Senior Vice President, Corporate/Community Relations, New York Yankees
The Bronx has long struggled to overcome the perception that it remains a place beleaguered by crime and joblessness. What has been widely praised for setting a standard of excellence in the borough, of course, is the New York Yankees, the iconic 27-time World Series champions.
The team’s sterling reputation makes it easier for key employees like Brian Smith, the senior vice president who directs corporate and community relations. Smith, who grew up in nearby Mount Vernon, started out as an intern and quickly worked his way up in the marketing and public relations department to become senior vice president in 1994. Whether the team is winning or losing, it’s Smith’s job to make sure the Yankees are a good neighbor in the community.
Executive Director, Bronx Museum for the Arts
Unlike other art museums that cater to the elite, the Bronx Museum of the Arts has a mission of making art relevant to the local community – and that’s what Holly Block has done since taking over as executive director in 2006.
For the past decade, Block has emphasized contemporary art exhibits while bringing in more visitors thanks to a universal free admission policy and new educational programs for students. Block has also overseen major renovations to the museum and organized international art exchanges. The museum, which boasts more than 1,000 pieces of art, has also been an innovator, hosting an artist-in-residence dancer, putting on an exhibit about the Young Lords and frequently showcasing the borough’s hip-hop history.
President and CEO, New York Botanical Garden
The New York Botanical Garden is one of New York City’s prized possessions, with its diverse landscapes, education facilities and large-scale collections and gardens.
Its president and CEO, Gregory Long, has been modernizing the botanical garden for nearly three decades, completing three seven-year strategic plans and raising more than $525 million in funding for the most recent plan. Furthermore, Long has helped oversee the transformation of the 250-acre National Historic Landmark into more than 50 gardens and collections, which in total exceeds 1 million plants. Long has also pushed for more science-based programs for students from pre-K to graduate school in neighboring communities and has revitalized the park into welcoming over 1 million visitors annually.
Olga Luz Tirado
Executive Director, Bronx Tourism Council
The Bronx is home to a long list of tantalizing tourist attractions, including Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Botanical Garden and many more destinations that are off the beaten path. The person in charge of promoting these sometimes overlooked cultural and historical borough gems is Olga Luz Tirado and the Bronx Tourism Council, which is a subsidiary of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp.
In 2012, Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. appointed Tirado as executive director of the council. A successful marketing consultant, Tirado for many years served as president of her own firm LTCommunications, which worked with heavyweights such as Coca-Cola and IBM.
President and Executive Director, Wave Hill
One of the best kept secrets in the Bronx is the beautiful 28-acre public garden and cultural center known as Wave Hill. The garden, formerly part of a private estate, overlooks the Hudson River in the Riverdale section of the Bronx.
In 2015, Karen Meyerhoff took over as president and executive director of Wave Hill.
Before taking the helm, Meyerhoff was the managing director for business development at the Guggenheim Museum, and prior to that she also spent time at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.
Meyerhoff has been widely praised for her ability to forge long-term partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders.