It gives me great pleasure to share with you that Cynthia Kanai has accepted the CEO position at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens.
In this new role, Cynthia will report directly to the board of trustees and has general oversight of and responsibility for the financial and physical well-being of all the assets of the ANSG, including its landmarked house, garden, grounds, property and art collection. She officially starts her new position on September 17, 2018.
Our executive committee is thrilled that Cynthia has accepted this leadership role. Personally, I have tremendous respect for her commitment and vision. I had the opportunity to work with Cynthia in her role as development director at Palm Beach Day Academy to raise funds for their new lower campus education center. She is a powerhouse! A strong collaborator, relationship builder and award-winning and beloved instructor, Cynthia’s commitment to our community will be an invaluable asset as the Gardens continues its path of exciting growth.
Her career as an outstanding educator at PBDA spanned more than two decades before she moved into her role as development director there. Her deep experience with students and families, coupled with her leadership of PBDA’s community outreach allowed her to cultivate meaningful partnerships throughout Palm Beach County and foster exciting collaborations through PBDA’s hallmarked “Lead with Honor” program. A great team-builder and wonderful mentor, I can’t think of a better steward to step into this role at the Gardens at this time.
In her role as development director for PBDA, Cynthia was responsible for raising $5.5 million for the school’s Great Expectations campaign. She also spearheaded initiatives to achieve successful donor support for the school’s annual fund, corporate sponsorship, and all school fundraising events. As a member of the school’s administrative team, she worked directly with the head of school and board of trustees to develop strategic yearly and long-term financial goals and leading a team of three, reached or exceeded those financial goals each of the three years she held the position.
Prior to her role as development director, Cynthia was a member of the PBDA faculty as a fifth-grade teacher for 25 years and in 2012 was awarded the William T. Dwyer Excellence in Education Award in Palm Beach County, and in 2010, the Adele Shook Merck Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year Award. She holds her Master of Science in Leadership from Palm Beach Atlantic University and her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Cameron University in Oklahoma.
When she accepted the position, she shared the following with me:
I am so excited about this leadership opportunity! I am driven by long-term relationships and the chance to play an impactful role in the Gardens’ momentous growth is truly thrilling. As a member of the community who loves these gardens, the opportunity to honor Ann Norton’s vision of how this venue can serve our community through cultural and educational enhancements is a privilege. After working with the team here as their neighbor while I was at Palm Beach Day Academy for so many years, it already feels like home.
Cynthia is a board member of the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews; a member of Leadership Palm Beach County class of 2014 and currently serves on the recruitment committee; a member of the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches; and a past board member of C.R.O.S. Ministries. She resides in Atlantis with her husband Dennis, a partner in a CFO consulting firm, and they have two grown children.
I hope you will join me and our executive committee in extending our warmest welcome to Cynthia Kanai as you have the opportunity to see or communicate with her. We look forward to her official start in September and an exciting season with outstanding new leadership at the helm.