Meet Our Team

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LARA LAU-SCHOMMER

Interim Executive Director

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Lara is a true, blue Minnesotan—and now she and her husband are raising their own son here. An active supporter of community gardening and beautification of public spaces throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, Lara embodies the spirit of community, bringing gardeners and green organizations together around growing and sustainability. 

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BECKY SWEE

Communications + Marketing Director

Becky grew up gardening with her parents in Rochester, MN and spent many summers working for Sargent's Landscape Nursery. After moving to Seattle for nearly a decade to earn a degree in communications and manage the membership program at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo, Becky returned to Minnesota to be closer to family. An animal lover, she often brings her very mellow (and very chunky) chocolate lab, Elvis, to work. While he's everyone's favorite co-worker, his work ethic is a bit... lacking.

Minneapolis Photographer John Wagner Photography

CYNTHYA PORTER

Editor of Northern Gardener®

Welcome, Cynthya! An extremely experienced editor, travel writer, photographer and marketing pro, she is also an avid home gardener. After purchasing a single rose of Sharon at her nephew's request, bam!, she was hooked. She grew up in a family growing vegetables in zone 3A of northern Minnesota, and now tends a garden on her own property in Winona, MN. We can't wait to see how her greater MN perspective, wide-ranging experience and passion for gardening will build upon the rich 150-year tradition of Northern Gardener® magazine.

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DIANE DUVALL

Development Director

On staff since 2008, Diane stays because she loves our members and supporters. She grew up with gardeners and remembers visiting her grandparents in LA when she was a little girl, picking avocados and grapefruit in their backyard. After earning a B.A. in Russian Studies from Mount Holyoke College, Diane performed with the Twin Cities theater community for many years. She's an avid swimmer—look for her in the metro area lakes in summer!

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ANN LONDRIGAN

Membership Associate

Ann joined the hort team following a career with the Illinois REALTORS® Association, where she created, managed and staffed the welcome center as Vice President of Member and Association Engagement. She loves serving our MSHS members and followers, and connecting daily with so many of you is one of her favorite parts of her day. Ann is an avid gardener, daisy fanatic and loves swapping growing stories with our friends and visitors who call, email and drop by our Roseville office.

Elsa Hoover

ELSA HOOVER

QVS Fellow

Born and raised in Portland, OR, Elsa recently graduated from Earlham College with a BA in Peace and Global Studies and minors in Museum Studies and Economics. At Earlham, Elsa worked at the Joseph Moore Museum and was the president of EC Votes, a club dedicated to voter registration and education. She enjoys watching movies, weaving and listening to podcasts about urban design. Through the Quaker Voluntary Service program, she is joining the hort for one year, starting in September 2022.

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COURTNEY TCHIDA

Community Programs Director

When she was a toddler, Courtney's family often found her munching on peas in the garden. It seems she was destined for a career in growing food! With a degree in Environmental Horticulture, a master's in Agricultural Education and a certificate in Permaculture Design, Courtney loves teaching others how to grow sustainably and have success (and fun!) in the garden.

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BETSY PIERRE

Ad Sales Manager

Betsy is a pro when it comes to all things advertising. If you own a greenhouse, landscape nursery, floral design, landscape design or green service business, Betsy can help you find the most effective channels to market your services to our growing northern gardener community.

Emma Krasky

EMMA KRASKY

Education & Outreach Coordinator

Lucky enough to work with Emma as a QVS Fellow in 2021-22, we couldn't just let her walk away after her fellowship year wrapped. The hort welcomed Emma back with open arms, and she's expanding upon the work she tackled as a fellow. Booking and cooking our many webinars and in-person classes, Emma brings experts in a wide variety of gardening-related fields to the stage and screen so you can grow as a northern gardener. A recent graduate of Smith College, Emma is happy to be back in her home state.