the Russell Investments Exchange Traded Funds Trust. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Taproot Foundation – whose mission is to mobilize and engage professionals in pro bono services to aid not for profit organizations. Jane lives in Emeryville, CA. She was appointed to serve as the Garden Conservancy’s representative to the Board in 2013.

Gail Giffen: A mother of four, Gail has had a successful career in real estate investment and also owns two Bay Area pizza restaurants. Her hobbies are duplicate bridge and theatre; she is a big supporter of Playhouse West. Gail is an addictive sculpture collector and enjoys sharing this passion with her friends. She serves on the Finance Committee and the Committee for the Annual Sculpture in The Garden Show. Gail is in her second term on the Board.

Richard C. Hansen: Dick is a retired telecommunications industry executive. Most recently he worked in the solar energy industry with CC energy as a designer, sales representative and project

manager. Dick has served on the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano for 12 years, including 2 terms as president. He has also served on the San Ramon Chamber of Commerce board for 6 years, including a year as interim Executive Director. Elected to the board in 2015, Dick is now the current President of the Board.

Susan Hewett Chapman: Susan is a long time resident of Danville, and very involved in the civic and cultural life of Danville, Walnut Creek, and the East Bay communities. She has been an active member of AAUW, and served 9 years as a trustee at Seven Hills School in Walnut Creek. She was chair of the Governance Committee there, and also helped with the Development Committee. She was also active with The Athenian School parent board.  Susan is a graduate of Scripps College and the University of Minnesota. She is a former elementary school teacher and worked in business administration and human resources prior to raising her family. Susan has volunteered extensively in education and civic organizations since moving to the East Bay in the 1980s. She was elected to the Garden Board 2015.

Carol Maerzke: Carol Maerzke and her husband John have been members of the Ruth Bancroft Garden since 2008, and Carol has served on the Board since 2011. She is an active member and past president of the San Francisco Garden Club, Glen Park Garden Club, and the St. Luke’s Hospital Auxiliary Board. Carol is also a sustaining member of the Junior League of San Francisco and the Fine Arts Museum Auxiliary. Some of her work experience includes teaching, public relations, marketing research, wholesale sales, and floral design. Now she considers herself to be a Professional Volunteer and finds pleasure in making a constructive contribution to the community. For Ruth Bancroft Garden she serves on the Development and Governance committees, works on events, as well as helping to raise the Garden’s visibility in the local community and greater Bay Area. Carol enjoys traveling, gardening, floral design, photography, music, and activities at the Garden with John.

David Mitchell: Senior Project Manager at AECOM, San Francisco. David has 40 years of experience in construction project management and consulting services.  He has managed a diverse variety of projects including transportation, power generation, medical and educational facilities, as well as various commercial projects.   David has a B.S. in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Economic Analysis from U.C. Berkeley and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of California and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  He currently is employed by AECOM, a large multinational firm that provides a complete range of engineering and construction services to its worldwide clients.

Arthur Neudek: Arthur is the Vice President of Institutional Client Services at Property Sciences in Pleasanton, CA. He has worked with several national accounting firms providing real estate valuation services, primarily for large, institutional grade multi‐tenant properties. He has also specialized in hospitality properties, and has considerable experience in finance and lending services. Arthur has been active in various civic and charitable organizations, including the board of the young professionals group at the Boston MFA, and currently with St. Matthew Church in Walnut Creek, and in the Pet Hug program with ARF.  He and his wife, Gian Schaur, moved to California in 2013 from Boston in order to live in place where they could enjoy more of their time outdoors.    “We consider the Ruth Bancroft Gardens a treasure in Walnut Creek.  We have learned about the history and want to support the continuation and growth of the Garden. It is resources such as the Gardens make Walnut Creek a top rated community in which to live.“

Eran Perera: Eran recently retired from a career as a teacher, preschool director, and community project organizer. She worked as Head Teacher and Director with the Pleasant Hills Recreation and Park district for the last 25 years. She is a current member of the Contra Costa Planning and Advisory Council for Early Care Education. Eran is a lifelong plants and garden lover, and excited to serve on the board of an organization that is passionate about preserving the “one of a kind” Ruth Bancroft Garden.

Gerriann Smith : Bio coming soon

Mary Walker: Mary worked in telecommunications for MCI for the first 15 years of her professional life.  In 1999 she and her husband and business partner purchased Daily Graphics, a print service bureau, which they reorganized in 2004 and launched as an all digital print company - Daily Digital Imaging-, specializing in marketing through the use of variable data printing (VDP).  Daily Digital Imaging is a Bay Area Certified Green business and was awarded the Pleasant Hill Green Business award for 2014.

Mary also serves on the boards of the San Francisco Professional Food Society and Mt Diablo Business Women. She grew up in Huntington Beach, where she first developed a love of gardening with her family, and an appreciation for conservation of resources, and recycling  In her spare time she can be found gardening in her back yard, planting vegetables that her husband likes to cook, watching movies, reading, and enjoying the outdoors.

Monique Young: Bio coming soon

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Mission Statement
The mission of the Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. is to preserve this exceptional example of garden design and to continue to develop its collection of water-conserving plants for the education and enjoyment of the public.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden GardenConservancy